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Social Identity In The Qumran Movement: The Case Of The Penal Code

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Chapter Summary

The Qumran movement is often regarded as a special case within Judaism. The movement had a clear organization, and it was extreme in many aspects, and remained within the boundaries of the Israelite identity. This chapter discusses the make-up and identity of the movement and the role of a specific rule collection in the Qumran texts, the penal code, in relation to this identity. Seemingly strict regulations cannot be taken as evidence of extreme fundamentalism or sectarianism without a more careful analysis of how these regulations relate to the overall ethos and identity within and around the movement. The chapter utilizes the social identity approach, and explains the penal code from that perspective. The social identity approach provides a wider perspective on the issue at hand since it focuses on intergroup relations and the formation of social identities.

Keywords: Israelite identity; Judaism; penal code; Qumran movement; social identity approach



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