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In: Textus
In: Dead Sea Discoveries
In: Dead Sea Discoveries

Study of the textual evidence preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls makes it exceedingly unlikely that the sectarians would have conducted sacrificial worship at their desert retreat. They disagreed vehemently with the Jerusalem establishment and refused to worship at the Temple because the sacrificial ritual did not accord with their halakhic ideals. However, they still maintained that the Temple was the only proper place to worship: it just had to be renewed under their aegis at the End of Days, when they would control all its functions. In the meantime, the sectarians viewed their community as a substitute Temple; they conducted prayers at the times when the Temple sacrifices took place; their communal meals became ritualized as a replacement for the Temple offerings; they studied the laws of sacrifices. Priests and Levites were given preferential roles, the communal meals and study sessions substituted for Temple rituals, and the ritual purity that the sect maintained assured them that they would be ready for the soon-to-dawn eschaton that would restore the glory of the Temple to them. Thus, the literary evidence points to a longing for the Temple but also to a resignation that, until the End of Days, various modes of worship would have to substitute for its sacrifices.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: A Holy People
In: Time to Prepare the Way in the Wilderness
In: Legal Texts and Legal Issues
In: Sanctity of Time and Space in Tradition and Modernity