glossary below offers definitions of terms common in discussions
of apocalyptic literature. Alert the professor to any other terms
you would like to see in the glossary.
proper names of angelic and demonic beings, see Karel van der
Toorn, Pieter W. van der Horst and Bob Becking, Dictionary
of Deities and Demons in the Bible (DDD), rev. ed. (Grand
Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1995), in the Reference
Room at Orradre (BS 680 .G57 D53 1995).
- The brother of Moses and Miriam and ancestor of the Jewish priestly lines. Because of his significance for the priesthood, he is mentioned frequently in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- First man mentioned in Genesis and thus the paradigm for the human being. Adam features in many pseudepigraphic texts of the Second Temple period found at Qumran.
- Alexander Jannaeus
- Hasmonean king who ruled from 103-76 BCE.
- A substance found in the madder root and thought to have medicinal properties. The substance was found in some red-tinged bones from skeletons at Qumran, suggesting that these individuals consumed the madder root.
- Literally, "messenger"; these beings are mentioned frequently in apocalyptic literature and figure prominently in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The constitutional literature of the sect (Rule of the Community, Damascus Document) indicates that the group imagined itself to be one with the angels, particularly during worship.
the Greek, "without law," a collapse of the social structures of a
given society, or the state of alienation experienced by individuals
and groups under these circumstances. This experience of disorder
or chaos is one of the precipitating catalysts for apocalyptic literature
- A figure
or figures mentioned in the Johannine literature who masquerade as
Christ or as Christian believers but who are portrayed as devils in
disguise. Their presence signifies the time of the end before the
return of the Messiah (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7).
for "against the law," a term applied to Paul by his Jewish-Christian
foes because of Paul's opposition to circumcision and rigorous observance
of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) for Gentile converts to Christianity.
- Antiochus IV Epiphanes
- Seleucid ruler 175-164 BCE whose Hellenizing program in Judea led to the Macabbean Revolt and the ascendancy of the Hasmonean monarch.
- A modern
European racist ideology that first understands Jews as a race and
second understands that race as inferior and degenerative of cultures
in which Jews are assimilated.
for "revelation," a genre of literature common in social crises or
circumstances of persecution, characterized by: 1) a method whereby
a prophecy or event from the past associated with a wise figure or
religious intermediary (story) is applied to the present day (discourse)
to render the meaning of the present chaos clear; 2) mythic features
such as a view of God as lord of history, a view of time divided into
two ages (the present evil age and the future age of God's reign,
a view of ethics that is sharply dualistic, a view of the cosmos which
is also binary, envisioning a heavenly plane and an earthly plane
with parallel histories, and an esoteric language of visions and symbols
that communicate meaning; and 3) and a sense of urgency about time
that senses an imminent end of time. Biblical apocalyptic flourished
from 200 BCE to 200 CE.
- The act of renouncing faith in something and consequently standing apart from the group who believes.
location of the final battle of earth's history as described in the
Book of Revelation. The name appears only once in the Bible, and then
in Greek, but is probably based on the Hebrew for "mountain of Megiddo"
(har Megiddo). Megiddo was a common battleground, located as
it was in a valley along the trade route between Egypt and Mesopotamia
(see Judg 5:19). Most notably, it was the battleground where Pharaoh
Neco's army killed King Josiah in 621 BCE (2 Kgs 23:29-30; 2 Chr 35:22;
the Greek for "exercise, practice, training," rigorous physical practices
of abstention (e.g., fasting, vegetarianism, celibacy), bodily afflictions
(hair shirts, chains), or physical withdrawal from society (cave-dwellers,
stylites [people who sit on pillars]), with the intent of ethical
or spiritual purification. Ascetic behavior represents a range of
responses to social, political, and physical worlds often perceived
as oppressive or unfriendly, or as stumbling blocks to (heroic) personal
or communal goals, lifestyles and commitments. The locus classicus
for Christian asceticism is 1 Cor 7.
- Babatha Archive
collection of private papers of a woman who perished in the Second
Jewish Revolt against Rome (132-135 CE). She and
other refugees had been living in towns along the western coast of
the Dead Sea, and as
the Romans approached, they fled to caves in the wadi cliffs along
the coast, taking some of their personal belongings and papers with
them. The Romans found them and besieged the caves, eventually lighting
fires at the cave openings in order to asphyxiate the refugees. The
documents, found by Israeli archaeologists in 1961 hidden in a rock
crevice in the cave, include marriage contracts, court summons, taxation
records, deeds of gift and deposit, and other fascinating evidence
of life in the early second century CE
Christian ritual understood to cleanse a person from sin and initiate
them into Christian life and community, possibly originating in
Jewish purification rituals.
