• The Status and Interpretation of Jubilees in 4Q390

    Todd Hanneken (see profile)
    Ancient Jew Review, Biblical Studies
    Dead Sea scrolls, Apocryphal books
    Item Type:
    Book of Jubilees, Pseudepigrapha, Reception
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    The study of the book of Jubilees connects several areas of scholarship on Jewish thought and literature in antiquity. The Dead Sea Scrolls cast light on our understanding of Ethiopic Jubilees, and Ethiopic Jubilees casts light on our understanding of the Scrolls. Jubilees witnesses to the growing authority of the Pentateuch, and the ongoing pluriformity of texts. Jubilees can be studied as interpretation, and also as a source for interpretation. This contribution addresses the authority of Jubilees as reflected in the way it is used in 4Q390. Parallels between Jubilees and 4Q390 have long been noted. Careful examination of the parallels indicates that 4Q390 interprets Jubilees as Scripture. The two parts of this essay treat two major foundations of this claim. The first is the way 4Q390 continuously adopts language and themes from Jubilees. The second is the way 4Q390 wrestles with the plain sense of the text to fit a different set of beliefs. This creative adaptation does not negate the claim that Jubilees was used as authoritative literature, but rather strengthens it. One measure of a text's authoritativeness is the attention paid to adapting it to fit new and different meanings.2 This example from 4Q390 has broader implications. It adds to the evidence challenging the use of the category "biblical" in the study of the Scrolls, especially if the category excludes Jubilees. The appreciation of 4Q390 as a form of scriptural interpretation in turn casts light on our understanding of scriptural interpretation in general.
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    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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