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The Self as Symbolic Space: Constructing Identity and Community at Qumran

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Overview

This volume investigates critical practices by which the Qumran community constituted itself as a sectarian society. Key to the formation of the community was the reconstruction of the identity of individual members. In this way the “self” became an important symbolic space for the development of the ideology of the sect. Persons who came to experience themselves in light of the narratives and symbolic structures embedded in the community practices would have developed the dispositions of affinity and estrangement necessary for the constitution of a sectarian society. Drawing on various theories of discourse and practice in rhetoric, philosophy, and anthropology, the book examines the construction of the self in two central documents: the Serek ha-Yahad and the Hodayot.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'…a goldmine of insights…'
C. Hempel, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 2005.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Carol A. Newsom, Ph.D. (1982) in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, Harvard University, is Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Emory University. She is author of the critical edition of 4QShirot ‘Olat HaShabbat in DJD XI (Oxford, 1998) and of The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations (Oxford, 2003).
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Table of Contents

1. Communities of Discourse
2. Torah, Knowledge, and Symbolic Power: Strategies of Discourse in Second Temple Judaism
3. Knowing as Doing: The Social Symbolics of Knowledge in the Two Spirits Treatise of the Serek ha-Yahad
4. How to Make a Sectarian: Formation of Language, Self, and Community in the Serek ha-Yahad
5. What Do Hodayot Do? Language and the Construction of the Self in Sectarian Prayer
6. The Hodayot of the Leader and the Needs of Sectarian Community
Conclusions

Bibliography
Subject Index
Modern Author Index
Passage Index

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