Almost every book in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament is charged with allusion to 'subtexts'. In order to appreciate those books fully, one must see behind them, to the texts in the background. Without such vision, interpretation is constricted. This sort of allusion may be too subtle for many modern readers. The result is that we are not accustomed to the phenomenon of few words signifying much. But we should not allow our historically conditioned deafness to blind us to oblique allusions in the Bible. Yet, how can the contemporary reader of an ancient work recognise these allusions? We may believe that we are reading books that are incomplete utterances and full of holes, that we must make present what is absent. Reading the Bible, we are in much the same position as a college student struggling to understand Dante or Milton. Every phrase has something in it, much more than initially perceived, but how do we perceive it? In this book, Professor Allison shows how the Dead Sea Scrolls can be of great help in this difficult task.
By showing us how certain biblical texts were understood and used, the Scrolls help us better comprehend how certain scriptural allusions function in the New Testament.