The Use of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Interpreting Jesus’s Action in the Temple

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Cecilia Wassen Uppsala University

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In order to understand Jesus’s violent outburst in the temple, scholars frequently turn to Jewish texts from the late Second Temple Period, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. The same texts are used to support contrasting explanations of the event. This paper evaluates these interpretations and offers an analysis of the key texts on the Jerusalem temple in the Scrolls. It concludes that the negative attitudes towards the temple that are reflected in Jesus’s action and some of the sectarian writings from Qumran share an expectation that the temple would become defiled in the end time. From such an apocalyptic perspective, it did not matter how the temple priests actually ran their business, since they were bound to be criticized by those Jews, such as Jesus and the Qumran sectarians, for whom the final age had arrived.

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