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The Pesharim and Qumran History

By / Eerdmans / 2002

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$16.45

Print: $23.50

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Overview

Since their discovery among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Pesharim have sparked intense debate. Are these ancient documents biblical commentary, or are they historiographies alluding to figures and events of the time? James H. Charlesworth demonstrates that these 16 books do indeed contain historical allusions and relates these references to a synopsis of Qumran history. This book also includes appendixes by Lidija Novakovic giving an index of biblical quotations as well text-critical variants in the Pesharim, other commentaries, and related documents.

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Looking for more resources on the Pesharim? Check out Timothy Lim’s work, Pesharim.

Key Features

  • Explores the proper means of obtaining historical information from the Pesharim
  • Demonstrates that the Pesharim contains historical allusions
  • Relates historical references to Qumran history
  • Includes appendixes and indexes

Contents

  • The Hermeneutics of the Pesharim
  • The Pesharim and Qumran History: Chaos or Consensus?
  • Appendixes by Professor Lidija Novakovic
  • Indexes

Praise for the Print Edition

James Charlesworth has produced yet another valuable volume for the ongoing and ever-increasing library on the Dead Sea Scrolls. This indispensable book provides a thoroughgoing commentary on the Pesharim, the early Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. Charlesworth is a faithful reporter of the scholarly battlefield, and he steers a moderate middle course among the treacherous minefields in which the Scrolls have been lodged ever since their discovery. Charlesworth is sound and safe and solid, citing the best authorities and hewing to the established lines in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship. Thus he brings us up to date on the issues and their likely resolutions, and he prepares us for the future completion of current labors and the possible and hoped-for consensus regarding the main chronological and historical events in the experience of the people of Qumran.

David Noel Freedman, endowed chair in Hebrew biblical studies, University of California, San Diego

Charlesworth explores the understanding of Scripture that the Jewish sectarians at Qumran had and the way they read and applied Scripture to their time in history. They lived in the tumultuous period of Roman oppression just before the rise of Christianity, and they had essentially the same hermeneutics of Scripture as the New Testament writers? That is, they believed that the Bible addresses the end time, that they were living in the last days, and that Scripture therefore spoke directly to their situation. Charlesworth’s study starkly illumines the same kind of hermeneutics evident in present-day Christian eschatological sects. The appendixes by Lidija Novakovic of biblical quotations and textual variants are alone worth the price of the book.

—James A. Sanders, Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center, Claremont, CA

This illuminating study of the Pesharim is a major contribution to the fields of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. In a masterful manner Charlesworth goes through the texts and analyzes them against the backdrop of Hellenistic and Jewish historiography as well as of biblical literature. The book is brilliantly written and should be read by scholars and the general public. It is a learned and important scholarly book, but it is also a very enjoyable book to read.

Doron Mendels, professor, history department, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Product Details

About James H. Charlesworth

James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited over 60 books. Charlesworth is an international recognized expert in Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old and New Testaments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Jesus research, and the Gospel of John.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition