The Dead Sea Sect was a group of Jews who broke off from the Temple establishment, leaving Jerusalem in about 152 BCE when Jonathan the Maccabee took over as high priest. Prof. Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University
Identification of the Sect
There is still a popular conception that the Dead Sea Scrolls can solve the problem of early Christianity, but that prevents us from learning about the rise of Christianity through these Jewish texts. Prof. Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University
Overview Overview- Identification of the Sect Primary sources Josephus, Antiquities XIII, 297- The Pharisees and Sadducees on the Traditions of the Fathers Josephus, Antiquities XVIII, 18-22- The Doctrine of the Essenes Josephus, War II, 119-61- The Life of the Essenes Philo, Every Good Man is Free XII, 75-87- Description of the Essenes Pliny, Natural History […]
The Dead Sea Scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls Fifty Years After Their Discovery (ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Emanuel Tov and James C. VanderKam), Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem 2000, p.486-496. For the past fifty years, investigations into the historical background of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been hampered by the assumption that these scrolls are somehow […]
The Wicked Priest, The Man of Lies, and The Righteous Teacher – The Problem of Identity, William H. Brownlee, The Jewish Quarterly Review 73,1 (1982).
The Dead Sea Scrolls How does one reconstruct a history of the Qumrân Community in relation to its enemies, when one knows them only from disparaging titles, such as “Wicked Priest,” “Man (or Prophet) of Lies”? It may be that the name of the Righteous Teacher was Judah, although that has been seldom recognized. The […]
The Dead Sea Scrolls The most sensational discovery of ancient manuscripts in modern times occurred in 1947 in Palestine during the last months of the British Mandate. Three cousins, Ta’mireh Bedouin, were leading their flocks of sheep and goats on the plateau just to the west of the Dead Sea. Jum’a Muhammad Khalil found two […]
Marriage Ritual, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Cave 4 has yielded a document dubiously labeled Ritual of Marriage. Because its formulation seems to have little to do with matrimony, however, it is highly doubtful that this text actually was a marriage ritual. On the other hand, the alternative suggestion that the text is an old-age ritual for honoring […]
Historical Ramifications, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
The Dead Sea Scrolls The Halakhic Letter has wide ramifications for our understanding of Jewish history in the Hasmonaean period. In the letter, the views ascribed to the opponents of the emerging sect are the same as those usually attributed in rabbinic literature to the Pharisees or the early Rabbis. When mishnaic texts preserve Pharisee-Sadducee […]
Celibacy of the Essenes, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Assumptions that the Dead Sea sect was celibate and that women were not accepted into its ranks represent to a great extent the legacy of classical writers’ descriptions of the Essenes. Based on that received tradition, most scholars in our own time have concluded that the Dead Sea sect is therefore […]
Evidence of the Halakhic Letter, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
The Dead Sea Scrolls A Qumran text, today known as the Halakhic Letter, demonstrates quite clearly that the root cause that led to the sectarian schism consisted of a series of disagreements about sacrificial law and ritual purity. The full name of this document is Miqsat Ma‘ase ha-Torah (some legal rulings pertaining to the Torah). […]