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Pesher and Periodization

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This study re-examines the use of the term Pesher, and the related root , in Qumran compositions, and their significance with respect to conceptions of determinism and periodization in the corpus. It discusses how the treatment of the book of Genesis in 4Q180, 4Q252, and the Admonitions sections of the Damascus Document reflect a worldview and hermeneutic that are generally associated with the continuous and thematic pesharim at Qumran. Pesher compositions reveal how scripture is fulfilled in current events. These related works demonstrate the fulfillment of the divine grand plan in scripture and past events. It is suggested that these texts share a “performative” aspect: in all of these compositions, the act of transmitting divinely-revealed knowledge is as much an actualization and fulfillment of eschatological expectations as the unfolding social and political history that is tied to the texts.

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