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The Forms And Methods Of Early Jewish Reworkings Of The Pentateuch In Light Of 4q158?

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The Forms and Methods of Early Jewish Reworkings of the Pentateuch in Light of 4Q // CurateND

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Moss Frederik S. Rogers Samuli Siikavirta W. Andrew Smith Jesse D. Stone Josaphat Tam Michael J. Wilhite Nicki Wilkes Benjamin Winter. Memory and the Jesus Tradition That revolution is still ongoing, and in this article I hope to move it further along, by consider- ing the transmission approach taken to the Pentateuch scrolls discovered at Qumran by the scribes who penned and transmitted them.

The role of scribes was central in the transmission process of ancient texts. Scribes not only copied manuscripts, but also changed them as they copied. Any errors, of course, remain my own.

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  • As we consider all the evidence of the Qumran Pentateuch scrolls, it is clear that Talmon was correct in his assessment that the activity of scribes was paramount in the transmission of the still-fluid scriptural text in the period under consid- eration. A good example of this textual fluidity within a more or less fixed shape is the book of Exodus. The shape of the book of Exodus begins with the infancy narrative of Moses, and moves through the Exodus narrative to the sojourn at Sinai.

    The book ends with the instructions for the tabernacle in Exo- dus 35— Further, at some other point in its transmission the text of the book of Exodus was subjected to fairly substantial content editing, the result of which was a third literary form, of which the Samaritan Pen- tateuch SP Exodus is an example. See, e. However, by the time Genesis was translated into Greek in the mid-3rd century B. E, it had reached the literary shape with which we are familiar. The Qumran Genesis manuscripts also, as far as we are able to ascertain, reflect that shape.

    E, when the individual books as we know them were translated into Greek. Further, the Pentateuch itself began to be conceived of as one large complex of text, the Torah, beginning with creation in Genesis 1 and ending with the death and burial of Moses in Deuteron- omy 34, no later than the 3rd century B. One task of the textual critic historically has been to try and place individual manuscripts within textual families, text-types, or recensions.

    Andrew B. Perrin, Ph.D

    However, in this task text-criticism has been less than successful, with results much more open to question and criticism. This is because, I would suggest, the role of the scribes who copied the book in the transmission of the biblical text has not been fully taken into account. For that purpose I will focus on the manuscripts of the Pentateuch discovered in the Qumran caves.

    This is not the case for at least some of the other books that became part of the later Jewish canon of scripture, e. Secondly, the Qumran caves yielded approximately one hundred 7 There are various pieces of evidence that confirm that the Pentateuch as a whole must have been conceived of as one bloc of material prior to the 3rd century B. One is the existence of the paleographically dated 3rd century B. Qumran Pentateuch manuscript 4QExod-Levf, in which two Pentateuch books were copied on one manuscript.

    The second is the translation of the books of the Pentateuch into Greek at approximately the same time, no later than the mid-3rd century B. A third is the large-scale harmonizations between Exodus and Deuteronomy which occur in the Samaritan Pentateuch and its forerunners; these harmonizations would not be appropriate if the Pentateuch were not perceived of as one large narrative composition.

    See also Peter W. Rendtorff and R. Trebolle Barrera and L. Vegas Montaner; 2 vols. Thus, when the Qumran manuscripts are compared to the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint, and the Samaritan Pentateuch and labeled, e. Terminology is thus a problem for the text critic. Another problem for the text critic is the fact that for most Qumran bib- lical manuscripts there is not enough extant text to determine definitively its relationship with any of the complete exemplars. How are we to understand these manuscripts as an important part of the textual picture for the books of the Pentateuch in the late Second Temple period? Did he feel free to edit, expand, and other- wise make changes to his received text, or was he attempting to copy his Vorlage as faithfully as possible?

    This approach concerns the scribe and his process, rather than the text and its characteristics. When a manuscript is approached with these questions in mind, what becomes evident are patterns of scribal activity. These patterns reveal the approaches that scribes took to copying their manuscripts. To illustrate how these patterns can be uncovered, I will use the manuscripts of the Pentateuch found in the Qumran caves as a case study. By my latest count, there were ninety-seven Hebrew manuscripts of the Pentateuch found in the Qumran caves.

    The breakdown by book is as follows: twenty manuscripts of Genesis, eighteen of Exodus, seventeen of Leviticus, seven of Numbers, and thirty-five of Deuteronomy. In addition, I have included four manuscripts of the Reworked Pentateuch group, b-e, in this Pentateuch group, for a total of Attridge et al. However, as our understanding of the fluidity of the scriptural text in the Second Temple period and the importance of the role of the scribes grew, arguments were made that the 4QRP manuscripts should simply be understood as manuscripts of the Pentateuch, with texts preserving extensive scribal activity.

    Schiffman et al.