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Creative Interpretation And Integrative Interpretation In Qumran

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates that the common distinction between creative interpretation and integrative interpretation, usually applied to rabbinic legal midrash, may be fruitfully implemented for Qumranic legal hermeneutic as well, in spite of the embryonic nature of the sectarian exegesis. Our survey demonstrates the existence of Qumranic rules which were an actual product of biblical interpretation, thus enabling us to peer into the very factory wherein the foundations of halakhah were formulated. It also presents examples of religious rules which were arbitrarily attached to biblical prooftexts. In these cases, an independent, extant tradition was connected artificially to a Pentateuchal verse (impurity of the components of a house; distancing burials from cities; moral rationale for corpse impurity). This phenomenon sheds light on the existence of ancient non-biblical traditions in these Jewish circles of Second Temple era. It also illuminates the sectarian quest for biblical authorization.

Keywords: creative interpretation; integrative interpretation; Qumranic legal hermeneutic



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