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Dead Sea Scrolls : Judaism & Christianity - Essay Example

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Author Tutor Course Date Dead Sea Scrolls: Judaism and Christianity Introduction The Dead Sea scrolls got discovered on the shores of the Dead Sea from which they acquired their name the Dead Sea scrolls. The discovery of these scrolls got seen as the most fundamental religious archeological discovery…
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Download file to see previous pages This can be attributed to the content of the scrolls which indicate a religion that was far from being monolithic. This paper seeks to discuss how the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls impacted on people’s understanding of Judaism and Christianity that existed after the second temple period. Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls The second temple period was the period after the Israelites came from exile in Babylon. After the exile, the temple in Jerusalem got built again to retain the city as a center of religious activities (Peters 43). This led to the period that followed the building of this temple to be referred as the second temple period. Before the Dead Sea scrolls got discovered, information on the nature of Christianity and Judaism in this era was mostly available from the Bible. The scrolls, however, served to confirm some of the information previously available while contrasting some of this information. According to information obtained from the scrolls, the Dead Sea scrolls got written during the period between the 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE. Most scholars believe that the scriptures got written by the Essenes, a sect in the Jewish community. During the time when this scrolls got written, Judean groups struggled to acquire and sustain both religious and political leadership. The scrolls, therefore, acted as primary sources on how the Jewish related to the outside world during the second temple period. The Jewish religious life, from these scrolls, gets depicted as both diverse and complex. One aspect of these scrolls that make them so fundamental is that most of the Jewish religious practices described in these scrolls, resurface later in Jewish and Christian scriptures. This serves as a proof that the religious activities could have been indeed practiced by the Jews (Peters 45). As pointed earlier, before these scrolls got discovered, second temple Judea got viewed as a monolithic civilization. Earlier scholars always believed that this idea of a monolithic society got uniformly supported by earlier sources. These sources included Josephus Flavius, the New Testament Gospels as well as rabbinic scriptures (Peters 46). However, these scriptures provided a view of diversity in regard to the second temple Judea which can now be identified and supported by the Dead Sea scrolls. The scrolls refer to several Jewish sects such as the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes. One purpose served by these scrolls is that they clarify people’s understanding of the Jewish sects. This includes their contrasting world views and practices. However, all the sects in the Jewish community seemed to agree on the centrality of the Bible. The Bible got viewed as the most fundamental religious scripture by all the sects that formed the Jewish community. This was despite the fact that the sects differed on other concepts of sacred literature. Consequently, the non-biblical scriptures indicated varying discrepancies. Each sect interpreted the scriptures with a different approach from the other sects. Despite these differences, each sect respected and followed its interpretation of the scriptures (Peters 48). The Essenes were the strictest of these sects in regard to the observance of the law. This could be partially associated to the aspect that a large group of this sect had retreated to the wilderness. The differing religious scriptures indicate disputes about religious issues such as the temple and priesthood. The Sadducees ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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