Community Formation in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Beyond the Watershed Paradigm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The question of the origins of the sectarian movement behind the Dead Sea Scrolls is often addressed with reference to accounts of community emergence and communal life in the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls. Recent decades have presented us with a much larger literary evidence base as well as important shifts in the assessment of the archaeological picture represented at Khirbet Qumran. In this paper I will attempt to strip our thinking right back to the basics of what constitutes communal life by asking a series of questions:

1. Where and how did things start and evolve?
2. What kinds shared activities can be extrapolated from the available evidence?
3. How distinctive are the locations and activities represented in the finds from Qumran?

Rather than starting with a sense of the distinctiveness of the site and occupants of Khirbet Qumran and the rich literary heritage associated with them I will argue, in conclusion, that streams of continuity embed the evidence from Qumran in a series of broader chronological, geographic, social, literary and scribal developments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Sectarianism in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Subtitle of host publicationContinuity, Separation, and Conflict
EditorsJohn J. Collins, Ananda Geyser-Fouche
Place of PublicationLeiden
ISBN (Electronic)9789004517127
ISBN (Print)9789004517110
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2022

Publication series

NameStudies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah
ISSN (Print)0169-9962


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