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Miqtsat Ma'aseh Ha-Torah [Fragment] (Detailed) (Researcher: Alexander Samely):
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1.1 The text refers to itself as verbal entity (with implied or explicit boundaries): I take it that the calendric information (Section A) present in one of the fragments before the “B-part” begins (4Q394, 3–7 1) is not meant to form a textual unity with the remainder of 4QMMT. Section B has an explicit introduction of itself as a text (whether or not as part of a longer text): “These are some of our words...which are...works (ma’asim) which w[e]...[and a]ll of them concern...and the purity of...” (B1-2 = 4Q394, 3–7 i; if one does not complete the lacunae from other manuscripts). This fragmentary sentence is clearly a heading. It provides: a cataphoric discourse deixis (אלה), a generic description of the contents as well as text type (“words”; דברינו), a first person plural governing voice pronoun, and an indication that there will be an undefined, yet limited, selection of themes from the larger corpus of information or themes delineated by “our words”: namely “some” of those: מקצת. The thematic whole from which this selection takes place is perhaps suggested as known, at least in its outlines, to the addressee. The expression “these” formally unifies a plurality of sentences or clauses expressions, despite its apparent vagueness and the generic (“words”) or open (“some”) meaning of the heading (see Strugnell, "Additional Observations on 4QMMT" = Appendix 3 in DJD X, p. 204). The text therefore claims to be bounded. The formally independent thematic units which make up the bulk of the text and are merely juxtaposed (5.8) sometimes consist merely of a topic and the norm belonging to it, and sometimes involve a reference to Scripture or to a reason for the norm. There appear to be 39 smaller thematic concentrations consisting of one or several sentences each, most of them addressing normative topics. If the expression “and the purity of” in B3 is still part of the heading and belongs to “and all of them concern” (B2), as seems likely, then the text would claim that some aspect of purity unites all the topics mentioned. Purity issues are certainly very prominent, although there are other cultic topics perhaps not manifestly covered by the word “purity”. In any case, the heading after “and all of them concern” appears to have contained at least one other word apart from “the purity of” (which is connected by a waw), so the thematic boundedness of the text could have been announced by two general terms, not just one. If C is the concluding part of the same text (see 1.7), then there is an echo of the initial heading towards the end: “And also we have written (wrote) to you some of the works [DJD, X: precepts] of the Torah which we have thought (or decided)...” (C26 f.), from which phrase "miqtsat ma'aseh ha-torah" the text has its name in scholarship. This is however no clearly anaphoric reference to an earlier piece of the same text; it could be a reference to a separate earlier act of communication. If one takes “we have written to you” to refer to the same text, then “writing” (in a finite verbal form) constitutes an additional generic characterization of the text type. The word "miqtsat" appearing in the heading is also used in a number of other places in the text, for different topics.

Full profile (Bibliography at the bottom):
1.1 The text refers to itself as verbal entity (with implied or explicit boundaries): I take it that the calendric information (Section A) present in one of the fragments before the “B-part” begins (4Q394, 3–7 1) is not meant to form a textual unity with the remainder of 4QMMT. Section B has an explicit introduction of itself as a text (whether or not as part of a longer text): “These are some of our words...which are...works (ma’asim) which w[e]...[and a]ll of them concern...and the purity of...” (B1-2 = 4Q394, 3–7 i; if one does not complete the lacunae from other manuscripts). This fragmentary sentence is clearly a heading. It provides: a cataphoric discourse deixis (אלה), a generic description of the contents as well as text type (“words”; דברינו), a first person plural governing voice pronoun, and an indication that there will be an undefined, yet limited, selection of themes from the larger corpus of information or themes delineated by “our words”: namely “some” of those: מקצת. The thematic whole from which this selection takes place is perhaps suggested as known, at least in its outlines, to the addressee. The expression “these” formally unifies a plurality of sentences or clauses expressions, despite its apparent vagueness and the generic (“words”) or open (“some”) meaning of the heading (see Strugnell, "Additional Observations on 4QMMT" = Appendix 3 in DJD X, p. 204). The text therefore claims to be bounded. The formally independent thematic units which make up the bulk of the text and are merely juxtaposed (5.8) sometimes consist merely of a topic and the norm belonging to it, and sometimes involve a reference to Scripture or to a reason for the norm. There appear to be 39 smaller thematic concentrations consisting of one or several sentences each, most of them addressing normative topics. If the expression “and the purity of” in B3 is still part of the heading and belongs to “and all of them concern” (B2), as seems likely, then the text would claim that some aspect of purity unites all the topics mentioned. Purity issues are certainly very prominent, although there are other cultic topics perhaps not manifestly covered by the word “purity”. In any case, the heading after “and all of them concern” appears to have contained at least one other word apart from “the purity of” (which is connected by a waw), so the thematic boundedness of the text could have been announced by two general terms, not just one. If C is the concluding part of the same text (see 1.7), then there is an echo of the initial heading towards the end: “And also we have written (wrote) to you some of the works [DJD, X: precepts] of the Torah which we have thought (or decided)...” (C26 f.), from which phrase "miqtsat ma'aseh ha-torah" the text has its name in scholarship. This is however no clearly anaphoric reference to an earlier piece of the same text; it could be a reference to a separate earlier act of communication. If one takes “we have written to you” to refer to the same text, then “writing” (in a finite verbal form) constitutes an additional generic characterization of the text type. The word "miqtsat" appearing in the heading is also used in a number of other places in the text, for different topics.

