School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures

Inventory of Structurally Important Literary Features in the Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literatures of Antiquity

A corpus-based list of generically defined literary features occurring in at least one text of the Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, the near-complete large Dead Sea Scrolls, or Rabbinic Literature.

Work in progress, version -355, 25 February 2011. Please cite information from this document as: A. Samely, P. Alexander, R. Bernasconi, R. Hayward, "Inventory of Structurally Important Literary Features in Ancient Jewish Literature (Version -355)" (Manchester:, 2010), plus Inventory Point number.

This Inventory is part of the outcomes of the Project Typology of Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literature of Antiquity (TAPJLA) Manchester-Durham 2007-2011, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).

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B. Perspective

2. The perspective and knowledge presuppositions of the governing voice(s)

Definition of the literary feature Selected texts illustrating the feature
2.1. The information conveyed in the text defines the perspective of the governing voice in the following way:

2.1.1. The text does not thematize how the governing voice comes to know the text's contents or its right to command obedience from the addressee, but suggests its knowledge or authority is unlimited.
Jubilees, LAB, Sefer Yetsirah, Tobit (for the anonymous half) In the case of a narrative, the governing voice's perspective tacitly is that of someone "present" at all events equally, regardless of their time, place or nature (e.g. thoughts), without mediation of information.
much of Scripture; LAB, Tobit (for the anonymous half) The text is not narrative but the governing voice refers to utterances on the basis of unexplained knowledge of speech events of diverse periods and places.
Mishnah and Tosefta quoting Tannaim as speakers The text's governing voice speaks from the perspective of unmediated access to all levels and parts of some projected reality (no evidence offered).
Sefer Yetsirah The text's governing voice speaks from the perspective of unlimited authority in commanding the addressee's obedience.
Temple Scroll, 1QS
2.1.2. The governing voice thematizes how it comes to know the text's contents or its right to command obedience from the text's addressee. Its perspective is presented as limited, referring either to evidence (see e.g., 5.9), or to personal experience (mere human knowledge).
4QMMT, Sirach, [extraneous example: Pauline Letters] The governing voice refers to norms whose commanding force is unlimited, but speaks from a perspective clearly distinguished from that of the ultimate law-giver.
Mishnah, Bavli, Pentateuch, Sirach The governing voice appeals to the projected addressee for a particular action, projecting limited knowledge or authority.
Prayer of Manasseh, Hodayyot The governing voice suggests its information or advice is based on his/her own experiences or on other knowledge filtered by reflections on personal experience.
Some T12Patriarchs; Ahiqar; Sirach Greek, [extraneous example: Marcus Aurelius, To Himself]
2.1.3. The knowledge or authority of the text is presented as exceeding what the persona projected by the governing voice would ordinarily be able to achieve, e.g. by identifying supernatural or non-human mediators and informants (e.g., angelus interpres). 1Enoch
2.1.4. The governing voice explicitly acknowledges that something mentioned in the text cannot be adequately expressed or conveyed to the projected addressee.
1Enoch 14:16, Aristeas
2.1.5. The information in the text is characterized as secret or as (made) known exclusively to the persona projected by the governing voice.
2.1.6. The governing voice explicitly claims unmediated knowledge of all reported events, direct knowledge of all aspects of a reality projected in description, or unlimited authority to command obedience from the addressee.

2.1.7. The governing voice (whether first or third person) is anonymous, that is, not presented as tied to a specific personal identity.
Mishnah Tractates
2.1.8. The governing voice speaks at no point in the first person (except for any and all persons/objects are mentioned from a third-person perspective.
most Mishnah Tractates
2.1.9. An anonymous voice repeatedly reports the direct speech of a character whose speech accounts for the bulk of the text (but not continuously).  [Identify which of these two voices is treated as the “governing voice” of points 2.1, 2.2, 8 and passim and why.]
3Enoch (R. Ishmael), Targum Qohelet
2.2. A first-person voice imposes its perspective on all (or almost all) knowledge or norms conveyed in the text.

