[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion-list Re: self-definition

RGmyrken@aol.com wrote:
>      In addition to the instances of the phrase "do the law [torah]" we also
> have a number of relevant [IMO] instances of the phrase "do the words of the
> law" (conceptually equivalent to "do the law" on the reasonable assumption
> that "torah" refers [at Qumran] to the written law ), as well as related
> phrases "do the commandments [mitsvah]", "do the judgments [mishpat]" and "do
> the statutes [chuqqah]".  We also have numerous examples of "keeping" the
> law, commandments, judgments and statutes, where keep [shamar] is used
> synonymously with do [asah], as evidenced by the formulae "keep my
> <commandments, judgments, statutes> and do them" or (less common) "do my
> <judgments> and keep them."  I haven't done a study, but it might be
> interesting to see if the Qumran texts use asah in preference to shamar in
> instances where the latter might be more commonly expected in light of
> Biblical precedent (e.g. "do the law" rather than "keep the law") out of
> distaste for a word reminiscent of Samaritan.  In any case, doing/keeping the
> law (commandments, statutes, etc.) is central to and pervasive throughout the
> HB, as I'm sure we all agree.

Thanks, Russell.  I had subsequently turned up about six examples of
phrases like "doers of the words of the Torah," all in Deuteronomistic
contexts (perhaps interesting in and of itself).  I'm wondering if the
diversity of expression you detail is continued in the scrolls (outside
of Biblical scrolls).  If not, the contrast with the more compact
phrase, 'osey haTorah, would seem to be in support of Stephen's
argument.  The presence of Biblical usage is not an argument against the
later use of a phrase in a more specialized sense, since it appears to
me that the literature of the period creates titles and designations by
drawing on Biblical language.  I'm thinking at the moment of the
messianic terminology of the Similitudes of Enoch, which is rooted in
Biblical usage.  The problem (as in the case of the Similitudes) is to
determine when the usage crosses the line to a titular usage that is
capable of standing on its own without explicit reference to the
Biblical source.

David Suter
Saint Martin's College

David W. Suter, Ph.D.
Professor of Religious Studies
Saint Martin's College, Lacey, WA 98503
For private reply, e-mail to "David W. Suter" <dsuter@stmartin.edu>
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to majordomo@panda.mscc.huji.ac.il with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.