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The Qumran Pesharim as Biblical Commentaries Historical Context and Lines of Development

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Abstract Past study of the pesharim from Qumran as biblical commentaries has comprised a number of scholarly approaches and proposed lines of influence. Two major areas of focus in this regard have been various ancient Near Eastern (Mesopotamian and Egyptian) texts on the one hand, and, more recently, Hellenistic commentaries on the other. Only intermittently have earlier studies included close examination of the modi operandi and content of this literature in comparison with the pesharim. This article undertakes a more comprehensive and detailed comparison of the pesharim with relevant ancient Near Eastern and Hellenistic texts than found in earlier studies, attempting to identify salient similarities and differences. While the pesharim bear the unmistakable influence of Jewish Aramaic dream-vision interpretation at the micro-exegetical level, this connection fails to adequately account for the pesharim as whole texts. Here Hellenistic commentaries may have proven influential, though the correlation is far from complete and the Egyptian Demotic Chronicle warns against too confidently drawing lines of direct influence.

Affiliations: 1: McMaster University 1 machiel@mcmaster.ca

10.1163/15685179-12341236
/content/journals/10.1163/15685179-12341236
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/content/journals/10.1163/15685179-12341236
2012-01-01
2016-12-02

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