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Inclusivism at Qumran

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Within Early Judaism the Qumran Community is widely perceived as a strictly exclusivist group. A thorough analysis of Qumran texts, however, reveals, apart from the dominant strand of exclusivism, remarkably clear inclusivist tendencies. In Qumran literature inclusivist tendencies can be seen both in eschatological texts and in materials dealing with the self-understanding of the Qumran Community in historical time. The legal texts discussed basically confirm this pattern: the Community is to separate from Gentiles and from members of those Jewish groups with whom it earlier entertained close relations. At the same time it is to support the poor and the proselytes. Strictly legal statements prohibiting contacts with non-Essene Judaism as such are missing. In the literature discussed inclusivist and exclusivist tendencies have diff erent weight. A pan-Israelite, e.g. inclusivist, perspective can be seen in 4QpNah, 4QFlor, 4QSM and especially in 4QMMT, 1QSa, and CD/4QD whereas in 1QS exclusivist tendencies predominate.

Affiliations: 1: Universität Tübingen, Evangelisch-theologische Fakultät, Liebermeisterstr. 12, 72076 Tübingen, Germany


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