Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 13 (2013) - Review

Charlesworth, James H. et al. (eds.), Temple Scroll and Related Documents, Vol. 7 of The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations (The Princeton Theological Seminary Dead Sea Scrolls Project; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2011). Pp. xxvii + 414. Hardcover. US$150.00. ISBN 978-0-664-23818-6.

Temple Scroll and Related Documents is the seventh and latest installment in the Princeton Theological Seminary Dead Sea Scroll Project, a series which envisions ten volumes in all (contained in a total of twelve books, since volumes 4 and 6 are divided into two books).

A brief general introduction by James Charlesworth to what the Dead Sea Scrolls are and why they are significant begins the volume, followed by the book proper which treats five total manuscripts: 11Q19 (11QTemplea); 11Q20 (11QTempleb); 11Q21 (11QTemplec?); 4Q365a (4QTemplea?); 4Q524 (4QTempleb; 4QReworkedTorah). Treatment of each manuscript begins with an introduction which is up-to-date with the state of scholarship, consisting of matters from the features of the manuscript itself (e.g., the material it is made of; length and width; scribal techniques; etc.), to the date of the manuscript, its theology, etc. The presentation of the manuscript itself is in diglot fashion. Each page has the Hebrew of the manuscript presented on the left page and an English translation on the right page. The author of the introduction, transcription, and translation for each manuscript varies among the following: James H. Charlesworth, Henry W. Morisada Rietz, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Andrew D. Gross, Michael C. Rand, J. Milgrom, M. T. Davis, and A. de la Ronde van Kirk. The partial and full restorations offered for each manuscript are bracketed according to typical text critical practice, and a host of footnotes are given which compare the reading in this edition with other Temple Scroll editions (Martínez; Qimron; Yadin).[1] These notes also often provide parallels to the biblical text of the MT—including versional support when appropriate—and occasionally cite relevant publications on a textual issue. For the most part, the Hebrew text provided is in agreement with Yadin and/or Qimron, but there are a number of instances where unique readings are suggested. Unfortunately, no comprehensive list of such divergences is given.

There are two negative points to note for this volume. First, and inevitable, the book is already dated. It was published in August 2011, just one month before the Israeli National Museum published high resolution photographs of the manuscript online.[2] Upon close inspection, one will find the presentation of the text in this volume at odds with the current presentation of the online manuscript. For instance, column 26 lacks the šḥṭ at the beginning of line 5, a fragment originally placed there by Yadin.[3] Furthermore, the fragment thought to attest to lines 3–4, which was placed at the top of the column, is now displaced to a different location, and a new fragment is placed at the top of the column. Needless to say, this volume's reconstruction of column 26, along with the other editions, needs to be reevaluated. Moreover, the updated placement of all of the fragments online need to be inspected vis-à-vis their placement in the various Temple Scroll editions, in order to assess whether or not any new placement online is valid. Again, this shortcoming is not the fault of the volume itself, but an unfortunate reality that needs to be pointed out.

Second, I am concerned about the inclusion of a “Temple Scroll Composite Text” at the end of the volume. This composite text consists of an amalgam of “the various witnesses to the Temple Scroll, to other texts (mainly biblical) that support the restorations…and to the scholars' conjectural restorations” (p. 266 n.1). What is the purpose of this composite text and in what way is it useful for students or scholars of the Temple Scroll? It seems to me that the potential pitfalls of such a text outweigh any intended benefit. Consider, for instance, column 2 of the composite text, a column only attested in 11Q19. That which is visible for each line ranges from a few letters to a few words. Yet the Hebrew text is reconstructed for the entire column nearly in full. Granted, one can reconstruct from the visible letters the general biblical sequence being recounted (i.e., Exod 34:10ff.); but, is it worthwhile to say more than that about column 2 given the Temple Scroll's proclivity for textual innovation? Additionally, the suspected biblical context of each manuscript, along with the places where other Temple Scroll and Temple Scroll-like manuscripts overlap with each other, are already given in the footnotes of each manuscript treated in the volume. It seems to me that a better way forward is simply to use the manuscript/transcription of each manuscript itself, rather than using a non-existing text that likely attests to erroneous readings in numerous places.

On the positive side, the introduction to each manuscript in the volume is up-to-date and written by experts in the field. This volume also is a welcome hybrid between other editions of the Temple Scroll text. On the one hand, there are the DJD and Yadin editions, which are thorough but bulky and cost-prohibitive. On the other hand, there is the Dead Sea Scroll Study Edition,[4] which is compact and economic but tenuous in its notes and comment. Then there is the Temple Scroll and Related Documents: it is not as thorough as the DJD and Yadin volumes, but quite substantial in its notes and comment when compared to the Dead Sea Scroll Study Edition. It is not as economic as the Dead Sea Scroll Study Edition, but it is more economic than the DJD and Yadin editions. For these reasons, we used the Temple Scroll and Related Documents as the edition of choice at Yale for our Ancient Judaism Seminar on the Temple Scroll, and it served its purpose. For these reasons, I commend this edition to all those interested in the study of the Temple Scroll (and related manuscripts), but only as a starting point and in consultation with the online images of the scroll.

Robert C. Kashow, Yale University

[1] F. Garcia Martínez et al., Qumran Cave 11.II (DJD, 23; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998); Elisha Qimron, The Temple Scroll: A Critical Edition with Extensive Reconstructions (Beer-Sheva: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1996); Yigael Yadin, The Temple Scroll (3 vols. and supplement; Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1983). reference

[2] reference

[3] Yadin, Temple Scroll, 3:41. reference

[4] Florentino García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1997). reference