- Bar Kokhba Revolt
- A revolt against Roman authority led by Simon bar Kosiba, a.k.a. Bar Kokhba, from 132 to 135 CE. Many Jews believed Bar Kokhba was the messiah, but after initial military successes including the occupation of Jerusalem, the revolt was utterly crushed. The Romans, who had destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the First Jewish Revolt (66-74 CE), now built a temple to Jupiter on the site where the Temple had stood, remade to ruined city into a Roman city, and expelled all Jews from its walls.
- A name for one of the chief angels of darkness and thus instigator of the forces of evil in the world.
- Cairo Genizah
- A genizah
is a synagogue storeroom where worn sacred manuscripts are stored
(they cannot be destroyed because of their sanctity). The Cairo Genizah
yielded many manuscripts of a medieval Jewish Karaite sect, including
two medieval copies of the Damascus Document (edited by Solomon Schechter
in 1910). Copies of the same document were found in the Qumran caves
in 1947-1955, and these manuscripts are at least 1000 years older
than the Cairo copy. Although the Cairo manuscripts are more complete,
the Qumran copies preserve portions of laws not found in the medieval
the Greek word for measuring rod, this refers among other meanings
to the rule by which something was judged, and particularly to the
official list of books judged to be authoritative scriptures by a
given community. The Dead Sea Scrolls included all biblical books
except Esther, but also variant forms of the biblical books (e.g.,
Reworked Pentateuch, Pseudo-Daniel) and apocryphal/pseudepigraphic
literature (e.g., Jubilees, ben Sira) which may well have been "canonical"
or authoritative for the Dead Sea sect and other groups in Second
state of abstention from sexual intercourse. There is secondary evidence -- and some evidence in the Damascus Document as well -- that some members of the Dead Sea Scroll sect were celibate.
for "grace, gift," understood in the New Testament churches as
one of several possible manifestations of the presence of the
Holy Spirit (e.g., wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds,
prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues;
see 1 Cor 12:1-11).
for "study of the universe," any comprehensive system of understanding
and accounting for the universe and its movements.
covenant is an agreement between two parties. Covenants in antiquity
were diplomatic and economic in nature, much as today, and the
literary conventions of these ancient covenants were used to portray
the relationship between God and Israel. There are several covenants
in the Bible: with Noah (Gen 9), with Abraham (Gen 15; 17), with
Moses (Exod 20), with David (2 Sam 7:8-17), and through Jesus
(Matt 26:26-30; 2 Cor 3:4-18).
form of prophetic speech in which God brings suit against God's
people for violations of the covenant they share; as such, it
includes elements reminiscent of the covenant treaty: 1. Summons
of witnesses; 2. Historical prologue; 3. Violation of stipulations
(charges/speeches by plaintiff, defendant, witnesses); 4. Uselessness
of cultic acts of worship, atonement; and 5. Invocation of covenant
the Greek "to judge or decide," a turning point in the course
of anything when the former "order" attributed to the universe
is no longer adequate to explain experience, thus one of the precipitating
catalysts of apocalyptic literature and movements.
- Damascus Document
- One of two "constitions" or "rules" of the Dead Sea Scrolls community. Ten separate manuscripts of this document were recovered from the Qumran caves, and two medieval manuscripts were found in the Cairo Genizah.
group of over 800 manuscripts found between 1947 and the 1960s
in various caves on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The bulk
of the manuscripts were discovered in eleven caves near a (probable)
Essene settlement at Qumran, and include biblical, parabiblical,
apocryphal and sectarian writings as well as some documentary
texts (practice alphabets, deeds, contracts, letters).
or tending to the right, a term that applies to some divinatory
or cryptic texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls which are written
from left to right, rather than in the right-to-left direction
customary in Hebrew.
- The series of Hellenistic princes who ruled the land of Israel after the victories of Alexander the Great (332 BCE). Because of the threat their Hellenizing program posed to Jewish culture, they may figure in Jewish apocalyptic literature; Nickelsburg has argued that the Watchers of the Book of Enoch are a cipher for the diadochoi.
for "dispersion," most commonly used of Jews living outside the
land of Israel anytime after the Babylonian Exile, but also used
by other groups (e.g., the Palestinians in an ironic reference
to their dispossession by Jews).
for "one who follows," a term used in scripture for students of
literary critical term for structure and purpose of a narrative
or other literary work, which coexists with the story told (events
[actions, plot] + elements [characters, space]). The level of
discourse is the more subtle level at which the author's judgment
and interpretation operate.
