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Editor: Mladen Popović
Many scholars of the Second Temple period have replaced the concept of canonization by that of canonical process. Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been crucial for this new direction. Based on this new evidence taxonomic terms like biblical, nonbiblical or parabiblical seem anachronistic for the period before 70 C.E. The notion of authoritative Scriptures plays an important part in the new paradigm of canonical process, but it has not yet been sufficiently reflected upon and is in need of clarification. Why were some texts more authoritative than others? For whom and in what contexts were texts authoritative? And what are our criteria to determine to what extent a text was authoritative? In short, what do we mean by “authoritative”? This volume focuses on specific texts or corpora of texts, and approaches the notion of authoritative Scriptures from sociological, cultural and literary perspectives.
Physiognomics and Astrology in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Hellenistic-Early Roman Period Judaism
Author: Mladen Popović
This study deals with physiognomic and astrological texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls that represent one of the earliest examples of ancient Jewish science. For the first time the Hebrew physiognomic-astrological list 4Q186 (4QZodiacal Physiognomy) and the Aramaic physiognomic list 4Q561 (4QPhysiognomy ar) are comprehensively studied in relation to both physiognomic and astrological writings from Babylonian and Greco-Roman traditions. New reconstructions and interpretations of these learned lists are offered that result in a fresh view of their sense, function, and status within both the Qumran community and Second Temple Judaism at large, showing that Jewish culture in Palestine participated in the cultural exchange of learned knowledge between Babylonian and Greco-Roman cultures.
Editor: Mladen Popović
The Jewish revolt against Rome in the first century C.E. provides ancient historians the opportunity to study one of the best-documented provincial revolts in the early Roman Empire. This volume brings together different disciplines, some for the first time. The contributors draw from a wide range of literary, archaeological, documentary, epigraphic and numismatic sources. The focus is on historiographical and methodological reflections on our sources, their nature and the sort of historical questions they allow us to answer. This volume combines fields of research that should not be pursued in isolation from each other if we wish to further our understanding of the Jewish revolt’s historical context.
In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Mladen Popović

Abstract

This article takes a material and comparative approach to the Qumran collection. Distinctive features set the Qumran manuscripts apart from other Judaean Desert collections, suggesting a scholarly, school-like collection of predominantly literary texts. The few literary texts from other Judaean Desert sites reflect the valuable copies owned by wealthy individuals or families and are illustrative of the spread of these texts within various strata of ancient Jewish society. The historical context of most manuscript depositions in the Judaean Desert is characterized by violence and conflict, and such a context probably also typified the deposition of the Qumran manuscripts. In contrast to at least some of the other Judaean Desert sites where refugees hid with their manuscripts, the deposition evidence at Qumran may suggest an anticipation of such violence. The movement behind the Dead Sea Scrolls can be characterized as a textual community, reflecting a milieu of Jewish intellectuals who were engaged on various levels with their ancestral traditions. The collection of texts attracted people and shaped their thinking, while at the same time people shaped the collection, producing and gathering more texts. In this sense, the site of Qumran and its surrounding caves functioned like a storehouse for scrolls.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism