2017-07-24

Deconstructing What We’ve Always Been Told About Qumran

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by Neil Godfrey

never underestimate the power of scholarly conservatism
Earlier this year I posted on work by Gregory Doudna arguing that the Dead Sea Scrolls were not a repository of a sect (Essene or otherwise) dwelling at Qumran in the first century CE. I still have more work to do on his article but till then anyone interested can catch up on Doudna’s own exchanges with some of his critics and others at The Bible and Interpretation‘s Deconstructing What We’ve Always Been Told About Qumran.
The intro to the discussion:

It is misleading to speak of a single “main period of habitation” of a single group or community at Qumran which ended at the time of the First Revolt. Analyses of pottery, language, women, dining, animal bone deposits, and scroll deposits surprisingly converge in suggesting a different picture: the true “main period” of activity at Qumran was mid- and late-first century BCE.

It is interesting to read the way a few established figures can guard the conservative range of permissible scholarly views in this area of study, too — just as we have seen in the field of the history of “biblical Israel”, not to mention any particular areas of NT studies.

 

One comment

  • Bob Moore
    2017-07-25 15:34:25 UTC - 15:34 | Permalink

    It will still be pointed out by Christian apologists that late first century BCE copies of Bible texts in the DSS show insignificant changes when compared with copies made many centuries later that we have in hand. They use this argument to bolster confidence in fidelity to the “original” NT texts that we have copies of. (I’m thinking here of late works like Daniel.)

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