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The Book of Jubilees, 2 vols
Author: James C. Vanderkam
Publisher: Peeters, Leuven
Year: 1989
Number of pages: xviii + 301 / xxxviii + 368
Format: pdf/rar
Size: 12.5 MB + 20.9 MB
These monumental volumes represent the first edition of the Ethiopic text of Jubilees since that of R. H. Charles in 1895. The only other published edition of the text is the editio princeps of August Dillmann, from 1859. Dillmanns edition was based on two Ethiopic manuscripts. Charles used Dillmanns edition and two other manuscripts. Since 1895, 23 additional copies have been identified. Vanderkams list is a slightly revised form of one published by R. Zuurmond in his article "Het ordeel over Kain in de oud-joodse traditie," ACEBT 3 (1982) 115. He also follows Zuurmond's classification of the manuscripts into 6 families with some significant modification. He agrees with Charles, against Zuurmond, that ms. 25 is the best manuscript. (Zuurmond preferred ms. 17, also an excellent manuscript.) Ms. 25 shows fewest disagreements with the Hebrew fragments from Qumran and also with the Syriac, while ms. 20, from the same family, has fewest disagreements with the Latin. VanderKam has collated 15 representative manuscripts in his apparatus, including nearly all the more ancient ones.

In addition to the Ethiopic text, Vanderkam includes the versional evidence, both in the original languages and in translation. He includes the Hebrew fragments published up to 1989, the citations and allusions in Syriac and Greek and the more extensive Latin fragments. The versional evidence is collated in sequence and presented after the Ethiopic text. The translation, however, is accompanied by extensive textual notes which correlate the evidence of the versions with the Ethiopic.

Since Vanderkam agrees with Charles as to the best textual witness, his critical text differs from the older edition in fine details rather than in obvious substance. He is more reluctant to emend the text than Charles was. When emendations are proposed, they are not placed in the critical text, but are italicized in the English translation. Vanderkam also avoids archaic expressions and provides the most readable modern translation of Jubilees now available.

This edition of Jubilees is a major scholarly accomplishment. Charles's edition remained standard for almost a century. It would not be surprising if Vanderkam's edition enjoyed equal longevity. It is unfortunate that all the Hebrew fragments were not available for inclusion (see now Vanderkam's article in JBL 110/2). This limitation, however, is in no way the fault of the editor.

John J. Collins University of Chicago, Chicago

Vol. 1: A Critical Text
Vol. 2: Translation
Password: uztranslations


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