The Pesher Technique

© 2005 Dr. Barbara Thiering (April, 2005)

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From the theory of scripture given us by the Qumran pesharim, we now turn to the New Testament, to see how the Qumran theory is applied in a new way, to give us the actual history of Jesus.

The method will be explained here through illustrations from the most problematic parts of the gospels, the miracles, including the major miracles of the Virgin Birth and Resurrection.


  • Josephus,
    Jewish Antiquities & The Jewish War, Loeb Library
  • Philo,
    The Works of Philo Judaeus, Loeb Library
  • The Nag Hammadi Library in English,
    ed James M. Robinson,
    third edition,
    E.J.Brill, Leiden, 1988


  • Jewish Antiquities & The Jewish War
    (The above 19th century translation of Josephus by William Whiston is not as good as the more recent 1960's Loeb Library translation which gives the Greek text, an improved translation, and a more convenient method of numbering the divisions.)
  • '' - Works of Philo Judaeus
  • '' - Nag Hammadi Library

Dr Thiering's hypothesis is: Supposing a group holding the Qumran definition of a two-level scripture set out to write a new scripture, would they not be obliged, on their own definition, to construct their new scripture in two levels? Supposing also that they had a history that they wanted to preserve, yet confine to an inner elite group, would not the pesher theory of scripture serve them very well? Their ordinary members would benefit from the surface meanings concerning morality, while the inner group would discover actual historical events concerning their institution.