Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kister on textual fluidity in the DSS

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: The Multiple Faces and Phases of Texts at Qumran: Growth, Expansion, and Rewriting in Community Documents (Menahem Kister).

What is an ancient text? How should similar but different texts be treated? When should a text be considered a “recension,” and when is it an independent text? How do such closely-related texts clarify each other? These general questions concerning the transmission of texts and traditions are relevant, sometimes crucial, for the study of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and rabbinic literature. The answers are complex and elusive. The growth of texts is one of the most important phenomena for understanding the form in which they reached us. The texts found at Qumran help clarify various aspects of the growth of many ancient religious writings, because they represent a variety of texts from a period (ca. second century BCE–first century CE) from which previously no texts written in Hebrew had been preserved (with the exception of Ben Sira and the Damascus Document, see below).

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.