‘They Shall See the Glory of the Lord’ (Isa 35:2)

Eschatological Perfection and Purity at Qumran and in Jesus’ Movement

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Jodi Magness Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, U.S.A.,

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Jesus’ world view is widely characterized as apocalyptic and eschatological. In this paper, I propose that Jesus’ exorcisms and healings – as reported in the Gospel accounts – were intended not merely as apocalyptic signs, but were performed by Jesus and his disciples to effect the entry of the diseased and disabled into God’s kingdom on earth. Jesus’ attempts to heal others and his emphasis on moral behavior are rooted in biblical concerns with the maintenance of holiness, according to which only pure and unblemished creatures may enter God’s presence. The Qumran sect also had an apocalyptic world view, but in contrast to Jesus’ inclusive approach, they excluded the blemished and impure from the sectarian and messianic assemblies.

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