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  • Author or Editor: Dennis Mizzi x
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In: Law, Literature, and Society in Legal Texts from Qumran
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Despite numerous attempts at elucidating the significance of the animal bone deposits, the phenomenon remains one of the elusive aspects of Qumran archaeology. Among the many proposed hypotheses, there are those that see the deposits as the remains of sacrifices carried out at Qumran, a line of interpretation that has been picked up afresh by Jodi Magness. In the present paper I argue that, while Magness makes a compelling case for seeing the bone deposits as the remains of sacrifices, the totality of the evidence does not seem to support her notion that sacrifices were offered at Qumran. Nonetheless, Magness’ hypothesis provides important foundations for further explorations of the significance of the deposits. Two alternatives are suggested, namely that the animal bones could represent sacrificial remains from animals offered in the Jerusalem temple but consumed at Qumran or that they could be evidence for the ritualization of ordinary meals involving meat partaken there. In the end, it must be acknowledged that this phenomenon may very much present us with an unsolvable riddle – the bone deposits may be identified as the remains of ritual activity, but its meaning may well be unrecoverable.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: The Caves of Qumran
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The study of Qumran is riddled with many problems, one of which is the absence of clear, unambiguous evidence for the architectural development of the site. As a result, there are several competing hypotheses regarding the architectural layout of Qumran in its earliest Second Temple phase and regarding its development during the course of the 1st century b.c.e. The recent publication of two new models of development attests to the continued significance of this question. At the same time, the existence of multiple models raises a methodological red flag, which forces us to reconsider this whole issue. Accordingly, this paper, without delving into the contentious question of the site’s interpretation, offers an objective assessment and critique of the major models of development that have been proposed, and it highlights the shortcomings and assumptions underlying these theories. From this evaluation, it emerges that while some hypotheses can be ruled out via a thorough analysis of the archaeological evidence, others can neither be proven nor disproven. Consequently, this paper concludes that Qumran Period i remains, to an extent, unknowable.

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
In: Dead Sea Discoveries
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Abstract

The time when Qumran was studied in splendid isolation is long gone, but much work remains to be done when it comes to situating the site in its wider context. In this paper, Qumran is contextualized, on the one hand, within the larger ecological history of the Mediterranean and, on the other, within the Mediterranean world of classical antiquity. Questions regarding the functions of the Qumran settlement are addressed from the perspective of “marginal zones” in the Mediterranean, which provides an ideal backdrop through which to illumine aspects of daily life at Qumran. Furthermore, it is shown how comparative case studies from the Graeco-Roman Mediterranean help us to nuance the discussion concerning “Hellenization” or “Romanization” with regard to Qumran. Finally, a new understanding of L4, which is here interpreted primarily as a dining room, is proposed on the basis of archaeological parallels from the Graeco-Roman world. A pan-Mediterranean perspective, therefore, allows us to generate new insights on old questions and novel interpretations.

In: Dead Sea Discoveries