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Constructing "We, You, And The Others" Through Non-Polemical Discourse

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Chapter Summary

For a sectarian community, such as the Yahad of Qumran, the task of group formation was a highly self-conscious enterprise. Intentional differentiation between ?we? and ?others? is most clearly marked in polemical formulations that distinguish between ?children of light? and ?children of darkness? or the ?habitation of the wicked? and the ?council of holiness.? Although this polemical language has a crucial role to play in the construction of the identity of ?us? and ?them? in the Yahad?s worldview, the chapter directs attention to the important but often overlooked role of non-polemical discourse in creating the dispositions of affinity and estrangement. To understand the crucial role of non-polemical discourse it is helpful to consider the social nature of language itself, a topic central to the work of the Bakhtin circle.

Keywords: Bakhtin circle; non-polemical discourse; polemical language; Qumran; sectarian community



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