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The Otherworld In The Dead Sea Scrolls

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Chapter Summary

At the outset, it may be well to recall the ideas about the afterlife that the Scrolls inherited from the earliest apocalypses, those of Enoch and Daniel. George Nickelsburg has recently provided a very helpful review of the evidence. The Book of the Watchers, in 1 Enoch 22, famously speaks of four hollow places under a mountain where the dead are separated into various groups to await the final judgment. The fate of the wicked is described somewhat more consistently in the early apocalypses. According to 1 Enoch 22, the wicked who have not been subjected to judgment in their lifetime will suffer "scourges and tortures of the cursed forever" The books of Enoch (excepting the Similitudes) and the book of Daniel were preserved among the Dead Sea Scrolls in multiple copies, and their views on the afterlife were presumably known to the authors of the sectarian scrolls.

Keywords: book of the watchers; Daniel; dead sea scrolls; Enoch; George Nickelsburg



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