- documentary texts
- Legal records such as deeds of sale, deposit or gift, marriage contracts, i.o.u.'s, slave conveyances, etc. These are ubiquitous in antiquity, although only a few examples were found at Qumran.
uttered in a state of divine possession, in which the human being
experiences inspiration or visions or transportation to a supernatural
sphere that transcends the human; from the Greek "to stand apart
from." This type of oracular speech is one of the characteristic
activities of the prophet.
- Leading son of the seventh generation after Adam (a privileged place), who becomes an important figure in the Jewish pseudepigrapha and in apocalyptic literature in general.
for letter, an exhortation or written sermon intended for public
branch of theology that is concerned with the ultimate or last
things, such as the end of times, judgment, death, heaven, hell
(from the Greek for furthest, uttermost, extreme, end, + logos
for "the end," the end of times which is regarded as immanent
in apocalyptic literature.
Jewish apocalyptic group associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls
that lived from approximately 165BCE–68 CE, when they were eradicated
by the Romans. The Essenes advocated a return to Torah, and some
among their number held property in common and remained celibate.
- An agent of the community who had responsibility to oversee the admission and expulsion of members and to supervise their economic participation in the community and in the outside world.
forced removal of the Judean elite to Babylon in the wake of the
Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 587 BCE, and the period of
approximately 50 years during which these people lived in servitude
in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. This historical moment figures into the self-perception of the Dead Sea Scrolls community, which saw itself living in a period of exile.
exit or escape of Israel from Egyptian captivity, recounted in
the book of the same name. The book in its final form dates eight
centuries after the events it describes (story date c.1280
BCE; discourse date c.400s BCE) and was compiled from several
sources, all of which factors complicate the historical reliability
of the account. Regardless of its historical reliability, however, it was a fundamental text for the Dead Sea Scrolls communities, who viewed themselves as the faithful Israel just escaped to the wilderness to receive and observe Torah.
- First Jewish Revolt
- A rebellion against Roman authority from 66-74 BCE, ending with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Second Temple in 70 CE and with the destruction of the last zealot stronghold at Masada four years later. It was during this revolt that the Qumran site was also destroyed, and there is no evidence that it was reoccupied by the same group afterward.
type of oral or written passage that can be isolated as a discrete
textual unit, with a clear beginning, an identifiable style, and
a standard ending. Often forms are repeated in a text for rhetorical
study of the structure, content and function of literary or oral
units. "Function" includes the Sitz im Leben, or "setting
in life," in which these forms would have originated (for example,
temple ritual, forensic argument).
non-Jew; common Jewish term of reference in antiquity.
the Greek for knowledge, any one of a number of dualistic ideologies
popular particularly in mid- to late-antiquity that espoused a
path of spiritual ascent through the secret, complex structures
of the cosmos and away from the evil material world.
the Hebrew word for "walk," the "way" or "procedure" for acting
according to the biblical commandments and thus living an ethical
life. Living life by God's precepts was a fundamental commitment in the Dead Sea Scrolls community.
dynastic family of priests who governed Judah and Israel in the
wake of the Maccabbean Revolt until the Roman conquest (152–63
graecized culture that spread throughout the Mediterranean world
in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great (d.323 BCE)
and remained prominent during the period of Roman hegemony.
the Greek "choice," in religious vocabulary a choice for a teaching
about the faith which the dominant or orthodox church holds to
be contrary to that faith.
the Greek "to interpret or explain," the science and methodology
- Herod the Great
- Idumean ruler of Judea from 37 to 4 BCE and second-generation Jew, he allied with the Romans to defeat the Hasmoneans and institute the Herodian monarchy in Israel. Ancient secondary evidence suggests that he favored the Essenes.
the Greek "other or different opinion," any position that differs
from accepted teaching (see orthodox).
of the two major types of apocalyptic work (the other being other-worldly
journies). Examples include Daniel and 4 Ezra.
- Literally, "Thanksgivings" the Hebrew term used to describe a collection of hymns found at Qumran.
