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Liturgical Works
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Liturgical Works


Eerdmans 2000

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Among the invaluable manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments of liturgical texts relevant to the ritual life of Jews around beginning of the first century AD. These fascinating writings include prayers for annual festivals, a covenant renewal liturgy, a mystical liturgy for sabbath sacrifices, a grace ceremony for mourners, daily and weekly prayers, liturgies of purification, and perhaps even a wedding ceremony. In this volume, James Davila introduces, translates, and provides a detailed exegesis of these important documents.

The book begins with a general introduction to the Qumran library and Jewish liturgical traditions. Davila then provides an introduction, translation, notes on the original Hebrew, and line-by-line commentary for each of the Qumran liturgical works. Davila's excellent translation work combines overlapping fragmentary manuscripts into a single, smoothly flowing text, and his commentary includes numerous fresh insights and observations on these writings. Giving full attention to parallel texts found in the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish and Christian writings through late antiquity, Davila firmly situates the Qumran liturgical works in their historical context in Second Temple Judaism and discusses their significance as background to the Jewish liturgy, Jewish mysticism, and Christian origins.

Get more resources with Eerdmans Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Key Features

  • Provides a general introduction to the Qumran library and Jewish liturgical traditions
  • Includes numerous fresh insights and observations on these writings
  • Situates the Qumran liturgical works in their historical context in Second Temple Judaism


  • Festival Prayers
  • 4QBerakhot
  • Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice
  • Times for Praising God
  • Grace after Meals
  • A Lamentation
  • A Wedding Ceremony?
  • Daily Prayers
  • The Words of the Luminaries
  • Purification Liturgies

Praise for the Print Edition

Davila, one of the leading international experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls, translates and in part reconstructs the very fragmentary corpus of texts that specialists have decided to classify as ‘liturgical.’. . . The distinctive feature of the present volume is the detailed, line-by-line commentary which summarizes, supplements, and frequently corrects earlier research. Davila has set a high standard for the series of which the present book happens to be the first installment.

Internationale Zeitschriftenshau für Bibelwissenshaft und Grenzgebiete

The great strength of the work is found in the commentary section, where Davila provides extensive references to biblical, Rabbinic, Christian and Hekhalot literature. It is a significant resource for scholars and students interested in understanding the Qumran liturgical texts in their historical and literary context.

Religious Studies Review

Product Details

About James R. Davila

James R. Davila is professor of early Jewish studies at the University of St. Andrews. He is also coeditor of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, vol.1.

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