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The Question Of Scribal Exegesis At Qumran

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Chapter Summary

There is an idea abroad in Qumran scholarship that exegesis in Dead Sea sectarian literature is generically scribal. It is commonly supposed that scribes are responsible for the literary content of Dead Sea sectarian literature. The scribes of Qumran are deemed naturally to have been able to compare multiple copies of a work in their library or their scriptorium. The task of producing a working definition of a Second Temple Jewish scribe is complicated, firstly, by the existence of two distinct approaches to constructing ancient Jewish scribes, and secondly, by a general lack of distinction between scribes and copyists, that is, exegetes and mere technicians. A reasonable case can be made for the existence of a generically scribal exegesis in biblical manuscripts. The influential studies of Ann Matthews Martin and Emanuel Tov focus on surviving ancient scribal realia, that is, material manuscript copies preserving the vestiges of ancient writers work.

Keywords: ancient Jewish scribes; ancient scribal realia; Dead Sea sectarian literature; Qumran scholarship; scribal exegesis



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