Comparing: Dead Sea Scrolls / Rabbinic

The Dead Sea Scrolls and Rabbinic Literature

What lines of continuity and discontinuity connect and differentiate the Dead Sea Scrolls and Rabbinic texts and their respective religious cultures and social structures? ... In the more than fifty years since the first discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, many conferences and resulting volumes have been devoted to the relationship of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple history and literature, and the New Testament / early Christianity. Given the enormous possibilities for considering the many ways that the two bodies of literature might elucidate one another (e.g., in matters of language, liturgy, scriptural interpretation, legal and social history, theology, and eschatology), the following papers only begin to scratch the surface.

They do so in very important regards; some focus on specific case studies with broader implications, while others raise far-reaching issues of historical and comparative methodology. It will be noted that most of the studies deal with questions of sectarian and rabbinic law (mishpat for the former, halakhah for the latter). This area itself has been relatively avoided in much of previous Dead Sea Scroll scholarship, but it has more recently been rendered unavoidable by the publication of increasing numbers of legal texts from Qumran (e.g., the Temple Scroll, 4QMMT, the Cave Four fragments of the Damascus Document), with their interesting lines of concordance with and discordance from the legal substance and rhetoric of early rabbinic texts.