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Ritual Purity

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Chapter Summary

The study of ritual purity in the texts from Qumran has proven to be central to Dead Sea Scrolls studies. The original characterization of the Scrolls as the work of pious monks awaiting the end of the world has been nuanced in various ways, including a strong emphasis on Jewish law, especially in matters of purity and the cult. Purity has played a decisive role in shaping major theories in contemporary Scrolls scholarship. This chapter focuses on three issues for which purity studies have been essential: 1) the relationship of the Scrolls to each other and to the rest of Second Temple Judaism; 2) the possible residence of some Scroll authors at Khirbet Qumran, and 3) the contribution of purity research in the Scrolls to rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity.

Keywords: Dead Sea Scrolls; early Christianity; Khirbet Qumran; rabbinic Judaism; ritual purity



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