Origins are fundamental. We are each what we have become because of the way we began both genetically and socially. Often our choices are dictated because of our beginnings, even though we may be only tacitly aware (if at all) of that dimension of our lives.
Readily, we comprehend that we will never know where we are and where we seem to be going until we glance back at our past, examining our paths and perceiving our origins.
That axiom pertains to all of us both as individuals and also as a society. The main reason the Dead Sea Scrolls seem to fascinate so many is because they throw a rare illuminating light on the origins of our culture and the faith of Jews and Christians today. Indeed, recent examination of the Qumran Scrolls, in the judgment of a growing number of specialists, helps us comprehend in significant ways both the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism and also the origins of Christianity.
On the one hand, we recognize that previous reconstructions of pre-70 C.E. Judaism are inaccurate. On the other hand, we are only now able to synthesize the knowledge obtained from Qumran research and the study of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, as well as from the vast data obtained from archaeological research, in a more informed attempt to represent the world of the time of Hillel and Jesus.
The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls - edited by James H. Charlesworth
Princeton Symposium on Judaism and Christian Origins (2nd : 1997 : Princeton Theological Seminary)
2006 by Baylor University Press, Waco, Texas
The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls - edited by James H. Charlesworth - Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
List of Contributors
Preface The New Perspective on Second Temple Judaism and “Christian Origins”.James H. Charlesworth
Introduction The Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Discovery and Challenge to Biblical Studies James H. Charlesworth
Chapter 1 The Impact of the Judean Desert Scrolls on Issues of Text and Canon of the Hebrew Bible James A. Sanders
Chapter 2 Qumran and the Enoch Groups:
Revisiting the Enochic-Essene Hypothesis Gabriele Boccaccini
Chapter 3 The Biblical Scrolls from Qumran and the Canonical Text Frank Moore Cross
Chapter 4 The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Scriptural Texts Eugene C. Ulrich
Chapter 5 The Formation and Re-Formation of Daniel in the Dead Sea Scrolls Loren T. Stuckenbruck
Chapter 6 The Rewritten Bible at Qumran Sidnie White Crawford
Chapter 7 Qumran and a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible Ronald S. Hendel
Chapter 8 4QSama (= 4Q51), the Canon, and the Community of Lay Readers Donald W. Parry
Chapter 9 Three Sobriquets, Their Meaning and Function: The Wicked Priest, Synagogue of Satan, and the Woman Jezebel Håkan Bengtsson
Chapter 10 The Biblical and Qumranic Concept of War Philip R. Davies
Chapter 11 Psalms and Psalters in the Dead Sea Scrolls Peter W. Flint
Chapter 12 The Importance of Isaiah at Qumran J. J. M. Roberts
Chapter 13 Biblical Interpretation at Qumran George J. Brooke
The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls - edited by James H. Charlesworth - The formation and re-formation of Daniel in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Perhaps the first source from the scrolls to be linked with the formative background of the biblical Daniel was this much-discussed fragmentary manuscript. Already twelve years before the first Dead Sea discoveries, Wolfram von Soden had advanced a plausible case that the stories associated with Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3 and 4 actually derive from legends that had been told about another figure, Nabonidus, the last ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (556–539 B.C.E.). On the basis of a comparison with Mesopotamian sources, von Soden found good reason to question the note in Dan 5:2, which identifies Nebuchadnezzar as the father of the king Belshazzar. As is well known, there is no evidence that Nebuchadnezzar ever had a son by that name.
The name Bel-sharra-usur, however, does appear in materials relating to Nabonidus. Before his downfall Nabonidus is known to have been absent from the capital Babylon, residing some ten years in Taiman, Arabia, in the south; and during this period he left his son, Bel-sharra-usur, in charge of Babylon as governor. According to the Babylonian inscriptions, Nabonidus’s absence from Babylon, combined with his attempt to introduce the cult of the lunar deity Sin from Harran into the capital city by force, led to a perception of him as an irresponsible ruler; among the priests of Marduk, for example, he was portrayed as a “weakling.”
The fragmentary text from two columns of 4Q242, first published by Jozef T. Milik in 1956, refers by name to Nabonidus (written nbny) “king of Babylon” (frag. 1 line 1). The text shares features with both the Neo-Babylonian sources and Dan 4:22–37. The first column of 4Q242 introduces the document as “the words of the prayer which Nabunay king of Babylon prayed.” While the prayer—presumably in praise of the God of Israel (cf. frag. 1 line 5; Dan 4:34–35)—is itself not preserved, the text gives Nabunay’s first-person account of an “evil skin disease” that the king suffered “by the decree of God” (bptgm)]lh)) for a period of seven years in Taiman (frag. 1 lines 2, 6–7). It is further possible that the lacunae in line 3 originally described Nabunay’s state as comparable to that of a beast (Dan 4:25b), or that he was “set apart from human beings” (4:25a).
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