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DRAWNEL Henryk, S.d.B.The Aramaic Levi Autobiography: Text, Translation, and Commentary
(Mod.: Prof. Joseph SIEVERS)

     The purpose of the dissertation is, first of all, to present all available text fragments of the Aramaic Levi Autobiography, also known as Aramaic Levi or The Aramaic Levi Document, in an order that is suggested by the evidence of manuscripts and by the sequence of events in the Greek Testament of Levi, a work related to the Autobiography. A paleographical description of the fragments together with an analysis of their mutual relationship and order serves this goal. Sixteen plates of photographs of the manuscripts added at the end of the dissertation facilitate the reader’s reference to the originals. Several photographs of the manuscripts of the Autobiography were prepared especially for this dissertation and are published here for the very first

Secondly, a systematic reflection on the content of this Aramaic work intends to situate it in the historical context of the Second Temple period and to find an answer as to its literary structure and genre. The composition of the work is dated approximately to the early third century B.C., and Levitical priestly circles with their educational practices and ideals are indicated as the most plausible social setting for the creation of the Autobiography. The literary analysis of the whole composition led to the use of the term pseudepigraphic autobiography as the most adequate definition of its literary genre. Since the Autobiography exegetically developed, or alluded to, many biblical texts, ascribing the authorship of the work to the priestly patriarch, it belongs to the pseudepigraphic literature of the Old Testament. It is, however, the only text in Jewish literature that contains priestly ideals valid for priestly education together with methods of professional priestly instruction.

Thirdly, a detailed commentary on each literary unit presents the content of the Autobiography and its relation to the biblical text, pseudepigraphic Jewish literature, and scribal school practices in ancient Mesopotamia. At the end of the dissertation, the reader may consult Aramaic, Greek, and Syriac concordances, bibliography, and plates with the photographs of the manuscripts.