Tag Archives: Dead Sea Scrolls

“Vulnerability and Valour: A Gendered Analysis of Everyday Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls Communities” (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017)

Jessica M. Keady (2017) Vulnerability and Valour: A Gendered Analysis of Everyday Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls Communities. Library of Second Temple Studies 91. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark.

Jessica M. Keady uses insights from social science and gender theory to shed light on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran communities. Through her analysis, Keady shows that it was not only women who could be viewed as an impure problem, but also that men shared these characteristics as well.

The first framework adopted by Keady is masculinity studies, specifically Raewyn Connell’s hegemonic masculinities, which Keady applies to the Rule of the Community (in its 1QS form) and the War Scroll (in its 1QM form), to demonstrate the vulnerable and uncontrollable aspects of ordinary male impurities. Secondly, the embodied and empowered aspects of impure women are revealed through an application of embodiment theories to selected passages from 4QD (4Q266 and 4Q272) and 4QTohorot A (4Q274). Thirdly, sociological insights from Susie Scott’s understanding of the everyday – through the mundane, the routing and the breaking of rules – reveal how impurity disrupts the constructions of daily life. Keady applies Scott’s three conceptual features for understanding the everyday to the Temple Scroll (11QTa) and the Rule of the Congregation (1QSa) to demonstrate the changing dynamics between ordinary impurity males and impure females.

Underling each of these three points is the premise that gender and purity in the Dead Sea Scrolls communities are performative, dynamic and constantly changing.

To order this book please visit Bloomsbury Publishing.

Rituals are Exciting! An Interview with Jutta Jokiranta

What is your research about, in general terms?
My research is about the Second Temple period and processes of creating Judean/Jewish identities, especially in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (or Qumran texts). It’s also about imagining what texts mean during this time when they are written in scrolls, and about the impact of rituals in humans’ lives and perceptions.

Why particularly did you choose this direction for your career?
Rituals are underrepresented in research that has been keen on finding meanings of texts and symbolic interpretations; rituals take seriously the need for doing and aspects that are common to all human beings: patterns of ritualization and rituals as mediating traditions. Identity has been part of my research always!

How would you describe the relevance of your work for society?
The more I study, the more I think of big questions: how is human thought constrained by its innate capacities. and how does that effect the way we think of God, gods or otherworldly beings, for example. How is our perception of the world embodied and extended? Cognitive science of religion brings together the past and the present to answer such questions.

More focused on biblical studies: it is valuable to study in which forms sacred texts exist in different times and how they are understood to exist and work. Before books and print culture, you could not walk with “the bible” in your hand. Furthermore, Judaism is and was not only one thing, then and now. Christians tend to look at Judaism of the New Testament as legalistic, ritualistic, and corrupt, but one gets a different story in the Scrolls.

Looking back at your academic work so far, what would you say you are most proud of?
Perhaps being able to show the relevance of social-scientific approaches in Qumran and biblical studies: studying social identity, sectarianism, authority, or almost any topic can benefit from critical thinking about the concepts we use or from informed theories.

Can you tell us a short story about something that happened to you during your career that amazed you?
Well, I was amazed during these past years to find myself in archaeological excavations and enjoying it so much — or rather that my physical condition did not let me down! I am really grateful for these opportunities.

Is there anything you’ve researched that you never thought you’d find yourself interested in?
It may sound funny, but somehow the Maccabean/Hasmonean history with all the power struggles and various successive kings has not been so appealing to me, but recently these things have become more alive and meaningful, also because of archaeology.

With the cognitive approaches, I find myself reading studies referring to neuropsychology or evolutionary theories, and those can be quite apart from traditional biblical studies.

What are you working on at the moment?
I want to find out how ritualization, as a mechanism of actions that feel compelling, functions within various rituals or practices, and how we might detect this phenomenon that can be significant in dealing with anxieties. I also want to explain what kind of ideas and practices were connected to covenant making and covenant renewal, and what difference those make, especially with the Qumran movement as a case study. Rituals are exciting!

Jutta Jokiranta is University Lecturer in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies at the University of Helsinki, Department of Biblical Studies (since 2009). She is currently Team Leader of CSTT’s Team 4 Society and Religion in Late Second Temple Judaism (2014‒2019) and is also an Academy Research Fellow for her project Ritual and Change in the Qumran Movement and Judaean Society (2014‒2019). More information can be found on her University of Helsinki profile-page.

