Spring 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 2 Translation FolioApril 4, 2023 |

Dead Sea Scroll

Translator's Note What I’ve tried to do in this translation is to treat the fragmentary nature of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls as an essential aspect of their poetics and not as an obstacle to be overcome in reading them. My process involved leafing through editions of the poetic and liturgical texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and scrolling through them online, until a particular phrase or sequence of letters or even just a gap in the text grabbed my attention. I tried not to think too hard about it. Then I rendered what was intelligible to me from that fragment into a loose English, and whatever was unintelligible, I tried to render as well by transcribing its sounds and syllables. I felt sometimes as I was working on this that I had stumbled into a kind of prelinguistic babble, something that was always latent in biblical Hebrew poetry but that was obscured by the contingencies of meaning-making. Since the fragments I was working with were all in some way liturgical poetry

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Daniel Kraft is a poet, translator, and educator living in Richmond, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in Jewish studies from Harvard Divinity School, and his poems, essays, and translations of Yiddish and Hebrew appear in a number of publications, including Poetry Ireland Review, Image, and Jewish Currents. More information is available at danieljkraft.com.

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