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Liturgical Works
Series: Eerdmans Commentaries on the Dead Sea Scrolls
James R. Davila

0802843808 Retail Price: $25.00
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Format: Paperback, 349pp.
ISBN: 0802843808
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co
Pub. Date: April 2001

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From The Publisher:

Among the invaluable manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are numerous fragments of liturgical texts pertaining to the ritual life of Jews living around the turn of the common era. These fascinating writings include prayers for annual festivals, a covenant renewal liturgy, a mystical liturgy for Sabbath sacrifices, a grace ceremony for mourners, daily and weekly prayers, liturgies of purification, and perhaps even a wedding ceremony. In this volume, the first to be published in the Eerdmans Commentaries on the Dead Sea Scrolls series, James Davila introduces, translates, and provides a detailed exegesis of these important documents.

The book begins with a general introduction to the Qumran library and Jewish liturgical traditions. Davila then provides an introduction, translation, notes on the original Hebrew, and line-by-line commentary for each of the Qumran liturgical works. Davila’s excellent translation work combines overlapping fragmentary manuscripts into a single, smoothly flowing text, and his commentary includes numerous fresh insights and observations on these writings. Giving full attention to parallel texts found in the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish and Christian writings through late antiquity, Davila firmly situates the Qumran liturgical works in their historical context in Second Temple Judaism and discusses their significance as background to the Jewish liturgy, Jewish mysticism, and Christian origins.

Shedding light on a period of Jewish history whose ritual life formerly lay almost entirely in darkness, this volume makes—and subsequent ECDSS volumes will make—a valuable contribution to our understanding of the biblical world.


Davila, one of the leading international experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls, translates and in part reconstructs the very fragmentary corpus of texts that specialists have decided to classify as “liturgical”…. The distinctive feature of the present volume is the detailed, line-by-line commentary which summarizes, supplements, and frequently corrects earlier research. Davila has set a high standard for the series of which the present book happens to be the first installment.
—Internationale Zeitschriftenshau für Bibelwissenshaft und Grenzgebiete


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About the Author

James R. Davila is a Lecturer in early Jewish studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is a member of the international team responsible for publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls and has published the Qumran manuscripts of Genesis and Exodus in Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, Volume 12

Table of Contents


Festival Prayers

(1Q34 + 1Q34bis , 4Q507, 4Q508, 4Q509 + 4Q505)


(4Q286-90, 4Q280?)

Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice

(4Q400-407, 11Q17, Mas1K)

Times for Praising God


Grace after Meals


A Lamentation


A Wedding Ceremony?


Daily Prayers


The Words of the Luminaries

(4Q504, 4Q506)

Purification Liturgies

(4Q512, 4Q414)


Modern Authors
Scripture References
Dead Sea Scrolls
Other Ancient Writings

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