Avia Ben Lulu, Bar-Ilan University
My research topic is “Patterns of the Sacred in the Sectarian Scrolls from Qumran”, where I examine the patterns of holy cults in Qumran communities, in five different community scrolls: Rule of the Community, Damascus Document, War Scroll, Hodayot and Ritual of Purification. The research traces the factors that shaped the sanctity of the Qumran community and answers questions like what holiness is in their perception, what they applied it to, what are the requirements for achieving it and what are the factors that eradicate it.
The characterization of the holiness concept within the Qumran community helps us understand the community texts more clearly, as well as the ideas behind the writing and purpose of the essay. In many essays theological concepts such as deterministic ideas, dualism, treatment of both impurity and purity are mentioned repeatedly. A deep understanding of all those is possible thanks to the perception of the holiness concept and the source of inspiration for these ideas. In addition, defining the community’s holiness allows us to understand the Qumran communities positions in relation to contemporary Jewish societies and to other communities, which keep themselves separated, and enables a new look at the phenomenon of holiness in general, and in Second Temple Judaism in particular.