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Joseph at Qumran: The Importance of 4Q372 Frg. 1 In Extending A Tradition

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Chapter Summary

Joseph, son of Jacob, is a popular ideal figure in the literature of early Judaism. The Book of Jubilees exalts Joseph by burnishing the Genesis portrait of him. Joseph rules Egypt humbly, desiring only to do what was right for all. Eileen Schuller and Moshe Bernstein and others postulate that 4Q372 frg. 1 expresses the views of a group which rejected the claim made by Jews in Samaria to be the proper descendants of Joseph, the lost tribes of Israel. They offer themselves instead as the patriarch's true descendants who are still stranded in exile. By establishing Joseph as an archetype of the community and its experience 4Q372 frg. 1 makes the admirable qualities he exhibits in the more typical Joseph traditions in the library the community's qualities as well.

Keywords: 4Q372 frg. 1; Book of Jubilees; early Judaism; Egypt; Eileen Schuller; Genesis; Israel; Joseph; Moshe Bernstein



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