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The Riverrun of Rewriting Scripture: From Textual Cannibalism to Scriptural Completion 1

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Abstract To retain the concept of rewritten Bible as a scholarly category it is not only crucial to slightly change the name of the notion by re-designating it “rewritten Scripture” but also to accord the term the status of a cross-cultural third-order concept. This will allow research to detach the notion from its somewhat current “parochial” nature intrinsically linked as it is to the study of Second Temple Jewish literature. Rewritten Scripture should be conceived of as an excessive form of intertextuality that signifies the relationship existing between scriptural predecessor and rewritten piece with respect to the question of authority. Apart from advancing the theoretical discussion of the nomenclature, the essay takes a fresh look at a moot point that has loomed large in previous debates, whether rewritten Scripture strives to replace its scriptural predecessor or aims to complement it in an irenic fashion. The acknowledgement of some aspectualism grants legitimacy to both viewpoints, when they are rightfully understood within their proper perspectives. Finally, the article engages in typological considerations that will allow us to distinguish between three continua defined by respectively content, form, and function. Each constitutes a continuum on its own that advantageously may be segmented by several caesuras, which will allow us to differentiate between irenic scriptural completion at the one end of the spectrum and scriptural cannibalism at the other end of the spectrum. The fact that two works belonging to the category diverge on one continuum does not imply a corresponding divergence at other continua.

Affiliations: 1: University of Aarhus Department for the Study of Religion, Faculty of Arts, University of Aarhus, Bygning 1443, Tåsingegade 3, 8000 Århus C, Denmark Denmark


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