Author: Paul Heger
Women in the Bible, Qumran and Early Rabbinic Literature: Their Status and Roles portrays the tension between the unity of husband and wife and their different legal and social status from a wide range of perspectives, as deduced from the texts of the three corpora. The volume discusses the related topics of divorce, polygamy, woman’s obligations to fulfill precepts, membership in the community, genealogy and attitudes toward sex, such as rejection of asceticism. Women in the Bible, Qumran and Early Rabbinic Literature begins with an objective interpretation of the biblical narratives of the Creation and the Fall, the intellectual basis of Jewish attitudes toward women, and then analyzes the divergent interpretations of Qumran and the Rabbis, the grounds of their distinct doctrines and halakhot.
Author: Paul Heger
Some literary expressions in the Dead Sea Scrolls led scholars to allege that their authors professed a dualistic and deterministic worldview of Zoroastrian origin and that the omission of Moses and Sinai from the Enoch writings evinces that a segment in Jewish society marginalized the Torah, adopting Enoch’s prophecies as its ethical guideline. This study challenges these allegations as utterly conflicting with essential biblical doctrines and the unequivocal beliefs and expectations of Qumran’s Torah-centered society, arguing that scholars’ allegations are erroneously based on interpreting ancient texts with a modern mindset and influenced by the interpreter’s personal cultural background. The study interprets the relevant texts in a manner compatible with the presumed doctrines of ancient Jewish authors and readers.
Cult Disputes as the Motive for Schism in the Pre-70 Pluralistic Environment
Author: Paul Heger
The study asserts that conflicting sacrificial rules were the motive of the schism in Judean society, in the last period of the Second Temple. The study substantiates the thesis by a meticulous examination and comparison of the rabbinic and Qumran exegetical methods, and an exhaustive scrutiny of biblical sacrificial rules, demonstrating their deficiencies, the cause of the exegetical dissensions among the different groups. A short record of historical struggles, due to cult issues, and a scrutiny of Qumran literature, corroborating the utmost significance of the Temple cult in that group, complement the study. The study is useful for a comprehension of Qumran literature and particularly of the system of thought of its authors and their approach to the biblical writings.
Author: Paul Heger

Abstract

The lack of explicit reference to the Sinaitic revelation in 1 Enoch led scholars to posit a dissident group of Enochic Judaism that abandoned the Torah, preferring Enoch’s revelation. However, the absence of Sinai was imperative for upholding 1 Enoch’s fictitious primeval origin, while implicit references to Sinai abound. Moreover, omission is not proof of non-existence, since many “normative” texts do not mention the Mosaic Torah either. The opinion that so-called Enochians fostered natural law against Torah is untenable, because it does not explain the ritual rules acknowledged by all of Israel. Also there is no evidence for either a split in Jewish society by this purported Enochian group or existence of theological disputes.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Paul Heger

Abstract

In this exploration of rabbinic attitudes toward the patrilineal or matrilineal determination of ethnic identity, the author affirms that Ezra did not introduce the idea of matrilineal identity and that he did not expel non-Israelite women in an effort to ensure racial purity, as some scholars argue. Ezra’s goal in expelling these women and their children, despite the latter’s Jewish identity as the offspring of Jewish fathers, was to reduce pagan influences on the Israelite community by avoiding social contacts with surrounding peoples. While maintaining the patrilineal system, the rabbis determined that in a mixed marriage, children inherit their mother’s ethnicity, irrespective of her faith. This modification of the existing practice was effected in the frame of the rabbinic transition from a general “common-sense” approach to halakic decisions to a “legal sense” conceptualization. Examples from various rules support this thesis; conflicting scholarly opinions on both ethnicity and conversion issues are disputed.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Paul Heger

Abstract

Some scholars allege a stringent ideology behind the severe Qumranic halakhot in contrast to putative leniencies in parallel rabbinic rulings. Vered Noam contends that the rabbinic propensity for leniency and innovativeness, versus the opposite Qumranic approach are the source of their disputes. Thus, Qumranic strictness is not “objective” but relative to the lenient rabbinic law. This paper critically scrutinizes Noam’s thesis, and will posit that the halakhot of Qumran are founded on a literal adherence to Scripture versus rabbinic pragmatism. The study discusses Noam’s cited examples, offering contrasting explanations. It deliberates about the difference between disputes concerning interpretations and physical facts, the rationales behind the various classifications, and the relationship between the degrees of holiness and the degrees of impurity.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Paul Heger

The rule of Exod 22:15–16 refers unequivocally to an act of seduction and its legal ramifications. Its cognate rule in Deut 22:28–29 is regularly interpreted as referring to an act of rape and its legal ramifications. 11Q19 (11QTa) LXVI:8–11, however, integrates the two biblical decrees, applying the legal implications from Deuteronomy to the seducer. This paper examines the terms in the deuteronomic decree, demonstrating that they do not absolutely indicate violent rape; this, in turn, explains the Temple Scroll’s treatment of the text as referring to an act of seduction. A variety of practical differences result from the two disparate interpretations. Finally, the paper examines the conceptual distinctions between modern criminal law and ancient Israelite divine law.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: Challenges to Conventional Opinions on Qumran and Enoch Issues
In: Challenges to Conventional Opinions on Qumran and Enoch Issues
In: Challenges to Conventional Opinions on Qumran and Enoch Issues