1.1.1 The text refers to itself using a genre term, speech act term, verb or other term implying verbal constitution: "our words" and perhaps "writing", see 1.1.

1.1.2 The text speaks of itself as dealing with an overall theme (subject matter) or purpose, or as consisting of coordinated parts making a whole: while it is not certain how the syntax of the heading sentence is to be completed, it appears that the topic is characterized verbally, using perhaps among other words, the terms "works" (ma'asim) and "purity", seemingly even presented as thematically homogeneous (see 1.1.3).

1.1.3 The text uses expressions for characterizing itself as a bounded entity: the text uses an expression of selection, "some" (miqtstat) alongside an indication of the totality which may be constituted by the themes so selected ("and all of them"). The recurrence of that term "some" in various other passages and collocations within the text is conspicuous.

1.6 The approximate word count or other indication of comparative size is: c. 800 words. This is the result of counting by hands the words in the "Composite Text" (B-C, lines B 1–82, C 1–32) in Qimron and Strugnell, DJD 10 (1994), pp. 46–63. Reconstructed words supplied by the editors were included, but not incomplete words.

1.7 The text’s Inventory profile should be seen in the light of the following further information on completeness, thematic progression, aesthetic effects, etc.: The Inventory categories are defined as presupposing an ability to interpret each feature within knowledge of the whole text; they are therefore to be applied to texts whose overall shape is unknown to us, like 4QMMT, only in a speculative manner. Furthermore, the overall identity of the document "4QMMT" is not directly attested. It has no unambiguous physical integrity, but depends on the likely placement of fragments of different manuscripts, 4Q394, 4Q395, 4Q396, 4Q397, 4Q398, 4Q399 (see for instance, regarding 4Q398 11–13, see DJD X, p. 60 note), and these judgments as such presuppose modern scholarly views on what constitutes "strong" (= likely) or "weak" (= unlikely) coherence. Since its editio princeps by Qimron and Strugnell, a composite text has been taken as starting point as well as being debated. This composite would have the following parts. The so-called Section A, comprising a few lines of calender information, physically connected in one fragment to the B-part, but without textual or thematic signals of continuity and not represented in this Profile; Section B, with its own heading (see 1.1.); and Section C. The latter is physically connected to Section B according to the apparently generally accepted view of the editors that, in two separate cases, a set of fragments originally formed one physically continuous original manuscript. The two thus reconstructed manuscripts are: 4Q397 (4QMMTd), and 4Q398 (4QMMTe). This B-D shape is here described, and the reference number of lines within B and D is adopted. Despite doubts about the substantive completeness and overall shape of the text due to incomplete transmission, the modern construct “4QMMT” (minus the part labelled “A”) has an entry in this Database because of the comparatively clear structure and textual integrity of Section B, whether as subordinate part of a larger document or not; and the historical and comparative importance of Section B, as being a 5.7 text just like Mishnah Tractates. Observations which only apply to section C are explicitly marked as such. An overview of thematic units in their sequence is give at the end of the Selected Bibliography belonging to this Profile. Most restored words accepted in this profile follow the editio princeps, DJD X.

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2.1 The information conveyed in the text defines the perspective of the governing voice in the following way:

2.1.2 The governing voice thematizes how it comes to know the text’s contents or its right to command obedience from the text’s addressee. Its perspective is presented as limited, referring either to evidence, or to personal experience (mere human knowledge).

