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Dwellers At Qumran: Reflections On Their Literacy, Social Status, And Identity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reflects on the literacy, social status, and identity of the people who lived at Qumran, based on a survey of relevant material evidence from the site. It keeps all options open regarding the relationship between the site of Khirbet Qumran and the scrolls. According to Sheridan and Ullinger strongly emphasize that anyone trying to generalize the results to the whole population at Qumran is misusing the data. The same is true concerning the social status, nutrition, or state of health of the whole population. The archaeological remains do not support the idea that the dwellers at Qumran lived in strict isolation. Even if we accept as a working hypothesis that some or even most of the scrolls found in the caves were produced at Qumran, we have no reason to believe that all or most of the community members worked as scribes.

Keywords: Dead Sea Scrolls; dwellers at Qumran; identity; Khirbet Qumran site; literacy; social status



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