Welcome to the Dead Sea Scrolls Webpage

These pages were created and are maintained by Dr. James R. Davila, Lecturer in Early Jewish Studies, for the honours course module DI4712/4713 (postgraduate DI5212), “The Dead Sea Scrolls,” which is being taught in the spring semester of 2005, opening on Tuesday, 8 February.

This module is a survey of the Dead Sea Scrolls and related manuscript finds from the Judean Desert. The class will read and discussed the major sectarian texts from Qumran with a view toward understanding their place in Second Temple Judaism. Attention will also be given to the archaeological context of the Qumran discoveries, as well as to the revolutionary importance of the scrolls for our understanding of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. We will also take note of related manuscript discoveries, such as the letters from the period of the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Readings for the online course are in English only. An earlier version of this course with an accompanying e-mail discussion list was taught in the spring semester of 2001. It was followed by an International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls as Background to Postbiblical Judaism and Early Christianity. Papers from this conference have now been published in James R. Davila (ed.), The Dead Sea Scrolls as Background to Postbiblical Judaism and Early Christianity: Papers from a Conference at St. Andrews in 2001 (STDJ 46; Leiden: Brill, 20

The “blog” will open on 8 February and will accompany the web page during the semester while the course is running. The blog will go on hiatus sometime in May. While it is running, it will act as a kind of bulletin board for the course: I will post summaries of course material, reflections on this material, notices of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the media, etc. Comments will not be enabled on this blog. For more information, follow the link and read the “About Qumranica.com” page.

Note also my blog PaleoJudaica.com, which has been running for the last two years and will continue to run concurrently with Qumranica. PaleoJudaica is a weblog on ancient Judaism and its historical and literary context.

Reading List

The following are textbooks for the course:

Florentino García Martínez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English (Leiden: Brill, 1995) (Hereafter, “DSST“)

James C. VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1994) (Hereafter, “VanderKam”)

Articles were also assigned from the following encyclopaedic works:

David Noel Freedman (ed.), The Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1992) (Hereafter, ABD . )

Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) (Hereafter, EDSS)

In addition, the following book will be discussed near the end of the course and is highly recommended:

Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1998)

An annotated bibliography for the Qumran texts and the topics to be covered in the course is also available.

Opening Message and Introduction (L)
Read: VanderKam 1-70, 187-201 (if possible)

Provisional Schedule of Topics and Assignments

The realtime seminar for registered St. Andrews students meets at St. Mary’s College meets in Seminar Room 3 on Tuesdays from 2:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Hebrew section meets for an additional hour in Seminar Room 2 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm on Fridays. The first three weeks of the seminar will consist of lectures by the instructor. These and later online lectures by the instructor and guest lecturers are marked “(L).” The rest of the sessions will consist of seminars based on previously circulated student essays “(S).” In general, articles in the EDSS are more up to date and are to be preferred over those in the ABD. But reading both will do you no harm.

Week 1 (8 Feb)

Week 2 (15 Feb) 
The Damascus Document and the Community Rule (L)
Read: DSST, 33-73, 2-32; EDSS, 165-70, 793-97 or ABD, 2:8-10, 1:1110-1112; VanderKam 71-98

Week 3 (22 Feb) 
The War Rule and the Pesharim (L)
Read: DSST, 94-140, 185-299; EDSS, 965-68, 644-56 or ABD, 6:875-76; 5:245-51; VanderKam 99-119

(Presentation of student essays begins in the fourth week)

Week 4 (1 Mar) 
Poetic Texts/the Hymns Scroll (S)
Read: DSST, 302-404; “Hodayot,” EDSS, 365-69 or “Thanksgiving Hymns (1QH),” ABD, 6:438-41

Week 5 (8 Mar) 
Halakhic Texts/4QMMT (Halakhic Letter) (S)
Read: DSST, 76-92, 142-84; “Miqsat Ma(asei Ha-Torah,” EDSS, 558-60 or “Miqs9at Ma(ase HaTorah,” ABD, 4:842-45

The Temple Scroll (S)
Read: DSST, 76-92, 142-84; “Temple Scroll,” EDSS, 927-33 or “Temple Scroll,” ABD, 6:348-50

Week 6 (15 Mar) 
Liturgical Texts/ the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (S)
Read: DSST, 406-57; “Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice,” EDSS, 887-89 or “Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice,” ABD, 6:155-56

Calendrical Texts (S) 
Read: DSST, 443-57; “Calendars and Mishmarot,” DSSE, 108-117 or “Calendars: Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish,” ABD, 1:814-20

Week 7 (22 Mar) 
The Archaeology of Qumran (S)
Read: “Archaeology,” EDSS, 57-63; “Qumran: Archaeology,” EDSS, 733-39 or “Qumran, Khirbet,” ABD, 5:590-94

The Copper Scroll (S)
Read: DSST, 460-63; “Copper Scroll,” EDSS, 144-48 or “Copper Scroll (3Q15),” ABD, 1:1133-34

(Spring break: 26 March – 10 April) 
Guest Lecture: Dr. Maxine Grossman, “From Text to History: Some Methodological Observations”

Week 8 (12 Apr) 
Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (S)
Read: “Jesus,” EDSS, 404-408

The Apostle Paul and the Dead Sea Scrolls (S) 
Read: EDSS, 638-41

Week 9 (19 Apr) 
Women and the Dead Sea Scrolls (S)
Read: Eileen Schuller and Cecilia Wassen. “Women: Daily Life,” EDSS, 981-84; Hannah M. Cotton, “Women: The Texts,” EDSS, 984-87.

Texts from the Period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (S) 
Read: EDSS, 73-75, 78-83 or ABD, 1:598-606

Week 10 (26 Apr) 
The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Basic Theory (S) 
Read: “Essenes,” EDSS, 262-68 or “Essenes,” ABD, 2:619-26

Scriptural Exegesis in the Dead Sea Scrolls (S) 
Read: TBA

Week 11 (3 May) 
The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Boccaccini’s Enochic Judaism (S)

The Scrolls and the Archives of Jerusalem (S)
Read: Norman Golb, “Who Hid the Dead Sea Scrolls?” BA 48 (1985): 68-82

These pages were last updated 22 February 2005

Dr James R Davila (jrd4@st-andrews.ac.uk)