The idea of sin-impurity : the Dead Sea Scrolls in the light of Leviticus
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Ginsbursky, L. (2009). The idea of sin-impurity : the Dead Sea Scrolls in the light of Leviticus (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11672
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In my doctoral dissertation I delineate criteria for identifying sin-impurity in the Hebrew Bible and discuss the possible conceptual rationales underlying the purity concerns. I suggest that in the Hebrew Bible impurity serves to demarcate the boundaries between humans (specifically, the people of Israel) and God. I also propose that sacrificial atonement should be regarded as a means Qf purification, which should be understood as a process whereby an individual is restored to a state which enables him/her to resume the proper relationship with God, who, ultimately, is the real agent of purification. With the insight gained from � the analysis of the biblical texts (particularly Leviticus) I then examine the Dead Sea Scrolls and explore how �the redefined perception of sinimpurity in biblical texts can reshape our understanding of the concept at Qumran. It is being argued that the close analysis of the Qumran writings in the light of biblical evidence does not support the widespread view that the Qumran sectaries have conflated the ideas of physical impurity and impurity resulting from sin. On the contrary, the Scrolls display a greater continuity with biblical thinking as a whole, than has sometimes been believed. At the same time the Qumran texts emphasize and illuminate certain concepts that remain only implicit in the Hebrew Bible. I also suggest that purity ideas in the Scrolls need not necessarily be perceived as the hallmark of a "priestly community," but as an aspect of Second Temple Judaism as a whole. The Community Rule (lQS), one of the main texts for the study of sin-impurity at Qumran, is a special focus of my discussion. I challenge the long-standing proposal that the community behind this document was conceived as a replacement to the Temple cult. Rather, the main purpose of the communal enterprise, with the emphasis on atonement by non-sacrificial means, was achievement of purification motivated by their belief that all impure things and people will face destruction at the eschaton.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11672
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