Christian belief that God became flesh (Latin in + carne)
in Jesus of Nazareth.
temporary period of habitation in a temple in anticipation of
divine revelation or in petition for a particular request.
important wisdom treatise found at Qumran. Eight manuscripts of the
text were found there, but although it has features found in the sect's
own works, it is thought to predate the Qumran community.
the Latin "to walk between," an entreaty on behalf of another;
one of the characteristic prophetic activities.
use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning;
an expression marked by such a deliberate contrast between apparent
and intended meaning; incongruity between what might be expected
and what actually occurs.
adherent of the Jewish faith, particularly after the exile of
Judeans to Babylon (see also Hebrew, Israeli, Israelite).
central place of worship and prayer in the biblical period. Solomon
built a huge edifice in Jerusalem in the mid-10th century BCE
with the income from heavy taxes imposed on the people. When the
nation split after his reign, it was partly because of this temple;
northern Jews had their own shrines (Shechem, Bethel, Dan, Gilgal),
and had always opposed centralized worship. The common people
in both north and south also resisted centralized worship: archeologists
have discovered scores of hilltop memorial shrines to ancestors,
small temples to local fertility and astral deities, and remnants
of household shrines. The Jerusalem temple was destroyed by the
Babylonians in 587–586 BCE, rebuilt by during the restoration
(see Ezra and Nehemiah), expanded by Herod the Great in 37–4 BCE,
and destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Much of biblical law treats
the laws of worship and cultic sacrifices (thanksgiving, atonement,
- John the Baptist
- A prophetic figure concerned about righteous behavior and purification, mentioned in the New Testament and in Josephus. Because his concerns align so well with those of the Qumran community, some have suggested that he might have spent time in that sect, but there is no hard evidence to prove this.
century CE Jewish historian (38-c.100 CE). He spent the early part of his life
in Israel, even commanding Galilean troops in the First Jewish Revolt;
upon capture by the Romans, he spent the rest of his life as an honored
client of the Flavian dynasty in Rome and there penned his important
histories, The Antiquities of the Jews and The Jewish War.
Both of these works include descriptions of the Essenes (Ant. 15.371-379; 18.18-22; War 2.119-161); see also Life 10.
- The fiftieth year, after seven cycles of seven years. Jewish law stipulated the redemption of slaves and property in this year, as well as a year of rest for the land (Lev 25).
- Jubilees, Book of
- An important pseudepigraphic work that presents itself as divine revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai, but was likely written during the Hellenistic period. It mandates a calendar based on the solar year, which diverged from the luni-solar calendar used by the Temple priests in the Hasmonean and Herodian periods, but is consistent with the practice of the Qumran community. This suggests that the book of Jubilees was authoritative scripture for the Dead Sea Scrolls sect.
system of Jewish dietary regulations that includes prohibitions
against certain foods such as pork and certain food combinations,
such as meat and dairy (Lev 7:22-27; 11).
- The enemies of the righteous in the War Scroll, the pesharim, and other sectarian documents; thought to represent the Romans.
of Moses and Aaron and thus of the Jewish priestly lines. Because
of his significance for the priesthood, he is mentioned frequently
in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Jewish revolt led by Judas Maccabbeus (= "the Hammer") and his
family against the Hellenizing reforms of the Seleucid King
Antiochus IV (175-152 BCE). Antiochus'
persecution of the Jews and their way of life prompted the composition
of the apocalyptic Book of Daniel.
that is, the interpretation of natural or occult phenomena to
predict the future or to determine the deity's will. Jewish scripture
distinguishes between those forms of divination that were permitted
(urim and tummim, ephod, lot, dreams, prophecy,
some temporary signs such as Gideon's fleece) and those that were
not (reading livers or entrails, magic, mediums, soothsayers/wizards,
necromancy, the movement of oil on water, astrology, idols, movements
of animals, rustling of trees, divining by spring waters or the
waters of rivers; cf. Deut 18:9-14; Num 23:23; 1 Enoch 8:3). One
fundamental principle of mantic wisdom that the Jews did not share
is the belief that even the gods were subject to mantic forces.
for "witness," the standard legal term for observers at the execution
of economic transactions, legal affairs, and everyday events.
The term came to have the specialized meaning of "one who testifies
to the faith" in Jewish and Christian circles during the persecutions
of 200 BCE–200 CE (the period when apocalyptic literature flourished).
- Herodian fortress and site of the last stand of Jewish zealots during the First Jewish Revolt, memorably recounted by Josephus. In Josephus' account, the zealots killed each other and commited suicide rather than be conquered by the Romans and killed/sold into slavery. Several fragments of scrolls were found at this site.
for "anointed one," a kingly, prophetic, or priestly figure envisioned
during and after the Babylonian Exile as savior of the Jewish people
who would restore their political/religious autonomy. There is evidence
in the Dead Sea Scrolls that this community expected at least two,
if not three, messiahs in the final age. Applied by Christians to
Jesus ("Christ" is the Greek equivalent of "messiah") and by Jews
throughout history to a handful of leaders (e.g., Simon bar Kokhba,
132–135 CE, Shabbatai Zevi, 1626–1676).
the Hebrew "to interpret, to explain," the halakhic or haggadic
traditions transmitted as an explanation or commentary on a biblical
verse. There are separate volumes of midrashim for each of the
Christian belief in the literal thousand-year period of peace
and well-being in the end times associated with the reign of Christ
and the binding of Satan, based on Revelation 20:1-5. Various
Christian groups debate whether Christ's coming will inaugurate
the thousand-year reign (premillennialists) or conclude it (postmillennialists;
the first coming was the one that the New Testament recounts).
