NEJS 117b

Marc Brettler

T, Fri 10:40-12:00, Lown 103

Office: Lown 210; x 62968


Office hrs: Tues. 1-3




Web Page:



This course has two purposes: to familiarize you with the literature and the beliefs reflected in the literature found at Qumran and to illustrate in detail the way in which these texts deal with the Bible. Our main concern will be the second issue, but it impossible to do this without a broader understanding of the group and its beliefs. Within the second issue, we will be most concerned with the interpretive techniques of the scrolls, though we will first briefly look at the importance of the scrolls for understanding the history of the biblical text. A course of this nature can only hope to be an introduction. It is impossible to survey the literature during a single semester, or even in a complete year.

To help understand the texts, please purchase the following, all of which have been ordered from the bookstore:

vF. G. Martinez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated. This is the best, most up-to-date translation of texts available, and is a standard reference work.

vG. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (4th edition). A second standard translation.

vG. Vermes, An Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls. A companion volume to the translation.

vLawrence Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is a very reasonable, relatively detailed survey of the scrolls and issues pertaining to them. You will use this as a reference work throughout the semester.

vEugene Ulrich and James VanderKam, eds., The Community of the Renewed Covenant. The best reasonably priced collection of essays on the scrolls.

vJames VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. This is the best introduction to the scrolls and their literature.

In addition, you will be asked to pay for xeroxes of primary materials that will be distributed throughout the semester. You might also decide to buy other books from Eisenbrauns or other sources; I especially recommend purchasing:

vMaurya P. Horgan, Pesharim: Qumran Interpretation of Biblical Books, CBQMS 8;

vWilliam H. Brownlee, The Midrash Pesher of Habakkuk, SBLMS 24,

and the dated, but classic collection by

vF. M. Cross and S. Talmon, eds., Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text.

In addition, the dual language The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, ed. Garcia Martinez and Tigchalaar is on sale now at the Dove web site (

The following three paperbacks are also useful:

vF. G. Martinez and J. T. Barrera, The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls;

vF. M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran, 3rd edition;

vHershel Shanks, ed., Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The ability to comprehend (unvocalized) biblical Hebrew is the main prerequisite for the course. (We will not deal with any of the Aramaic or Greek texts.) The course will cover many areas that are fundamentally new to some of you: a historical period which you do not know well; unvocalized texts; a dialect which is neither biblical nor rabbinic Hebrew; a script which is not totally familiar. At times, these factors will combine to require unusual effort on your part to prepare for class--in plain English, at times this course will be difficult and will engender great frustration. This class, has, however, worked well previously for a combination of graduate students and motivated undergraduates with a solid background in Hebrew. I will be sensitive to the difficulties involved in preparing for class and to the mixture of students likely to enroll. If you have any special needs, you must speak to me during the first two weeks of class.

Course requirements: You will be required to fully prepare for each class, and will be called on to read, translate and comment on the texts (20%). In addition, you will have a regularly scheduled final examination, in which you will be asked to translate and comment on a selection of texts that we have read during the semester (50%). Finally, you will have an oral and a written assignment on a central issue concerning the scrolls (30%). The oral presentations will be scheduled for the last 2-4 class sessions; the paper will be due on the third day of the final examination period. Topics that may be covered in your presentation and papers include: the canon at Qumran, divine names, tefillin and mezuzot, purity, the calendar, mysticism, angels, messianism, specific halachic issues, rewritten Bible, archaeology, Christianity, prophecy, Qumran Hebrew, prayer, wisdom, etc. I need to approve your presentation and paper topics by February 18. Late work will be penalized, and any violation of the Brandies honesty code will be dealt with according to the standard judicial procedure.

A very schematic course outline follows:

1. Introduction and Basic Tools.

The Sect

2. The Foundation Document (?): MMT. (The Founding of the Community)

3. The Damascus Document. (Community Self-Perception)

4. The Rule of the Community. (Community Organization)

5. Hodayot. (Prayer)

6. The War Scroll. (Eschatology)

The Bible and its Interpretation

7. The Biblical Text at Qumran.

8. Pesher Literature.

9. The Temple Scroll.



The first three classes will highlight the following two issues:

l. The Scrolls and their Discovery-- Who are these People?

2. Basic Tools for the Study of the Scrolls: Grammar, Paleography, Editions.

On January 17, we will meet in the Judaica Section of the Goldfarb library, and will become familiar with the various tools used by students of the Scrolls. In anticipation of this meeting, read:

vLawrence H. Schiffman, "New Tools for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls," Religious Study Review 20/2 (April 1994), 113-116 (a bit outdated, but still useful).

Familiarize yourself with the following bibliography:

vJoseph A. Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Major Publications and Tools for Study.

Familiarize yourself with the following journals: Revue de Qumran,

Dead Sea Discoveries.

Familiarize yourself with

vthe standard editions of the scrolls, found in Judaica reference.

Familiarize yourself with the following concordance:

vJames H. Charlesworth, Graphic Concordance to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Read the following article:

vEmanuel Tov, "The Orthography and Language of the Hebrew Scrolls Found at Qumran and the Origin of these Scrolls, Textus 13 (1986), 31-57.

