Science in Qumran Aramaic Texts

Edited by Ida Fröhlich

[Wissensbestände in den aramäischen Texten von Qumran.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-161387-6
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Published in English.
The studies in this volume examine the knowledge and ideas about the natural and human world as reflected in the Aramaic texts of Qumran. Their authors were well acquainted with Mesopotamian science and its methods. Two questions guide the individual essays: What knowledge and what methods did these authors adopt from Mesopotamia? And how did they adapt this knowledge to their monotheistic worldview in a way that shaped their identity?
Qumran Aramaic texts were not written on the spot. Dated to various times, they represent fragments of biblical books, works related to biblical traditions, and several texts citing biblical passages. The texts contain a number of Mesopotamian elements. By the 7th century BC Mesopotamia had become bilingual, and Aramaic became the mediating language that conveyed cuneiform literature and science to foreign groups living in Mesopotamia and abroad. In the present volume, science is understood as human knowledge about the natural and human world that had been described, systematized, and transmitted. Thus, traditional fields of science are expanded by astrology, magical healing, and others. The contributors show that Qumran Aramaic texts reflect the incorporation and adaptation of Mesopotamian science into the culture of Jewish diaspora communities. They express a new scientific worldview created by these groups as well as their self-definition, and show a new face to the community that preserved them.
Survey of contents
Ida Fröhlich: Introduction- Markham J. Geller: »Secular« Science in Mesopotamia – Réka Esztári/Ádám Vér: »The Script of God« – Daniel 5:25 in the Light of Mesopotamian Omen Literature – Andrew B. Perrin: Symptoms and Symbols, Prayers and Portents. Diagnostic Physiognomy and the Diviner in the Aramaic Prayer of Nabonidus (4Q242) – Amar Annus: The Heavenly Counterpart of Adapa and Enoch in Babylonia and Israel – Helen R. Jacobus: How 4QAstronomical Enoch a-b (4Q208–209) Transformed Elements of Late Babylonian Magical Hemerological Texts into a Synchronistic Calendar – Jonathan Ben-Dov: Jewish Aramaic Science and Mythology: Babylonian or Levantine Heritage?- Tupá Guerra: Writing Science, Writing Magic: Possible Functions for the Act of Writing. Scientific Knowledge Reflected in 4Q560 – Henryk Drawnel: Enoch at the Ends of the Earth: Horizon-Based Astronomy and the Stars in 1 Enoch 33–36 – Nóra Dávid: »From there I traveled to another place.« (1QEn passim). Geography in 1 Enoch 20–32 – Siam Bhayro/Anne Burberry: The Provenance and Purpose of the Genesis Apocryphon – Ida Fröhlich: Authorizing Knowledge: Magical Healing and the Watchers' Tradition in Qumran

Ida Fröhlich Born 1947; 1972 MA Eötvös Loránd University Budapest; 1984 PhD Oriental Institute St. Petersburg (Leningrad); 1993–2017 Professor of Hebrew Studies and Ancient History at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University; 2002 Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of the Sciences; 2004 member of the St. Stephen Academy of Sciences; 2000–06 Dean of the Faculty of Humanities; since 2017 Professor emerita.


The following reviews are known:

In: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament — 47 (2023), p. 161 (George J. Brooke)
In: Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (ZAW) — 135 (2023), pp. 678–679 (Markus Witte)
In: The Qumran Chronicle — 31 (2023), pp. 186–189 (Phillip R. Callaway)
In: Old Testament Abstracts — 47 (2024), p.241 (Thomas Hieke)