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The Transformation of the Torah in Second Temple Judaism

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Abstract While the Torah enjoys central importance in the sectarian scrolls, it is not nearly so central in the Aramaic texts found at Qumran. These texts show familiarity with the stories of Genesis and Exodus, but they treat them as sources for stories and wisdom instruction rather than for prescriptive law. The same is true of Ben Sira. Ancestral laws were very important in the Hellenistic world, but their importance was largely symbolic. Even Ezra seems to have focused primarily on a few issues of symbolic importance. Only after the Maccabean revolt do we begin to get sustained halakic discussion in such books as the Temple Scroll and Jubilees. The increased prominence of halakic disputes went hand in hand with the rise of sectarianism.

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


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