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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Canon at Qumran

The discoveries at Qumran, while shedding light on the pluriformity of biblical texts in the Second Temple period, do not provide the means to definitively establish which books the sect held sacred. Nor do the finds of large numbers of copies of particular biblical alongside other apocryphal (Jubilees, Enoch, etc.) or sectarian works necessarily indicate their sanctification in the eyes of the Qumran sect. Moreover, as not all of the texts found at Qumran were copied there and it is impossible to establish who wrote or copied them, we cannot determine their canonical status.

Nonetheless, the biblical scrolls found at Qumran do bear on the question of the growth of the Hebrew canon, which was, according to many scholars, fixed only at a later period. The presence at Qumran of all of the books found in the Hebrew canon (with the exception of Esther) may support the inference that these books already had canonical status. What was not yet agreed upon was the exact boundaries of the canon as well as the final textual form of the individual works. Thus it is that we find proto‐Septuagintal and harmonistic texts alongside the prevailing proto‐Masoretic type. In the course of less than a century after the scrolls were hidden,however, the proto‐Masoretic text type emerged as the accepted one.

On the other hand, using the multiformity of the biblical texts found at Qumran as evidence, some scholars argue that the canon was not yet fixed and even postulate a broader canon. Some claim that the examples of Reworked Pentateuch reflect a free approach to the Bible. Others base their argument against a fixed canon at this date on the existence of various editions of Psalms at Qumran, including some with additional psalms (some of which are attested in the LXX and other versions), submitting that this indicates the fluidity of the collection at that time. However, many of these psalm texts may have been liturgical rather than biblical texts, and reflect a different order for this reason, just as we find a different ordering of psalms in the present‐day siddur. We must also bear in mind that multiple copies of a text can testify to alternative uses: liturgical, for study, for copying, and so on. Therefore, notwithstanding the variety of text types preserved in the Qumran library, it seems that at that period the canon itself, that is, the identity and number of biblical books it encompassed, was already well on the way to becoming fixed.

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