Essays on the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity
Edited By Jan Dochhorn
Canonisation Processes of the Jewish Bible in the Light of the Qumran Scrolls George J. Brooke
1. Introduction There has been some considerable reflection on the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the understanding of the emergence of the Jewish canon of scripture.1 Of course, the term Dead Sea Scrolls refers to all the manuscript finds from the Judaean wilderness since 1947, though commonly the label is understood as signalling exclusively the discoveries in eleven caves at and near Qumran on the north-west shore of the Dead Sea where the remains of about nine hundred manuscripts have come to light. Consideration of the Dead Sea Scrolls most broadly understood immediately draws attention to the way in which issues of textual recension and stability are commonly tied in with issues around the emerging canon. In the later finds, at Masada or as- sociated with the Bar Kokhba revolt, the fragmentary scriptural manuscripts invariably have a text-form that is identical with or very similar to that known from the rabbinic Bible codices of the early Middle Ages.2 As such the data from the end of the first and beginning of the second centuries CE imply an era of normative stabilisation, at least in Judaea, for the great majority of the authoritative Jewish scriptures, a normativeness which is confirmed, in part through Jewish–Christian interactions, with the publication of the Mishnah.3 As for the Qumran scrolls in particular, all of which predate the Masada and Bar Kokhba finds, these manuscripts are commonly grouped under three headings: scriptural, sectarian, and non-scriptural non-sectarian. Already a 1 See, e.g., E.C. Ulrich,...
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