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From Paratext To Commentary

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the question of the willingness of the Essenes to rewrite their scriptures. To do this the author compiled a list of interpretative texts in the Qumran library, which is discussed in the first part of the chapter. In the second part, the chapter compares paratextual and exegetical literature with regard to how they treat their respective base texts. Why were the Essenes reluctant to compose rewritings and continuations? Why did they produce commentaries and other exegetical works instead? Does the Essene preference for commentary and other forms of exegesis point to a different attitude towards Jewish scriptures? Did the Essenes regard their scriptures as too holy to be altered in a way, which goes beyond the textual variants of ancient biblical manuscripts? To answer these questions, the chapter discusses two sample texts. It asks how one paratext and one commentary treat their respective base texts.

Keywords: commentary; Essenes; Jewish scriptures; Paratext; Qumran



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