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Meals and Politics in the Yaad: A Reconsideration

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The “Rule of the Community” (1QS) prescribes the organization of meals in a short and not very informative way, which has led to widespread speculations about the cultic significance and/or the political character of meals held in the Yaad. This analysis seeks to show that there is nothing in the Qumran texts which justifies the designation of the meal as either “holy” or “political” in the sense usually given to that term. No anti-Hellenistic attitude is apparent. The meals are political in a different sense, designed to visualize hierarchies and to inscribe them into daily practice. Strategies employed for securing the status of priests make the use of semantics potentially associated with the cult understandable as the attempt to create a frame of reference which makes acceptance of priestly status in the community unavoidable.

Affiliations: 1: Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Exzellenzcluster “Religion und Politik,” Domplatz 20-22, 48143 Münster Germany, Email:


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