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Flint, Peter W. [Ed.]
The Bible at Qumran. Text, Shape, and Interpretation.
Grand Rapids-Cambridge: Eerdmans 2001. XV, 266 S. gr.8 = Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Kart. US$ 22,00. ISBN 0-8028-4630-0.
This, the fifth volume in the Eerdmans series Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature, is devoted to the Bible at Qumran as suggested by the main title. In the introduction the term Bible employed with reference to Qumran is rightly placed in quotation marks since it is somewhat anachronistic to speak of the Bible at Qumran. Do we mean the Bible as it was to become or the writings considered authoritative by the people responsible for the scrolls? The contribution to this volume by E. Ulrich ("The Bible in the Making: The Scriptures Found at Qumran") reflects authoritatively on just such issues. As we shall see, the subject area indicated by the title is also considerably narrower than the scope covered by the volume.
After a brief introduction by the editor, the body of the book falls into two parts. A first part is devoted to the scriptures, the canon, and the scrolls. J. A. Sanders' opening piece in this section is devoted to "Canon as dialogue". Sanders takes the reader from the earliest forms of intertextual dialogue within the Hebrew Bible via the scrolls right through to interfaith, particularly Jewish-Christian, dialogue in the present. The lack of bibliographical references for several direct citations is frustrating in this essay. B. K. Waltke's contribution on the text and canon of the Old Testament is a reproduction of his entry in the New International Dictionary of Theology and Exegesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997). This is followed by Ulrich's contribution mentioned above and a piece devoted to the canon of the scriptures at the time of Jesus by C. A. Evans. Part one ends with a helpful discussion and overview of various types of non-canonical writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls by P. W. Flint.
Part two is concerned with biblical interpretation in the scrolls. It includes an accessible discussion of Genesis in 1Enoch by J. C. VanderKam. This is followed by the somewhat inappropriately entitled chapter "Abraham in the Dead Sea Scrolls" by Evans with only sporadic references to the scrolls. J. E. Bowley offers an overview of explicit and implicit references to Moses in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Rather surprisingly he seems to imply on p. 159 and note 1 that the Genesis Apocryphon is a sectarian work. J. M. Scott offers a study of 4Q423 fragment 5 in which he argues that the rebellion of Korah alluded to in this copy of 4QInstruction was seen at Qumran as a reflection of conflicts in the community's own history. Scott's proposal to read 4Q423 5:1-4a as reflecting a sectarian background is of great interest, although it has not entirely convinced this reviewer, and deserves to be scrutinized further. M. A. Abegg examines the impact of 4QMMT on our understanding of Paul concluding that "commentaries and theologies [must be] rewritten in reflection." (216). The final chapter by R. W. Wall offers an intertextual approach to the letter of James, especially James 2:25, and makes no reference to the scrolls. A selective bibliography and indexes of modern authors and ancient literature are appended. In sum, the volume contains useful discussions pitched in the majority of cases at a general readership on a variety of aspects of the text, canon and interpretation of the scriptures in Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity.