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Religious Life at Qumran

Qumran and Jerusalem, Jacob Neusner, Fellowship in Judaism, Valentine, Mitchell, London 1963.
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Qumran and Jerusalem, Jacob Neusner, Fellowship in Judaism, Valentine, Mitchell, London 1963.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Two Jewish Ways to Fellowship The modern world knows two forms of Utopianism, social and revolutionary. The social Utopian would restore society to its ancient ideal, proposing to reconstruct the city out of its own stone and mortar. The revolutionary Utopian would build a new society on the ruins of the […]

Zadokite Priests, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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Zadokite Priests, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls At the very founding of the sect, Zadokite priests played a leading role. Yet even though we have considerable documentary evidence about their prominence in the sect, the role of the Zadokite priests may have been largely ceremonial or even anachronistic. As founders of the sect, the Zadokite priests probably passed […]

The Sabbath Code, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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The Sabbath Code, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls The Sabbath code, clearly marked as a discrete literary unit by its heading, is one of the primary legal sections in the Zadokite Fragments. It contains a list of laws—called a serekh. We will briefly discuss some of its laws, noting how these laws derive from the Torah and how they […]

The Qumran Supplication Texts., Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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The Qumran Supplication Texts., Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Certain parallels to what rabbinic liturgy calls Tahanun (supplication texts) have also been identified in the caves. The Lament of cave 4 was copied in about 50–25 B.C.E. This text appeals to God to remember the downtrodden condition and disgrace of Israel and not to hand over the land to foreigners. […]

The Law of the Sect, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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The Law of the Sect, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls We have already seen that the Qumran sect divided laws into two types- the revealed and the hidden. Because the revealed law, the Torah, was accessible to all Jews, the sectarians did not concern themselves with it very much. Therefore, following their lead, we will focus primarily on the hidden law. […]

Purification Rituals, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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Purification Rituals, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Another manuscript to be considered here, Purification Rituals, has been dated to the early first century B.C.E. The text discusses a number of issues- sexual impurities, purity of the cultic servitors, the laws of skin diseases for both persons and houses, and contact with the dead. In addition, the text explicitly […]

The Sectarian Communal Meal, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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The Sectarian Communal Meal, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Although the messianic banquet of rabbinic sources was envisioned as a onetime affair inaugurating the messianic era, the Dead Sea community looked forward to a regular series of such banquets, as is evident from the words “whenever (the meal) is ar[ranged] when as many as ten [meet] together.” The sectarian practice […]

Women in the Temple Scroll, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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Women in the Temple Scroll, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Temple Scroll sketches out an ideal paradigm for holiness in the present, premessianic era. It is probable that this text was not composed entirely by the Qumran sect, for it depends heavily on sources derived from Sadducean circles and differs in many respects from the Qumran sectarian corpus. Nonetheless, it reflects a way of […]

Temple and Synagogue, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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Temple and Synagogue, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls The sect that left us the Dead Sea Scrolls removed itself voluntarily from Hellenistic Jerusalem and forswore participation in the Jerusalem sacrificial service, regarding the conduct of that service’s priestly rituals no longer acceptable. Sect members maintained that violations of the law marred the Temple and that its priests were illegitimate. […]

Tefillin and Mezuzah, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.
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Tefillin and Mezuzah, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia 1994.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Central to the religious life described in talmudic sources are tefillin and mezuzah. The tefillin, usually called phylacteries in English (a misnomer derived from the Greek word meaning “amulet”), are leather boxes containing parchments, each with certain biblical passages. The boxes are attached with leather thongs to the head and arm. […]