2.1.2.1 The governing voice presents or discusses norms whose commanding force is unlimited, but speaks from a perspective clearly distinguished from that of the ultimate law-giver.

2.1.2.3 The governing voice suggests its information or advice is based on his or her own experiences, or on other knowledge filtered by reflections on personal experience.

2.1.7 The governing voice (whether first or third person) is anonymous, that is, is not presented as tied to a specific personal identity (or to personhood in general).

2.2 A first-person voice imposes its perspective on all (or almost all) knowledge or norms conveyed in the text: a collective first person, whose identity is either taken for granted or mentioned in parts of the text now lost (but not the heading, see 1.1), imposes its perspective throughout the text, including individual statements being introduced by the expression which literally means "we think” – ואנחנו חושבים (e.g., B29); "we say" (e.g. B55) and "we know" (C20) also occur and, perhaps in a related usage. "We give" (incomplete sentence, C9). The relationship between this "we" and groups mentioned inside the text (or the implied addressee, see 2.6) offers a number of options: As employed in the text (certainly in B), it seems compatible with the following three possibilities: (a) a group’s self-perception is presented to itself (this is perhaps also what Fraade means by “intramural”); (b) a group’s exposition of both shared and differentiated ground between itself and an outside which is basically seen as being “on the same side”, that is, knowing and valuing in principle the same things as the text’s governing voice (see 2.6); and (c) a “we” of shared knowing whose differences to the addressee are presented as being less important than the commonalities in comparison with a “them” that is excluded. Perhaps “the people” in B75 and “some of the priests” (B80) are examples of a “them”, and the goyyim of B8 are also excluded from an inclusive “we”. By contrast, the “we” appears not to project a strong adversarial or polemical opposition to the implied addressee (pace Qimron and Sussman in DJD X). In B68, "you (pl.) know [that..]" may be used as interchangeable in meaning with "we know", although there is another occurrence of the phrase which cannot be so constructed in B80 (where it is factual knowledge that is seen as shared, albeit likely also tinged with a moral condemnation).

2.2.3 The first-person governing voice is not identified by name or unique identifier, but speaks of himself/herself in the first person at least once: Furthermore, the speaker’s identity is self-defined only indirectly, by the co-text in which the words “precepts of Israel” (B53) occur. Since those precepts are discussed precisely from the point of view of someone who is obligated by them, and generally speaking the text seems to include its own speaker (as well as addressee) in the obligations discussed throughout, it follows that the speaker is presented as part of “Israel”.

2.2.4 The number and gender of the first-person governing voice are as follows:

2.2.4.2 The first person plural is used.

2.2.4.4 The first person forms are marked for gender: i.e. by masculine plural endings for the participle of "to think", which theoretically could include a mixed gender collective.

2.4 The governing voice defines a horizon of knowledge as shared with the projected addressee by taking for granted the following linguistic usages or references (in selection):

2.4.1 Persons or unique objects referred to by proper name or by technical expression: Groups or persons mentioned by way of a biblical proper name include “sons of Aaron” (B16 f., B79), Israel (B53, also “tribes of Israel”), Ammonite and Moabite (B39). In C also Solomon, Jerobeam, Zedekiah, C18 f.; David, C25 in connection with the exhortation to remember; and Belial (C29). The "mishqan ohel mo'ed" is mentioned B29, alongside other objects like the "camp" (e.g., B28); the Temple is mentioned often, as "miqdash", e.g. B20.

2.4.1.3 for Gods/mythical figures/supernatural beings, etc., for example: There appears to be no explicit reference by name or referring expression to God in the extant text, but he is the implied subject of a number of suffixes or verbs which can only refer to him (e.g., "the place which he has chosen from all the tribes of Israel", B60–1). It appears that God is the default unnamed third person subject or object ("ask of him", C28), even when he was not mentioned by name in the immediately preceding lines, for those passages where those can be checked. In C, "Belial" is mentioned (C29).

2.4.1.4 for locations, for example: Jerusalem, B29 f., B60.

2.4.1.6 for documents, texts, books, etc. (identified through being referred to or quoted), for example: For C alone: mention of “in the book of Moses...in the books of the prophets and in David” (C10); "Torah" is mentioned in c (C24), apparently as the name of a text.

2.4.3 The text as a whole routinely employs the following language(s), knowledge of which is taken for granted: Hebrew.

2.4.4 Special linguistic usages occur pervasively or prominently:

2.4.4.1 [Technical expressions for a particular subject matter": the subject matter, although technical in tendency, is presented not in an overtly technical vocabulary. This may be linked to the fact that the we-al sentences (see 8.1.3) mention a topic more generally first, before going into further normative detail.]

