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orion Focus of DSS research

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 18:08:59 -0400
From: David Goldman <davic@pop.erols.com>
Subject: Focus of DSS Research

As a layman I cannot help but notice that much of the discussion around on
the DSS focuses on conceptual questions of identifying the supposed "sect".
What if the scholars in the field took a break from this for a while, put
aside their preconceived notions and simply proceeded to analyze the
content of the scrolls in the context of the world of Believing Judaism in
which the writers of the scrolls existed. To what extent various scrolls
are or are not the products of sectarians would be examined in relation to
normative Judaism. It is my own hunch after reading 10 or so books on the
subject, that the scrolls were written by people of varying loyalty to
normative rabbinic Judaism who lived everywhere. I don't understand why
there is this 50 year obsession to "prove" there was a sect living at
Qumran. What difference does it make? Let's concentrate on understanding
the Judaism of the scrolls and the overall doctrinal identity of the
authors. The fact that the caves were some kind of storage facility for
more-or-less normative Jewish objects and writings is interesting (although
any group that believed in tefillin had to have been more-or-less rabbinic). 
I am more interested in the religion of the scrolls than whether those
folks lived at Ein Gedi for two years before moving to Safed prior to
living in Qumran before moving to Eilat.....You get the drift... How about it?!
---David Goldman