Каминяр Дмитрий Генаддьевич: другие произведения.

Creatical reading assignment 02

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   Critical reading assignment 02
   Dmitri Kaminiar
   Feb 24, 2012
   Steven D. Fraade's Interpretive Authority in the Studying Community at Qumran is a solidly written piece of non-fiction that discusses the Qumran community as alternate interpreters of the Jewish religious canon in the times of the Hasmonean dynasty. As such they show the modern audience a potential alternative to the mainstream Jewish religion even of our times, and it is a rather different type of faith: not monotheistic as the canon Jewish faith, but rather a semi-dualistic one. This makes the beliefs of the Qumran caves sect to appear more like Zoroastrianism (another dualistic faith) rather than Judaism, but the two faiths were probably not connected to each other.
   In case Steve D. Fraade's work, though, the difference of the Qumran caves sect from the rabbinical interpretation of the Torah was that the Qumran caves community considered itself to be exclusively holy over the rest of Israel, while in the rabbinical interpretation the entirety of Israel is equally holy over the rest of the world. (This leads to a conclusion that the Qumran caves sect was an extremist wing of the mainstream Judaic faith.)
   However, that is not the main topic of Steven D. Fraade's essay either. As the author writes in his introductory paragraph, the main focus of Interpretive Authority are the community texts that describe "the place of Scripture and its interpretation in the community's shared practices and self-understandings" (46), something that connects Interpretive Authority directly to the course that we are studying: the various interpretations of Judeo-Christian texts.
   Steven D. Fraade proves this by quoting extensively and exclusively from the Qumran texts. This technique both illustrates and emphasizes his point. It also makes his conclusions appear more complete and self-contained. Conversely, it also makes Interpretive Authority more inwards-oriented: the essay and the Qumran texts appear refer only to each other and the audience may wonder, whether the author made Interpretive Authority somewhat one-sided by neglecting any alternate points of view of the Qumran texts.
   Overall, though, Interpretive Authority is an impressive text. Steven D. Fraade wrote concisely and to the point, though his work was slightly light in regards to cross-referencing with other texts. Interpretive Authority is all about interpretive authority, which is first represented by the Qumran community per se: the entire text is aimed at explaining how the entire Dead Sea community participated in reading and interpreting the religious texts (regardless of a rather ambiguous figure of a "Teacher of Righteousness" as mentioned on pg 50), though the priesthood in the sect had a more privileged position - but less so than in the rest of the nation of Israel. This too made the Qumran society different from the rest of the nation of Israel and its reading of the Biblical texts different, or apocryphal, as well.
   In conclusion, it can be said that Steven D. Fraade's Interpretive Authority is a great example of a study of apocryphal religious literature. The author was able to remain concise and follow his thesis closely enough with minimum digressions, and his examples of external literary sources were well chosen only adding to his main point, not distracting or diverting the audience's attention. I had certainly enjoyed reading it and hope that the others will enjoy reading it too.
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