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Isaiah in the Pesharim and other Qumran Texts

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Chapter Summary

Of the prophetic books, Isaiah was by far and away the most popular at Qumran. Of the three major prophets, Isaiah seems to be handled distinctively in the manuscripts found in the eleven Qumran caves. All three are attested in forms of their scriptural books, in explicit quotations, and in multiple implicit allusions. However, it is surprising that only for Jeremiah and Ezekiel are there re-written or apocryphal forms. The Book of Isaiah is used in several ways in the texts found at Qumran. Apart from the pesharim, which are clearly sectarian, its usage may be conveniently classified under four headings: legal use, eschatological use, poetic use, exhortatory use. This chapter provides a general survey of the use of Isaiah in the predominantly sectarian scrolls found at Qumran, focusing especially on the six sectarian Isaiah pesher manuscripts. It surveys the Isaiah pesharim, their structures, exegetical techniques, and their intentions.

Keywords: apocryphal forms; Book of Isaiah; exegetical techniques; Isaiah pesharim; prophetic books; Qumran texts; sectarian scrolls



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