Friday, July 09, 2021

The Copper Scroll: treasure chest or quest?

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: A Treasure Quest in the Copper Scroll from Qumran (Jesper Høgenhaven).
The Copper Scroll from Qumran sends its reader on a quest to uncover hidden treasures. Is this treasure hunt for real or a symbolic journey? Is this dichotomy even fruitful? Maybe the most important thing is that the text sends the reader’s mind on a quest.


This essay gives a good overview of the history of the study of the Copper Scroll and the current questions still surrounding it.

One question it does not address is, if the Copper Scroll is entirely fictional, why did someone put in the extensive effort and expense to engrave it on copper sheets and then hide it in a cave? I would not say that is a compelling refutation. After all, someone carved the obviously fictional Treatise of the Vessels on a stone plaque as an addendum to an ambitious stone-plaque presentation of the whole book of Ezekiel. But even so, I would have liked to see some discussion of the question. But presumably he addresses this in his book.

For Professor Høgenhaven's recent book on the Copper Scroll, see here. And follow the links from there for many PaleoJudaica posts on the Copper Scroll. And for more on the Treatise of the Vessels (which I translated into English for the first time in 2013) and the Ezekiel Plates, see here and here and links.

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