Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hempel on the Community Rule

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: The Community Rule Manuscript Tradition from Qumran and the Growth of Ancient Jewish Texts (Charlotte Hempel).
Qumran’s Glimpses into Textual Evolution

One of the most fascinating insights provided by the Dead Sea Scrolls is the way they allow us a first-hand glance at the way in which ancient texts grew. By looking at the original manuscripts we are almost watching ancient texts grow and evolve in front of our eyes. The question of how ancient texts developed over time has been and continues to be of great interest to scholars of the Hebrew Bible. The important difference for Qumran studies is that we have actual ancient manuscripts to check the theory in crucial places.

True. And that makes it all the more frustrating that scholars still can't agree on basic questions like in what order the different versions of the text developed. So it is probably even more difficult to solve the similar but more complicated questions about, say, the redaction of the Pentateuch. [Update: dead link now fixed.]

Earlier essays in AJR's current series on the Dead Sea Scrolls (in honor of the 70th anniversary of their discovery) are noted here and links.