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Document Details :
Title: Textual Fixity and Fluidity in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods
Subtitle: Alexandrian Homer Scholarship and the Qumran Pesharim
Author(s): HARTOG, Pieter B.
Journal: Revue de Qumran
Volume: 30 Issue: 2 Date: numéro 112, 2018
This article discusses the concepts of textual fluidity and fixity as social constructs by comparing commentaries on Homer and the Hebrew Bible from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. I argue that the quest for textual fixity in Hellenistic scholarship of the Iliad and the Odyssey reflects the political context in which this scholarly tradition arose and served as a literary counterpart to the stone monuments erected by the Ptolemaic kings. In contrast, the textual fluidity of the Jewish Scriptures as reflected in the Qumran commentaries emphasises the malleability of the Jewish Scriptures. Rather than literary monuments tied to a political centre, the Jewish Scriptures in the pesharim become resilient writings, which could be read in ever-new ways to make sense of the quickly changing world in which the Pesher commentators found themselves. Thus, in the ancient world, the presentation of particular texts as either fixed or fluid was not a neutral decision, but reflected the aims of textual communities and how they construed the texts that were central to them.