Scripture As A Spiritual Phenomenon: The Evidence Of The “11Q” Psalms Scroll “Colophon” -- By: William Yarchin

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 22:3 (NA 2012)
Article: Scripture As A Spiritual Phenomenon: The Evidence Of The “11Q” Psalms Scroll “Colophon”
Author: William Yarchin


Scripture As A Spiritual Phenomenon:
The Evidence Of The “11Q” Psalms Scroll “Colophon”

William Yarchin

Azusa Pacific University

According to the colophon to the 1st-century Cave 11 Psalms Scroll, the psalmist David was a composing scribe endowed by the divine spirit. In the light of a pattern of legitimation by the divine spirit for social power well attested in the HB, we can discern how the colophon attributes divine efficacy for social power— hitherto exercised only through persons—to David’s psalms as they resound in Israel’s calendric communal cultic observances. The 11Q Psalms Scroll colophon provides early evidence for an enduring understanding of Scripture as a socially potent spiritual phenomenon that shapes the life of a religious community.

Key Words: spirituality, Scripture, inspiration, authority, Dead Sea Scrolls, Psalms Scroll, scribe, David, 11QPsa

Author’s note: An earlier version of this article was presented during the annual meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society held at Azusa Pacific University in 2010. I am grateful to the staff of the library at the École biblique in Jerusalem whose help proved invaluable in developing this paper.

Although they differ in their specific expressions, all major Judeo-Christian religious traditions appeal to the role of the divine spirit as they affirm the authority of sacred Scripture.1 The connection of God’s spirit to Scripture has early roots, and many well-known examples show its wide attestation. During antiquity, Jewish notions of inspiration tended to revolve around prophecy. For example, we find among the Dead Sea Scrolls (in CD VIII,16) the paradigmatic phrase וכאשר גלו הנביאים ברוח קדשו (“as the prophets revealed by the holy spirit”). Similarly, the Targums often associate רוח הקודשה (“holy spirit”) with prophecy, such as Tg. Neof. at Gen 31:21 (margin); 41:38; 42:1; Exod 2:12 (with one marginal reading of רוח

נבואה, “spirit of prophecy,” and another of רוח קודשא, “holy spirit”); 35:31; Num 11:17, 25, 26,

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