The biblical manuscripts found at Qumran, contends Sidnie White Crawford, reflect a spectrum of text movement from authoritative scriptural traditions to completely new compositions. Treating six major groups of texts, she shows how differences in the texts result from a particular understanding of the work of the scribe, not merely to copy but also to interpret, update, and make relevant the Scripture for the contemporary Jewish community of the time. This scribal practice led to texts that were 'rewritten' or 'reworked' and considered no less important or accurate than the originals. Propounding a new theory of how these texts cohere as a group, Crawford offers an original and provocative work for readers interested in the Second Temple period.
Sidnie White Crawford is professor of Hebrew Bible and chair of the Classics and Religious Studies Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also the author of The Temple Scroll and Related Texts and past president of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.