ABSTRACT: Non-Canonical Psalms from the Genizah

Armin Lange, Emanuel Tov, and Matthias Weigold, in association with Bennie Reynolds (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls in Context: Integrating the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Study of Ancient Texts, Languages, and Cultures, VTSup, Leiden: Brill, 2011, pp. 693-718  Meir Bar-Ilan


The aim of this paper is to discuss a scriptural text that was discovered by Abraham Eliyahu Harkavy in the Genizah (Antonin Collection), and which was published as early as 1902 but later went into oblivion. In 1982 the manuscript was "rediscovered" by Flusser and Safrai in their search for Jewish texts that shared affinities with Qumran. This interpretation of the nature of the document was later rejected by Fleischer, and Flusser subsequently refuted Fleischer’s claims. Studies to date that have dealt with the character and reception of this text have rendered the subject opaque.

The primary text has not yet been adequately examined, and many important elements have been ignored; previous studies did not focus on the text itself, but rather dealt with speculations and unsubstantiated theories concerning it. The significance of this collection of psalms is evident and it is important to understand it per se, in addition to identifying its historical and rabbinic and non-rabbinic theological contexts. Clarifying its relationship to Qumran is critical, though it seems that the text did not originate there.

The purposes of this study are: first, to characterize the text according to a number of its features and to discuss its chronology; second, to methodologically analyze the scholarly debate concerning its dating and provenance; and third, to provide a preliminary glimpse into the text in English.