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Lost and Stolen Property at Qumran: The “Oath of Adjuration”

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
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  • 1 “Religion and Politics” Cluster of ExcellenceWestfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, 48143 Münster, Germanyk.czajkowski@uni-muenster.de
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This article examines the procedure concerning lost and stolen property that we find in cd-a 9:8-16, with a particular focus on the “oath of adjuration” or “oath-curse” in this passage. This is placed first in the context of the biblical material which, it has long been recognised, had a considerable impact on the formulation of this procedure. The primary focus, however, is on examining the way in which the oath of adjuration was envisaged to function and what we may learn from this about the operation of justice within the movement. It is argued that the oath relied heavily upon the religious and social ideals of the group but was also in itself an enactment of these ideas, and thus functioned in part as a performative expression of the group identity.

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