Guide The Site of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Archaeological Interpretations and Debates

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Also related to the Enoch literature is the question of mysticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Mysticism admits of different definitions. While this is arguably a case of ascent mysticism, the interpretation remains in dispute. Davila finds evidence of vibrant mysticism, however, in the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, which he understands as a liturgical text. The apocalyptic and mystical traditions typified by the Enoch literature are one important strand of influence in the scrolls, but not the only one.

Armin Lange reviews the substantial corpus of wisdom texts found in the scrolls. He emphasizes the rise of Torah wisdom, and the increased interest in eschatology. A quite different strand of influence is explored by Albert de Jong. Zoroastrian influence on the dualism of the scrolls has been suggested since the early days of Qumran research. This topic is clouded by the difficulty of dating the Persian traditions.

The similarities are most striking in the Treatise on the Two Spirits. The description of the two spirits is almost wholly parallel to what we find in Iranian texts. The character and core values of the sect are at issue in the articles of David Lambert and Jonathan Klawans. Lambert questions whether the sectarian movement can be appropriately categorized as a penitential movement, if this is understood by analogy with penitential movements in the Middle Ages.

The scrolls attest to a deterministic worldview, in which one is acted upon by divine grace. They do not emphasize the feelings of remorse for past deeds that are later associated with repentance. Klawans notes the increased interest in ritual purity in Jewish Studies in general, and in Qumran studies in particular, over the last two decades. The dominant understanding of purity in the scrolls posits a meaningful and logically coherent sectarian purity system by following the interconnections among the various texts and correlating them with archaeological evidence.

Klawans finds merit in this view, but questions whether all the evidence fits together so well. He proposes an alternative interpretation for discussion. In this view, the sect would not have claimed to constitute an adequate substitute for the temple. Many of the laws were formulated with an eye to a utopian future rather than immediate practice.

Some acts may have been performed despite their incomplete effect. It should be noted that Klawans' discussion is predicated on the assumption that the scrolls are the library of the community at the site of Qumran; hence his concern for correlation between the scrolls and the archaeological evidence. It is not clear how this discussion would be affected if the scrolls were related more broadly to a movement of which only a small segment lived at Qumran assuming that Qumran was indeed a sectarian community.

Numéros en texte intégral

Another characteristic of the Qumran community, according to the consensus view, was that its membership consisted of celibate men. In recent years, the issue of women's presence in the community has been raised. The discussion, such as the seminal studies of Eileen Schuller, has focused on the role of women in the Qumran community: were they wives and daughters or full members of the sect? After critically reviewing Qumran scholarship and its focus on the Essene hypothesis, Tal Ilan takes a broader perspective on the gender reading of the biblical, apocryphal, and sectarian scrolls.

She weighs up the variants in these texts, arguing that they are not exegetical but textual variants that attest to previously unmentioned women, their activities, and gender ideology. For Ilan, the absence of not only Esther, but also Judith and Susannah, from the scrolls' corpus is significant indication of the dominant male ideology of the community. She also finds gender as a useful tool for analysing the female personification of Jerusalem in certain biblical Lamentations, 4Q and sapiential texts 4Q, 4Q, 4Q, 4QInstruction and Wisdom of Ben Sira.

She also discusses from the female perspective the halakhic regulations, those long known and more recently come to light, concerning polygyny, divorce, incest, oaths, the prospective bride, and endogamous marriages. Some aspects of religious life in the scrolls are discussed here with reference to their relation to later Judaism. This is the case with the discussion of mysticism, and also with the understanding of religious law, which was arguably the most important defining feature of the sectarian movement.

Aharon Shemesh examines an important difference between the Qumranic and rabbinic stance on halakhah. Whereas rabbinic literature names rabbis and reports their different opinions, the Qumran scrolls are silent on halakhic disputes. He argues that this difference is explicable by the source of authority of the halakhah : Qumran's halakhah is based upon the premise of divine authority, whereas the rabbinic legal rulings are predicated on the idea of human autonomy and reason.

There are also significant continuities between the scrolls and the rabbinic corpus in relation to liturgical practice. These are explored by Daniel Falk. He is careful to note that similarity is not identity, and does not always require a linear relationship. For example, although both the scrolls and the rabbinic writings share the concept of appointed times for prayer, neither the times nor the rationale are necessarily the same. Falk's essay also highlights the importance of new methodologies, specifically ritual studies, for understanding the scrolls.

He calls for a nuanced understanding of prayer that distinguishes between the surface meaning of the language and its rhetorical and ritual functions. Another area that cries out for comparison is the Dead Sea Scrolls' relationship to medieval Karaism. After all, one of the foundational texts of the Qumran community, the Damascus Document, was discovered in the Cairo Genizah.