For an introduction to the paleography, see the relevant sections in

vFrank M. Cross, Jr., "The Development of the Jewish Scripts," The Bible and the Ancient Near East, ed. G. Ernest Wright, 133-202.

(There is an update of this article by Cross in "Paleography and the Dead Sea Scrolls," in The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years, 1.397-402.)

For a survey of the grammar at Qumran, read:

v T. Muraoka, "Hebrew," in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Schiffman and VanderKam, vol. 1, 340-345.

vMartin G. Abegg, Jr., "The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls," The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years, 325-358.

Another summary is found in

vEJ, vol. 16, 1584-90.

In greater detail, see

vE. Y. Kutscher, A History of the Hebrew Language, 87-114 and

vAngel Saenz-Badillos, A History of the Hebrew Language, 130-146.

Learn to use the two grammars of

vElisha Qimron: The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, HSS 29 and

tyrb[h ˆwvlh qwdqd

For Tuesday January 21:

vIf you are a beginner, look at, and follow links there.

vRead VanderKam (in its entirety--it is easy "weekend" reading);

vRead Vermes, An Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls (much of it repeats VanderKam or is comprised of charts or lists);

vfamiliarize yourself with Schiffman, and read pp. 1-95

Work though the very useful Web Site of the Orion Center, in Jerusalem: In addition, read the following articles (on "reserve"):

vAdam S. Van Der Woude, "Fifty Years of Qumran Research," The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years, ed. Flint and VanderKam, 1.1-45;

vLester L. Grabbe, "The Current State of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Are There More Questions Than Answers?" The Scrolls and the Scriptures, ed. Porter and Evans, 54-67.

vMartin Goodman, "A Note on the Qumran Sectarians, the Essenes and Josephus," JJS 46 (1985), 161-166;

vA. I. Baumgarten, "He Knew that He Knew that He Knew that He was an Essene," JJS 48 (1997), 53-61.

We will discuss some of this material on Tuesday January 21. We will also begin discussing the exercises using the basic tools, based on our library meeting; we will complete these on 1/24. We will begin discussing texts on 1/28.

(There is also some good general information about the study of the Scrolls in The Dead Sea Scrolls at Fifty, ed. Robert A. Kugler and Eileen M. Schuller, esp. 79-146.)

MMT (The Founding of the Community)

Read the complete MMT in English, in Martinez and/or Vermes in conjunction with the relevant sections in Schiffman and Vermes, and the relevant article in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Schiffman and VaderKam. (Do this [Schifman, Vermes, Encyclopedia] for each new text we study!)


vSteven D. Fraade, "To Whom it May Concern: 4QMMT and Its Addressee(s), RdQ 19 (2000), 507-526;

vMaxine L. Grossman, "Reading 4QMMT: Genre and History," RdQ 77/20 (2001), 3-22;

vand the articles in The Community of the Renewed Covenant, 27-73.

(You also might want to look at the essays in Reading 4QMMT: New Perspectives on Qumran Law and History, ed. John Kampen and Moshe J. Bernstein.)

vRead as much of the introductory material and appendices of DJD 10 as you can.

Read in Hebrew B 1-13 (pp. 46, 48) and C 1-32 (pp. 58, 60, 62). Be sure that you understand how the composite text was created, and that you can read and interpret these Hebrew sections, which we will discuss in class. Much of the introductory reading also bears on the issue of MMT.



The Damascus Document (Community Self-Perception)

Look at

vS. Schechter, Documents of Jewish Sectaries, vol. l, and familiarize yourselves with the editions of

vChaim Rabin, The Zadokite Documents,

vJoseph M. Baumgarten and Daniel R. Schwartz, "Damascus Covenant," in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, vol. 2, ed. James. H. Charlesworth [henceforth, Charlesworth, DSS], 479;

vMagen Broshi, The Damascus Document Reconsidered.

Read the following essays:

v Michael A. Knibb, "The Place of the Damascus Document," in Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Michael O. Wise et al., 149-162;

vSarianna Metso, "Constitutional Rules at Qumran," The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years, 186-210.

Read the entire scroll in English, in Martinez and/or Vermes, and the following in Hebrew, in Charlesworth, ed., Columns 1-2 (MS A) = pp. 12, 14, 16 (top) and 10:14-18 =pp. 46, 48.


The Rule of the Community (Community Organization)

Familiarize yourself with the edition of

vP. Wernberg-Moller and with the

vHebrew edition of Licht and

vthe new editions in Charlesworth, DSS, vol. 1, 1-51 and

vAlexander and Vermes in DJD 26.

Read the following general article:

vMatthias Klinghardt, "The Manual of Discipline in the Light of Statutes of Hellenic Associations," Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Michael O. Wise et al., 251-270.

Read the translation of Martinez and/or Vermes, and columns 1 and 5 (from the Trever photographs).


