Revisiting the Sabbath Laws in 4Q264a and Their Contribution to Early Halakha

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Richard Hidary Yeshiva University

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This article evaluates the reconstruction of 4Q264a offered by Vered Noam and Elisha Qimron. While those scholars find precedent in this scroll fragment for later rabbinic and Karaitic Sabbath prohibitions regarding playing musical instruments, using fire, and reading Scripture, the current article argues that this reconstruction is anachronistic and has insufficient support in the text. Instead, this article supports previous scholars whose reconstructions of this fragment of Sabbath laws include a rule encouraging singing, a prohibition against using fire for cooking but not for other uses, and a requirement to study Scriptures on the Sabbath.

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