Still other Christians do not take the thousand-year reign literally
- mikveh, miqva'ot
- A bathing pool used only for ritual purification. One of the distinguishing features of the Khirbet Qumran site is the number and size of the miqva'ot (6).
the Hebrew "to repeat, do again," this refers to the "repetition"
or "second version" of the law, that is, a collection of legal
and procedural interpretations of the law codified by the rabbinic
academy of Yavneh c.200 CE. It includes some haggadic material
- The great lawgiver of the Torah and thus a figure of central importance for groups concerned to remain faithful to the Sinai covenant. This helps to explain the prominence of Moses in new pseudepigraphic works penned in the Hellenistic period, when the Mosaic law was challenged by Hellenizing rulers, as it helps to explain the prominence of Moses and the books associated with him at Qumran.
topos or element—a type of incident, device, or formula—which
recurs frequently in a work.
traditional mountain where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac
(Gen 22), also considered in Jewish tradition to be the Temple
Mount in Jerusalem.
- A location on the west coast of the Dead Sea south of Qumran where scroll fragments and other artifacts of the Second Jewish Revolt were recovered (132-135 CE).
- Nahal Hever
- A location on the west coast of the Dead Sea south of Qumran where scroll fragments and other artifacts of the Second Jewish Revolt were recovered (132-135 CE).
Christian name for the Christian scriptures, that is, for the
revelation about Jesus Christ. The term "testament" means something
that testifies or witnesses to something; in this case the scriptures
attest to God's relationship with the new Israel, those who believe
in the Christ. The shape and number of books in the New Testament
differ among the major Christian denominations.
for "hidden," books of Christian pious literature that are not
in the Christian canon.
for "false writing," works written by later authors in the name
of earlier biblical figures. This is a subset of the New Testament
apocrypha referring to those titles written in the name of (usually)
one of the New Testament apostles or figures (e.g., Gospel of
Thomas, Protoevangelium of James).
- Nicolaus of Damascus
- Court historian of Herod the great (ruled 37-4 BCE), whose World History and Collection of Remarkable Customs likely included material on the Essenes later referenced by Philo of Alexandria and Josephus.
study of the supernatural power of numbers and their influence
over human affairs.
Christian name for the Jewish Bible, that is, for the revelation
that predates Jesus Christ. The term "testament" means something
that testifies or witnesses to something; in this case the scriptures
attest to God's relationship with Israel. The shape and number
of books in the Christian Old Testament differ somewhat from the
Greek for "hidden," works that were included in the Greek version
of Tanak (the Septuagint) but were not included in the Jewish
canon. Because these books were in the Septuagint, they came into
Christian Bibles. Many or all are considered canonical by Catholics
and eastern churches, while they are considered "deuterocanonical"
or simply as pious literature by Protestants.
Greek for "false writing," works written by later authors in the
name of earlier biblical figures.
the Latin orare, to speak or pray, a statement or prophecy
uttered at a cultic shrine through a recognized intermediary (prophet,
priest, shaman), often in the form of an enigmatic statement or
the Greek "straight opinion," the accepted or dominant teaching
- The study of spelling practices. In Hebrew, these can help to indicate dialects and stages in the development of the language. Some of the most common orthographic differences between the Dead Sea scrolls and the Bible are the use of the letters waw and yod to mark certain vowel pronunciations, and the lengthening of certain pronominal suffixes.
- other-worldly journeys
- One of the two major types of apocalyptic work (the other being historical apocalypses). Examples include the Book of the Watchers, the Astronomical Book and the Similitudes in 1 Enoch, 2 Enoch, and 3 Baruch.
- The study of handwriting. In Dead Sea Scrolls studies, the pioneering paleographic work of Frank M. Cross has yielded a picture of the development of Hebrew handwriting that is still used to date manuscripts.
- Literally "old Hebrew," this is the name of a handwriting script found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some entire manuscripts are written in the hand (e.g., 4QpaleoGen-Exod-l, 4QpaleoExod-m, and 11QpaleoLev-a), while others use the regular square script for most of the text but use the paleo script for the tetragrammaton (e.g., 11QPsalms-a, 1QpHab XI.10).
