Florentino García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic: Studies on the Aramaic Texts from Qumran (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, 9) Leiden: Brill, 1992;

Textos de Qumrán: Introducción y edición de Florentino García Martínez, Madrid: Editorial Trotta, 1992


Florentino García Martínez published two contributions to Qumran studies in 1992. Qumran and Apocalyptic contains seven papers on Aramaic documents from Qumran, translated from Spanish into English. The documents were all written in Aramaic and they all have some sort of connection to the apocalypses. The underlying thesis, set out in the "Foreword," is that the Qumran manuscripts and Apocalyptic  illuminate one another. Moreover, the study of the Qumran manuscripts contributes greatly to the study of many particular apocalypses (p. x). Anyone reading the present volume will agree that  García Martínez has made his case for this basic assertion.

            The names of the chapters indicate the overall contents of the book: 1. "4QMess Ari and the  Book of Noah"; 2. "Contribution of the Aramaic Enoch Fragments to our understanding of the Books of Enoch"; 3. "The Book of Giants"; 4. "The Prayer of Nabonidus: A New Synthesis"; 5. "4QPseudo Daniel Aramaic and the Pseudo-Danielic Literature"; 6. "The eschatological figure of 4Q246"; 7. "The «New Jerusalem» and the future temple of the manuscripts from Qumran." The book is the first in a revival of the series "Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah" and a number of further volumes are promised.

            The texts discussed are extremely important and García Martínez has correctly connected them with the development of the apocalyptic tradition. Moreover, it is a fine contribution to the field to have a number of papers by this significant scholar available in English. A basic unevenness, however, arises from the fact that papers, originally diverse both in character and audience, are printed together without sufficient integration or coherence. Thus  the re-publication of the "Elect of God" text (4QMessAr) with detailed line by line commentary stands alongside the much more general treatment of the Book of the Giants. Moreover, the English of the book is somewhat odd, and the editorial style (a matter upon which I usually never remark in reviews) is so inconsistent as to raise questions in the reader's mind. A further technical problem is the choice of an extremely difficult Hebrew type, sometimes making decipherment of the printed texts almost as difficult as reading the original scrolls.

            We would recommend that the editors of this revived series pay much more attention to issues of English style, editorial consistency and that they select a new Hebrew type-face to use in forthcoming volumes.

            Having said this, we may add that the book is very useful,  drawing together Aramaic texts which raise questions about the development of Jewish literature in the third century B.C.E. and the origins of apocalyptic literature. We add a few comments on specific matters, without implying that these do more than touch upon a few aspects of this book.

            In the first chapter,  García Martínez makes a valiant attempt to reconstruct the book of Noah. He deals with all the sources usually adduced (1 Enoch, Jubilees, etc.) adding to them the "Elect of God" text, 1Q19, 6Q8 and much material from 1QGenApoc. He has demonstrated that an extensive body of Noachic traditions existed, but has said nothing to justify his "Outline of the Lost Book of Noah" on pp. 43-44. This is a compilation of the chief traditions relating to Noah that García Martínez isolated, set in a chronological order by Noah's bibliography. In fact, nothing shows that all these traditions belonged to one single work or that most of them derived from a Book of Noah. This is possible, but that is all.

            In his treatment of the pseudo-Danielic texts, of which fragments were published by Milik in Revue Biblique in 1956, García Martínez has done a great service. These documents have been largely ignored and they should be studied within the context of the Daniel literature. On p. 149 the author discusses the possible provenance of this document within the Qumran sect or "the apocalyptic tradition in which Qumran has its roots." The mention of Mt. Lubar is one factor in this determination. This is said to be "peculiar to the writings of the sect and to Jubilees." The mountain is mentioned in 4QPseudoDaniel, in Jubilees  and in 1QGenApoc 12:10-13. Yet, one may legitimately wonder at the implied characterization of Genesis Apocryphon as a Qumran sectarian writing, and Jubilees is definitely not one, being older than the sect. So, the evidence from this mountain name is precisely that the tradition is not peculiar to the Qumran sect, but definitely precedes it. This does not exclude the characterization of the Pseudo-Daniel apocalypse as a Qumran sectarian writing, but nothing the published fragments indicates this to be the case. Greater clarity on this point might have enabled the author to push his intriguing analysis even further and draw out the implications of this text for the development of Daniel traditions preceding the form preserved in the two recensions of the biblical book.

            This book, then, is very interesting and thought-provoking and Dr. García Martínez is to be congratulated on its publication. Hopefully in a second edition, many of the flaws that we have noted can be remedied.

            Textos de Qumrán is a translation of the non-Biblical texts from Qurman. After an introduction in which the various finds of the Judean desert are enumerated and the chief aspects of the Qumran literature and its context are reviewed, we find translations into Spanish divided as follows: Reglas: Serek Hayaad , Damascus Document, and fragments of other rules; Textos Haláquicos (MMT and some other fragmentary halachic works); Literatura de Contenido Escatológico: The Rule of the War, Rule of the Congregation , Description of the New Jerusalem, and other short text; Literature Exegética, including Targums, Temple Scroll (in various copies) and Pesharim on Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah , Malachi, Psalms, and a few other texts; Literatura Para-Bíblica including paraphrases on Genesis and Exodus, on the Pentateuch and some further minor texts followed by Genesis Apocryphon, Jubilees, Enochic, Book of the Giants, Testaments (Joseph, Levi, Qahat), Visions of Amram, Pseudo-Moses, Pseudo-Joshua, Pseudo-Samuel, Pseudo-Ezekiel and Pseudo-Daniel, Prayer of Nabonidus and Proto-Esther; Textos Poéticos: Apocryphal psalms, Hodayot, apotropaic and exorcist Psalms and wisdom poetry; Textos Liturgicós daily and festival prayers, the Words of the Luminaries, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, and collections of blessings and curses. The final section is Textos Astronómicos, Calendarios y Horóscopos, including the Enochic Book of the Luminaries, and some other material. The translations are followed by a List of Manuscripts by caves which also indicates where they are published. There are no notes or commentary. Of course, readings and translations could be debated at various points, which is a natural outcome of the state of the manuscripts.

            This is the most recent extensive translation of the Qumran texts. It includes many fragmentary documents published in recent years and will form a work of reference not only for the burgeoning Spanish scholarship in this field but also for others.

Michael E. Stone

Hebrew University of Jerusalem.