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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of this book, which deals with some fundamental questions of Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and Qumran scholarship, such as the history of the groups or communities that produced the literature. The book also deals with the Damascus Document and the Rule of the Community. The conventional hypothesis that identifies the Qumran community with the Essenes has been called into question in recent years by the publication of Miq ṣat Ma'aśe ha-Torah (4QMMT). At the very least, the new evidence suggests that the origins of Qumran are complex than a simple identification with the Essenes would suggest. This picture from the Damascus Document is only strengthened through new evidence such as the Apocryphon of Jeremiah, which gives evidence of criticism of the priesthood and of Israel at large, and perhaps also of the existence of a renewal movement in Palestine, already in the 3rd century BC.

Keywords: Apocryphon of Jeremiah; Damascus Document; Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS); Essene Judaism



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