Chapter

Nature of Pesherite Interpretation

Timothy H. Lim

in Holy Scripture in the Qumran Commentaries and Pauline Letters

Published in print September 1997 | ISBN: 9780198262060
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682292 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262060.003.0007
Nature of Pesherite Interpretation

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This chapter discusses broadly the hermeneutical principles underlying Qumran exegesis. In both ideological orientation and exegetical tradition, the pesherists did not consider the words of their biblical texts to be fixed and immutable. As members of a community that lived by the precepts of the law, they saw themselves as participants in the unfolding revelation of God, even when the end-time had been delayed. They adapted biblical laws and supplemented them where there were perceived gaps, and found correspondences between contemporary events and figures of biblical prophecies. The pesherists behaved primarily as expositors of the biblical texts, but sometimes one cannot but feel that they were also acting as biblical authors. There is a formal distinction in their commentaries between what they quote as lemma and interpretation, and yet at certain points, they blur this dividing line by changing the very words of scripture.

Keywords: righteousness; prophetic inspiration; Qumran exegetes; biblical texts; revelation

Chapter.  4679 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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