Wednesday, September 29, 2021

More on Qumran as a festival-gathering site

ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT: Medieval Hebrew document could reveal why Dead Sea Scrolls were found in Qumran. Damascus Covenant could hold the answers (Tom Metcalfe, Live Science).
Now, research suggests Qumran was in fact the site of a huge annual ceremony of the mystical Jewish sect of the Essenes, in which its members gathered from cities and rural communities all over Israel to observe a key ritual known as the Covenant of Renewal. Qumran's peculiar construction, the researchers suggest, reflects this ceremonial function. Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls also mention a festival that seems to be referring to the same gathering of the Essenes, the researcher said.

According to the new theory, many of the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves could have been written by Essene communities throughout the country and brought to Qumran at the time of the annual festival to study and be stored there.

I noted this story back in August, when Rossella Tercatin wrote on it in the Jerusalem Post. The Times of Israel now also has an article on it here.

The suggestion is possible, and is pretty consistent with the scenario I suggested years ago. I doubt that we have enough evidence at present to solve the matter decisively.

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