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  • The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls—Technological Innovations, New Texts, and Reformulated Issues
  • Israel Knohl
The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls—Technological Innovations, New Texts, and Reformulated Issues, edited by Donald W. Parry and Eugene Ulrich. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, Vol. 30. Leiden: Brill, 1999. 711 pp. $184.00.

This impressive volume contains 43 articles which were read at the conference held on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah, 15–17 July 1996. The articles are placed under the following seven divisions: Technology, Editions and Analyses of [End Page 177] Text, The Qumran Community, Calendar, Levi and the Priesthood, Messianism and Eschatology, and Wisdom and Liturgy.

In the first division there are articles about different technological innovations and tools that contribute in unique ways to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Among those are imaging, DNA tests, and archaeological applications of Synthetic Aperture Radar. I found special interest in the article by George Brook about the Allegro Qumran Photograph Collection. John Mark Allegro, who became a member of the Dead Sea Scrolls international editorial team in the 1950s, was a keen photographer; as a part of his work on the scrolls he took many photographs. The significance of the Allegro collection rests in its information on the range of small details of significance to any scholar working on the manuscripts concerned.

The second division is devoted to editions of several texts. Among these are new published fragments of 4QSAMa (4Q51). In 1953 F. M. Cross published a portion of 4QSAMa in his important study, “A New Qumran Fragment related to the Original Hebrew Underlying the Septuagint,” BASOR, Vol. 132 (1953), pp. 15–26. D. W. Parry presents here further work on this significant manuscript: 13 fragments of 1 Samuel 25:3–31:4. From the third section that deals with the Qumran community, I would like to note the learned methodological study of C. Hutt, “Qumran and the Ancient Sources.” In the section on the calendar there is an interesting article about an astro nomical measuring instrument from Qumran.

In the division on messianism there is a very important study of J. M. Baumgarten. Baumgarten, who is the greatest scholar of Qumran law, explores here the saying in CD 14:19 = Q266 10 I 12–13. According to this saying, the rules of the Damascus Covenant will prevail for a limited time before the coming of the Messiah who will atone for the sins of the members of the community :

According to Baumgarten, this means that the Messiah will atone for sin better than a meal and sin offering. “He will do so not through any prescribed ritual, but as the divinely anointed redeemer through whom forgiveness of sin will be granted (p. 542). Baumgarten poses the question: “Is such a delegation of the divine power of atonement conceivable in a pre-Christian Jewish text?” (p. 542). He answers this question in the affirmative. As parallels to this notion in early Jewish texts he notes the role of the Elect one in the Parables of Enoch and to the figure of Melchizedek in 11Q Melchizedek.

The text dealt with by E. Eshel in her study in the last section of this volume, “The Identification of the ‘Speaker’ of the Self-Glorification Hymn,” might be related to the same topic. The “speaker” of this hymn asks: “[And who] has been oppressed like m[e? and who] has been shunned [by men like me]? ‘[And who] compares to m[e in enduring] evil? Eshel rightly notes (p. 627) that we have here a reference to the figure [End Page 178] of the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 52–3. Eshel cites Flusser, who wrote in another connection, “Also no Jewish interpretation of this passage, which would explain that the servant will be the prophet or the Messiah who will be killed, is killed, is preserved, such an interpretation could have existed.” Thus, the possibility of a Jewish text who identifies the Suffering Servant, who atoned with his suffering, with the messiah should not be taken out of consideration. In fact we have it clearly at a later...

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