2.4.4.4 Biblicizing language, such that the text may be assumed to project itself as having a link to texts today known as biblical (see 7.1.4.1): The biblicizing style of the text appears to be in part the result of a global imitation of biblical usage and in part the adoption of specific biblical wording in expressive use to identify normative topics of biblical origin, e.g. "sha'atnez" in B78 (see also 8.1.4.1). The text presents its norms in dependency on biblical expressions, e.g. “come into the assembly” (B39 f.). There are also occurrences of waw consecutive (B66, see DJD X, p. 54 note; C29, op. cit., p. 63).

2.5 The text contains deictic or other expressions referring to the governing voice’s time or place, or place it after/before some key event:

2.5.1 as part of the words of the governing voice: The time of the text is explicitly referred to by “this is the end of days” (B21): zeh hu’ acharit ha-yamim. In C, the text’s own time is marked, in a presupposed periodisation of history linked to Scripture, as between the fulfilment of some of the biblical curses, and the implied future fulfilment of the rest of them (C17 ff.).

2.6 The text presents itself as speaking to certain persons, groups or entities, explicitly projecting a certain image of its addressee.

2.6.1 The governing voice uses apostrophe, second-person grammatical forms or first-person exclusive or inclusive “we”: In Section B, an unnamed second person plural is directly addressed by use of pronouns (B68) [Qimron does not read a “you” here but a “they”, see Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, vol. X (note 8), p. 54, note 68]. In the text overall it appears that both speaker and addressee are presupposed as being “Israel”, see 2.2. In C both plural and singular second person pronouns are used (C10); the singular addressee is juxtaposed to “your people” (C27) or to “Israel” (C32) in collocations which suggest that he has a position of influence or leadership.

2.6.1.1 [An audience is identified as the intended receiver of a text projecting itself as a letter: This is by no means clear, but remains a possibility, given the fragmentary nature of the extant evidence; C is more clearly compatible with that than B. If C is a conclusion for B then the switch from norms (in B and C4) to exhortation and praise of the addressee may conform to expectations of the idea of a “letter”. However, there is no valediction at the very end of C (which appears to be complete), nor a greeting at the beginning of B (the beginning of C is not available), nor any other compelling epistolatory signals.]

2.6.2 The projected addressee is characterized as having a certain moral or epistemic stance, or as standing in contrast to another group’s moral or epistemic stance: In both B and C epistemic terms (“to know”) occur, invoking a commonality of epistemic stance between speaker and addressee (“knowing” ascribed to the addressee also implying that the governing voice acknowledges that something is the case). This invocation of a shared epistemic stance also suggests a shared moral stance when norms of behaviour are mentioned, and in particular where the morality of the speaker becomes the topic (C8 f.) or where the addressee is praised for his “subtlety” and “knowledge of Torah” (C28). This may also be seen to open the possibility of interpreting the "we", at least in some occurrences, as inclusive; see 2.2.

2.6.3 The governing voice uses verbs of epistemic or moral exhortation or employs a “focus marker": In C one finds direct exhortations to “remember” (C25), “understand” (C23, C28) and “seek” (C28), all terms of epistemic striving which ascribe to the addressee shared goals with the speaker. For "you know" see 2.2.

2.7 The epistemic stance, knowledge horizon, moral stance and identity of the governing voice, and of the projected addressee, do not become thematic in the text.

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5.8 The bulk of the text consists of small forms and patterns drawn from a limited set of formats for thematic articulation or for discussion (further section 8): The substance of B, as well as the first lines of C, are made up from the recursive use of a small number of literary forms and content types. These create non-narrative thematic continuity and change. The recursive use of the we-al unit parcels up information in apparently self-contained entities. Their mutual relationship is prima facie one of being merely juxtaposed or listed. While this is compatible in principle with tacit additional principles of order beyond those spelled out in the heading, to be discovered by the reader with hindsight, no such additional order, for instance of the 5.2–5.5 type emerges. (See sequence of thematic units spelled out in the Select Bibliography of this Profile.) In treating one theme after another by the same form, the text displays the “equality” of the themes in certain respects, e.g. as all fulfilling the same role vis-à-vis the overall topic mentioned in the heading (1.1). At the same time, they are presented as separate and independent from their immediate neighbour in the text, thus weakening any idea of uninterrupted linkage or progression. (While this is parallel to certain thematic rabbinic texts like the Mishnah the presence of the heading in 4QMMT endows the thematic units with a claimed unifying focal point, which is almost never the case in rabbinic texts. To use the word "halakhah" to refer to the individual thematic units is, despite formal similarities, anachronistic.) Although there is no principle of progression or order which would appear to account for the sequence of the sub-topics coming under the general heading in B1 f. (see 1.1), that heading does explicitly claim an umbrella theme, and thus removes the uncertainty of whether the text imposes a thematic unity or not (thus removing the text from category 5.7).

