Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran
This volume grew out of an international symposium hosted by the University of Copenhagen in August 2017, and held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. While planning the symposium, one of our main goals was to create a space for an open and creative conversation about the Aramaic texts found in the caves at and near Qumran.
We put together this open access volume for exactly the same reason. Scholars are increasingly turning their attention to the Aramaic texts from Qumran. Not only are these texts interesting because of their particular literary content and theological concerns, which differ markedly from the Hebrew texts found at Qumran. They also throw new light on the history of the Aramaic language and the linguistic situation in Palestine in the late Second Temple period. Their highly creative authors reworked biblical traditions, reshaping them to address contemporary concerns. When engaging the Aramaic Qumran texts, one encounters multiple genres and voices, as well as a distinct set of perspectives on the religious authorities of the past. We entitled both the symposium and this volume “Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran” to indicate this wide range.
The articles in this volume fall into three distinct groups, each of which illuminates important literary, contextual, and religious features of the Aramaic texts from Qumran. The articles in the first group all explore memory and expectation; religious past and eschatological future—as well as the links between these wider horizons of religiously organized time and the present of the texts’ authors and their communities. Each of the four articles in this group makes use of creative methodological and contextual approaches to bring the pasts, presents, and futures imagined in the Aramaic Qumran texts into sharper focus.
Andrew B. Perrin uses insights from memory studies to engage the Pseudo-Danielic manuscripts from Qumran (4Q243-245). He is intrigued by the references in these texts to both life in the exilic diaspora and the antediluvian and ancestral ages. His article explores how the Pseudo-Danielic texts organize and present memories of Israel’s past for a contemporary community. This is achieved, he argues, by positioning Daniel against the backdrop of foundational, ancestral figures, through the use of genealogies and through a creative merging of memories of priestly origins with more recent memories of the priesthood during the Second Temple period.
Mika S. Pajunen is interested in the transmission of patriarchal voices in the Aramaic Qumran texts. He challenges the reliance exclusively on classic theories regarding literary transmission. How, for example, would our study of the transmission of traditions in Second Temple Judaism be affected if we properly factor in oral transmission as well? Exploring the modes of transmission described in the Aramaic Qumran texts, Pajunen goes looking for typical ways in which traditions were transmitted within the social, religious, and historical settings of these texts’ authors. He looks to textual descriptions to tease out the concerns about transmission of tradition that the actual authors of these texts may have had. This approach allows Pajunen to highlight technical processes of transmission as well as literary strategies of transmission, interpretation, and embellishment.
Hugo Antonissen’s article shines a spotlight on the Aramaic Qumran text New Jerusalem. This text is very fragmentarily preserved (in six or seven manuscripts), making it necessary to bring it into dialogue with other sources, including material culture, in order to fill out its many gaps. Antonissen aims to achieve just that in relation to the specific subject of the cult in New Jerusalem. He uses Greco-Roman banquet culture from circa 300-150 BCE as a lens with which to read the text, arguing that New Jerusalem describes a set-up in which cultic acts are performed not only by temple professionals, but also by Jewish pilgrims participating in pious banquets. Offering a comparison with the Largest Peristylium, a banquet house in Alexandria, Antonissen suggests that a very similar typological set-up is intended in the Aramaic New Jerusalem text.

Mette Bundvad, Kasper Siegismund (ed.) - Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran. Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14-15 August, 2017

(Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, vol. 131)
Leiden/Boston : Brill, - 2020. - 294 pp.
ISSN 0169-9962
ISBN 978-90-04-41370-2 (hardback)
ISBN 978-90-04-41373-3 (e-book)

Mette Bundvad, Kasper Siegismund (ed.) - Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran. Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14-15 August, 2017 - Contents

Mette Bundvad and Kasper Siegismund - Introduction 
Andrew B. Perrin - Remembering the Past, Cultivating a Character: Memory and the Formation of Daniel in the Aramaic Pseudo-Daniel Texts (4Q243-244; 4Q245)
Mika S. Pajunen - Transmitting Patriarchal Voices in Aramaic: Claims of Authenticity and Reliability 
Hugo Antonissen - The Banquet Culture in New Jerusalem, an Aramaic Text from Qumran 
Torleif Elgvin - Trials and Universal Renewal—the Priestly Figure of the Levi Testament 4Q541
Liora Goldman - Between Aaron and Moses in 4Q Visions of Amram 
Jesper Hagenhaven - Geography in the Visions of Amram Texts (4Q543-547)
Soren Holst - Fragments and Forefathers: An Experiment with the Reconstruction of 4Q Visions of Amram 
Kasper Siegismund - 4Q543 2 1-2 and the Verb “To Give” in Qumran Aramaic 
Daniel A. Machiela - The Compositional Setting and Implied Audience of Some Aramaic Texts from Qumran: A Working Hypothesis 
George J. Brooke - Aramaic Traditions from the Qumran Caves and the Palestinian Sources for Part of Luke’s Special Material  
Melissa Sayyad Bach - 4Q246 and Collective Interpretation 
Arstein Justnes - Fake Fragments, Flexible Provenances: Eight Aramaic “Dead Sea Scrolls” from the 21st Century 
Index of Authors 
Index of Ancient Sources 


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