Interview conducted by Helen Dixon

A Workshop on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Judaism at Trinity College Dublin

Text: Elisa Uusimäki and Sami Yli-Karjanmaa
Photos: Jutta Jokiranta

Three members of the CSTT’s Team 4 – Jutta Jokiranta, Elisa Uusimäki, and Sami Yli-Karjanmaa – travelled to Ireland in the beginning of May in order to foster the co-operation between biblical scholars working at the University of Helsinki and Trinity College of Dublin. Landing to the greenness of Dublin on a sunny day was a most beautiful start for our visit, and the next days of academic activities and college life fulfilled our expectations. Continue reading A Workshop on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Judaism at Trinity College Dublin

From Sectarianism to Expression of Broader Hellenistic Culture: Some Notes from the Fifth Groningen-Leuven Meeting on the Dead Sea Scrolls

by Hanna Tervanotko

The Groningen–Leuven network of the Dead Sea Scrolls was established in 2012 as an open and informal forum primarily for the scholars of the universities of Groningen and Leuven, to get together frequently to discuss their ongoing work and current developments in the field of the Qumran studies. Soon after the first meeting the gatherings also attracted other colleagues’ attention and we have been happy to welcome numerous visitors. This year, for the first time, we published a call for papers, and about 30 people from all over the world joined to explore the theme of our meeting, “Dead Sea Scrolls and Hellenism.” Continue reading From Sectarianism to Expression of Broader Hellenistic Culture: Some Notes from the Fifth Groningen-Leuven Meeting on the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Study of Changes in the Ancient World Has an Impact on the Present: An Interview with Mika S. Pajunen

(for a Finnish version of this interview, please click here)

The recently published Finnish translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Kuolleenmeren kadonnut kansa; Gaudeamus, 2015) opens a window into ancient Jewish literature and culture that was before the Qumran finds reachable only through the New Testament. The volume builds upon the work of internationally recognized Finnish Qumran scholars. It was edited by Raija Sollamo and Mika S. Pajunen, who also was recently granted the title of docent Continue reading The Study of Changes in the Ancient World Has an Impact on the Present: An Interview with Mika S. Pajunen

Muinaisten muutosten tutkimus tulee lähelle nykyaikaa: Haastattelussa tutkija Mika S. Pajunen

(for an English version of this interview, please click here)

Vastikään julkaistu teos Kuolleenmeren kadonnut kansa (Gaudeamus, 2015) tarjoaa ikkunan sellaiseen muinaiseen juutalaiseen kirjallisuuteen ja kulttuuriin, joka ennen Qumranin käsikirjoituslöytöjä tunnettiin lähinnä Uuden testamentin kautta. Teos kumpuaa kansainvälisesti arvostettujen suomalaisten Qumran-tutkijoiden tutkimustyöstä. Sen toimittajat ovat Raija Sollamo ja juuri dosentin arvon saanut Mika S. Pajunen Continue reading Muinaisten muutosten tutkimus tulee lähelle nykyaikaa: Haastattelussa tutkija Mika S. Pajunen

“Three Days of Pure Joy”: Nordic Workshop on Jewish and Christian Purity Rituals

by Rick Bonnie

Over the last decades purity rituals among Jews and Christians in antiquity have received considerable scholarly interest — not the least in the Nordic countries. To celebrate this common Nordic interest a workshop was held at Uppsala University from October 21 to 23, 2015, entitled “Jewish and Christian Rituals of Purification in Antiquity”. Continue reading “Three Days of Pure Joy”: Nordic Workshop on Jewish and Christian Purity Rituals

Sollamo & Pajunen (toim.): Kuolleenmeren kadonnut kansa (10/2015)

Vuonna 1947 muutama paimenpoika Kuolleenmeren luoteiskulmalla Qumranissa heitteli ajankulukseen kiviä läheiseen luolaan. Kuului erikoinen kilahdus – kivi oli osunut saviruukkuun, jonka sisällä oli kirjakääröjä. Löytö oli ainutlaatuinen. Vanhimmat ruukun sisältämät tekstit olivat toiselta vuosisadalta ennen ajanlaskua ja uusimmat Jeesuksen jälkeiseltä ajalta.  Continue reading Sollamo & Pajunen (toim.): Kuolleenmeren kadonnut kansa (10/2015)