Review of Biblical Literature Newsletter (June 20, 2014)

The latest reviews in the Review of Biblical Literature include:

Jewish Scriptures and Cognate Studies

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Miscellaneous

Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts Update in Logos

After having the product available for over 10 years, Logos Bible Software has released a substantive update to their Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts database (ed. Martin Abegg). Most significant among this update’s improvements are that the resource:

  • Now contains more than 100 scrolls than in the previous version (737 documents are now represented).
  • Several texts in the previous version have been reorganized to reflect the latest scholarship on their reconstruction.
  • The database’s morphology has been updated to WHM 4.18.

For more information, please see the Logos blog.

Review of Biblical Literature Newsletter (October 31, 2012)

The latest reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include:

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Second Temple Judaism

On the Web (June 23, 2012)

On the web:

More Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Sales at CBD

In addition to the sale at Christian Book Distributors on volumes 1 and 2 of the Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls series that Tod Bolen previously noted, the following volumes are also currently selling there at sharply reduced prices:

  • Volume 3: Damascus Document Fragments, Some Works of the Torah, Related Documents, $29.99 (85% off) + free shipping
  • Volume 4a: Pseudepigraphic and Non-Masoretic Psalms and Prayers, $22.99 (80% off)

Was the Teacher of Righteousness Considered to Be a Messiah?

John Collins rightly argues that the possibility of a positive answer to this question depends heavily on what one means by משיח (messiah) (“A Messiah before Jesus?” 15–35). Most notably, messianic language at Qumran refers to the so-called “Davidic” and “priestly” messiahs (1QS 9:11; 4Q161 3:22–29; 4Q174 3:7–13; 4Q252 5:1–7; 4Q266 f2i:11; f10i:12; 4Q285 f7:1–6; 4Q479 f1:4; 11Q14 f1i:5–15; CD 12:23–13:1; 14:19; 19:10–11; 20:1; cf. 4Q504 f1-2Riv:6–8),1 but some Qumran texts also use messianic language about prophets (28). For example, one may cite the following texts (cf. 28):

  • ויודיעם ביד משיחי רוח קדשו וחוזי אמת (and he taught them by the hand of the ones anointed by his holy spirit and the seers of truth; CD 2:12–13)
  • דברו סרה על מצות אל ביד משה וגם במשיחי הקודש (they spoke rebellion against the commands of God by the hand of Moses and also by the holy anointed ones; CD 5:21–6:1; cf. 4Q266 f3ii:9–10; 4Q267 f2:6; 6Q15 f3:4)
  • וביד משיחיכה חוזי תעודות הגדתה לנו קצי מלחמות ידיכה (and by the hand of your anointed ones, seers of decrees, you told to us the times of the wars of your hands; 1QM 11:7–8)

4Q521; 11Q13 2:18 may also arguably fall under this category (28–29), and if the Teacher is to be assigned to the category of ‘messiah’, he should be so assigned under the rubric of this third, prophetic type of messiah (32–33). Yet, nowhere do the “Teacher Hymns” claim any anointing for their author (30, 33), even though there is ample reason to affirm that the Teacher saw himself as a prophet (32). Thus, in a loose sense by which anointing and prophetic vocation were held together, the Teacher might be termed a messiah, but Collins thinks that “it is misleading to speak of him as the eschatological prophet or as a messiah, in the definitive eschatological sense” (33).

This point is well taken, and the desire that Collins consistently expresses throughout his essay to describe the Teacher, messiahship, and Jesus on their own individual terms is both appropriate and commendable. Still, texts like CD 1–2; 1QpHab 2:1–10 may well set up for the Teacher a “definitive eschatological” role that also differs distinctly at certain points from the “definitive eschatological” role that the early Christian community assigned to Jesus (cf. 29). Perhaps most obviously given Qumran’s likely witness to Davidic and Aaronic messiahs as well, the Teacher does not constitute the sole person in whom יהוה’s purposes for his people ultimately come to fruition. Rather, taken as a whole, the sectarian manuscripts may be understood as divvying out to several parties what the New Testament assigns collectively to Jesus (e.g., 2 Cor 1:20; Gal 1–2; Heb 6:19–7:28; Rev 5). Thus, the exclusivity of influence for the Teacher’s “definitive eschatological” role may be comparatively smaller and otherwise expressed for the Qumran community than it was for the role that Jesus exercised on the early Christian community, but because the Teacher was יהוה’s appointed guide (e.g., CD 1:1–11), there seems to be good reason to suppose that the Teacher’s eschatological definitiveness would have been quite strong within its own designated sphere.

Despite this qualification, “A Messiah before Jesus?” offers concise summary of and engagement with the theses that André Dupont-Sommer advanced early in the history of Qumran scholarship and that others (e.g., Michael Wise, Israel Knohl) have more recently revisited. Particularly, Collins’ conclusion helpfully draws attention to some key points of difference between Jesus and the Teacher that those who have taken the Dupont-Sommer line may have insufficiently appreciated (33–35). This essay and its sister (Collins, “An Essene Messiah?” 37–44) are generally both judicious and informative, and the rest of the volume promises to be quite engaging also.


1 The reference system adopted here follows the conventions of Martin Abegg, Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts.

In this post:

Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts
Martin Abegg Jr.

Christian Beginnings and the Dead Sea Scrolls
John Collins and Craig Evans

Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, Volume 32

Oxford University PressDiscoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD), volume 32, has two codices. According to Oxford University Press:

Description
DJD XXXII presents the first full critical edition of the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) and the Hebrew University Isaiah Scroll (1QIsab) in the style of the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series. That is, whereas the photographs and transcriptions have been available since the 1950s, this volume provides a fresh transcription of all the known fragments, notes clarifying readings that are problematic either physically or palaeographically, and the first comprehensive catalogue of the textual variants.

Part 1 contains the photographic plates (1QIsaa in colour) with the transcriptions on facing pages for easy comparison. Part 2 contains the introduction, notes, and the catalogue of variants; the introduction narrates the discovery, purchase, and early publication of these two manuscripts, which are part of the earliest discoveries and among the most significant biblical scrolls.

Features

  • The final volume to publish in the prestigious Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series, bringing the collection of forty volumes to completion.
  • The Isaiah scrolls of Qumran Cave 1 are crucial to a range of disciplines; Jewish Studies, Biblical Studies, Early Christian Studies, and Ancient History.
  • Arranged in a two part set to allow the reader to simultaneously consult the photographic plates, transcriptions and corresponding notes and textual variants.
  • Presents the 1QIsaa scroll in full colour plates and the 1QIsab in full page black and white plates with facing page transcriptions.
  • The general introduction includes information on the history and discovery of the scrolls and the photographic methods used in capturing the plates.
  • The scroll introductions include detailed discussion of the physical description, palaeography and dating, scribes, grammatical profiling, othography and textual character of the manuscripts.