Revista Studii Teologice


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"Is 52:13-53:12 nei manoscritti biblici del Mar Morto"

Is 52:13-53:12 in the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls

Autor(i): Ilie CHIŞCARI

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls opened a new direction for Biblical Studies research, allowing scholars to compare texts that had previously been known only in the Old Testament corpus of writings, with this rich collection of biblical and non-biblical literature. The Isaiah scroll is one of the major writings among the Qumran documents, and the only biblical text found to be almost complete (1QIsaa).
The present study addresses the various versions of the Fourth Servant Song (Is 52:13-53:12), one of the best known fragments in the Scriptures, but also one of the most controversial ones. The purpose of this investigation is to identify the possible textual variants justifying the presupposition of a “sectarian” messianic interpretation of this text by the Qumran community. This comparative analysis has approached all available variants of Is 52:13-53:12 so far identified at Qumran: 1QIsaa, 1QIsab, 4QIsab, 4QIsac and 4QIsad. Among these versions, 1QIsaa is especially important for the interpretation of Is 53, and mainly its dating in late 2nd century BC, which makes it the oldest monument of this scriptural excerpt.
The analysis is mainly a linguistic one, explaining the phonetic, morphological and syntactic variations caused by the dialectal specificity of the times when they were written. In the case of variations in contents, we have attempted to ascertain the reasons for the respective alterations, as well as the possible theological trends able to justify them. We mention the form משחתי in 1QIsaa version of Is 52:14, which has generated many hypotheses concerning the messianic interpretation of this hymn by the Dead Sea community. We also note the agreements between the Qumran texts and the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), differing from the massoretic text (cf. Is 53:11).
This thorough examination of textual differences does not reveal a marked sectarian stance regarding the theology of the Suffering Servant, diverging from that of traditional Judaism, namely the massoretic text. Interventions in the text do not aim to alter traditional significance, but only to clarify certain difficult parts. Most changes are linguistic and not exegetical, so that the Qumran texts can be deemed testimonies as valuable as the massoretic text for the reconstruction of the original text of the Book of Isaiah.
Those who seek a solution to the messianic problem in the Qumran scrolls should bear in mind G. García Martínez’s statement: „the Dead Sea scrolls do not explain Christianity, but help us better know Judaism that engendered Christianity”. Textual variants of Is 52:13-53:12 do not suffice to consider Dead Sea literature closer to Christian teachings than the Judaic text of the Old Testament. The reason for employing Is 53 as a biblical excerpt underlying the Christian teaching about the sufferings and exaltation of Messiah must be found in other texts evincing a different theological stance than traditional Judaism.

Pagini: 23-63