What these works show, contends Sidnie White Crawford, is that there was a spectrum of texts, beginning with the scriptural text, moving to a harmonized scriptural text, and then beyond, to entirely new compositions. All of these texts are the products of a particular understanding of the work of the scribe, which was to not merely copy, but to also interpret, update, and make relevant the Scripture for the contemporary Jewish community. This understanding led to texts that were ???rewritten.??? Interpretation took place within the texts, not separately from them.
Propounding a new theory of how these texts cohere as a group, especially in her assertion that they can be identified with the Essenes and that the pre-Samaritan scriptural texts are a product of this interpretive school, Crawford offers an original and evocative work for anybody interested in the Second Temple period.