Who Is Making Dinner At Qumran?

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This article revisits the evidence of the Community Rule on commensality in the Yaḥad. Rather than offering a synthesis of various passages, as is customary in many discussions, the approach adopted here stresses significant differences between the description of the common meal in 1QS 6:2c–3, 4b–5 and the place of pure food and drink in the admissions process in 1QS 6:13b–23. The common meal emerges as a rather low-key and uncontroversial shared meal of standard Mediterranean staples preceded by a priestly blessing. The admissions process, on the other hand, is considered afresh against the background of halakhic texts such as 4QTohoraha (4Q274) 3 and 4QHarvesting (4Q284a). It is argued that partaking of the pure food and drink of the community is only the final stage in a more extended and laborious process of food production and preparation envisaged for gradually advancing new members.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-65
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of Theological Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012