Article

Constructing Ancient Judaism from the Scrolls

Martin Goodman

in The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199207237
Published online January 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199207237.003.0004

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Constructing Ancient Judaism from the Scrolls

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Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls can be classified as religious documents of one kind or another, and all the studies since 1947 that have been devoted to their significance can be characterized as attempts to construct some aspect of ancient Judaism from them. Where agreement has been harder to achieve is on the centrality of the role to be accorded to the evidence from the scrolls in constructing a picture of Judaism in the last centuries BCE and the first century CE. Although the scrolls provide reason to believe that some sectarians believed that much was wrong with the Temple in Jerusalem, no text actually states that sectarians should avoid the Temple altogether. The question for the historian is whether the evidence from such texts should be enough to encourage the view that sectarian Jews with such beliefs would cut themselves off from the Temple.

Keywords: Dead Sea Scrolls; religious documents; Judaism; Dead Sea sectarians; Temple in Jerusalem; Second Temple; sectarian Jews

Article.  5187 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies ; Religion in the Ancient World

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