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An appraisal of the Damascus document and its significance for the Qumran community

Jones, Andrew Collins (1992) An appraisal of the Damascus document and its significance for the Qumran community. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis is a study of the central themes of the Damascus Document and the purposes for which it was written. Before the discovery of the Qumran MSS a variety of opinions were held about the authorship of CD and the date of its composition. Since the (Qumran discoveries most scholars have accepted the overwhelming evidence which identifies CD as a composition of the Qumran community. This fact points to a first century BC date for its composition. The central theme of CD is covenant with God. To be in covenant with him it is necessary to obey God's law and to do that it is necessary to know what that law is and how it should be put into practice. The legal material of CD is, therefore, of fundamental importance. The Qumran community saw itself as heir to the succession of faithfulservants of God, who had resisted the repeated apostasy of the rest of God's people. God had, time and again, punished his faithless people, but had always preserved a faithful remnant. The theme of exile in CD reflects the Qumran community's belief that it was living, like the faithful had done so often in the past, in a period of wrath. They were convinced, however, of their own fidelity to God because of the leadership of the Teacher of Righteousness, who is to be identified as a Zadokite priest. Thus was continuity with God's chosen ones of old assured, and in this assurance the community looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. Attempts to trace the origin of the community to Babylon are unfounded.The place-name 'Damascus' is a cryptic reference to Qumran. The Babylonian Exile is part of the community's heritage, but not the place of its origin as a distinct group. CD presents the claim of the Qumran community to be the true heir of those who had been faithful to God in the past. It demonstrates that the basis for this fidelity is the covenant and, in its legal material, it shows how it believed that the members of the community were to make observance of the covenant a reality in their way of life.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1992
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:06

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