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Re: orion Talmon and the Qumran "Library"
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I must admit that I am somewhat surprised that with all we have
yet to solve regarding Qumran/Essenes/Dead Sea Scrolls that there
is discussion over whether or not to call it a library. A buncha books
(scrolls) kept in one place is a library. If'n ya take the library and hide
it in a buncha caves, it's a library hid in a buncha caves. (g)
Stephen Goranson wrote:
> Dear Tyler Williams,
> In response to your question (below), it might first be recalled
> that there is more than one sense of "library." Two examples: (from OED)
> "A place set apart to contain books for reading, study, or reference" and
> "...a large collection of books, public or private." There have been, of
> course, many proposals, some of which, e.g., distinguish Cave 4 from
> others. Some uses of "library" in relation to Qumran are recent, e.g., H.
> Stegemann, _ The Library of Qumran..._ (1998). Sometimes writers who
> disagree on much else still use the term "library." S. Talmon in the M.
> Hengel festschrift (which you cite) gave the examples of F. Cross and N.
> Golb. Without endorsing Prof. Talmon's view in this case, I can report that
> on pages 324-8 he rejected both the terms "genizah" and "library" when used
> of Qumran mss. Talmon recognized that the term "Library of Qumran" "has won
> wide acceptance." Talmon noted that a "library" can still be a library even
> if not found in its original location. Then he wrote,"It is hard to
> visualize the ancient librarian who set out to assemble in an 'official'
> collection scores of exemplars of a given work, e.g., of the biblical book
> of Psalms, much less of writings which give expression to quite variegated,
> even mutually contradictory views of religious substance." He then gave
> from literary sources examples of a general paucity of text copies. He then
> discussed proportions of types of mss at Qumran and Masada. He concluded,
> "At Qumran, the assemblage is composed in part of manuscripts penned there,
> and to a larger part of scrolls which had been owned by newcomers who
> hailed from different parts of the country, from various social strata and
> possibly had previously been members of diverse religious factions. They
> were brought to Qumran by novices..."
> Libraries, however, can be built with donations as well as copying
> and purchase, and also can be formed by discarding unwanted texts. The
> Qumran manuscripts--called library or not--are not as religiously diverse
> as Talmon appears to imply. And the Psalms texts were, after all,
> collected, 'official' or not. Stegemann, of course, locates a library in
> the Khirbeh. Stegemann's book ends with assertions with which some will
> probably disagree: "...The overwhelming importance, at least for the early
> history of the Rabbinic tradition in the Mishnah and Tosepta, which until
> now was erroneously conferred upon the Pharisees, actually accrues to the
> Essenes. Not only at the time of Jesus, but well into the Rabbinic age, the
> Essenes were the principle representatives of Palestinian Judaism." Perhaps
> it is possible that the lack of Pharisee texts at Qumran has been
> misinterpreted by both Talmon and Stegemann.
> best wishes,
> Stephen Goranson
> >Second, in his essay "The Community of the Renewed Covenant: Between Judaism
> >and Christianity" Talmon notes his reticence to use "library" as a technical
> >term for describing the Qumran scrolls (p. 7 fn. 12). The reference he gives
> >for his full discussion of this issue is "The Essential 'Community of the
> >Renewed Covenant': How should Qumran Studies Proceed?" in Paper of the
> >Library of Congress Qumran Symposium. Now as far as I know, the essay
> >actually appeared in Geschichte-Tradition-Reflection,1 Judentum, eds. H.
> >Cancik, et al. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1996, though I do not
> >have access to this volume.
> >Is anyone familiar with the essay and could give me the reasons why he is
> >reticent to use the term "library" when discussing the scrolls.
> >Thanks in advance.
> >Tyler F. Williams
> >Assistant Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, NABC/EBS
> >11525 - 23 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6J 4T3
> >Phone: (403) 431-5217/ Toll Free: 1-800-567-4988/ Fax: (403) 436-9416
> >Web Page: http://www.nabcebs.ab.ca/~twilliam