Friday, July 18, 2008

Dead Sea Scrolls Content Overview

The works of the Dead Sea Scrolls are basically classified under five categories. 1) Rules, 2) poetic and liturgical texts, 3) wisdom texts, 4) Bible interpretation and 5) miscellaneous compositions. They are classified in whatever cave they were found with the designation of the cave and the letter Q. For instance, those texts found in cave 1 are designated 1Q with a corresponding title.

Today I give a brief overview of the Rules contents. This is taken from Geza Vermes, An Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls

1. The Community Rule (1QS; 4QS255-264; 4Q502; 5Q11,13
2. Community Rule Fragments (4QS d/e)
3. The Damascus Document (also known as CD)
4. The Messianic Rule (1QSa or 1Q28a)
5. The War Scroll (1QM, 4Q491-496)
6. The Book of War (4Q285)
7. The Temple Scroll (11Q TS)
8. Communal Ceremony (4Q275)
9. Four Lots (4Q279)
10. 4QYohorot B-C (4Q276-277)
11. 4QTohorot G (4Q284a)
12. Observances of the Law (MMT 4Q394-399)
13. The Wicked and the Holy (4Q181)
14. Purity Matters (4Q274)
15. Masters Address to the Sons of Dawn (4Q298)
16. Rebukes (4Q477)
17. Remonstances (4Q471 a)

Wow, this is just what is classified as the Rules. As it becomes very apparent, there is an enormous amount of material in the DSS and to study them opens up our knowledge greatly of the ancient world.

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