Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: The History of Judaism, the Background of Christianity, the Lost Library of Qumran / Edition 1

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This in-depth examination of the Dead Sea Scrolls reveals their true heart: a missing link between ancient and modern Judaism. Because the Dead Sea Scrolls include the earliest known manuscripts of the Bible as well as Jewish documents composed just after the Hebrew biblical period, they contain a gold mine of information about the history of Judaism and the early roots and background of Christianity. Schiffman refocuses the controversy from who controls access to the Scrolls today to what the Scrolls tell us about the past. He challenges the prevailing notion of earlier Scrolls scholars that the Dead Sea Scrolls were proto-Christian, demonstrating instead their thorough-going Jewish character and their importance for understanding the history of Judaism. Schiffman shows us that the Scrolls library in the Dead Sea caves was gathered by a breakaway priestly sect that left Jerusalem in the aftermath of the Maccabean revolt. They were angry that their fellow Sadducees in the Temple were content to accommodate themselves to the victorious Hasmonaean rulers who had embraced the views of the Pharisees - forerunners of the talmudic rabbis. This loyal opposition, a band of pious Sadducee priests, retreated to the desert, taking up residence at Qumran. From this group, the Dead Sea sect developed. In addition to its own writings, the sect gathered the texts of related groups, placing them in its library along with numerous biblical and apocryphal texts. Those other works, some previously known, others unknown, were preserved here in the original Hebrew or Aramaic. Numerous prayer texts, either from the Dead Sea sect or other Jewish groups, were also preserved. Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls puts into perspective the triumph of rabbinic Judaism after the Jewish military defeat by Rome. Readers will appreciate this lost chapter of Judaism, not only for its historical insights, but also for its parallels with modern Judaism on such issues as religious pluralism, sectarian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780827605305
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 413
  • Lexile: 1300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.46 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables, Charts, and Maps
Author's Note
Pt. I Discovery and Disclosure: Liberating the Scrolls 1
1 Shepherds and Scholars: Secrets of the Caves 3
2 Scholars, Scrolls, and Scandals 21
3 The Archaeology of Qumran 37
Pt. II The Community at Qumran 63
4 Judaism, Hellenism, and Sectarianism 65
5 Origins and Early History 83
6 The Character of the Community 97
7 Leadership 113
8 Women in the Scrolls 127
9 Faith and Belief 145
Pt. III Closing the Canon: Biblical Texts and Interpretation 159
10 Bible, Canon, and Text 161
11 Apocryphal Literature 181
12 Wisdom and the Mysteries of Creation 197
13 Biblical Interpretation 211
14 The Prophets in the Hands of Men 223
Pt. IV To Live as a Jew 243
15 The Theology of Jewish Law 245
16 The Enigma of the Temple Scroll 257
17 The Law of the Sect 273
18 Prayer and Ritual 289
Pt. V Mysticism, Messianism, and the End of Days 315
19 The Messianic Idea 317
20 The Community at the End of Days 329
21 The "Pierced Messiah" and Other Controversial Texts 341
22 Mysticism and Magic 351
Pt. VI Sectarianism, Nationalism, and Consensus 369
23 Israel and the Nations 371
24 Jerusalem, the Holy City 385
25 The Decline of Sectarianism and the Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism 395
List of Abbreviations 411
Reference Notes 413
Glossary 453
Guide to Dead Sea Scrolls Texts Cited 461
Bibliography 471
Index 513
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