Abstract

This article discusses the manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls taken as evidence for the so-called Book of Twelve Minor Prophets. In particular, attention is paid to manuscript 4Q76, a pre-Qumranic manuscript dated to ca. 150 BCE, which has significant implications for the development of the collection of the Minor Prophets in the late Second Temple period. First, manuscript 4Q76 did not include all the twelve books but probably only three or four of the shortest ones. Second, Malachi was followed in 4Q76 by another composition, but this text was in all likelihood not Jonah, as has been previously argued. Therefore, there is actual empirical evidence of an ancient scroll where Malachi is not the last book in a scroll containing several books of the Twelve. These observations are not sufficient to prove or disprove the existence of a collection of twelve prophets, but they show that Malachi was not always the last book of a collection of (some of) the Twelve and that the books of the Twelve could be copied both independently and as various “sets of books.” Thus, the idea of a fixed collection is shown to be a postcanonical concept also in the case of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-3876
Print ISSN
0021-9231
Pages
pp. 731-751
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-30
Open Access
No
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