The Long Text of the Serekh as Crisis Literature

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The rich manuscript tradition attested by the Community Rule from Qumran and its implications for our assessment of the relationship of the texts to the movement associated for a time with Khirbet Qumran have been the subject of vigorous debate in recent scholarship. This article offers a fresh assessment of the Community Rule manuscripts and their relationship to Khirbet Qumran. Rather than focusing on the remarkable differences between 1QS V-IX and 4QS close attention is paid here to 1QS I-IV; X-XI // 4QS - the framework of what can be called the ‘Long Text’ of S as represented particularly by 1QS and 4Q256 (Sb). A close reading of those parts of the Long Text of S that make it long reveals a heightened sense of theological reflection in a movement with a considerable history and internal challenges. We note further that the palaeographical dates of the copies of the Long Text cluster chronologically in the mid-Hasmonean period (125-75 BCE) suggesting that it is this period – aimed at overcoming a crisis of commitment in an established group – that is more likely associated with a move to the site of Qumran than community origins as often presupposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-24
Number of pages33
JournalRevue de Qumran
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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