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Prophecy And History In The Pesharim

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Chapter Summary

The study of the pesharim, the formal commentaries on prophetic texts from Qumran, has undergone a transformation in the last twenty years or so. All parties agree that the pesharim are not history in the normal sense of the word. The issue is not only that they provide interpreted history; all history involves interpretation. Rather the issue is that the historical information they provide is oblique and indirect, and usually in code besides. The purpose of the pesharim is to reassure the members that history was unfolding as had been foretold by prophets, and that they would be vindicated in the not too distant future. This chapter examines the role of historical allusions in rhetoric of the pesharim, focusing on the commentary that contains the most explicit historical references, Pesher Nahum, and the one that has played the largest role in discussions of the history of the sect, Pesher Habakkuk.

Keywords: pesharim; Pesher Habakkuk; Pesher Nahum; prophetic texts; Qumran



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