Beyond the Qumran Community (Collins): The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls / January 01, 2010
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A systematic analysis of the Essene Sect that argues a surprising claim
With the full publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, fresh analysis of the evidence presented can be — and indeed, should be — made. Beyond the Qumran Community does just that, reaching a surprising conclusion: the sect described in the Dead Sea Scrolls developed later than has usually been supposed and was never confined to the site of Qumran.
John J. Collins here deconstructs “the Qumran community” and shows that the sectarian documents actually come from a text spread throughout the land. He first examines the Community Rule or Yahad, and then considers the Teacher of Righteousness, a pivotal figure in the Essene movement, discovering that he was probably active in the first century bce rather than in the Maccabean era. After examining the available evidence, Collins concludes that it is, in fact, overwhelmingly likely that the site of Qumran housed merely a single settlement of this widespread movement.
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