David L. Washburn, A Catalog of Biblical Passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002. Pp. 161. ISBN 1-58983-040-7. US $29.95.

1. In his 1990 work, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Major Publications and Tools for Study, Joseph A. Fitzmyer compiled a list of biblical passages occurring in the then published corpus of Qumran texts (Fitzmyer 1990). Although this was a useful compilation at the time, it was made before the publication of the wealth of Cave 4 documents became available and so is now dated. David L. Washburn has improved on Fitzmyer's work by publishing this timely catalog of biblical passages in the Qumran texts that includes the many new documents that have been released over the last decade.

2. Washburn begins with a brief (four page) introduction that describes the various parameters he has followed in producing the catalog (I will discuss a few of these below). The balance of the book (pp. 11-161) is a listing of every citation of a biblical text that occurs in the published Dead Sea Scroll corpus. This list is laid out in four columns and arranged in canonical order (according to the Christian Old Testament). The first column supplies the biblical reference being cited. The second column provides the identification of the scroll where this text is cited. Column three gives the publication information for this scroll (most are in the DJD series); column four provides a very brief commentary on the nature of the scroll and biblical citation. Here we are given information concerning how fragmentary a scroll is and how confident we can be of the identity of the biblical citation. We are also informed whether the given citation is closer to the MT, the LXX, some other text tradition, or is independent. Washburn has, without a doubt, produced the most comprehensive listing of biblical passages in the Qumran literature, and his book will be a valuable tool for anyone interested in the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. However, a couple of the parameters he has set out in the introduction do deserve further discussion.

3. Washburn defines the Dead Sea Scrolls as manuscripts discovered in the area of Khirbet Qumran, Wadi Murabba'at, Nahal Hever, and related sites. He explicitly omits any documents coming from the Cairo Genizah, which of course leaves out the Genizah manuscript of the Damascus Document, a text almost universally treated as part of the Dead Sea Scroll corpus and one replete with biblical citations. Washburn does include biblical citations occurring in Cave 4 fragments of the Damascus Document, but he refers to these only by numerical reference (i.e., 4Q266, 4Q267) without noting that these texts are related to the Damascus Document. It seems to me that at the very least the Cave 4 fragments should have been noted as belonging to the Damascus Document; preferable would have been to include all biblical citations occurring in the Genizah manuscript. The existence of the Cave 4 fragments establishes that the Genizah manuscript of the Damascus Document reflects a text associated in some way with Qumran, making it unclear why Washburn has virtually omitted it from consideration.

4. More serious perhaps is his treatment of 4QSama, certainly one of the most important biblical manuscripts discovered at Qumran. In his introduction, Washburn states that he intends to provide a catalog of biblical passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls published to date, and he notes that the DJD volume containing the Samuel scrolls from Cave 4 was not yet available to him. Of course he is correct about the delay in publication of DJD 17, the Samuel texts from Cave 4, and this leads me to expect no listings of Cave 4 Samuel texts in the catalog. Nevertheless, when I turn to listings for Samuel texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls, I do find a number of references from the Cave 4 Samuel texts. While the DJD volume has not yet been published, what Washburn has done is to cull texts from a variety of articles published on these texts. So for 4QSama Washburn notes--based on an article published in BASOR by F. M. Cross (Cross 1953)--that 1 Sam 1:22b-2:6 and 1 Sam 2:16-25 are preserved in this manuscript. There are, however, no additional listings of biblical citations from 4QSama, even though it is well known that this manuscript contains portions of many chapters of 1 and 2 Samuel, at least some of which have been the object of published studies. As just one example, the famous "missing verses" of 1 Samuel 11 were the object of a study by F. M. Cross (Cross 1980). Certainly, Washburn could have culled more of 4QSama from the published studies, or at least listed the full contents of the manuscript in a footnote. My concern is that a reader not familiar with the extent of the Bible at Qumran will get the impression from Washburn's listing that 4QSama contains only two passages from 1 Samuel 1-2, and this would be a decidedly wrong impression.

5. Further comments are in order concerning column four of the catalog, the column that provides brief textual commentary about each biblical citation. In his introduction Washburn refers to the argument occurring among scholars regarding the text-critical significance of the Qumran corpus. Some believe the Dead Sea Scrolls prove the reliability of the Masoretic Text, while others claim that they bear witness to a significant amount of textual fluidity in the books of the Hebrew Bible. According to Washburn, the catalog he has produced "will show that both views are oversimplified generalizations." That is, Washburn seems to be saying that the comments in column four constitute an argument concerning the character of the biblical text at Qumran. This is something of an overstatement. The large majority of the comments consist of no more than a sentence, asserting that a given text follows the MT or LXX, or that it is too fragmentary to be of any critical value. These are of course subjective assertions; what one scholar sees as of no textual value another may see as quite significant. Any argument concerning the textual character of the Bible at Qumran would require a far more comprehensive analysis of these citations than Washburn can provide in his brief comments. This is not to say that his comments are without value as a place to start, but users of Washburn's catalog should examine these texts themselves and make their own judgments concerning textual significance.

6. Finally, it is impossible to know how complete Washburn's catalog is. Trying to track down all of these biblical citations in a corpus of literature like the Dead Sea Scrolls is a monumental task. I do note that while Washburn has cited Gen. 12:18-15:4 as occurring in the Genesis Apocryphon, he has missed the very clear occurrence of Gen. 10:2 in column 12 of this work. Fitzmyer's list also cites the Apocryphon as containing several verses from Genesis 9 not included by Washburn, though I do find these references unclear. All this, of course, raises the question of how one knows a biblical citation when one sees it. How close to the received text must a citation be to be considered a biblical passage? This is undoubtedly a subjective determination, but to Washburn's credit he casts his net widely and includes targum fragments and biblical paraphrases.

7. Despite the above criticisms, Washburn has produced a very useful research tool for anyone interested in the textual history of the Hebrew Bible. He has made tracking down biblical citations in the Dead Sea Scrolls an immeasurably easier task.

© TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism, 2003.


Cross, Frank Moore 1953. "A New Qumran Biblical Fragment Related to the Original Hebrew Underlying the Septuagint." BASOR 132 (December 1953): 15-26.

Cross, Frank Moore 1980. "The Ammonite Oppression of the Tribes of Gad and Reuben: Missing Verses from 1 Samuel 11 Found in 4QSama." In The Hebrew and Greek Texts of Samuel: 1980 Proceedings IOSCS-Vienna, ed. Emanuel Tov, 105-119. Jerusalem: Academon.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. 1990. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Major Publications and Tools for Study. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Robert F. Shedinger
Luther College