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The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State
(Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature)

Hanan Eshel

9780802862853 Retail Price: $28.00
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Format: Paperback, 216pp.
ISBN: 9780802862853
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pub. Date: July 15, 2008

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From The Publisher:

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State is the first book dedicated solely to the question of how we can learn political history from the Qumran scrolls. This English edition of Hanan Eshel’s 2004 Hebrew publication updates that earlier work with more recent scholarship, now also including English-language resources.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been the object of intense interest in recent years, not least because of the release of previously unpublished texts from Qumran Cave 4 since the fall of 1991. With the wealth of new documents that have come to light, the field of Qumran studies has undergone a renaissance. Scholars have begun to question the established conclusions of the last generation; some widely held beliefs have withstood scrutiny, but others have required revision or even dismissal. New proposals and competing hypotheses, many of them of an uncritical and sensational nature, vie for attention. Idiosyncratic and misleading views of the Scrolls still abound, especially in the popular press, while the results of solid scholarship have yet to make their full impact. At the same time, the scholarly task of establishing reliable critical editions of the texts is nearing completion. The opportunity is ripe, therefore, for directing renewed attention to the task of analysis and interpretation.

Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature is a series designed to address this need. In particular, the series aims to make the latest and best Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship accessible to scholars, students, and the thinking public. The volumes that are projected — both monographs and collected essays — will seek to clarify how the Scrolls revise and help shape our understanding of the formation of the Bible and the historical development of Judaism and Christianity. Various offerings in the series will explore the reciprocally illuminating relationships of several disciplines related to the Scrolls, including the canon and text of the Hebrew Bible, the richly varied forms of Second Temple Judaism, and the New Testament. While the Dead Sea Scrolls constitute the main focus, several of these studies will also include perspectives on the Old and New Testaments and other ancient writings — hence the title of the series. It is hoped that these volumes will contribute to a deeper appreciation of the world of early Judaism and Christianity and of their continuing legacy today.


“Hanan Eshel has rendered a service to scholarship by pulling together all the historical references in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many of the passages in question are highly fragmentary or otherwise controversial. Eshel is at his best in detecting historical allusions in fragmentary texts. This book will be grist for the mills of scholarship for years to come.”
—John J. Collins, Yale University

“Though reporting history does not happen very often in the Dead Sea Scrolls, they do at times reflect what was happening in the larger world of their time. Hanan Eshel, both a scrolls scholar and an expert archaeologist, has assembled and analyzed in comprehensive fashion a series of texts in which the authors offer their perspective on events involving the Hasmonean rulers. The book, happily now available in an updated English version, is clear, compelling, and enlightening.”
—James C. VanderKam, University of Notre Dame

“Eshel’s masterful treatment investigates the historical relevance of the Qumran scrolls to the study of Hasmonean history, while showing at the same time that the scrolls themselves cannot be understood without detailed knowledge of the historical context. This volume carefully demonstrates the interrelationship of historical and literary approaches to the scrolls while breaking new ground in understanding numerous Dead Sea texts.”
—Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University


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About the Author

Hanan Eshel is associate professor in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. He has published extensively on the Dead Sea Scrolls and conducted many excavations at both Qumran and the Refuge Caves used by Jews during the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

Table of Contents

Diacritical Marks, Sigla, and Abbreviations
1The Roots of the Hasmonean Revolt: The Reign of Antiochus IV
2Questions of Identity: The “Teacher of Righteousness,” the “Man of Lies,” and Jonathan the Hasmonean
3The Succession of High Priests: John Hyrcanus and his Sons in the Pesher to Joshua 6:26
4Alexander Jannaeus and His War against Ptolemy Lathyrus
5A Prayer for the Welfare of King Jonathan
6The Pharisees’ Conflict with Alexander Jannaeus and Demetrius’ Invasion of Judaea
7The Successors of Alexander Jannaeus and the Conquest of Judaea by Pompey
8The Assassination of Pompey
9The Changing Notion of the Enemy and Its Impact on the Pesharim
Index of Ancient Literature
Index of Ancient Names
Index of Geographical Names
Index of Modern Authors

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