Major changes are occurring in our understanding of the fascinating texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their significance for the study of the history of Judaism and Christianity. One of the most significant changes—that one cannot study Qumran without Jerusalem nor Jerusalem without Qumran—is explored in this important volume. Although the Scrolls preserve the peculiar ideology of the Qumran sect, much of the material also represents the common beliefs and practices of the Judaism of the time.
Here Lawrence Schiffman mines these incredible documents to reveal their significance for the reconstruction of the history of Judaism. His investigation brings to life a period of immense significance for the history of the Western world. Though many of the essays here have been previously published, all have been substantially revised. The resulting volume offers a comprehensive study that is understandable to a far wider audience than are many works on the Scrolls.
A celebrated specialist on the Dead Sea Scrolls and early Judaism, Lawrence Schiffman demonstrates that while some of the Qumran Scrolls reflect the unique thoughts of the Qumranites, others reveal the beliefs and laws of many nonsectarian Jews, including those who controlled the Jerusalem cult. In fact, the Qumranites defined themselves in contrast to the reigning priests and leaders in Jerusalem. Thus, as Schiffman demonstrates, Qumran and Jerusalem should be studied together. These essays are requisite reading for anyone interested in early Judaism and Christian origins.
—James H. Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary