Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Measuring Time

Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Measuring Time

Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Measuring Time

Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Measuring Time

Synopsis

VanderKam explores the evidence about calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hebrew Bible & other ancient Jewish texts. He examines the pertinent texts, their sources & the uses to which people put calendrical information in the Christian world.

Excerpt

The Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a six-volume series designed to provide introductions to the principal literary genres found among these very important texts. From the outset the intention behind the series has been to focus on the texts themselves, before trying to assert what their historical or theological significance might be. the series treats principally the finds from the eleven caves at Qumran, but some other contemporary texts found in the Judaean wilderness in the last fifty years are also considered.

In 1991 all the unpublished manuscripts from Caves 4 and 11 at Qumran became available to the scholarly world at large and to the general public. Much has been done to incorporate all the new information into scholarly debates about Jewish religion and history in the late Second Temple period, but little of the overall significance of the whole literary corpus has been put in the public domain. a major aim of this series is to step back from the debates about the history and identification of the community or movement respon-sible for writing or preserving these manuscripts. in so doing, entirely fresh consideration can be given to the literary corpus as a whole within the context of Jewish literature of the three centuries before the fall of the temple in 70 ce. On such fresh and newly constructed foundations firmer opinions can be offered about the importance of the scrolls for emerging forms of Judaism and for nascent Christianity.

It is important for those interested in Jewish history and religion of this period to have access to the primary resources, the texts, for themselves, so that anybody can make up their own minds about them. However, some of the textual evidence is very fragmentary and difficult to assess, some of it is entirely new evidence in the discussions. Students of all kinds need straightforward guides to the literature to enable them to trace a secure path through the mass of material. It is not the purpose of this series to provide detailed translations and commentaries on individual texts, though in some chapters of some of the volumes in the series this is the case. Though small extracts and quotations are often given, to make the most of what is written in each volume readers will need to have access to one of the standard translations of the Dead Sea scrolls in English. Nor is the purpose of the series to cover every single text. But the general reader will find here a valuable and up-to-date companion to the principal literary genres found in the scrolls.

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