Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A nice review of our New Directions in Qumran Studies volume

I came across a very nice review by Maxine L. Grossman in DSD of a 2005 volume entitled New Directions in Qumran Studies, that I co-edited with Jonathan Campbell and Lloyd Pietersen.

'The introduction of new methods or approaches to the study of ancient texts brings with it two basic challenges. First, does the approach help the researcher to make observations or draw conclusions that would have been otherwise inaccessible? And, second, does the use of the approach spark readers to new insights and new lines of research of their own?

Happily, this collection of proceedings from a recent conference at the University of Bristol provides some positive answers to both of these questions. The volume combines state-of-the-field articles on more-familiar scholarly approaches with explorations of methods and theories from further afield. Its ten chapters incorporate such diverse approaches as sociology (of sectarianism, deviance, and asceticism), literary and ideological criticisms, narratology, post-colonial theory, and theories of constructions of space. In his introduction to the volume, Campbell describes its purpose as a modest one, of focusing “attention on what some of the alternative approaches might offer the world of Qumran scholarship . . . thereby beginning the process of advancing Qumran Studies in exciting new directions” (4). Without attempting to be “programmatic or prescriptive” (8), the volume offers possibilities for new, often eclectic, approaches to scrolls scholarship....'

And her last paragraph.

'Campbell notes in his introduction that this volume represents the sort of work that can be done in the next stage of scrolls scholarship. While not every article will appeal to every reader, the volume as a whole succeeds admirably in this goal, both as an example of such new work and as a springboard for the sort of work we can hope to find in the future.'

The rest of the review is available by subscription only.


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