- Palestine Archaeological Museum
- See Rockefeller Museum.
manuscript that has been written on twice. Usually, the first text is worn out with use, and, rather than buy new parchment, the scribe simply writes over the old text.
"creation again"; this refers to a feature of apocalyptic
literature that imagines the future as a return to the paradise created
at the beginning of the world.
parable is a comparison drawn from nature or common experience
in life designed to illustrate some moral or religious truth.
It is a common biblical form in Tanak and in the New Testament.
event related in Exodus 12 whereby God delivers the Israelites
from captivity in Egypt by passing over their houses and slaying
the first-born sons of the Egyptians. Also, the annual ritual
recalling this event, and particularly the supper of symbolic
foods during which the story of Exodus is retold.
- penal code
portion of the Damascus Document and the Rule of the Community that lists various transgressions and the punishments for them.
"five jars/scrolls," this is the Greek term for the first five
books of the Jewish Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
and Deuteronomy), known in Hebrew as the Torah or instruction.
Scholars now believe that the first four of these books were compiled
over centuries from and by four different traditions, the Yahwist,
Elohist, Deuteronomist (responsible for the entire book of Deuteronomy
as well), and the Priestly.
- See Shavu'ot.
the Greek "cut all around," a discrete passage or story in a literary
for "interpretation" or "commentary," a genre of literature in
which a contemporary interpreter provides commentary on every
verse of a given biblical book, applying the ancient prophecies
to his/her own time. Some of our best examples of this genre come from Qumran, but the general interpretive tendency is present in the New Testament and other works as well.
group of Jews who lived in the late Second Temple period and advocated
a democratization of Jewish ritual law so that the common people
could partake in the sanctification that priests enjoyed. The
Pharisees believed not only in written Torah, but in their own
interpretation of that instruction (oral Torah). Their oral Torah
included the extension of laws for priestly separation to lay
people, as well as a belief in resurrection from the dead.
Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt from approximately
30 BCE to 45 CE. He composed many literary and philosophical works,
perhaps even one entirely on the Essenes (see On the Contemplative
Life 1), but of his surviving works, those that mention the Essenes
include That Every Good Person is Free 75-91 and Hypothetica
11.1-18 (apud Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica 8.11.1-18).
journey to a sacred site or shrine.
- Pliny the Elder
- A Roman
scholar born in 23 CE who died from poisonous fumes while trying
to get close to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. A soldier
and scholar, Pliny composed the 37-volume Natural History,
in which he mentions an Essene settlement above 'Ein Gedi in the context
of a description of Judea (Nat. Hist. 5.17.4 [§73).
prophet is a religious functionary set aside or specially appointed
by (a) god for a number of religious and political tasks.
the Greek for "false name," the authorial stance of assuming the
identity of a more famous figure in whose tradition one wishes
to write; a common and accepted practice in antiquity, though
today considered plagiarism.
Arabic name for the site on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea where
ruins (= "Khirbet") and nearby caves yielded evidence of
Jewish habitation and use.
for "my great one, master, my teacher," a qualified teacher of
oral and written Torah.
form of Judaism in which Rabbis or teachers govern the authoritative
interpretation of written and oral Torah, particularly in halakhic
(legal, ethical) matters. After the destruction of the Second
Temple and the consequent obsolescence of the priesthood, rabbinic
Judaism emerged as the dominant (though not the only) form of
Judaism, and continues as such to the present day.
- radiocarbon dating
in 1947, this technique allows the dating of organic material by assessing
the rate of decomposition of the Carbon-14 isotope. The earliest processes required the destruction of 1-3 grams of material, and thus were not feasible for the priceless scrolls. But more recent techniques, namely accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), require less organic material and therefore have been applied to more scrolls.
activity of collecting, arranging, editing and modifying sources
to adapt their message to new circumstances and the redactor's
study of the theological perspective of a biblical text evident
in its collection, arrangement, editing and modification of sources.
- The reburial of a body, usually of the bones after some decomposition. Of the thirty-two graves excavated at Qumran that likely date to the sectarian period (as judged by their north-south alignment), three graves yielded evidence of coffins and therefore possibly of reburial (T17-19), while three (T11, 23-24) and perhaps a fourth (T37) yielded bones of five skeletons (2 in T24) arranged in careful but unnatural patterns, indicating reinhumation.
- Rockefeller Museum
- The museum in East Jerusalem where the bulk of the Dead Sea Scrolls and many of the archaeological artifacts are stored. The museum was known as the Palestine Archaeological Museum before the 1967 War, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.
