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Qumran Texts

New Perspectives on Old Texts: Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 9–11 January, 2005 Edited by Esther G. Chazon & Betsy Halpern-Amaru, in collaboration with Ruth A. Clements (STDJ: Studies on the Texts in the Desert of Judah, 88: Brill)

This volume presents new perspectives on the ancient texts discovered at Qumran. The essays offer fresh insights into particular texts and genres, by applying methods and constructs drawn from other disciplines to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and by exploring new as well as long-standing issues raised by these works. The topics and approaches engaged include group identity, memory, ritual theory, sectarian sociology, philosophy of education, liturgical anthropology, Jewish law, history of religion, and mysticism. The articles in this volume were originally presented at the Tenth Annual International Orion Symposium sponsored in 2005 by the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Excerpt: This volume contains a selection of papers presented at the Tenth Annual Orion International Symposium, sponsored by the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and held January 9-11, 2005. To celebrate its tenth anniversary and in anticipation of full publication of the Scrolls, slated for 2001 but actually completed in 2009, the Center decided that the program for this symposium would be framed to engage a wide range of scholarship on the theme of "New Perspectives on Old Texts."

Reflecting the broad scope of the tenth symposium, the papers in this volume demonstrate varied methodologies and treat major issues within the Qumran corpus. At the same time, each of these papers offers fresh insights into a particular text or genre of texts. Several papers demonstrate the fruitfulness of applying constructs and methods drawn from other disciplines to the study of the Scrolls. Others, grounded in the history of Judaism or the history of religion, explore issues hitherto not addressed, and in three instances, highlight the need for reassessment of earlier scholarship.

Noah Hacham adopts the sociohistorical construct of "diasporan identity" as an analytical tool to compare the mindset of the sectarian Qumran community with that of Hellenistic Jewish communities living outside the land of Israel. Applying social memory theory to texts and contexts dealing with the Teacher of Righteousness, Loren Stuckenbruck examines the reception of the "recorded memory" of the Teacher by later devotees and shows how that memory was employed to reinforce the self-perception of the Qumran community in its new circumstances. Michael Daise employs ritual theory and a modified version of Jacob Milgrom's approach to ritual in Leviticus to address the issue of ritual density in Qumran practice, particularly as demonstrated by the ablutions prescribed in Serekh Ha-Yahad. The fourth paper in this group, that of Eyal Regev, uses sociological distinctions between reform and sectarian movements to support an argument regarding the chronological relationship between 1 Enoch, Jubilees, the Essenes, and the development of the Qumran sectarian community.

Among the papers grounded in the history of religion is Bilhah Nitzan's study of the philosophy of education embedded within Qumran sapiential texts with a particular focus on their appropriation of traditional values and accommodation of the apocalyptic and deterministic worldviews of Qumran theology. A close analysis of biblical allusions in 1 Q/4QMysteries, Torleif Elgvin's paper uncovers deliberate borrowing, interpretation, conflation, recontextualization, and recasting of biblical phrases in the sapiential, eschatological, and hymnic sections of this composite work. Lawrence Schiffman examines writing as a mode of transmission at Qumran and explores the relationship between specific designations for written texts and their type of authority. Cana Werman's paper examines the interplay between popular custom and legal principles in the intricate development of the halakhah relating to the wood offering in Second Temple and rabbinic texts.

Reassessment is the primary theme of the last three papers. Exploring Qumran cosmology and anthropology, particularly its "liturgical anthropology," Crispin Fletcher-Lewis discloses a holistic worldview that calls into question the dualistic cosmology so often ascribed to the Qumran community. Looking anew at the issue of tevul yom in the Temple Scroll, 4QD, and 4QMMT, Martha Himmelfarb raises methodological questions regarding the reading of Qumran texts in the light of later rabbinic halakhah and cautions against necessarily presuming opposing streams of law in the centuries before 70 CE. Lastly, Philip Alexander's fresh examination of the evidence for mystical praxis in the Scrolls invites reconsideration of Scholem's construction of the development of Jewish mysticism and argues for integration of the Qumran evidence into the history of western mysticism.

Contents: NEW APPROACHES Exile and Self-Identity in the Qumran Sect and in Hellenistic Judaism NOAH HACHAM The Legacy of the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls LOREN T. STUCKENBRUCK Ritual Density in Qumran Practice: Ablutions in the Serekh Ha-Yahad MICHAEL A. DAISE From Enoch to John the Essene: An Analysis of Sectarian Development in 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and the Essenes EYAL REGEV INNOVATIVE READINGS Education and Wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls in Light of their Background in Antiquity BILHAH NITZAN The Use of Scripture in 1Q/4QMysteries TORLEIF ELGVIN Memory and Manuscript: Books, Scrolls and the Tradition of the Dead Sea Scrolls LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN The Wood-Offering: The Evolution of a Halakhah in Qumran and Rabbinic Law CANA WERMAN REASSESSING OLD PERSPECTIVES Further Reflections on a Divine and Angelic Humanity in the Dead Sea Scrolls CRISPIN H. T. FLETCHER-LOUIS The Polemic against the Tevul Yom: A Reexamination MARTHA HIMMELFARB Qumran and the Genealogy of Western Mysticism PHILIP S. ALEXANDER Index of Modern Authors Index of Ancient Sources


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