Stefan Reif compares the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Cairo Genizah as sectarian collections by analysing not only the commonalities and divergences with respect to the literary remains of the Hebrew Bible, biblical interpretation, Hebrew grammar, and the masorah, Jewish law and liturgy, but also curatorial disposal, survival, accessibility, location of the holdings , palaeographical, and codicological issues. He focuses on the preservation of four texts the Damascus Document, Wisdom of Ben Sira, Aramaic Levi Document, and Tobit in both collections and suggests that while it has to be admitted that the preservation of both collections was serendipitous, the corpora testify to the importance of the literature preserved in them and the extent of literacy in both periods.

He concludes that the connection between the two collections is undeniable, and that Karaism owed a great debt to the religious ideas found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. As mentioned above, the heterogeneous collection of scrolls found in the eleven caves is not sectarian in the sense that it included only works that were written by the community. Some one quarter of all the scrolls are biblical texts. These attest to the fluidity of the biblical text, which had not yet been standardized when the scrolls were written.

He argues that the differences may in part be explained by the classic, epistemological contrast between realism and nominalism. Using the Exodus manuscripts from Qumran as a case study, Hendel puts forward an eclectic and multidimensional though he could only represent two dimensions on the page stemmatic model that includes multiple classificatory layers of editions from Ulrich , locales from Cross , social setting from Talmon , and textual groups from Tov.

It is, however, not only for textual criticism that the scrolls are important. He engages previous studies, especially those of Ian Eybers and James C. There is no evidence for a third division of Writings the evidence of 4QMMT being questioned , although the Psalms were recognized as a collection. The collection of scrolls found in the caves also included a number of exemplars of early biblical interpretations.

Some quote the biblical texts explicitly and provide their sectarian interpretation, while others rewrite the biblical texts that they presumably had before them. The Pesher is without doubt the quintessential form of sectarian exegesis that on the face of it distinguishes clearly between the lemma that is cited and the interpretation that follows; although, in its alteration of the biblical quotations, the pesher too crosses the exegetical line Lim In the past, this type of exegesis has been characterized as a straightforward identification of a biblical element X with an interpretative comment Y.

Bilhah Nitzan, however, shows how simplistic and misleading is such a characterization of the genre. Using a comparative approach to biblical interpretation in the Qumran scrolls and rabbinic literature she discusses the variegated exegeses of the continuous, thematic, and isolated pesher in relation to rabbinic exegeses, especially of the targumim and midrashim.

She argues that the pesher is to be distinguished from other types of exegeses, at Qumran, in the Apocrypha, or in midrashic literature, by its emphasis upon revelation. Using the technical term pesher , this sectarian exegesis seeks to unravel new divine revelations hidden in the prophetic oracles.

It must be recognized that there is a range of interpretative approaches collected under the category of pesher. Nitzan discusses a representative sampling of exegetical techniques, analyses its hermeneutical stance and social function, and concludes that while the pesher shares exegetical techniques with rabbinic midrash , its apocalyptic wordview, characterized by dualism, makes it distinctive.

This dualism is marked by struggles that are both political against the Pharisees and Sadducees on the one hand and the Greeks and Romans on the other and eschatological against wickedness. Jan Joosten discusses the languages of the scrolls, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, from diachronic and synchronic perspectives. He provides a brief sketch of the history of the languages and outlines, for Hebrew and Aramaic, their typological p.

Qumran-Essene Hypothesis

Qumran Hebrew represents a stage between biblical and mishnaic Hebrew. It was influenced by archaizing tendencies, especially by the Hebrew of the biblical texts, and the syntax, morphology, and vocabulary of Aramaic.

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Under this overlay of borrowings and influence, Joosten argues that there is a living substratum which attests to the active use of Hebrew. Some 14 per cent of the scrolls were written in the Aramaic language. These texts come from the Middle Aramaic phase of the language and the linguistic variation may be attributed to the different ages of the texts and to the personal preference of the author.

The few, badly mutilated Greek scrolls reflect the language of the Septuagint. One of the most contested areas of research, which receives disproportionate attention in the media, is the relationship of the Dead Sea Scrolls to early Christianity. John the Baptist, Essene Gate , ideological e. He concludes that while theories of direct influence between the two do not stand up to critical scrutiny, the scrolls nonetheless constitute an invaluable source of information for the wider Jewish background of the New Testament.

Using the scrolls especially the Songs of the Sabbath, 11QMelchizedek, 1 Enoch, the War Scroll together with other Jewish texts, Hurtado argues that Jews in the Second Temple period were firm monotheists who believed in the one God, but who also held that there were powerful, exalted figures of principal angels who acted as God's deputies. It is from this context that the binitarian pattern of early Christian devotion should be understood.

This early devotion emerged from the Jewish matrix, but it also innovated in portraying Jesus as the unique agent of creation and redemption, and in according him cultic devotion. The exegesis of the biblical texts is a defining characteristic of the scrolls and the New Testament, and from the early days of scrolls scholarship the similarities and differences have been noted. George Brooke provides an update of the research by discussing three key issues: textual fluidity, types of biblical interpretation, and exegetical methods. He provides three worked examples of shared exegetical traditions between the scrolls and the Gospels: Isaiah 35 and 61 in 4Q and Q; Isaiah 5 in 4Q, Mark and the synoptic parallels; and Psalms 2 and 82 in 4Q, Luke and p.