5.9 The text’s governing voice projects the accuracy or validity of its statements as:

5.9.2 Admitting discussion or disagreement, or the need for argument and evidence in principle: References to the biblical text in warrant function, and to reasons for norms, may suggest that the text constitutes part of a discourse subject to the force of evidence or argument. This would be reinforced if the recurrent phrase “we think” is taken to convey the possibility that counter-arguments could sway the governing voice. However, the text itself does not rehearse, within its own boundaries, a plurality of possibilities or opinions, and thus lacks the hallmarks of a discourse of inference, argument or dialectics.

5.9.4 The following argument types occur:

5.9.4.1 Conceptual arguments as well as arguments from the quoted wording of another text (not necessarily in equal measure).

5.11 The text mentions no persons as characters, or mentions them only in frame positions: towards the end (within C) some biblical figures are mentioned (see 2.4.1).

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7.1 Narrative or thematic correspondences, or overlap of specific wording, occur between a non-biblical text and one or more biblical texts in a manner that is prominent or pervasive.

7.1.3 There is prominent use of explicit quotations of biblical wording, whether in non-narrative or in narrative (but not in biblical commentary, for which see section 6): This is true to some extent; see 8.1.4.1.

7.1.8 The non-narrative text pervasively or prominently presupposes the narrative fabric of biblical events/reported speech, beyond the contents of any specific biblical quotations that may occur: reference is made towards the end (within C only) to the "exile of Jerusalem and Zedekiah King of Judah" (C19), "the kings of Israel and their deeds" (C23) and Moses, the prophets and David (as biblical authors).

7.1.8.1 The text presupposing biblical narrative fabric has a thematic structure of discourse or description.

7.2 Narrative or thematic correspondences, or overlap of specific wording, occur between the non-biblical text under discussion and other non-biblical texts in a manner that is prominent or pervasive: There are limited parallels with other documents found at Qumran in language and ideas, including the Temple Scroll, Community Rule and the Damascus Document (see Hempel). The subject matter, very broadly speaking, has links to normative themes also found in the Mishnah and to certain reconstructed "Sadducaean" norms as reflected in the Mishnah, e.g. the question of impurity of liquids being poured, B55 f. and Mishnah Yadayyim 4:7; again this can only be said safely if taken in broad terms (see Elman, "Some Remarks").

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8.1 Standard forms or contents formulated in set phrases, set sentence formats, or clauses in a standard syntactic connection.

8.1.1 Conditional norm or hypothetical legal case: seemingly two occurrences of a hypothetical legal case in the format “he who…” (B13–15; 23). See also 8.1.3.

8.1.2 Unconditional norm: pervasive as "we-al" sentences, see 8.1.3.

8.1.3 Sentence with theme anticipated to the beginning and repeated in a pronoun or by ellipsis: Use of the structure of a front-loaded theme sentence to present the individual halakhic scenarios or topics: "regarding X, it..." This is pervasive in B and occurs once in C, C4. The format pairs a normative theme with a decision concerning that theme. The units are introduced by the phrase we-al..., in the function of: “concerning X...[the evaluation is] Y”, or “concerning X...we think that Y”. The phrase marks out the topic of the sentence, by mentioning it separately in a dependent clause at the beginning, before continuing with a main clause in which the subject is usually represented again as pronoun or pronoun suffix. This inversion and doubling of the sentence’s main topic is pervasive, and gives much of the text in B its rhythm. A new we-al announces a shift of topic; how radical the thematic shift is can only be recognized with hindsight. By first naming the application realm of a norm as the subject matter of the whole sentence, and then the actual obligation or normative evaluation, the topic is presented as the object of some implied act of thinking, speaking or deciding (even where the phrase “we think” is not added). The format also indicates that the topic is somehow previously known or previously mentioned (in the sense of: “as for...”). Although the format is not as such conditional, as used in 4QMMT it has a binary form similar to the rabbinic hypothetical legal case, and is used to construct the text in a manner closely related to some rabbinic texts.

