Thursday, October 01, 2020

Marek, A Star from Jacob, a Sceptre from Israel

A Star from Jacob, a Sceptre from Israel
Balaam's Oracle as Rewritten Scripture in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Libor Marek

xii + 290 pp.

£35 / $48.75 / €40
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£70 / $97.50 / €80
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The fourth Balaam oracle (Numbers 24.17-19) appears in four separate Dead Sea Scrolls. But how it is used and understood remains puzzling and challenging.

All four scrolls agree that the biblical text is a living artifact and endorse its authority. But they disagree on what it may mean to the audience of their own day. They adjust, rephrase and rework the biblical text according to their own needs and for the benefit of their audience.

Following the twists and turns in this process of interpretation and rewriting has two benefits: first, we become more sensitized to the complexity of the processes by which the scriptural text came into being and to the fact that this process did not have a clear-cut end in mind. Rather, it is thanks to a constant reworking of the scriptural text that it remains alive for its readers.

Second, in following closely the process of reinterpretation of this particular text we gain a better understanding of the world of Qumran, of the communication strategy of the Scrolls, and of some of their key theological concepts. In particular, Qumran beliefs about a messiah become more vividly tangible.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 88
978-1-910928-74-5 hardback
Publication September 2020

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