Impurity and Sin in the Literature of Qumran

Jonathan Klawans

in Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195132908
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848850 | DOI:
Impurity and Sin in the Literature of Qumran

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This chapter addresses the literature of Qumran, focusing on the texts that were not only unearthed at Qumran, but also generally recognized to have been composed by the group that settled here. The analysis emphasizes most closely the Community Rule (1QS), a major theme of which is the defiling force of sin. Habakkuk Pesher (1QpHab), the Thanksgiving Scroll (1QH), the War Scroll (1QM), the Damascus Document (CD),1 and some of the more fragmentary texts that were discovered in Qumran Cave Four, including the recently published halakhic letter, 4Q Miqsat Ma'aseh ha—Torah (4QMMT), are the other texts that are assessed. It also examines the pertinent literature from Qumran in light of the conceptual framework and historical analyses. Moreover, an analysis of what is most distinctive about the approach taken to ritual and moral impurity at Qumran is described: the nearly complete integration of the two once distinct ideas into one single conception of impurity that has both ritual and moral connotations. Finally, Qumran's innovative approach to ritual and moral impurity is taken into account.

Keywords: Qumran literature; ritual impurity; moral impurity; sin

Chapter.  13888 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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