8.1.4 [Unit of a biblical quotation together with a hermeneutically dependent formulation; midrashic unit: Although the passive participle katuv occurs a number of times with clear reference to biblical meaning and wording, there appears to be no clear case of a separation of the biblical wording/ideas from the governing voice's wording by way of an explicit doubling in opposition - the hallmark of the quotation-comment units of the Pesharim and of the midrashic unit of the later rabbinic texts. See also Fraade, "Looking for Legal Midrash".]

8.1.4.1 The expressive use of unmarked biblical wording whose function in the text’s discourse is enhanced or achieved by it being recognised as coming from a Scripture: there are a number of cases where biblical wording is adopted and adapted for expressing the ideas of the text, but claimed as biblical (e.g. by katuv), e.g. C15 f.; see also 2.4.4.4. Biblical wording or paraphrases of biblical wording occur as the normative evaluation of a theme (effectively as a kind of "apodosis"), and also in warrants for such a normative evaluation. See Bernstein "The Employment" and Brooke "Explicit Presentation".

8.1.8 Reason clause: occasional in B, attached to norm (e.g. B61 f.).

8.1.14 Prayer, doxology, valediction or blessing: Something vaguely akin to a blessing, perhaps in valedictory function, is found in C31: “and it will be accounted to you as righteousness when you do what is upright...”.

8.1.18 For section C: Sentence making a prediction of a future event: Future events are referred to in C13 ff., 22 mostly (but not wholly) in the perspective of a reformulation of biblical statements (occasional).

8.1.20 Recommendation of a particular behaviour or statement of an ideal type of person in a “wisdom” or similar formulation: The exhortations in C appear not to be direct and concrete enough, or reflect proverbial language sufficiently distinctly, to give Section C a “wisdom” flavour.

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9.8 [The text has a tendency to juxtapose immediately thematic units which fulfill the same literary, evidential, hermeneutic or narrative function, without explicitly integrating them with each other.]

9.8.2 [There is more than one biblical quotation supporting the same statement within a single midrashic unit: In C17–20 there may be multiple biblical examples for the same theme.]

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11.1 The non-narrative text projects its thematic concern as being mainly one or more of the following:

11.1.3 Law, commandments or norms of behaviour: The dominant theme of the text is human obligation, in B practically exclusively, and in C mixed with other themes.

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12.1 Sampling of genre labels applied to the text in secondary literature: Letter, personal or private letter, literary epistle, treatise, collection of laws, collection of pronouncements, legal proclamation sent to an accepted ruler (Strugnell cited in Weissenberg).

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Bibliography:

Editions

E. Qimron and J. Strugnell (eds.), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert Vol. X. Qumran cave 4,V Miqṣat maʻaʹse ha-torah, in consultation with Y. Sussmann and with contributions by Y. Sussmann and A. Yardeni (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994); F. G. Martinez and E. J. C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (Leiden: Brill, 2000), vol. 2, pp. 790–805; J. H. Charlesworth et al. (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English translations. Vol. 3 , Damascus document II, Some Works of the Torah, and Related Documents (PTSDSSP; Tübingen: Mohr; Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006). This Profile describes, with omission of the "calendric" part A, the "composite" text created by Qimron and Strugnell from Qumran fragments of manuscripts 4Q394, 4Q395, 4Q396, 4Q397, 4Q398, 4Q399.

Translations:

See editions; also: G. Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (London: Penguin Books, 1997); L. H. Schiffman, "Some Precepts of the Torah", in L. H. Feldman, J. L. Kugel and L. H. Schiffman (eds.), Outside the Bible. Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society/University of Nebraska Press, 2013), pp. 3108–3115.

Selected Studies:

