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What's in a name?: A study of sobriquets in the Pesharim
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present study addresses the problem of a simplistic historical interpretation of the sobriquetsin the pesharim. An alternative approach is advocated taking its beginning in perceiving themessage in the pesharim as primarily an ideological vindication of the Qumran community, theYahad. The role and function of the sobriquets comes in this context close to the phenomenonknown as nicknaming. A comparison is made with similar biblical designations, e.g. "king ofthe South" and `king of the North" in Daniel 11, Pompey in the Psalms of Solomon, "Babylon"in the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament, "the synagogue of Satan" and "the womanJezebel" in Revelation. On the basis of these analogies it is concluded that such inventedepithets are derived from biblical concepts and expressions. However, there is no intention ofsecrecy when designing such epithets

In the case of three categories, namely sobriquets of enemies, honourable sobriquets andsobriquets of rulers, these designations are to be understood from a biblical angle and from theperspective of the Yahad. Thus "the Wicked Priest" has failed to fill his obligation as a priestand has become instead a physical danger towards the community. "The Man of the Lie", withhis second name "the Spreader of the Lie" imposes a direct authoritative threat against theYahad. Likewise "the Seekers of Smooth Things". This group has received its epithet mainlyfrom their alleged alliance with the ruling power in Jerusalem. Together with "Ephraim", "Manasseh", "the House of Peleg " "the traitors" and "the House of Absalom", the two latter, designations belongs to a sphere of groups and factions, which left the realm around the Yahad.The key to the meaning of their designations is betrayal. "The Teacher of Righteousness" is thedesignation of the founder and inspirer of the Yahad. This title reflects his crucial functions forthe Yahad. "The Doers of the Torah" designates the faithful adherents to the Teacher. Both theKittim and the Angry Lion are godly authorised retaliators of the wicked within the own People.A consequence of the investigation is that the sobriquets cannot be one-sidedly understood as anhistorical cipher. Even if the epithets originated in an historical situation, their primary functionis to evaluate different characters and groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2000. , 333 p.
Keyword [en]
Religion, Dead Sea Scrolls, Qumran, sobriquets, code-names, nicknames, pesharim, the Yahad, 1QpHab, 4QpNah. 4QpPsa, 4QpIsaa-e, 1QpMic, 4QpHosb, CD, 1QHa, king of the South, king of the North, Pompey, Babylon, the synagogue of Satan, the woman Jezebel, the Wicked Priest, the Man of the Lie, the Spreader of the Lie, the Seekers of Smooth Things, Ephraim, Manasseh, the House of Peleg, the House of Absalom, the traitors, the Teacher of Righteousness, the Doers of the Torah, the Kittim, the Angry Lion
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
History of Religions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-788ISBN: 99-3250506-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-788DiVA: diva2:170244
Public defence
2000-06-03, Dekansalen, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2000-05-13 Created: 2000-05-13 Last updated: 2016-05-26Bibliographically approved

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Bengtsson, Håkan
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