A Comparison of the Non-Aligned Texts of Qumran to the Masoretic Text
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SubjectBiblical Dead Sea Scrolls
History of Old Testament Text
Non-aligned texts of Qumran
Contrary to Emanuel Tov’s analysis that fifty-five texts from Qumran are exclusively identified as textually non-aligned, a more cautious analysis of each text demonstrates that once the few ambiguous texts are excluded from the category, the remaining texts can reasonably be explained as belonging to the Masoretic Tradition. Chapter 1 discusses two competing ways to interpret the diversity of textual readings found at Qumran. On the one hand, several scholars see the diversity of textual readings from Qumran as evidence that the text existed in a place of unlimited diversity, while others interpret the diversity of readings alongside a stable text. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 follow the same methodology, but group the text based on canonical order. Chapter 2 covers the non-aligned texts of the Pentateuch, while chapter 3 covers the non-aligned texts of the Prophets, and chapter 4 covers the non-aligned texts of the Writings. First, for each text, basic features of the text are introduced such as orthographic and paleographic profile. Also, the history of how scholars have grouped the textual tradition of the text is surveyed. Next, the variants between the non-aligned text and the MT are grouped into one of three categories. Category 1 variants are largely synonymous forms; category 2 variants are forms that are likely not synonymous, but the difference can easily be ascribed to the scribal process; category 3 variants are differences that are antithetical to the meaning of the MT and cannot easily be ascribed to the scribal process. Variants from categories 2 and 3 are discussed in detail except for a few cases where the size of the non-aligned text prohibits exhaustive treatment. After categorizing the differences between the non-aligned text and the MT, three statistical profiles are given for each text in relation to the MT. The first set of statistics compares the non-aligned text to the MT if one accounts for all of the differences from categories 1, 2, and 3. The second only accounts for categories 2 and 3. The last only accounts for category 3 variants. Finally, in light of this analysis, conclusions are made about the textual tradition of each non-aligned text. Last, appendices are provided for each chapter. In each appendix, a table is given that lists and briefly discusses all of the difference between each non-aligned text and the MT. A few of these tables, however, are abbreviated due to the size of the non-aligned text.