Y. Sussmann in DJD X (see above); idem, "The History of Halakha and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Preliminary Observations on Miqsat Ma’ase Ha-Torah (4QMMTt)”, Tarbiz 59 (1990), pp. 11–76;  S. D. Fraade, "To Whom It May Concern: 4QMMT and Its Addressee(s)", Revue de Qumran 19 (2000), pp. 507–26; S. D. Fraade, "Rhetoric and Hermeneutics in Miqsat Ma'aseh Ha-Torah (4QMMT): The Case of the Blessings and Curses", Dead Sea Discoveries, 10 (2003), pp. 150–161; M. J. Bernstein, “The Employment and Interpretation of Scripture in 4QMMT”, in J. Kampen, M. J. Berstein (eds.),  Reading 4QMMT: New Perspectives on Qumran Law and History (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1996), pp.  29–51; Y. Elman, "Some Remarks on 4QMMT and the Rabbinic Tradition: Or, When is a Parallel not a Parallel?", in Kampen et al, Reading 4QMMT, pp. 99–128; G. J. Brooke, “Explicit Presentation of Scripture in 4QMM”, in M. J. Bernstein, F. García Martínez, J. Kampen (eds.), Legal Texts and Legal Issues: Proceedings of the Second Meeting of the International Organization for Qumran Studies, Cambridge, 1995 (Leiden: Brill, 1997), pp. 67–88; S. D. Fraade, “Looking for Legal Midrash at Qumran”, in M. E. Stone and E. G. Chazon (eds.), Biblical Perspectives: Early Use and Interpretation of the Bible in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Leiden: Brill, 1998), pp. 59–80; J. Høgenhaven, "Rhetorical Devices in 4QMMT", Dead Sea Discoveries, 10 (2003), pp. 187–204; H. von Weissenberg, 4QMMT. Reevaluating the Text, the Function, and the Meaning of the Epilogue (Leiden: Brill, 2009); E. Qimron, "Miqsat Ma’ase Hatorah", in Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 4 (New York: Doubleday, 1992), pp. 843-845; F. M. Perez,"Reading 4QMMT: Redactional Study" Revue de Qumran, 18 (1997), pp. 191-205; L. H. Schiffman, "The New Halakhic Letter (4QMMT) and the Origins of the Dead Sea Sect", Biblical Archaeologist 55 (1990), pp. 64-73.

Overview of Parts and Sequence of Thematic Units:
 

Insofar as one can work with the incomplete evidence, here is a suggestion for segmenting the continuous text of B into thematic units, resulting in 39 units overall; B+ number marks the line in the composite 4QMMT text:
394, 3–7, i and 395
For the heading, see 1.1 Numbered theme and B-line theme (usually, not always, introduced with al, we-al, or we-af al; also we-al she-katuv (B26):
1 B3    offering of the wheat of non-Jews: theme-and-decision unit (henceforth TDU)
2 B5    sacrifices in vessels of non-Jews:    incomplete TDU
3 B8    sacrifices of non-Jews (like a woman fornicating)    TDU, apodosis uses simile
4 B9 concerning that “they” leave over cereal of peace-offerings from one day to the next, it is written…(cf. Lev. 7:15?)…, for…:    1. TDU, with 2. a reference to what Scripture says, framing the apodosis (cp. resource Performance3 in the Mishnah (Samely, RISM, p. 417)), followed by 3. a reason clause
5 B13    purity of the red heifer … so that the pure may sprinkle the impure, for …: 1. TDU, incorporating a “he who…” hypothetical legal case, 2. purpose clause (principle?); 3. reason clause
394, 3–7, ii and 395
6 B18      hides of cattle/sheep…vessels    incomplete: TDU?
397, 1–2, ii and 398, 1–3       
7 B21     hides/bones of unclean animals…handles…:    TDU
8 B22     hide of carcass of clean animals: he who carries…:    “he-who”-form of the TDU (like hypothetical legal case in the Mishnah, Samely, FRLT, ch. 2-3)
9 B24    [lacuna]    missing theme
394, 3–7, ii and 397, 3
10 B26 …priests not to cause…:    end of a reason-clause like theme 4? belonging to the missing theme 9?
11 B27 concerning that it is written: “..” (cf. Lev. 7:13) : biblical quotation as theme-marker (protasis), i.e. in “expressive use” (π in Samely, RISM, p. 417) [no doubling?] complete TDU?
12 B29 We think that Temple = tabernacle…For Jerusalem is the place which He has chosen…: “mapping” of earlier and later sanctuary topography (cp. mMeg 1 end) reason clause (implied biblical reference, Deut. 12:5)
396, 1–2, i and 394, 8, iii, and 397, 5       
13 B35 …do not slaughter in the sanctuary:    end of a reason clause, or of an apodosis/decision clause? (Strugnell/Qimron think this describes someone else’s practice, see theme 4)
14 B36    pregnant animals…same day: TDU [contrast “sacrifice”-“eating” themes with no. 15]
15 B37    eating a fetus… and you know that it is so, and the thing is written: pregnant: 1. TDU; 2. “and you know” clause which uses a pro-form to refer to the normative proposition (she-hu’ ken); 3. quotation clause (closing a midrashic unit), or claim to biblical meaning but not wording
16 B39 Ammonite/Moabite/bastard/crushed testicles/cut-off member…impurities:  complete TDU (“impurities” as closing the apodosis) or incomplete (i.e. TDU “left hanging” and taken up in a new sentence, “We think...” = 17 ?)
394, 8, iii and 396, 1–2, i–ii and 397, 5           
17 B42 And we furthermore think…    apodosis/decision to 16?, or second apodosis, i.e. development of the theme in a new direction?
18 B46    And you know that some of the people…united. [For it is proper that all sons of Israel [?] should…:    1. description of someone else’s/a common practice; [2. reason clause]
396, 1–2, ii
394, 8, iv and 396, 1–2, ii, and 397, 6–13 and 397, 5      
         
