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The Dead Sea Scrolls - Session Three

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The  Hodayot  (Thanksgiving Hymn s)   Hartmut Stegemann, one of the modern editors of the text of the Thanksgiving Hymns comments, “This collection of hymns is usually called the  Hodayot , ‘Songs of Praise,’ since many of the hymns begin with ‘ odekah  ‘ adonai , ‘I praise you, O Lord.’”  Stegemann notes that “Actually, this lengthy manuscript is composed of a number of smaller hymn-collections, which also existed individually.” (Stegemann,  The Library of Qumran , 107)   Our most significant manuscript is a  lengthy manuscript  from Cave 1. The beginning and ending of the scroll are damaged, but some of that can be pieced together from fra gments  of other copies  found in Cave 4. The  Cave 1  scrol l appears to  have  contained  twenty-eight columns and  thirty-five  hymns.    The question of  authorship  is contested, but Stegemann claims that “the seventeen hymns of the middle part of the manuscript – columns 1-11 in the ed it ors’ numbering – were composed by and large by the Tea

The Dead Sea Scrolls - Session Two

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The History of the Community –  Identifying the Key Players through Biblical Interpretation   The Dead Sea community did not write a straight-forward account of their history and there are very few uncoded historical references in the surviving texts.  Thus, it is difficult to try to reconstruct the history of the sect  –  d ifficult,  but not impossible.  As Geza Vermes has written:   “Most of the knowledge we possess of the sect’s history originates from works of Bible interpretation.  The Qumran writers, while meditating on the words of the Old Testament prophets, sought to discover in them allusions  to their own past, present and future.  Convinced that they were living in the last days, they read the happenings of their times as the fulfilment of biblical predictions.” (Vermes, 49).    Thus, if we have some rudimentary understanding of the history of the period, it is possible that we can try to “break the code”, as it were, and attempt to associate  what is recorded in the inter