Article

Exploring the Mystical Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls

James R. Davila

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/9780199207237.003.0019

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Exploring the Mystical Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls

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The Dead Sea Scrolls provide considerable evidence for a vibrant mystical tradition that involved not only theoretical musings about the heavenly realm based on scriptural exegesis, but also ritual practices closely associated with such imaginative constructs, along with an interest in transformational ascents to heaven by biblical figures and perhaps others. There is evidence that some of these mystical traditions survived and were developed by Jews and Christians in later centuries, although it is not yet entirely clear whether these survivals came from a vision mysticism common to Second Temple Judaism or from a successionist priestly mysticism derived directly from Qumran sectarianism or both, and not all scholars are convinced of a genetic link at all between the earlier and later traditions. The discussion also looks into the Hekhalot literature and early Christian mysticism.

Keywords: Qumran writings; scriptural exegesis; Dead Sea Scrolls; Second Temple Judaism; vision mysticism; Qumran sectarianism; Hekhalot literature; Christian mysticism

Article.  10330 words. 

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

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