The Emergence of Rabbinic Culture from the Perspective of Qumran

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Vered Noam Tel Aviv University

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The rabbinic halakhic system, with its many facets and the literary works that comprise it, reflects a new Jewish culture, almost completely distinct in its halakhic content and scope from the biblical and postbiblical culture that preceded it. By examining Jewish legislation in the area of corpse impurity as a test case, the article studies the implications of Qumranic halakhah, as a way-station between the Bible and the Mishnah, for understanding how Tannaitic halakhah developed. The impression obtained from the material reviewed in the article is that the direction of the “Tannaitic revolution” was charted, its methods set up, and its principles established, at a surprisingly early stage, before the destruction of the Second Temple, and thus at the same time that the Qumran literature was created.

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