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Sabbath At Elephantine A Short Episode In The Construction Of Jewish Identity

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Chapter Summary

In Judaism the observance of the Sabbath is an important identity marker until this day. At Qumran, the Sabbath was known both in its liturgical and in its moral character. 4Q400-407 and 11Q17 contain the 'Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice', also known as the 'Angelic Liturgy'. Within Jewish and Christian belief systems the origin of the Sabbath is construed as a sign of God for humanity. Elephantine is the Greek name for a small island in the Nile not far from present day Assuan. The inscriptions from Elephantine evidence the existence of the Sabbath-institution among the Yehudites. It should be noted that Elephantine in the Persian Period cannot be construed as a purely Yahwistic community. The inscriptions from Elephantine give us an, unfortunately unclear, insight into a pre-final and obviously liberal phase in the construction of Jewish identity.

Keywords: Elephantine; Jewish identity; Judaism; Persian Period; Qumran; Sabbath; Yehudites



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