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In: The Dead Sea Scrolls in Scholarly Perspective
In: Talmudic Transgressions
In: Dead Sea Discoveries
In: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Contemporary Culture
In: Rabbinic Perspectives: Rabbinic Literature and the Dead Sea Scrolls
In: The Damascus Document: A Centennial of Discovery
In: Dead Sea Discoveries


This article analyzes the “Penal Code” of the Qumran sectarians, and argues that the list of sins and punishments included in it is based on three biblical pericopes concerning the holiness of the people of Israel and their dwelling place. Violators of these laws endanger the holiness of the community and thus need to be excluded. The idea that the structure of the penal code is based on readings of three specific biblical literal units bears interestingly on our understanding of the development of Midrash. This is taken up in the last part of the article.

In: Dead Sea Discoveries