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“Gather the dispersed of Judah:” Seeking a return to the land as a factor in jewish identity of Late Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter isolates two explicit petitions for the ingathering of the Diaspora in the Qumran corpus, both in non-sectarian liturgies: one in the annual Festival Prayers and the other in the weekly liturgy of the Words of the Luminaries. It suggests that the Qumran liturgical pool basically mirrors the situation in the contemporary Palestinian literature. Whereas the Words of the Luminaries and the Festival Prayers share a common liturgical tradition and appear to come from the same milieu, the prayer concerning King Jonathan in 4Q448 presents us with a different perspective on praying for Diaspora Jewry. This petition can be seen as a feature of Palestinian rather than of Diaspora Jewish identity, and Palestinian rather than Diaspora Jewry would appear to have had a special, vested interest in operatively petitioning for the return of all Jews to the Land of Israel.

Keywords: Diaspora Jewish identity; festival prayers; Israel; King Jonathan; luminaries; Palestinian literature; Qumran corpus



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