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Compositional Layers In The War Scroll (1QM)

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Chapter Summary

Today, it is universally accepted that the War Scroll (1QM) is a composite document, reflecting a complicated literary development, just like other foundational texts of the Qumran sectarians. Already in 1QM's first two columns, the apparent lack of coherence is striking, and it is commonly suggested that these two columns emanated from different sources and/or at different points in the text's compositional history. This chapter begins with col. 1 and its vision of the eschatological war. In contrast, col. 2 presents quite a different scenario. In summary, 1QM describes a two-stage eschatological war, but draws its material from a minimum of three traditions, found in the four main sections of 1QM. In conclusion, both the internal evidence in 1QM as well as the Cave 4 War Texts suggest that there once was a more primitive composition on the eschatological war, represented today by cols.

Keywords: Cave 4 War Texts; eschatological war; Qumran sectarians; War Scroll (1QM)



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