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Beyond the Qumran Community. The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Beyond the Qumran community. The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls. By John J. Collins (Eerdmans, $25). In this well-balanced and exhaustive assessment of the current state of Dead Sea Scrolls studies, Collins provides an extensive exegesis of the Damascus Document and the Community Rule, identifies what we can know of historical figures referred to in the scrolls, and surveys the Essene question and the findings of archaeology He concludes that the Teacher was active in the first century B.C.E. rather than the second, and as a consequence the Wicked Priest was not either of the Macca-bean brothers Jonathan or Simon. He thinks it probable that the Wicked Priest was either Hyrcanus II or Alexander Jannaeus. The Temple Scroll was written before the Qumran Community was formed. He thinks that the evidence for identifying the community at Qumran as Essene is substantial, but concedes that the Greek and Latin accounts do not give a very reliable picture of the sect. The Essenes were not confined to Qumran but had multiple settlements throughout the land. While numerous scholars have contested the archeological interpretation of Qumran as a religious site, Collins defends this hypothesis, largely on the basis of the ten ritual baths at the site. This magisterial study also admits that there is much that we still do not know.
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Author:Klein, Ralph W.
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2012
Words:222
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