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The Rewriting Of Numbers 22–24 In Pseudo-Philo, Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum 18

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the rewriting and interpretation of the Balaam story in the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (LAB) of Pseudo-Philo. The 'rewritten Bible' follows Scriptures, but includes a considerable number of additions and interpretative developments. In the light of the assumptions behind ancient biblical interpretation, it is understandable that most pre-critical interpreters have problems with the ambiguous portrayal of Balaam in the Bible. The chapter provides an overall comparison between Numbers 22-24 and LAB 18. At the level of the macrostructure, the similarities and dissimilarities between both texts are surveyed. The chapter also examines some of the characteristics of the narrative technique of the rewriting. LAB 18 can be considered as a rewriting of Numbers 22-24. It contains many transformations, which are brought about by problems in the biblical text. Pseudo-Philo combines the positive portrayal of Balaam with a negative one, through a gradual diminishing of the spirit.

Keywords: Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (LAB) 18; Balaam; biblical interpretation; Pseudo- Philo; rewritten Bible



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