The Aramaic Astronomical Book from Qumran: Text, Translation, and Commentary

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9780199590438: The Aramaic Astronomical Book from Qumran: Text, Translation, and Commentary

The Aramaic Astronomical Book describes the movement of the moon in its phases, schematic meteorology, and the movement of the stars in relation to the seasons of the year. It is part of the Jewish pseudepigraphic literature of the Second Temple period. This volume is a critical edition of the four Aramaic manuscripts (4Q208-4Q211) that comprise the Aramaic Astronomical Book, discovered in the Qumran caves near the Dead Sea in Israel in 1952.

Henryk Drawnel presents the first comprehensive edition of all the four manuscripts, with an extensive discussion of text critical issues, palaeographic description, restorations of the fragmentary text, together with the plates containing all the photographs of the manuscripts. The commentary presented in chapter three discusses text critical issues related to the overlapping of the Aramaic fragments with the Ethiopic Astronomical Book (1 En. 72-82). Additionally, the content of the Aramaic manuscripts is interpreted in relation to pertinent cuneiform literature, which permits a correct explanation of the lunar phases described in 4Q208 and 4Q209. The first chapter of the book contains the history of previous scholarship that has dealt with the Aramaic text until today, preliminary matters concerning the literary characteristics, date and place of composition. The last part of chapter one contains an explanation concerning the social background of the early Enochic literature that opens up a new perspective for the understanding of the earliest Jewish apocalyptic texts.

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Dr. Henryk Drawnel is Assistant Professor of the Second Temple Literature and Semitic Languages at the Catholic University of Lublin.

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"The depth and breadth of Drawnel's latest magnum opus particularly inside such a short space of time must be very rare. He should certainly be congratulated for this." --Journal of Semitic Studies


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