The Ancient ‘Library’ of Qumran between Urban and Rural Culture

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    The scrolls found in the caves near Qumran are archaeological artefacts that belong to the settlement, but the question is what the exact significance is of the scrolls lying in those caves. Is it a coincidence and did the scrolls somehow end up there during the revolt against Rome, at which moment the inhabitants of Qumran helped because they were around? Or is it less of a coincidence that the scrolls ended up in those caves? If some scrolls were present at the site before the revolt broke out and if some of the inhabitants were collectors and copyists of scrolls then the site of Qumran in combination with the nearby caves in which the scrolls were found represents a fascinating mixture of rural and regional material culture on the one hand and, on the other hand, urban and high literary culture. Comparative analysis of the text finds in the Judaean Desert highlights two issues.1 First, the find sites indicate the spread of literary texts within various strata of ancient Jewish society, outside of urban centres such as Jerusalem. Second, the context, number of literary texts, and character of texts of the Judaean Desert text finds reveal a differentiated engagement with literary texts by different kinds of people in Jewish society at the time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Scrolls from Qumran and the Concept of a Library
    EditorsSidnie White Crawford, Cecilia Wassén
    Place of PublicationLeiden
    PublisherBrill Academic Publisher
    ChapterPart 3
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9789004305069
    ISBN (Print)9789004301825
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Publication series

    NameStudies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah
    PublisherBrill Academic Publishers


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