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Introduction To "Soap At Qumran"

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is an introduction to what triggered the soap manufacture possibility at Qumran, before the Honour Class of Leiden-Delft tried to execute the proposed recipe in reality. The project discussed focuses on an aspect of Qumran in Israel. The reason to focus on the soap manufacture was foremost the extreme puritan character of the Essenes that was described by the ancient writer Flavius Josephus, a Jewish army commander converted into a history writer for the Romans in the first century after Christ. In order to make soft soap the Qumranites needed water, animal fat or plant fatty substances, a fire and lye, also known as caustic soda. Without lye, one cannot make soap. The chapter shows that the Qumranites could have had the knowledge how to produce the necessary lye and probably did base on material finds.

Keywords: Israel; lye; Qumran; soap manufacture



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