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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Rewriting Scripture in Second Temple Times
Crawford, Sidnie White

Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008 pp. xii + 160. $16.00

Series Information
Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature

Description: Rewriting Scripture in Second Temple Times investigates the phenomenon of inner-scriptural exegesis in six of the major works found at Qumran: the pre-Samaritan Scripture texts; Reworked Pentateuch; the Temple Scroll; Jubilees; the Genesis Apocryphon; and Commentary on Genesis A. What these works show is that there was a spectrum of texts, beginning with the scriptural text, moving to a harmonized scriptural text, and then beyond, to entirely new compositions. All of these texts are the products of a particular understanding of the work of the scribe, which was to not merely copy, but to also interpret, update, and make relevant the Scripture for the contemporary Jewish community. This understanding led to texts that were "rewritten." Interpretation took place within the texts, not separately from them. Propounding a new theory of how these texts cohere as a group, especially in her assertion that they can be identified with the Essenes and that the pre-Samaritan scriptural texts are a product of this interpretive school, Crawford offers an original and evocative work for anybody interested in the Second Temple period.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, History of Interpretation

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Review by Stephen A. Reed
Published 2/14/2009
Citation: Stephen A. Reed, review of Sidnie White Crawford, Rewriting Scripture in Second Temple Times, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2009).

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