4Q175

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4Q175

4Q175 (or 4QTest), also known as The Testimonia, is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls and was found in Cave 4 at Qumran in the West Bank. Only one sheet long, 4Q175 is a collection of scriptural quotations seemingly connected to a messianic figure. The manuscript was written in Hasmonean script of the early 1st century BCE and was edited by John Marco Allegro.

Contents[edit]

The Testimonia is a short document containing five Biblical quotations arranged in four sections concerning God's activities at the end-time. Only the last section is followed by an interpretation. The first three sections refer to future blessings which will come from three figures, a prophet similar to Moses, a messianic figure and a priestly teacher.

The first section consists of two texts from Deuteronomy and refers to the prophet-figure who is like Moses (Deuteronomy 5:28-29; 18:18-19). The second section is an extract from a prophecy of Balaam about the Messiah-figure, who is similar to David (Numbers 24:15-17). This prophecy predicts "A star shall come out of Jacob and a sceptre shall arise out of Israel; he shall crush the temples of Moab and destroy all the children of Sheth." The third section is a blessing of the Levites, and of the Priest-Messiah who will be a teacher like Levi (Deuteronomy 33:8-11). The last section begins with a verse from Joshua (6:26), which is then expounded by means of a quotation from the Psalms of Joshua (see 4Q379). These verses show that the Qumran community was interested in the messianic prophecies found in the Tanakh.

Interpretation[edit]

To date, no scholar has seriously attempted to identify the three figures described in 4Q175, but many associate them with a father and two sons. John Marco Allegro believed them to be Alexander Jannaeus and his sons; Frank Moore Cross identified them as Mattathias and his sons Simon and Judas Maccabee who were all central figures in the Maccabean revolt; while Otto Betz believed they were the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus and his two sons Aristobulus and Alexander Jannaeus.

Many scholars believe that the scribe who copied 4Q175 also copied the Community Rule (1QS) found in Cave 1 as well as a Samuel manuscript also found in Cave 4. All have been dated by the style of script (palaeography) to the Hasmonean period.

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