This volume by Joseph Fitzmyer, a pioneer in the field of Dead Sea Scrolls research, collects twelve of his recent studies on the Scrolls, including a new essay on Qumran messianism. Well known for his landmark work in Aramaic studies and on the Semitic background of the New Testament, Fitzmyer explores how the Scrolls have shed light on the interpretation of biblical themes and on the rise of early Christianity. All of the articles in this volume have been updated to take into account current discussions.
“On the other hand, the Qumran texts have brought to light aspects of Palestinian Judaism that differ at times from the rabbinic material. This difference comes from the kind of Judaism that the Qumran texts represent, the Essene, whereas the rabbinic tradition is derived mainly from the Pharisaic.” (Page 10)
“This means the study of the Law’ (1QS 8:12–16). The way to be prepared for God’s coming is different: for the Essenes it meant the study of the Law; for John it was a preparation for his ministry of baptizing for the forgiveness of sins.” (Pages 19–20)
“Here mārê’, ‘Lord,’ stands in parallelism with ’ĕlāhā’, ‘God.’ It shows clearly that it was not unthinkable for a Palestinian Jew of the first century b.c. to refer to God simply as ‘Lord.’” (Page 31)
“John’s baptism, however, is now better explained as a development of the ritual washings of the Essene community” (Page 20)
“If Melchizedek were indeed thought of by pre-Christian Jews as a heavenly redemption figure who performed a priestly function (expiation) for the men of his lot, then one can see how the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews could depict Christ, the ‘Son of God,’ and ‘without beginning of days or end of life,’ as a ‘priest according to the order of Melchizedek.’” (Page 39)
Scholars, teachers, and students will greatly benefit from accessing this volume from one of the foremost contemporary scholars of the early Jewish and New Testament deposit.