The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State

Synopsis

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State is the first book dedicated solely to the question of how we can learn political history from the Qumran scrolls. This English edition of Hanan Eshel's 2004 Hebrew publication updates that earlier work with more recent scholarship, now also including English-language resources.

Excerpt

In 1987, I attended a conference organized by Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, the University of Haifa, and Tel Aviv University in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls. At this conference, Professor Carol Newsom of Emory University lectured about a scroll from Cave 4 that contained an actualizing interpretation (a pesher) of Joshua’s curse on whomever would rebuild Jericho: “At the cost of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest he shall set up its gates” (Josh 6:26). the pesher asserted that the curse had fallen upon the “Man of Belial” who had rebuilt Jericho and appointed his two sons to succeed him. At the conference, I informed Prof. Newsome that her observations could be corroborated by evidence from archaeological excavations conducted in Jericho by Prof. Ehud Netzer who had recently uncovered an agricultural estate and palace complex built by John Hyrcanus, who ruled over Judaea between 134 and 104 B.C.E. I also pointed out that according to Josephus, Hyrcanus’ two sons who had succeeded him died within less than a year. Prof. Newsom thanked me for the information, but went on to say that she had no archaeological training. Although I tried to convince her that such archaeological data is within anyone’s reach, she persisted in maintaining that she did not have the necessary skills to deal with it critically. After the conference, I called Prof. Ehud Netzer and with much excitement told him about the scroll, Josephus’ account, and how it all fit in perfectly with his archaeological findings. I suggested writing an article together with him, demonstrating how his excavations at Jericho illuminated the pesher’s application of Joshua’s curse on John Hyrcanus and the death of his two . . .

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