Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 21:3 (NA 2011)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Eugene Ulrich, ed. The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: Transcriptions and Textual Variants. VTSup 134. Leiden: Brill, 2010. Pp. xvi + 796. ISBN 978–90–04–18038–3. $199.00 cloth.

The Biblical Qumran Scrolls is a welcome addition to the increasing number of volumes that provide primary source material relevant to the Hebrew Bible. It brings together all the pertinent data from the biblical scrolls from Qumran that scholars will need when engaging the biblical text from a text-critical and exegetical perspective. According to the editor, the transcriptions (including also the textual variants) are “for the most part identical” (p. ix) to those in the editiones principes published in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD) series (particularly volumes 1, 3, 4, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 23, and 32). However, transcriptions “have occasionally been revised to make necessary corrections or to provide useful context” (p. ix). Unfortunately, no list of these revisions has been included in the volume, thus requiring the researcher to access the original publication. “Biblical” is defined in reference to the Masoretic text, following also the canonical order of the MT, and thus the compendium does not contain Jewish texts (such as Jubilees or 1 Enoch or Sirach) that were not considered canonical by the Masoretes—even though they may have played a more significant role in the Qumran community or first-century A.D. Judaism. The volume does also not contain biblical texts in Greek or Aramaic translations.

Following a page acknowledging the contribution of colleagues and graduate assistants to this major enterprise (p. xi), a lengthy list of abbreviations and sigla (based on those used in the DJD series, the BHS, and the Göttingen edition of the LXX [pp. xiii–xvi]) is included that the user will need to consult repeatedly. In fact, it may be a good idea to keep a photocopied version of the list handy when working with the book, thus avoiding frequent visits to the front matters of the compendium. The volume concludes with two indexes, (a) detailing the editor (in the DJD series) of each individual manuscript (pp. 779–81) and (b) providing a helpful reference of all the biblical passages contained in the extant biblical manuscripts from Qumran (pp. 783–96).

Following the basic layout of the original DJD series, the Qumran text is presented in context, that is, the often-fragmentary data from the scroll (often depending on size and column reconstructions and consonant width) is supplemented with the unpointed Masoretic Text. As has been noted elsewhere, this “fitting” and “reconstruction” requires text-critical choices and interpretation that are not always spelled out. It should also be noted that not all vol...

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