The Laws of the Damascus Document

Sources, Traditions and Redaction


The Damascus Document is one of the key texts to have been discovered in both spectacular Jewish manuscript discoveries of the 20 th century: the Cairo Genizah and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The legal part of this document has until recently received little scholarly attention. With the recent publication of eight manuscripts of the Damascus Document from cave 4, which provide a substantial amount of additional legal material, the legal part of this document is set to be the focus of research in coming years. This volume provides a detailed analysis of the Laws of the Damascus Document which fully incorporates the new cave 4 evidence. The author offers a close reading of the text and identifies a number of literary strata as well as a considerable amount of redactional activity.


EUR €127.00USD $153.00

Biographical Note

Charlotte Hempel, Ph.D. (1995) University of London, is Sutasoma Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge. Recent publications include The Earthly Essene Nucleus of IQSa, in Dead Sea Discoveries (1996) and The Penal Code Reconsidered in Legal Texts and Legal Issues, (Brill, 1997).

Review Quote

"This excellent monograph [...] consists of a detailed, perspicacious, and learned examination of the legal material contained in the Cairo Genizah version and Qumran fragments of the Damascus Document [...] warmly recommended to all students of Qumran law and of the communal structure of the Dead Sea Community." – Geza Vermes, in: Journal of Jewish Studies, 2003 "This is a sophisticated grappling with very difficult material and must be taken into account in all future descriptions of the history and organization of the movement reflected in the sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls." – George Brooke, in: Booklist of the Society for the Study of the Old Testament, 2001


All those interested in the history and literature of Second Temple Judaism, biblical scholars, students of Jewish law.