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The Wood-Offering: The Convoluted Evolution Of A Halakhah In Qumran And Rabbinic Law

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Chapter Summary

The precise nature and date of the practice of bringing wood offering to the Temple are elusive. First mentioned in Neh 10:35, the practice is attested in Josephus, Qumran, Megillat Taʿanit, and in Tannaitic and Amoraic literature. This chapter reconsiders this ritual, examining its development in two Qumran texts and in rabbinic halakhah, each of which, for reasons of its own, altered what author views as a popular custom. A tripartite discussion is therefore necessary: of Qumran literature, of rabbinic literature, and of relationship between the testimony found in these corpora and actual practice during Second Temple period. Two documents found at Qumran, 4Q365 and the Temple Scroll, contain an injunction to bring wood to Temple. Separate consideration of each text and its halakhah is the first step, to be followed by a comparison of the two texts and by an attempt to determine the reality to which they respond.

Keywords: 4Q365; Halakhah; Megillat Taʿanit; Qumran texts; Rabbinic literature; Second Temple period; Temple Scroll; wood offering



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