- Rule of the Community
- A central constitutional document of the Qumran community. It is the most heavily attested non-biblical manuscript in the Dead Sea Scrolls corpus: twelve or possibly thirteen copies have been identified.
member of the priestly family descended from Zadok, one of two
high priestly families under King David; the chief priestly family
in the Jerusalem Temple from the time of Solomon to the destruction
of the Second Temple in 70 CE, and one of the chief ruling parties
in Jerusalem from the time of the Hasmonean dynasty (146 BCE–70
CE). The ancient Jewish historian Josephus describes them as religious
conservatives who rejected any teachings outside of the Torah,
such as resurrection from the dead, life after death, and the
existence of angels.
a group of people who lived in the former northern kingdom of Israel,
centered around the ancient capital of Samaria, who after the Assyrian
destruction and exile (721 BCE) had remained and intermarried with
the non-Israelite peoples transported to the region by Assyria. Religio-politically,
a conservative Jewish group that maintained the ancient paleo-Hebrew
script for their sacred writings (as opposed to the square script
introduced by foreign powers during Assyrian and Babylonian hegemony),
and, more importantly, who recognized only the Torah as legitimate
scripture (as opposed to Judean Jews, who had expanded scripture to
include the prophets and the writings). The Samaritans have maintained
their own temple and cult of Jewish festivals on Mount Gerizim near
Shechem from the late fourth century BCE to the present day. Texts or the Torah similar to the expanded and harmonized form of the Samaritan Pentateuch were found at Qumran (4QpaleoExodus-m, 4QExodus-Leviticus-f, 4QNumbers-b, and possibly 4QDeuteronomy-n and 4QLeviticus-d).
"a writing"; a written tradition vested with authority by a community
because it is understood to be sacred, holy, God-given.
during the period from the Restoration to the destruction of the
second temple by the Romans, c.539 BCE–
Syrian Hellenistic dynasty that controlled Palestine from approximately
200 BCE until the Hasmonean or Maccabbean Revolt of 175–152 BCE.
The dynasty's attempts to enforce Hellenization at the cost of
Jewish law and tradition was the catalyst both for the Revolt
and for the composition of the Book of Daniel, and seems to have
played a role in the genesis of the Dead Sea Scroll community.
the Latin for seventy (septem  + -ginta [decimal
suffix]), composed over decades in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. This was the premier version used by early Greek-speaking
Christians, and so became the basis of the Christian canon. The
name "seventy" derives from a tradition that Ptolemy II (285–247
BCE) commissioned 70 or 72 elders to prepare the translation,
a task they accomplished in a miraculous 72 days. Copies of the Greek scriptures were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (e.g., 4QLXXLeviticus-a, 4QLXXNumbers, 4QLXXDeuteronomy, pap7QLXXExodus, XHevXII gr). Even more interesting are Hebrew manuscripts that vary from the received Masoretic Text in the same places that the Septuagint does, suggesting that the Septuagint variants were not created by the Greek translators but instead faithfully reflect a Hebrew Vorlage or antecedent textual tradition (4QJeremiah b, 4QJeremiah-d; cf. also 4QLeviticus-d, 4QDeuteronomy-q, 4QSamuel-a, 4QNumbers-b, and 4QExodus-b).
Festival of Weeks or Pentecost, celebrated five weeks or 50 days after
Pesah. This traditional harvest and pilgrimage festival appears to have served the Qumran community as the time of its annual covenant renewal ceremony (see 4QD-a 11.16-18 and the Jubilees discussion of the festival)
- The mountain in the Egyptian peninsula of the same name where Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19-23 and following)
identification and study of the different sources that lie behind
a text. Two famous source-critical hypotheses are the Documentary
Hypothesis (Torah) and the Two Source Hypothesis (Gospels).
literary critical term for the story told — that is, the events
(actions, plot) and elements (characters, space) of a story. The
story level is distinguished from the level of discourse, which
is the structure of the story and the author's purpose in telling
the Greek "to bring or gather together" and thus "community,"
the organized Jewish communities of the Hellenistic world and
their places of worship.
the Hebrew "to learn, study," the compilation of Mishnah, Gemara,
and further rabbinic discussion of halakhah and haggadah. There
are two Talmuds, one compiled in Palestine during the 300s CE
(the Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud, in Hebrew Talmud Yerushalmi),
and a more comprehensive work compiled in the Babylonian academies
in from 400–600 CE (the Babylonian Talmud, in Hebrew Talmud Bavli).
for "the study of Torah," this refers to the instruction, discussion
and debate over the interpretation of Torah that occurs in Jewish
and rabbinic schools.
