Biblical Archaeology Review 19:5, September/October 1993

Idiosyncratic Views of the Dead Sea Scrolls

For 30 years, scholars have fruitfully used the Dead Sea Scrolls to understand the Qumran community, the Jesus movement and other Jewish groups within the rich context of first-century Judaism. These early Jewish and Christian studies have illuminated the complexity of the cultural, historical, religious, political and social forces that nourished all these movements. The Qumran community exerted an indirect influence on Jewish worldviews, practices, piety and laws. This is much easier to prove than any direct contact between the world of Qumran and any other specific movements. It is therefore regrettable that many essays in this volume try to substantiate direct links between the historical Jesus and the Qumran community. Despite the editor’s attempt to justify the search for such links, similar recent efforts to decisively attribute certain sayings and parables to Jesus have become mired in the most intricate and uncertain of arguments.a Happily, some of the authors ignored the title of this book and wrote about what we can know: the fascinating world of early Judaism (including the Jesus movement) manifested in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament and other sources.

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