Qumran Cave 4: Parabiblical Texts, Part 3

Qumran Cave 4: Parabiblical Texts, Part 3

Qumran Cave 4: Parabiblical Texts, Part 3

Qumran Cave 4: Parabiblical Texts, Part 3


This volume contains a collection of Jewish works composed during the intertestamental period linked to biblical texts through characters, themes, or genre. Some of these were known previously as part of the Pseudepigrapha, while others were not previously known. They all enhance our understanding of the phenomenon of pseudepigraphy (writing in the name of a famous biblical or religious character) and of biblical interpretation during the Second Temple period.



Previous discussions: M. E. Stone and J. C. Greenfield, 'The First Manuscript of Aramaic Levi Document from Qumran (4QLevia aram)', Mus 107 (1994) 257-81; 'The Second Manuscript of Aramaic Levi Document from Qumran (4QLevib aram)', Mus (in press); 'The Third and Fourth Manuscripts of Aramaic Levi Document from Qumran (4QLevic aram and 4QLevid aram)', Mus (in press). Compare also the articles 'Remarks on the Aramaic Testament of Levi from the Geniza', RB 86 (1979) 214-30; and 'The Prayer of Levi', JBL 112 (1993) 247-66.

FOUR fragments have been identified as coming from this manuscript, all found on PAM 43.243. They are small, the largest containing only ten lines of writing to a width of three or four words. Fortunately, one of them overlaps with text preserved in the Geniza manuscripts and, in spite of certain variant readings, a reconstruction of the text of most of this fragment can be made.

The order of presentation of the fragments is quite arbitrary, being determined solely by their position on the plate. Only one of them, frg. 2, definitely corresponds to existing text. If frg. 1 refers to sacrifices, which view itself depends on the reconstruction of lines 3-4, then it might correspond to some form of §§20-23, i.e. it might be part of the text immediately preceding frg. 2. As far as we can tell, the remaining three fragments do not correspond to anything in the surviving texts of Aramaic Levi Document (= ALD) or of Testament of Levi in Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. They are so fragmentary that it is difficult to determine conclusively what their original import or content was. Some speculations about these subjects will be offered below in the course of the edition of the fragments.

Physical Description

The fragments are written on parchment and are in a poor state of preservation. Frgs. 1 and 2 are wrinkled and their surface is abraded in some places, leading to the loss of some letters. Frgs. 3 and 4 have not suffered in this way, and the text surviving on them can be read fairly easily. They are, however, very small.

Neither examination of the fragments nor a careful study of the photographs uncovered any signs of ruling or any particular scribal marks. The absence of any trace of ruling may be due to the poor state of preservation of the manuscript. Frg. 2 includes part of the lower margin, 1.7 cm wide, and frg. 3 preserves a right margin, 1.1 cm wide.

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