Monday, May 23, 2011

The Forms and Methods of Early Jewish Reworkings of the Pentateuch in Light of 4Q158

Here is another interesting article, although it is not only about the Tabernacle, but rather about the entire Pentateuch. It is called "The Forms and Methods of Early Jewish Reworkings of the Pentateuch in Light of 4Q158" by Molly M. Zahn.

The value of this article is that it provides detailed overview of some of the verses of the Tabernacle description, while comparing them to the text of LXX, Samaritan Pentateuch and the newly discovered text of Dead Sea Scrolls. Particularly, you will learn that the text of the description of The Tabernacle did not suffer any major alterations in either of the sources throughout the ages.

Here is an abstract:

"This dissertation provides a detailed analysis of the methods and goals that characterize the rewriting of Scripture in the 4QReworked Pentateuch (4QRP) manuscripts from Qumran (4Q158, 4Q364–367). It focuses first on determining the “compositional technique” used in each particular instance of departure from known textual versions—that is, the specific way in which the Vorlage was altered. Separately, an attempt is made to understand the interpretive processes leading to each change. The dissertation also includes a new text edition, with extensive notes, of 4Q158, the one 4QRP manuscript that did not previously exist in a satisfactory edition. 4Q158 provides the point of departure for the project and is examined in greatest detail. The investigation of 4Q158 and the other 4QRP manuscripts indicates that each is unique in terms of the compositional techniques employed and the purposes to which those techniques were put. The methods of reworking in the 4QRP manuscripts are then compared with those evidenced in two related texts or text groups: the Samaritan Pentateuch and its Qumranic forebears, and the Temple Scroll (11QT).

The Introduction and Conclusion contextualize this detailed analysis in the ongoing debate about the interrelationships between the various forms scriptural rewriting could take in Second Temple Jewish texts. Especially important in this regard is the ambiguous relationship between expanded versions of biblical books and texts that, while dependent upon Scripture for much of their structure and content, nevertheless constitute new, independent compositions. The 4QRP manuscripts occupy a prominent place in this debate because they seem to lie on the boundary between these two categories. The analysis conducted here provides empirical foundations for exploring issues that arise out of this discussion, such as the relationship between particular forms of reworking and particular exegetical goals; the connection between particular forms and purposes of reworking and the status of the resulting rewritten text; and the ways in which rewritten texts that constitute new compositions can be distinguished from expanded editions of biblical books. As such, it contributes to the understanding of an important stage in the development of the scriptural text and the history of exegesis."

You can read and download the entire article at this link.

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