n Journal for Semitics - Scripture and law in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jassen, A.P. : book review

Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1013-8471


Jassen's work on Scripture and law in the Dead Sea Scrolls is aimed at filling a gap in the research of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and their relationship to the legal literature of related legal texts in the Second Temple period as well as the later rabbinic literature by particularly focusing on the hermeneutical principles employed by these texts. According to the purpose statement in the introductory chapter, Jassen's goal in this book is "to engage the larger question of comparative history of law in ancient Judaism through analysis of the hermeneutic strategies and techniques" (p. 5) employed by the writers. Though he recognizes that one cannot speak of a fixed canon at the time of the Second Temple writings, including the DSS, it is nonetheless evident that the authors of the scrolls did have "authoritative texts" which they used to prove theological points. In fact, one of the questions Jassen tries to answer in this book is what exactly did constitute "authoritative texts" for the authors of the DSS, and what differences there were, if any, in their treatment of these "authoritative texts" as compared to other texts, and how the hermeneutics of the DSS writers differed from that of other Second Temple writings and those of the rabbinic period.

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