Thursday, May 26, 2016

Palmer on the ger

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight | Carmen Palmer. Carmen Palmer, Converts at Qumran: The Ger in the Dead Sea Scrolls as an Indicator of Mutable Ethnicity (University of St. Michael’s College, 2016).
The dissertation offers the first complete study to assess, and conclude, that the term ger could represent a convert within the Dead Sea Scrolls. In order to do that, the dissertation also had to establish the nature of a conversion more broadly. The study finds that primary features of ethnic identity for the Qumran movement consist of a shared notion of kinship, a connection to land, and common culture in the practice of circumcision. A Gentile’s conversion, in order for that individual’s inclusion in the movement, would be contingent upon making a change in ethnic identity in these features. Therefore, ethnic identity is mutable where the D tradition is concerned in its inclusion of the ger, and immutable where the S tradition is concerned, where the ger remains an outsider. Most broadly, mutable ethnicity and conversions are indeed embraced within some of the Qumran movement, just as they are across multiple Mediterranean groups.