19 B49 the blind ones who do not see…and do not see:    first of a double theme clause (grammatically incomplete)
20 B52 the deaf ones who have not heard…: for that they [these two categories] have not seen and not heard, [means that] they do not know how to act:      1. second of the double theme clause, followed by 2. a combined thematisation of both, presented as reason (ki) – but for which (implied?) apodosis/decision?
21 B54 (And [yet?] these come to the sacred food.): either the apodosis belonging to 20, or a second apodosis for the same protasis (someone blind, someone deaf), expanding the theme. 
22 B55    liquid streams [as such]: TDU (she-hem superfluous?);
23 B56    liquid streams do not separate….for …: norm-descriptive statement (we-af only, no al) + reason clause (principle)
24 B58    and one must not let dogs enter [no we-al]…since (she-hem)…for (ki) Jerusalem = camp…for (ki) Jerusalem = rosh ha-mahanot Israel:  norm-prescriptive statement + reason clause (possibility) + reason clause of principle + reason clause of principle (redundancy?)
25 B62 the planting trees for food which are…is like the first fruits…: TDU [trees only in the fourth year? that would be a very elliptic phrasing, as common in the (traditional reading of the) Mishnah]
26 B63 the tithe of cattle and small cattle: norm sentence (no al)
27 B64 lepers we think that they should not …but (ki) should…: TDU with negative and positive apodosis;
28 B66 we-af katuv: (paraphrase of Lev. 14:8?): proof text of a midrashic unit, or independent re-emphasis of the point, or introduction of a contrast between scripture and current reality (29)?
29 B67 “and now” (contrast)…: description of a (common?) practice in contrast to the biblical rule and 27?
30 B68    “and you (pl.) know” concerning (al) the omission in error…sin offering: TDU introduced from the addressee’s epistemic perspective (rhetorical?) [but Qimron thinks not really a “you” but a “they”, DJD X, 54, n. 68]; still al-structure
31 B70    and concerning (al) deliberate commission (of a transgression), it is written “despises and blasphemes” (Num. 15:30?): TDU with biblical phrase taking the place of the apodosis (=Performance3 in Samely, RISM p. 417; also point 4 above)
32 B71 they should not eat …before…8th day: norm – no al structure (no TDU?)
33 B72    [impurity of the dead] of man…: TDU (and see above on the reconstructed theme)
34 B75    fornication which…and they are…according to what is written: “Holy is Israel” (Jer. 2:3)…: incomplete TDU?; or: apodosis introduced by “and”?
35 B76    [clean] animal…it is written…: TDU with biblical phrase functioning as apodosis (Performance3 in RISM, p. 417, see above point 4 and 31)
36B77    clothes… “sh’atnez” (Lev. 19:19): TDU either with expressive use of a biblical phrase only, or with quotation functioning as apodosis (see preceding point)
37 B78    “and that one should not…” Themes 35–37 are all about mixtures, and may have the function of a proof through analogy of the theme of 34, about mixtures in marriages. In that case, 35–37 would be “discursive” and digressive, devoted to evidence for something said earlier, like a reason clause or a proof text, and thus not an advance of the theme list as such (and thus perhaps not part of what is characteristic about what “we think”, etc.) [Samely, “Delaying the Progress from Case to Case”, 2000].
38 B79    “Because (biglal she-) they are holy and the sons of Aaron…”: reason clause just for unit 37 or for a whole section (see preceding point)
39 B80    “and you know that some priests…: description of reality/someone’s practice? consisting of several sentences?
Text C is concerned with other topics also, but does contain at least one we-al sentences also (C4), and may even about the (final?) topic of B, “fornication” or illicit sex.



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