Priesthood, Cult, and Temple in the Aramaic Scrolls from Qumran

Analyzing a Pre-Hasmonean Jewish Literary Tradition


The Hellenistic period was a pivotal moment in the history of the Jewish priesthood. The waning days of the Persian empire coincided with the continued ascendance of the high priest and Jerusalem temple as powerful political, cultural, and religious institutions in Judea. The Aramaic Scrolls from Qumran, only recently published in full, testify to the existence of a flourishing but previously unknown Jewish literary tradition dating from the end of Persian rule to the rise of the Hasmoneans. Throughout this book, Robert Jones analyzes how Israel’s priestly institutions are represented in these writings, and he demonstrates that they are essential for understanding the Jewish priesthood at this crucial stage in its history.

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Robert E. Jones, Ph.D. (2020), McMaster University, is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Pennsylvania State University. His published work has focused on literary representations of the priesthood in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
List of Tables

1 Introduction
 1 Introducing the Book
 2 Introducing the Material
 3 Overview of the Book
 4 Defining the “Aramaic Scrolls”
 5 Defining the Adjective “Priestly”
 6 Situating the Aramaic Scrolls in a Socio-Historical Context
 7 Polemic or Persuasion?

2 The Aramaic Dead Scrolls in Scholarly Context
 1 Introduction
 2 Earlier Treatments of the Aramaic Scrolls
 3 Classifying the Aramaic Scrolls
 4 The Aramaic Scrolls and the Hebrew Scriptures
 5 The Aramaic Scrolls and Apocalyptic Literature/Apocalypticism
 6 The Aramaic Scrolls and Foreign Culture
 7 The Aramaic Scrolls and the Qumran Sectarian Compositions
 8 Conclusion

3 From Enoch to Abraham
 1 Introduction
 2 The Book of Watchers
Excursus: Criticism of the Jerusalem Priesthood in the Book of Watchers?
 3 The Animal Apocalypse (1 En. 85–90)
 4 The Apocalypse of Weeks (1 En. 93:1–10; 91:11–17)
 5 Genesis Apocryphon (1Q20)

4 From Isaac to Aaron
 1 Introduction
 2 Testament of Jacob? (4Q537)
 3 New Jerusalem (1Q32, 2Q24, 4Q554–555, 5Q15, 11Q18)
 4 Aramaic Levi Document (1Q21; 4Q213–214b)
 5 Apocryphon of Levib? (4Q541)
 6 Testament of Qahat (4Q542)
 7 Visions of Amram (4Q543–547)

5 Miscellaneous Compositions
 1 Introduction
 2 Tobit (4Q196–199)
 3 Pseudo-Danielc (4Q245)
 4 Unidentified Text A (4Q562)
 5 Biblical Chronology (4Q559)

6 Synthesis
 1 Introduction
 2 The Priesthood
 3 The Cult
 4 Jerusalem and the Temple(s)
 5 Conclusion

7 Situating the Aramaic Scrolls: A Preliminary Suggestion
 1 The Aramaic Scrolls in Context
 2 Levites, Aaronides, and Zadokites
 3 Priests and Scribes
 4 Conclusion

Index of Modern Authors
Index of Ancient Sources
The ideal readership includes graduate students and scholars of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity, especially those interested in Qumran, the Jewish priesthood, and the early reception of the Pentateuch.
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