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The Identification and History of the Qumran Community in American Scholarship

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Chapter Summary

American scholars were active in Qumran scholarship from the first discoveries of the Scrolls. John Trever, William Brownlee, and Millar Burrows, fellows and Director respectively of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (ASOR), were the first scholars to study the cave manuscripts in the possession of the Metropolitan Samuel. As the field of Dead Sea Scrolls studies widened in the 1970s and 80s, several American scholars took up the legacy of Cross and Strugnell, and turned their attention to the identification and history of the community. One important development in the Qumran-Essene hypothesis, reflected here in VanderKam's quotation, is the abandonment of the absolute identification of the Essenes with the Qumran community and only the Qumran community; rather an acknowledgement of the differences between the Scrolls and the classical sources gave rise to the idea that Qumran was a &t;branch,&t; &t;subset,&t; or &t;offshoot&t; of a wider Essene movement.

Keywords:American scholars; ASOR; Essenes; manuscripts; Qumran community



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