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‘Canon’ And Identity At Qumran: An Overview And Challenges For Future Research

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Chapter Summary

The question of canon formation has become a focus of renewed interest since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Books that were later rejected from the Jewish canon appear to have been authoritative for the Qumranites, such as 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. This article explores the ways the emerging collections of authoritative Jewish literature as preserved in the Qumran library might reflect and represent the development of the identity or identities of the group responsible for preserving and maintaining this collection. Social identity theory is one approach that has recently been introduced into biblical studies. In canon research, it could be fruitful to ask how the processes of the formation of a canon are reflecting the shared attitudes of a certain (religious) group. What needs to be investigated is how the group identity affects the choices and decisions made in the canonical processes.

Keywords: 1 Enoch; Book of Jubilees; canon formation; canon research; Dead Sea Scrolls; Qumran library; social identity theory



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