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  1. Timothy H. Lim and John J. Collins
  2. Reading the Dead Sea Scrolls Essays in Method
  3. Reading the Dead Sea Scrolls : Essays in Method Download PDF

Ever since, these mysterious documents have raised questions about the people who wrote them, early Christianity and Second Temple Judaism, and how they confirm or contradict the texts of the Bible. Representing diverse traditions and fields of learning, this is the most comprehensive critical synthesis of current knowledge about the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It covers the works in their historical, archaeological, linguistic, and religious contexts, explores the archaeological evidence, and explains the methods used to date, document, and preserve the manuscripts.

Timothy H. Lim and John J. Collins

XIII ll. Blessed are you, O Lord, because you have not abandoned an orphan and you have not despised a poor person; because your strength is witho[ut end] and your glory without measure. These clauses are the opening cola of a Teacher Hymn that continues until col. Both sets of bicola exhibit syntactic and semantic parallelism. These bicola describe the Lord's praiseworthy deeds and character by highlighting the deity's acceptance of people in need exemplified by an orphan and a poor person , on the one hand, and his vast power and immeasurable glory, on the other hand.

Bless my soul the Lord because of all his marvellous deeds forever. Blessed is his name, because he saved the life of the poor and the needy, he did not despise and he did not forget the distress of the helpless. He opened his eyes to the helpless and the cry of the orphans he heard and he extended his ear to their cry for help.

The speaker identifies all the Lord's marvellous deeds as the cause for the praise. The qatal and wayyiqtol verbal forms in these sections point to actions performed by the Lord in the past. These reasons are listed in short stanzas that specify what the Lord has done and what the Lord has not done. In the following stanzas ll. The next two clauses form a bicolon and exhibit a chiastic structure:. According to these cola, the Lord did not reject the needy and helpless by despising the former and forgetting the distress of the latter.

The remainder of the clauses in this stanza constitute a tricolon. The first and third of these cola follow the same word order:. These cola also match in terms of content. The Lord employs his visual and auditory senses to pay attention to the helpless and orphans. In the following stanza, ll. The use of figurative language, especially the body part imagery, in these cola is noteworthy: Weinfeld and Seely a suggest that ' t hrough this series of images the Barkhi Nafshi hymns eloquently teach God's total conversion of his people and his ability to transform them by implanting in them pious qualities'.


The speakers in these hymns identify the Lord's treatment of orphans as one of the reasons why the deity is praiseworthy. They mention orphans together with other people in need but, interestingly, not widows. Unlike the Damascus Document , the hymns of 1QH a XIII XV 8 and 4Q do not present the orphans as victims of wrongdoing; rather, they communicate the Lord's commitment to and favourable disposition towards such vulnerable members of society. The study has taken historical, literary and religious elements of the wordings in three Hebrew texts associated with the Qumran movement into consideration in its examination of their references to orphans.

Although the study does not present exhaustive treatments of the rhetorical acts, it shows that orphans do not feature in exactly the same way in the Damascus Document , Hodayot and Barkhi Nafshi a. There are some similarities between the hymns of 1QH a and 4Q in this regard but also a noteworthy difference. In contrast to the deity's positive treatment of orphans lauded in these songs of praise, the Damascus Document adapts passages from authoritative scriptures and utilises their references to the wrongdoing against orphans and widows to accuse the 'sons of the pit' of disobeying the Torah, contaminating the temple treasury with moral impurity and thereby defiling the sanctuary.

These findings contribute to a better understanding of the ways in which orphans are portrayed in writings that are closely associated with the Qumran movement. The literary references to orphans in the textual representatives of Hebrew Bible writings that were transmitted during this time and those in other early Jewish literature deserve closer investigation. The results of such investigations can be complimented and refined by data on the status of children provided by other sources such as archaeological and epigraphic evidence, as well as by studies on the material culture of early Jewish communities.

The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article. Abegg, M. Parry, E.

Clements eds. Brill, Leiden. Adams, S. Baillet, M. Baillet ed. Balla, I.

Reading the Dead Sea Scrolls Essays in Method

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