For Brooke, the shared exegetical traditions do not prove direct borrowings. Rather, they are to be explained by the common exegetical tendencies of the sectarians and those belonging more broadly to Judaism of the Second Temple Period. Complementing the historical and thematic studies of the scrolls are new approaches that use the analytical questions and methods of other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It is premature to speak of a chastened historical criticism, but the scrolls are not exempt from the challenges of postmodernism.

Maxine Grossman provides a brief, perspicuous overview of the insights of Roland Barthes, the emphasis upon the implied author and the meaning generated by different readers, before arguing that the different portrayals of the Teacher in 4QMMT and the Hodayot are literary fictions, made meaningful by the afterlife of these sectarian texts and the different audiences that read them.

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She argues that there is no fixed textual meaning and no consequent fixed historical knowledge in the scrolls or in any text. Carol Newsom advocates the use of rhetorical criticism in investigating the interplay between the role of the speaker, the use of language, and the reception of the audience. Newsom begins by providing a potted history of rhetoric from classical antiquity to the present, including a summary of the application of rhetorical criticism to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Then, she analyses two case studies of the rule texts and the Thanksgiving Psalms or Hodayot. By attending to the techniques, strategies, and tone of the speaker, Newsom concludes that the admonition in the Damascus Document is more initimate, reinforcing as it does the community's identity within the history of Israel. By contrast, the Community Rule is highly formalized and rather impersonal, and its motivational introduction is intended to transform the outsider Jew to the insider sectarian.

When scholars use sociology to describe the Qumran community as sectarian, they are often unaware of the contexts of the discourse from which the concepts and terminology are taken. Jutta Jokiranta argues that this usage has often been reductionist, focusing as it does on definition and leaving out features highlighted by the sociology of sectarianism e. It is also largely uninformed, sometimes mixing different theoretical frames of reference.

Grounding her discussion in five case studies, she puts forward two sociological approaches, focusing on the individual sectarian character, and the type of community and its relationship to society. Among other insights, her p. Finally, the article of Hector MacQueen considers the implications of scrolls scholarship for an important contemporary legal issue, the definition of authorship for purposes of copyright. The issue was crystallized by the lawsuit brought by Elisha Qimron against Hershel Shanks, for the unauthorized publication of the reconstructed text of 4QMMT.

The Israeli court that tried the case in effect declared that Qimron was the legal author of the reconstructed composite text. MacQueen describes how the judgment in the case of Qimron v. Shanks has been a watershed in this much contested area. Providing basic background information on the history and concepts of copyright law and updating the dicussion with the subsequent case of Sawkins v.

Hyperion Records Ltd , MacQueen suggests that copyright should protect the reconstruction of a composite text from discontinuous fragments, which can only be imperfect as regards the presumed Urtext. He concludes that this will promote rather than stifle scrolls scholarship. The judgment in Qimron v. Shanks does not give rise to any new method of studying the scrolls, but it has important implications for how the resulting studies are published and how Qumran scholars refer to and rely on the reconstructed text. It is in the nature of scholarship that results are seldom if ever definitive.

Dead Sea Scrolls still kindle archaeological debate, Ortiz says

New evidence comes to light. New perspectives change our perception of old problems. It was formed on the basis of a much smaller corpus of scrolls than what is now available. Gunneweg, J. Humbert, J. Gunneweg ed.


Hempel, C. Bernstein, et al. Grossman ed. Roitman, et al. August Friedrich, et al.

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Hultgren, S. Kapfer, H. Knibb, M. Wise, et al. Kugler, A. Lange, A. Tov ed. Lankester Harding, G. Laperrousaz, E. Lapin, H. Lawrence, J. Leaney, A.

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Lemaire, A. Siegert, J. Kalms eds. Lucas, A. Magen, Y. Magness, J. Kapera ed. Stacey: Some Archaeological Observations on the Aqueducts of. Qumran, Dead Sea Discoveries — Mason, S. Chapman : Flavius Josephus Translation and Commentary, vol. Metso, S. Michniewicz, J. Milik, J. Baillet, et al. Newsom, C. Pfann, S.

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Qumran, in: K. Price, R. Rabin, I. Rajak, T. Studies in Cultural and Social Interaction, Leiden. Regev, E.

Schofield, A. Sievers, J. Smith, M. In he became a novitiate of the Dominican order. He took seminars in archaeology while studying theology. In he received a degree in theology, after which he moved to the Ecole biblique in Jerusalem began to study archaeology at a higher level, completing various courses of study, which included fieldwork throughout the s. He was professor of Palestinian Archaeology until From to Humbert co-directed digs at the citadel of Amman. Until he directed the excavations at Khirbet es-Samra in Jordan.

Since he has led a mission to Gaza, uncovering the Byzantine remains there. In [3] the Ecole Biblique decided to publish the final report of the Qumran excavations carried out by Roland de Vaux and appointed Humbert to expedite the publication.