2.2.1. The first-person governing voice is identified by an anonymous voice through a proper name or unique description. (Points–3 are devoted to the anonymous voice; all other points presuppose the knowledge horizon of the first-person voice, unless otherwise indicated.)
Jubilees, Tobit The anonymous voice presents the first-person utterance as a situation-unspecific "text", not as uttered in a unique situation of the past. The anonymous introduction is thus marked as a kind of frame (an "extra", a preamble, a label, etc.) to the text's main part.
Tobit (up to 3:7) The anonymous voice introduces the first-person speech as having been uttered in a unique narrative occasion, described by the anonymous voice. (For non-narrative speech contents, see also 5.1.)
TJob, TReu, etc., Jubilees The anonymous introduction of the first-person governing voice of the text has the following characteristics (also applies to 2.2.2): It contextualizes the person (Tobit), or contextualizes the person placed in a unique occasion of speaking.
Tobit 1:1-2, TJob 1:1-4; TReu, Jubilees It consists of minimal or merely formal information (e.g. name and genre/generic contents). It is found at the beginning of the text only.
Tobit, TJob, 4Ezra, Jubilees It is found at the end of the text only.
Visions of Ezekiel (?) It is found both at the beginning and at the end of the text.
2.2.2. The first person voice identifies itself by proper name or unique description. This may be in addition to an anonymous identification (2.2.1) and may be repeated. [note these differences here]
Sibyl. Or. 3 end, GenApoc The voice identifies itself by way of a "signature", as at the beginning or end of a text projecting itself as letter or another text with a salutation.
[extraneous example: Pauline Letters]
2.2.3. The first-person governing voice is not identified by proper name or unique description, but speaks of himself/herself in the first person at least once.
Megillat Ta'anit
2.2.4. The number and gender of the first-person governing voice are as follows: Singular
Sibyl. Or. 3 end Plural
4QMMT The first person is used but represents a generic "I" ("we") of discourse and discussion, not the projection of a specific persona.
Mekhilta Ishmael, Sifra, Bavli The first person forms are marked for gender [please specify]
Sibyl. Or.
2.2.5. The first-person governing voice additionally refers to herself/himself also in some third person grammatical constructions.
Temple Scroll
2.3. There is an unexplained switch of the grammatical person of the governing voice within the main body of the text: (a) from first to third person; (b) from third to first person; or (c) from one first to another first person. (For narrative, see 4.15.)
(a) GenApoc Abram section; Tobit; TJob first switch; (b): TJob second switch; (c) TJob if read differently
2.4. The governing voice defines a horizon of knowledge as shared with the projected addressee by taking for granted the following linguistic usages or references (in selection):

2.4.1. Persons or unique objects referred to by proper name, unique description or technical expression, for the following kinds of items: For persons presented or mentioned in narrative usage; as characters; or as topics. For example: [please specify] For persons quoted with direct speech in a non-narrative co-text (see also 5). For example: [please specify] For Gods, mythical figures, supernatural beings, etc. For example: [please specify] For locations. For example: [please specify] For times or calendar dates specific to a language or culture. For example: [please specify] For documents, texts, books, etc., identified through being referred to or quoted. For example: [please specify]

2.4.2. Circumlocations, proper names (e.g. "Esau") or unique descriptions employed as "code" names.
1QpNah, Sibyl.Or. 5:12-48
2.4.3. The text as a whole routinely employs the following language(s), knowledge of which is taken for granted: [please specify] Additional language(s) taken for granted in quoted speech or certain parts of the text are:

2.4.4. Special linguistic usages occurring pervasively or prominently: Technical expressions for a particular subject matter.
halakhic concepts, etc. Technical expressions for presenting disputes/dialectic exchanges.
Sifra 1:1, Gemara Technical expressions for the meta-linguistic presentation of another text. See 6.9.4.
1QpHab, Midrashic texts Biblicizing language, such that the text may project itself as being linked to a biblical text. See Other special linguistic usages occurring pervasively or prominently (including loan words, calques; normative force of indicative language).
kyrios; Mishnah (normative force)
2.4.5. The meaning of some linguistic usage or reference is addressed explicitly, marking it as not being part of the shared horizon of knowledge.
"Pentecost" in Greek Tobit 2:1; Treatise of Shem
2.5. The text contains deictic or other expressions referring to the governing voice's time or place, or place it after/before some key event:

2.5.1. As part of the words of the governing voice.
1Bar, 4Mac, EsthR, Mishnah Gittin
2.5.2. As part of the words of a quoted character, but with implications also for the governing voice.
LevR 7:3 (R. Acha, p. 155 Margolioth); Tosefta RH
2.6. The text presents itself as speaking to certain persons, groups or entities, explicitly projecting a certain image of its addressee.

2.6.1. The governing voice uses an apostrophe, second-person grammatical forms or first-person exclusive or inclusive "we".
4QMMT An audience is identified as the intended receiver of a text projecting itself as a letter. 
Aristeas [extraneous example: Pauline Letters]
2.6.2. The projected addressee is characterized as having a certain moral or epistemic stance, or as standing in contrast to another group's moral or epistemic stance.
1 Enoch
2.6.3. The governing voice uses verbs of epistemic or moral exhortation or employs focus markers.
Psalms of Solomon 17, Ahiqar 6:85,87
2.6.4. The governing voice directs questions at the projected addressee marked as rhetorical or as suggesting the audience assume a particular epistemic or moral stance (contrast 8.2.5).

2.6.5. The governing voice employs exclamatory or declamatory modes of speech (cf. 8.1.13).
Psalms of Solomon, 17:42
2.7. The epistemic stance, knowledge horizon, moral stance and identity of the governing voice, and of the projected addressee, do not become thematic in the text. Mishnah as a whole and Mishnah Tractates

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