Conference Textual Plurality Beyond Biblical Texts

Textual Plurality Beyond the Biblical Texts
International Conference, Metz, October 17-19 2017


Émile Puech

L'hymne d'autoglorification en 4Q491 11 et les parallèles 

Une nouvelle approche du fragment 11 dit "Cantique de Michel et cantique des justes" du manuscrit 4Q491 - Règle de la Guerre paraît s'imposer en le comparant maintenant aux copies de "L'hymne d'autoglorification" des rouleaux des Hymnes : 1QHa XXV 34 - XXVII 3, 4Q427, 4Q428 21 1-5 et 4Q431 1-2.

Comme ce passage est d'une facture assez divergente, il faut se poser la question et amorcer des éléments de réponse : s'agit-il d'une autre copie de l'hymne ou d'une autre édition ?


George J. Brooke

Textual Plurality in the Pesharim

This paper argues against the idea that any of the pesharim are textual autographs. Plurality will be demonstrated in four ways. First, the demonstration will be made through discussion of the ways in which the lemmata and comments in the pesharim both in various ways indicate an ongoing awareness and use of textual pluralism. Second, the textual pluralism of the pesharim themselves will be highlighted through attention to the internal developments within some of the pesharim themselves--diachronic plurality. Third, textual pluralism will be underlined through describing the examples where there is more than one commentary on the same scriptural base text--synchronic plurality. Fourth, attention will be given to the commentaries on Isaiah, Hosea and the Psalms to underline the diversity and plurality of the evidence


Shlomi Efrati

Traditions in Transition: Textual Fluidity in the Babylonian Talmud in Light of a Unique Genizah Fragment

In this lecture I will present and discuss several examples of substantial textual variants in the Bavli, between all (or most) textual witnesses, on the one hand, and a unique quire from the Cairo Genizah, on the other hand. These textual variations are related in various ways to the Bavli's sources and parallels. Thus, rather than being examples of fluid textual transmission, they enable us to catch something of that liminal stage in the formation of the Bavli, between its final redaction and the beginning of its transmission(s).


Corrado Martone

Textual Plurality and Textual Reconstructions. A Cautionary Tale

The Qumran texts show a great plurality of textual traditions and an even greater fluidity in the mode of transmission of these traditions. This holds true for both the texts which will be later part of a canon (the so-called “biblical” texts) and for those that will not have the same fate (the so-called “para”- and “not- biblical” texts). This situation makes the task of reconstructing fragmentary, oftentimes very fragmentary texts difficult and risky. The present paper will present a number of examples aiming to show the possible pitfalls of reconstructions of texts stemming from a not uniform tradition, because variants may always be “‘hiding themselves’ in the lacunae” (F.M. Cross).  


Liora Goldman

Textual Variants and Sectarian Exegesis in the Damascus Document.

 This lecture analyses some of the biblical textual variants cited in the Damascus Document in the light of early translations and analogous examples in other Qumran scrolls in order to discover whether they reflect a divergent biblical text or deliberate exegesis. When the disparity is the result of exegesis, we shall investigate its meaning, role, and place in the weave of implicit and explicit interpretations in CD. 


James Nati

Non-Biblical Evidence for a Biblical Conundrum: Plurality and the Ontology of Literature in the Serakhim, Ezra, and 1 Esdras

The plurality that is encountered among the witnesses to the Serekh tradition at Qumran exists on a number of different levels including the lexical, orthographic, and even material (papyrus vs. parchment). Most glaring, however, is the variation in the length of the composition throughout the ten different witnesses to the text. The degree of variation as shown in these manuscripts raises the following question: What exactly constitutes the Serekh? The paper will offer some preliminary observations regarding the ontology of this composition and will consider from a similar perspective the relationship between what are unanimously considered two different compositions in biblical scholarship: the books of Ezra and 1 Esdras. These share much of their material with differences in length and order and it is suggested that their status may be illuminated by considering the evidence of the Serekh.


Menahem Kister

Psalm 20 and Papyrus Amherst 63: A Window to the Elaboration of Poetic Texts


Eshbal Ratson

Lunar Calendars and the Copies of the Aramaic Astronomical Book

Two of the copies of the Aramaic Astronomical Book of Enoch (4Q208-9) contain a long detailing of astronomical phenomena, mostly related to the moon. The calendrical dates in these manuscripts are expressed through a schematic lunar calendar with full and hollow months alternately. It is mostly assumed that the later and better preserved scroll (4Q209) is a mere copy of the very ancient manuscript in 4Q208. However, a close examination of the two calendars reflected in these copies suggests that the order of full and hollow months in them is reversed. In this paper, I will claim that this difference is the outcome of a discrepancy between the schematic lunar calendar and the true lunar month. This discrepancy leads to a regression of the beginning of the new month. 4Q209 is adapting its calendar to this regression. A further regression can be seen in later calendrical scrolls (4Q317 and 4Q321). However, eventually, the moon was abandoned as a means to determine the months, and the community used the ideal solar calendar of 364 days.