Jewish name for their scriptures; an acrostic in which each of
the consonants represents one of the three major divisions of
the Jewish Bible: "T" for Torah or instruction, law (including
the biblical books from Genesis to Deuteronomy), "N" for Nevi'im
or prophets (Joshua–Malachi), and "K" for Kethuvim or writings
(Psalms–2 Chronicles). The shape and number of books in the Jewish
Bible differ somewhat from Christian canons.
early leader and perhaps founder of the sectarian community that
collected the Dead Sea Scrolls; probably a Zadokite priest who
split with the illegitimate line of high priests in the Jerusalem
Temple in the mid-second century bce over issues of legal interpretation
and the purity of the priestly line (see 4QMMT). The split was
aggravated by persecution of the Teacher and his followers by
the Jerusalem Temple establishment, a persecution mentioned in
the Pesher of Habakkuk (see Wicked Priest).
artificial platform enlarged by King Herod (37–4 BCE) to accommodate
a refurbished Second Temple. The natural elevation with valleys
on its eastern, southern, and western sides was enlarged by extending
retaining walls on these sides and filling them with earth to
create a level platform 30 football fields in area.
of "testimonies" or scripture passages drawn from Tanak by early
Christians that were seen as pointing or attesting to the coming
of Jesus Christ. These testimonies were drawn largely from the
prophetic books, but also from the law and writings (see Luke
24:25-27, 32, 44-48).
for "four letters," the divine name in Hebrew, yhwh. The
four Hebrew consonants for the divine name are not pronounced
by Jews when they occur in the biblical text. Instead, circumlocutions
like "Lord" or "the Name" are used.
concept or teaching which a work is designed to emphasize and
make persuasive to the reader.
- An ascetic sect of Jews who lived on the Mareotic Lake in the Nile Delta. Philo praises the excellence of their lifestyle and virtue in On the Contemplative Life. He likely wrote a companion piece on the Essenes, whom he viewed as active philosophers.
the Greek "justice of God" or "justifying God," the problem of
and attempt to explain the existence of evil and suffering alongside
the assertion of a just and loving God.
the Greek "words about God," the science or study of God.
- An assessment of one-tenth one's income; usually a religious impost.
Hebrew word for instruction, this term designates in its narrowest
sense the first five books of the Jewish Bible (Genesis to Deuteronomy),
and in its broadest sense authoritative teaching of whatever source.
Rabbinic tradition distinguishes between God's revealed instruction
disclosed preeminently in scripture (the written Torah) and the
subsequent interpretive tradition of that revelation (oral Torah,
some of which has been compiled in written sources like the Mishnah,
the Gemara, the Talmud, etc.).
- vaticinia ex eventu
- Literally, "a
prophecy after the fact," a typical convention of apocalyptic literature. The pseudonymous author, living in the present, puts a prophecy on the lips of a past figure. The prophecy lies in the future for the characters in the story, but much of it lies in the past for the author. An example is the dream of the statue in Daniel 2; the metals represent kingdoms from Daniel's time into the future; but all of these kingdoms except the last have fallen by the time of the author.
typical form of prophetic speech, an autobiographical report of
the prophet's experience of divine revelation in the form of something
seen. The characteristic elements of the vision report are the
introductory report, the description of the scene envisioned,
and a question/answer between the prophet and one of the envisioned
(usually heavenly) beings.
- War Scroll
- An important document found at Qumran that recounts the final battle between the forces of light and darkness, and the victory of the sons of light. Seven copies of the text were found at Qumran, while five other manuscripts appear to be related to it.
- Heavenly beings whose disruption of cosmic order earns them everlasting damnation in 1 Enoch. Their crime is represented differently in the various strands of the Enoch tradition, but whether is was sexual intercourse with human women or education in the transformative arts (metallurgy, cosmetics, etc.), their transgression was likely a cipher for the crimes of the author's enemies.
high priestly enemy of the Teacher of Righteousness mentioned
in the Pesher of Habakkuk (see Teacher of Righteousness).
"the single" or "the unity," a term used in the
consitutional literature from Qumran to designate the community that
adhered to its rules.
priest David chose to run the Temple, and the ancestor of the priestly
line thought to be the only legitimate line by the Qumran community.
- Zadokite Fragments
- Solomon Schechter's name for what would later become known as the Cairo Damascus Document.
priests descended from Zadok and the only legitimate Temple functionaries. The Rule of the Community refers to some of its leaders as Sons of Zadok.
- A Jew
committed to rebellion and guerrilla warfare or terrorist activity
against the Romans, c.63 BCE–70 CE.
name for Jerusalem, used most often in poetic literature like the