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The “Mysteries” of Qumran

Mystery, secrecy, and esotericism in the Dead Sea scrolls

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Samuel I. Thomas

This volume provides a new interpretation of the functions of “mystery” language and secrecy in the Qumran scrolls. The texts preserved and composed at Qumran by the apocalyptic group known as the Yaḥad display an interest in revelation, interpretation, and ritual practice, and attest to the active cultivation of esoteric arts such as astrology and astronomy, physiognomy, and therapeutic “magic.” Much like its Babylonian priestly-scribal counterparts, the Yaḥad fostered and guarded its “mysteries”—its store of special knowledge available only to the elect—and used “mystery” terminology (especially raz) to claim authority and to erect social boundaries around themselves as the “men of the vision” and the “house of holiness.” The “Mysteries” of Qumran offers an in-depth semantic analysis of relevant terminology and integrates social-scientific and intellectual-history approaches in focusing on an important motif in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Creating Communities in Restoration England

Parish and Congregation in Oliver Heywood’s Halifax

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Samuel I. Thomas

This book explores the nature of religious community at a time when, by some accounts, it was in its death throes. Many have argued that early modern communities suffered too much damage to survive, as cumulative assaults of the Reformation, the rise of Puritanism, and the denominational fragmentation of the Interregnum and Restoration destroyed parish unity forever. Without minimizing the significance of these events, this book argues for the resilience of religious community. By analyzing the religious networks of Oliver Heywood (1630-1702), a strategically-placed and well-documented Presbyterian minister, this work illustrates the flexibility of the communal ideal in the face of the challenges presented by the Long Reformation. Through Heywood’s eyes we watch the inhabitants of the northern parish of Halifax as they cross, and at times blur, the denominational boundaries that loom large both in the heated rhetoric of the time and in recent historiography.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Study of the Humanities

Method, Theory, Meaning: Proceedings of the Eighth Meeting of the International Organization for Qumran Studies (Munich, 4–7 August, 2013)

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Edited by Pieter B. Hartog, Alison Schofield and Samuel I. Thomas

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Study of the Humanities explores the use of methods, theories, and approaches from the humanities in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The volume contains ten essays on topics ranging from New Philology and socio-linguistics to post-colonial thinking and theories of myth.

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Edited by Eric F. Mason, Samuel I. Thomas, Alison Schofield and Eugene Ulrich

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Edited by Eric F. Mason, Samuel I. Thomas, Alison Schofield and Eugene Ulrich

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Edited by Eric F. Mason, Samuel I. Thomas, Alison Schofield and Eugene Ulrich

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Edited by Eric F. Mason, Samuel I. Thomas, Alison Schofield and Eugene Ulrich