Liv Ingeborg Lied

Copied, Identified, Annotated, Handled: Manuscript Practices and the Continuing Transformation of Texts from Jewish Antiquity

Inspired by so-called New Philology, this proposed paper aims to explore paratextual identifications, readers’ annotations and surviving signs of physical handling of manuscripts as a window into the continuing interpretation, use and re-imagination of (what was at one point assumedly) an early Jewish text. Taking the copy of 2 Baruch in the 7th century Syriac Codex Ambrosianus as my point of departure, I wish to show how surviving signs of scribal and readers’ engagement in this codex may both challenge and enrich the prevailing scholarly imagination of this assumed 1st-2nd century ce composition. Throughout the approximately 150 years of scholarship on 2 Baruch, the copy of 2 Baruch in this particular codex has served as the text witness par excellence to a composition believed to be 500 years younger, Jewish and non-biblical. The layout, contents and wording of the text in this copy has thoroughly shaped the scholarly imagination of 2 Baruch, and yet, in scholarship the copy has so far only been appreciated as an abstract text, pointing beyond its material presence and immediate context in the codex to the hypothetical 1st-2nd century textual entity. In this paper, I aim to explore 2 Baruch as a text that has been engaged in the material context in which it is found in this codex. What can paratextual identifications, readers’ annotations and traces of physical handling tell us about the continuing transmission, re-conceptualization and transformation of this text? How may such a focus on manuscript practices enrich the scholarly study of texts from Jewish antiquity, while simultaneously challenging both our use of manuscript copies as text witnesses and the paradigmatic basis on which we have come to build our study of ancient Jewish texts?


Matthew P. Monger

The Many Forms of Jubilees: A Reassessment of the Manuscript Evidence from Qumran and the Lines of Transmission of the Parts and Whole of Jubilees

Jubilees shows divergent forms of transmission beginning with the earliest manuscript evidence, the manuscripts containing text from Jubilees from Qumran, and continuing throughout its history of transmission. This paper is an initial attempt to formulate a theory of these different lines of the transmission into the various contexts in which they are found today. The starting point for this study is the different forms and contexts of the manuscripts which contain text from Jubilees, using the theoretical and methodological framework of material philology. The diverse collection of material related to Jubilees found at Qumran suggests that the work did not have a single textual or literary form in the late Second Temple period and from this cluster of Jubilees related manuscripts there are several lines of transmission that can be traced. One line of transmission is a coherent book that narrates the events from creation to the Exodus, mostly known through the Ethiopic Jubilees manuscripts. Other lines of transmission, however, do not include the whole book, but only select passages. Given the large number of small manuscripts found in the Qumran caves and this fragmentary transmission of Jubilees into the Greek and Syriac traditions, I propose here that one of the lines of transmission of Jubilees was based not on the entire work, but on a smaller collection of texts from or related to Jubilees.


Marieke Dhont

"Greek Tobit: The Long and Short of It"

The long and short versions of the Greek book of Tobit are thought to be related, with many scholars arguing that the long version represents the oldest text. One of the arguments is that in terms of style, the long text is characterized by a more Semitic character than the short one. In this paper, I want to explore if we can locate both versions more precisely in the system of Jewish-Greek literature by means of stylistics.
Jews adopted Greek as their lingua france, not only for daily interactions with different communities, but also to build a literary corpus that is distinctively Jewish in character. The translation of the Pentateuch is seen as the start of a Jewish-Greek literary tradition, the body of which was being substantiated by subsequent Septuagint translations as well as by compositions, such as the Apocryphal writings and the works of authors such as Demetrius, Eupolemus, and Ezekiel. Where do the Greek versions of Tobit fit within this development? I first discuss the results of a stylistic analysis between both versions, before presenting a survey of the development of Jewish-Greek literature, and finally offering a thorough analysis of the location of both versions of Tobit in this literary corpus. The aim is to gain new insights in the relation between and relative dating of these versions, which helps us understand the literary growth of the book of Tobit.

Annette Steudel

"One or two compositions - the Literary Relationship between Serekh haYachad (S) and Damascus Document (D)"

Examples of paralleltexts will illustrate the different ways and levels of literary relationship between the community rules S and D. This will raise questions as: Were the Damascus Document and the Community Rule indeed meant as two different compositions, as we use to look at them now? Or are they rather versions of one and the same rule? What makes a text a new composition?


Hanna Vanonen

Small Waw and Big Lamed - Qumran War Text Manuscripts as Material Artifacts

Paying attention to manuscripts as material artifacts is a rising trend in the Dead Sea Scrolls studies: a manuscript is no longer seen only as a witness of the existence of some literary work in a given time period but as an interesting research subject as itself. As yet, this trend has not strongly influenced the scrutiny of the Qumran War Texts - but in this paper, I introduce several material elements that are worthy of attention in the 4QM manuscripts. The paper includes both small, sometimes hardly discernible details - like the small vacats and the tiny hyphens in ms 4Q491b - and more evident material facts - like the opisthographic nature of mss 4Q496 and 4Q497. In the paper, I assess the importance of these material elements in understanding the transmission of the War Texts.


