Reflections on Literacy, Textuality, and Community in the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls

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Drawing on the work of Brian Stock, Pierre Bourdieu, and others, this paper argues for the cultural and symbolic significance of the textual legacy of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Building on Stock’s insights on the nuanced make-up of textual communities, Hempel challenges the widespread view of the Qumran movement as made up of a socially monolithic scribal elite. She advocates instead that we allow for the hitherto largely ignored presence of a stratum of illiterate and semi-literate members alongside a highly educated
elite. The tremendous social pay-off of being associated with a substantial body of learned texts would have had an enormous impact on both rather distinct social groups as well as reinforced a shared sense of identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIs There a Text in this Cave?
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in the Textuality of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of George J. Brooke
EditorsAriel Feldman, Maria Cioata, Charlotte Hempel
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789004344525
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2017

Publication series

NameStudies on the Texts from the Desert of Judah


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