Sunday, 31 July 2016
Communities and Libraries II
Religion and Cultural Memory (tr. Rodney Livingstone),
Jan Assmann, Stanford University Press, 2006, page 76-77
Assmann then examines the Hebrew Bible through the 'library' lens:
The Hebrew Bible has all the characteristics of such a "highly necessary" working library. It is far closer to a library than to a book. In its final canonical form it restricts itself to three sections: the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings (in an anti-climactic sequence). We gain the impression that with the Hebrew Bible the library of one textual community has prevailed over the libraries of other textual communities. These textual communities can be pictured according to the traditional groupings, such as Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes and so on.
However sharp internal debate between differing textual communities may be, Assmann speaks too of external conflict:
In ancient Judaism we have to distinguish between internal and external contrasts or conflicts. On the one side, we have the internal conflicts betwen such groups as the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essen es and others. On the other side, there is the external conflict between Jews and Greeks (2 Macc 2:21), or between Israel and the nations, Jews and gentiles.