Legislating the Lips

Revisiting Vows and Oaths in the Temple Scroll and the Damascus Document

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Paul Cizek Marquette University

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The Temple Scroll (11QTa 53:11–54:5) and Damascus Document (CD 16:6–12) each appropriate legislation concerning vows and oaths from Deut 23:22–24 and Num 30:3–17. Lawrence H. Schiffman, who has offered the only at-length comparison of these appropriations, characterizes these halakhot as incongruent and links this conclusion with his position that the Temple Scroll is Sadducean and the Damascus Document comes from a later Sadducean splinter group. However, my analysis leads to a different conclusion. I demonstrate that the authors of the Temple Scroll and Damascus Document evidence distinct aims in their appropriations of shared base texts, but not necessarily incongruence nor intentional divergence.

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