Hodayot (Prayer)

Read the general articles by

vEsther Glickler Chazon, "Prayers from Qumran and their Historical Implications," DSD 1(1994), 265-284;

vEileen M. Schuller, "Prayer, Hymnic, and Liturgical Texts from Qumran," The Community of the Renewed Covenant, 153-171;

vand the collection of prayers in Martinez, 317-378, 407-442 (or its parallel in Vermes).

vFamiliarize yourself with the editions of the Hodayot, as listed in The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition.

We will read together 7:26-33 and 7:6-25.


The War Scroll (Eschatology)


vJ. Dehaime, "Dualistic Reworking in the Scrolls from Qumran," CBQ 49 (1987), 32-56;

videm, "The War Scroll from Qumran and the Greco-Roman Tactical Treatises," RdQ 13 (1988), 133-151;

Familiarize yourselves with the edition of

vY. Yadin, The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness and

vCharlesworth, DSS, vol. 2, 80-203.

Read a translation of the scroll.

We will read the following: Column 1, 10:1-11:12


The Biblical Text at Qumran.

Familiarize yourselves with the classic collection by

vFrank Moore Cross and Shemaryahu Talmon, Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text. Read pp. 1-41, 140-146, 177-95, 306-320 and 321-400.

In addition, read the classic article by

vEmanuel Tov, "A Modern Outlook Based on the Qumran Scrolls," HUCA 53 (1982), 11-27,

v his Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 100-117,

vand most recently, "Groups of Biblical Texts Found at Qumran," Time to Prepare the Way in the Wilderness, ed. Devorah Dimant and Lawrence Schiffman, 85-102.

Note the critique of

vBruno Chiesa, "Textual History and Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Old Testament," The Madrid Qumran Congress, ed. T. J. Barrera and L. V. Montaner, vol. 1, 257-272. For a popular view, look at

v H. Shanks, Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, 139-177 .

vRead Schiffman, 159-195 and

vthe essays in The Community of the Renewed Covenant, 77-134.

On the issue of canon, which will not be central to our study, see the following:

vEugene Ulrich, "The Bible in the Making: The Scriptures at Qumran," The Community of the Renewed Covenant, ed. Eugene Ulrich and James VanderKam, 77-93.

vJames C. VanderKam, "Questions of Canon Viewed Through the Dead Sea Scrolls," The Canon Debate, ed. L. M. McDonald and J. A. Sanders, 91-109.

If you have a chance, familiarize yourself with (the first half of)

vEugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible.

Exercise: Using the list in DJD 39, collect the variants for Exodus 1:1-7, prepare a score of them, and be ready to discuss them in light of the theoretical literature above.

(Additional material may be found in The Dead Sea Scrolls in Their Historical Context, ed. Timothy H. Lim, 67-119.)

Pesher Literature

Read the following articles:

vElieser Slomovic, "Toward an Understanding of the Exegesis in the Dead Sea Scrolls," RdQ 7 (1969-71), 3-15;

vGeorge Brooke, "Qumran Pesher: Toward the Redefinition of A Genre," RdQ 10 (1979-81),483-503;

vMichael Fishbane, "Use, Authority and Interpretation of Mikra at Qumran," Mikra, ed. Martin Jan Mulder, 339-377

vHerbert Basser, "Pesher Hadavar: The Truth of the Matter," RdQ 13/49-52 (1988), 389-405

vSteven D. Fraade, "Interpretive Authority in the Studying Community at Qumran," JJS 44 (1993), 46-69;

vGeorge J. Brooke, "The Pesharim and the Origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls," Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Michael O. Wise et al., 339-353;

vMoshe Bernstein, "Introductory Formulas for Citation and Re-Citation of Biblical Verses in the Qumran Pesharim: Observations on a Pesher Technique," DSD 1 (1994), 3070;

vMoshe Bernstein, "Pentateuchal Interpretation at Qumran," The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years, 1.128-159;

vMenahem Kister, "A Common Heritage: Biblical Interpretation at Qumran and Its Implications," Biblical Perspectives: Early Use and Interpretation of the Bible in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. M. Stone and E. Chazon, 101-111;

vPaul Mandel, "Midrashic Exegesis and its Precedents in the Dead Sea Scrolls," DSD 8 (2001), 149-168.

Familiarize yourself with the

vedition of Horgan, as well as

vthe original publications in DJD 5, by Allegro. (This edition should be used with caution.) See the new edition

vCharlesworth, DSS, vol. 6b.

vRead Martinez, 185-216 or its parallel in Vermes.

We will read selections of Pesher Habbakuk and 4QpPsa.


The Temple Scroll

Familiarize yourself with the edition of


vElisha Qimron, The Temple Scroll: A Critical Edition with Extensive Reconstructions.

vRead as much of Yadin’s introductory volume as possible, along with

vDwight D. Swanson, The Temple Scroll and the Bible (Introduction, Conclusion, and comments on relevant sections);

vLawrence H. Schiffman, "The Temple Scroll and the Nature of Its Law: The Status of the Question," The Community of the Renewed Covenant, ed. Eugene Ulrich and James VanderKam, 37-55;

vthe articles by Schiffman, Milgrom, and VanderKam in JQR 85 (1994), 109-135.

vRead the scroll in English in Vermes or Martinez. We will begin our study of the Temple Scroll with column 51.