The dynamics of composition and rewriting in Jubilees and Pseudo-Jubilees

Michael Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The compositional process of the book of Jubilees has recently become the subject of intense debate among scholars of Second Temple Judaism in general, and the Dead Sea scrolls in particular. Scholarship on Jubilees has generally followed a synoptic approach, comparing the text of Jubilees to the extant versions of the Pentateuch deemed closest to it. As I have already suggested in previous studies, the literary development of Jubilees is in fact much more complex. While in my previous studies, I referred to the book in its current form as the product of "redaction", here, I suggest that it is more appropriate to use the term "composition". This study investigates and explores the implications of this proposed literary model, based upon an examination of three Qumran scrolls known as Pseudo-Jubilees (4Q225-4Q227), and their relationship to Jubilees. The analysis below suggests, in contrast to the generally posited direction of development, that 4Q227 is in fact a source adopted by Jubilees as part of its compositional process. The latter, in its current complex literary form, was then itself subject to further rewriting in 4Q225-4Q226. These examples lead to a discussion of the implications of dynamic process of rewriting and composition for both the study of Jubilees and for appreciating broader trends in the transmission and hermeneutics of ancient Jewish texts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-577
Number of pages23
JournalRevue de Qumran
Issue number104
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


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