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 aims to deconstruct "the Qumran community" and show that the sectarian documents actually come from a text spread throughout the land. He first examines the Community Rule or Yahad. Rather than confirming the general assumption that this rulebook relates to a monastic-style community living at the site of Qumran, Collins finds instead that the Essene accounts themselves emphasize that they had settlements in every city. He also 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 house merely a single settlement of this widespread movement.
Key Selling Points
- A systematic analysis of the Essene Sect
- Argues a surprising claim