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The Text of Habakkuk in the Ancient Commentary from Qumran
William H. Brownlee
Publication Date
May 2006


“The pesher of Habakkuk, from the first Qumran Scroll Cave, makes an important contribution to the textual criticism of the Book of Habakkuk. This contribution warrants careful and extended investigation; and since its represents a special interest quite distinct from the religious and historical interpretations contained in the document, it is fitting that we consecrate a special monograph to that investigation.…

The value of this examination is the demonstration that many of the same variants (particularly the orthographic ones and the addition or omission of the conjunction Waw) appear also in Medieval manuscripts. Moreover, we must entertain the possibility that some of these readings are primitive in the sense that they antedate a fully standardized Massoretic recension. In such cases the agreement would be more than coincidental. At any rate, a collation against these readings should provide useful information for any inquiry as to whether this is so....

We suspect that most of the agreements between the Medieval Mss. and DSH are coincidental, since they are representative of the sort of variants that are most likely to occur in textual transmission. In any case, the text of DSH cannot be regarded as even a distant cousin of any Medieval text; for of its 136 variants only a very small percentage is found in any one manuscript, and even an amassing of the variants of all the manuscripts can provide attestation for no more than about thirty of them. Thus the Habakkuk Pesher from the first Qumran scroll cave has a unique place in the textual criticism of the Prophet Habakkuk.”
—from the introduction