Studies on Commenting Texts in Antiquity and Middle Ages
Edited By Mieczyslaw Mejor, Katarzyna Jazdzewska and Anna Zajchowska
Dorota Muszytowska: Qumran Pesharim as an Example of an Accommodative Commentary
1. Circumstances of pesharim development
Qumran Pesharim as an Exampleof an Accommodative Commentary
Chair of Old Polish Literature and Rhetoric,Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw
The term ‘pesher’ (pēšer) has three different meanings in modern scholarship: it is used in reference to texts found in scrolls which were discovered near the Dead Sea, to a form or a genre of commentary literature, and to a method of textual exegesis. The term, then, has a fairly extensive semantic field, as it can refer to specific texts, more broadly to a commentary type they represent, or to a procedure of explaining and clarifying texts, not necessarily limited to a specific literary form. All three meanings, however, relate somehow to the community living at the turn of the first century in the neighborhood of today’s Qumran. This community employed a particular form of text interpretation which it considered sacred, and which can be seen at work both in organizational writings of that community and in commentaries interpreting books of the Bible. Their hermeneutical approach was influenced, on the one hand, by the specific situation and self-awareness of the Qumran community, and on the other hand, by other exegetical traditions of Judaism, in this period not restricted to biblical exegesis. I have in mind, primarily, the impact of understanding and assessment of current and past events in the Old Testament prophetic literature and influence of religious traditions which evolved in close relationship with texts acknowledged as sacred; both...
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