Jan Joosten

The "Miscellanies" in 3 Kgds 2:35, 46 as a Problem of Textual Plurality

In the Greek version of 1 Kgs 2, many Greek manuscripts have long additions following verses 35 and 46. These additions, termed "miscellanies", anticipate what will be told later in 1 Kgs about Solomon. At the same time, they differ from what is told in 1 Kgs 3-11 in many details and in the general view of Solomon’s reign. The paper will inquire into the likely origin of the miscellanies and the correct way to approach them in textual criticism.


Noam Mizrahi

Textual Pluriformity and Literary Development in the Qumran Scrolls

This study explores some theoretical aspects of the relationship between the notions of textual pluriformity on the one hand and literary development of texts on the other. In principle, the former results from the latter, i.e., the existence of divergent textual forms is only the surface appearance of underlying literary processes. Such developments cannot be directly observed; rather, their nature can only be inferred by way of philological hypothesis. However, there is no one-to-one relationship between the two notions, and there are borderline cases that raise a range of problems, for instance:  

A. If a certain literary development took place but the divergent text-forms were produced at distant periods, should the evidence be regarded evincing “textual pluriformity”? An example is furnished by the recensional differences between the medieval copies of D, namely, CDa and CDb. While the former is famously supported by the Qumran copies of D, the latter remains unique and unparalleled in antiquity. Can this situation be taken as evidence for the textual pluriformity of D in the Second Temple period, or contrarily for the relative stability of the work and its subsequent development at later times? 

B. Alternatively, if a certain work survives in only a single copy, but philological scrutiny of this manuscript reveals unmistakable signs of literary development—e.g., expansion by way of interpolation, or redactional reframing of an earlier source—may one surmise the past co-existence of different versions of the text, despite the lack of concrete textual evidence? A case in point is contained in an outstanding pesher unit of 1QpHab that was evidently tampered by a hand different from that of the author of work. Can the evidence for literary development suggest that this composition had once existed in more than one text-form? 

C. Due to their fragmentary state of preservation, some Dead Sea scroll fragments that are formally considered to be copies of the same work may actually differ from one another to the extent that divergent text-forms are conjectured. For instance, an unprovenanced fragment was identified as stemming from a passage of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, for which an overlapping text survives in another copy. But if this identification is correct, the fragment must present a divergent text of the passage vis-à-vis the overlapping manuscript. Is this a reason to reject the identification, or should one embrace it and postulate that the Songs existed in more than one version? 

These and related issues will be discussed with an eye opened to both methodological considerations and practical implications. 


Barry Hartog

Textual Fixity and Fluidity in the Iliad Hypomnemata and the Qumran Pesharim

Alexandrian scholarship of the Homeric epics and Jewish textual scholarship of the Hebrew Scriptures were both confronted with a base text of uncertain textual state. The scholarly traditions developed different solutions to this problem. Scholars of the Iliad and the Odyssey in the Hellenistic and Roman periods spent much energy recovering Homer’s ipsissima verba and establishing a fixed text for the Homeric epics. Commentators on the Hebrew Scriptures, in contrast, embraced the textual plurality of their base texts and employed it in their interpretations. In this paper I compare these two approaches on the basis of Alexandrian commentaries on the Iliad (hypomnemata) and the Qumran Pesharim.

Romina Vergari

Biblical Metaphors across the Boundaries of Traditions and Languages: A Contrastive Semantic Investigation into the Imagery of the Shadow in the texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The paper proceeds from a semantic study of the figurative use of the noun ṣẹl within the MT (Vergari, R. 2015. “Translation Techniques and Interpretative Phenomena in the Greek Version of the Hebrew Bible: A Study of the figurative Use of the Noun ṣẹl ‘shadow’”, QULSO 1, 179–203). The analysis of the term’s distribution led to the conclusion that a semantic and conceptual transformation is underway within this corpus of texts: while the positive meaning of “protection”, especially royal and divine (deeply rooted in the Semitic background), is largely predominant in classical poetry, the negative meaning of “transience” makes its way and ends up prevailing in late texts. This semantic and conceptual variance becomes even more evident through transition from one language to another. The study of the Greek versions reveals that in those texts characterized by greater attention to the Greek style, the translators refrain from using the obvious equivalent σκιά when ṣẹl expresses metaphorically the idea of protection.
The data suggests that while the metaphor of protection is deeply entrenched in the semantics of ṣẹl, the metaphor of transience belongs rather to a superimposed linguistic layer and perhaps mirrors the usage of other languages and cultures (most likely, the Greek imagery).
The present paper aims at extending the investigation to include the corpus of the texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The distribution and the semantics of the terms Heb. ṣl, Aram. ṭll, and Gr. σκιά will be analyzed and the results thus achieved will be contrasted with the typological classification of the Dead Sea Scrolls texts, in order to trace possible lines of development.