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Historiography in the Dead Sea Scrolls

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Abstract Historiographical writing is woefully under-represented in the Scrolls. This fact may be due in part to ideological reasons. The sectarians were not disposed to preserve the praises of the Maccabees, and they seem to have been far more interested in the niceties of halakah than in historical records. But in part it is also due to chance. The pesharim presuppose familiarity with historical traditions, whether oral or written, that have not survived. The so-called annalistic texts provide a glimpse of the form those traditions may have taken. These texts are not historiography on the grand scale of the books of Maccabees or Josephus, but they are historical records, however minimal, and they show that Judeans between the Maccabees and Josephus, including the sectarians known from the Scrolls, were not entirely indifferent to historical memory.

Affiliations: 1: Yale Divinity School 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut, 06511 U.S.A.


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