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Testament of Reuben (ex Testaments of the Twelve Partriarchs) (Researcher: Robert Hayward):
Note: The profile for this book is under construction.
Selected Inventory point(s):
1.1 The text mentions its own existence and implies or mentions its own boundedness. (AS)

Full profile (Bibliography at the bottom):
1.1 The text mentions its own existence and implies or mentions its own boundedness. (AS)

1.1.1 The text refers to itself using a genre, speech act or other verbal category, in TReu 1:1: "(A) copy of the testament of Reuben: (even) the things he commanded to his sons before he died in the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life" (antigraphon diatekes Roubem...); this includes a characterization of the kind of communication presented in the text, "testament"; a personal name as indicating its point of origin; a "contents", namely commandments directed at the sons; and also a self-reference to an artefact containing the communication as "written". The overall package provides a double characterization of the text's existence: as something that once was said (commanded) by Reuben to his sons; and as something that is now being said (written/copied) to the addressees (and the word "testament" appears to point to both the unique one-off situation and to enduring or repeatable communicative act which is constituted by the text itself. This first sentence which is grammatically incomplete and provides a gesture of kataphoric deixis (without using a demonstrative pronoun such as "this is"); this is (now) in addition to a phrase clearly functioning as heading only, on which see 1.1.5. (AS)

1.1.5 Important text witnesses attest to a heading which is not integrated with the body of the text or the introductory frame, implying one or more of the kinds of information under 1.1.1–4, namely "The Testament of Reuben, the first-born son of Jacob and Leah", or "The Testament of Reuben regarding thoughts" (diatheke Reubem peri ennoion). This is a second heading, following an initial heading with the text "The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs" (so that the word "testament occurs three times in as many small text units, each time in incomplete sentences). (AS)

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2.1 The text’s perspective on the level of the governing voice shapes the information reaching the reader, or relates to the question of its own sources of knowledge, in the following ways:

2.2 The text has a first person voice on a level higher than all reported speech, except for any frame position announcements: this is only true with an important qualification, see 2.2.1.

2.2.1 The bulk of continuous text is in the first person, after being introduced as the text’s main voice by a brief, anonymous framing passage: the first-person is framed by more than a minimal narrative setting. The frame for the first-person speech given in the anonymous third person might be judged to be too substantial and intrusively narrative in the first few verses, and the speech itself too short, for this to be a straightforward first-person text. Rather, the narrative itself is foregrounded sufficiently for this to be an extended direct speech by a character, namely Reuben. It is thus possible to think of this text as a third-person anonymous narrative with one extended direct speech (or the narrative of the creation or reception of a text, 4.17), rather than a first-person text with a narrative frame. Both appears to be possible, in particular in view of the fact that the contents of the first-person extended direct speech is discursive, rather than narrative, so that the text is not a first-person narration as such, but an exhortation linked to an autobiographical background told for that purpose. (AS)

2.2.1.3 The explicit framing information about the first person voice (2.2.1 or 2.2.2) has the following characteristics:

2.2.1.3.1 it consists of a contextualizing narrative (which is not so very brief if compared to the direct speech itself). (AS)

2.2.1.3.5 it is found both at the beginning and at the end of the text: there is a narrative progression between the opening part of the frame, introducing the situation of speaking at Reuben's death bed, and the final passage, TReu 7:1-2, reporting his death and burial. (AS)

2.2.2 The first person voice identifies itself by name: "I, Reuben, your father, command you." (TReu 1:5) (AS)

2.2.4.1 The first person singular is used. (AS)

2.4 The text presupposes certain horizons of knowledge in the manner in which the governing voice refers to unique objects or uses proper names, as follows (in selection):

2.4.3 The text language whose knowledge is taken for granted is:

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4.4 [Narrative which tells the story of the creation or reception of an extended self-sufficient text which is also quoted in full. If the narrative frame is considered to be too extensive and intrusive, and the idea of the speech as given to Reuben's son is considered to be presented in the TestReuben as a "text" (e.g. by the word "testament" plus the word "copy", in 1.1.1), then this could apply: the direct speech would be projected as being a kind of fixed text, somewhat like the letter whose writing and sending is reported in 1 Baruch.] (AS)

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Bibliography:

Texts Greek: R. H. Charles, The Greek Versions of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (Oxford: Clarendong Press, 1908); Marinus de Jonge, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. A Critical Edition of the Greek Text (Testamenta XII patriarcharum, 2) (Leiden: Brill, 1978) [THIS IS THE TEXT CONSULTED BY ALEX' ENTRY ON TEST REUBEN)

Translations: English: H. C. Kee, "Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs", in Charlesworth, OTP, vol, 1, pp. 782–85; R. H. Charles, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1908), pp. 1–16

Studies: Harm W. Hollander, Marinus de Jonge, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. A Commentary (Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha, 8) (Leiden: Brill, 1985).



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