Seers, Sibyls, and Sages in Hellenistic-Roman Judaism

By John J. Collins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
PROPHECY AND FULFILLMENT IN
THE QUMRAN SCROLLS

It is a commonplace that the interpretation of older Scriptures is a major factor in the composition of Jewish writings of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The forms of interpretation are diverse. Geza Vermes makes a broad distinction between “pure” exegesis, intended to clarify the Biblical text, and “applied” exegesis, which establishes a connection between the Scripture and the new circumstances of the author.1 Both phenomena can be observed already in the Hebrew Bible, from the brief explanatory glosses in the text to the major rewriting of earlier material that we find in Chronicles.2 The distinction between the two kinds of exegesis is difficult to maintain in practice, since the need to clarify the text often arises precisely from the sensibilities of a new era. Nonetheless it has some heuristic value in indicating the poles of the spectrum in early Jewish Biblical interpretation.

The literature of the Hellenistic period attests the continuation and development of the full range of inner-Biblical interpretation, but it also attests a significant new development. Now, for the first time, we find formal and systematic Biblical commentaries. These commentaries are of two kinds. On the one hand there are the commentaries of Philo, which explain the Biblical text in the categories of Hellenistic philosophy. On the other there are the pesharim from Qumran, which are in fact the oldest extant Biblical commentaries. Philo's commentaries are devoted to the books of the Torah. They are allegorical in method and are heavily indebted to Greek philosophy. The pesharim expound the books of the prophets and the Psalms, which were also understood to be prophetic. They too make use of allegorical interpretation—e.g., “Lebanon is the council of the community” (1QpHab 12: 3–4)—but more often they simply specify the references of the text (e.g. when the “wicked” is specified

1 G. Vermes, “Bible and Midrash: Early Old Testament Exegesis,” in P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, ed., The Cambridge History of the Bible. From the Beginnings to Jerome (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1970) 199—231.

2 See M. Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985).

-301-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Seers, Sibyls, and Sages in Hellenistic-Roman Judaism
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 438

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.