This book is the first work of its kind to examine legal exegesis in the Dead Sea Scrolls from the perspective of both the history of Jewish law and early Jewish scriptural interpretation. It shows how the Dead Sea Scrolls transform the meaning and application of biblical law to meet the needs of new historical and cultural settings. The Dead Sea Scrolls legal texts are examined through the comparative lens of law and legal interpretation in Second Temple Judaism and rabbinic Judaism. The creative interpretation of scriptural texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls responds to the tension between seemingly rigid authoritative scripture and the need for law and scripture to be perpetually evolving entities. The ongoing legal interpretation of scriptural texts frames the development of Jewish law at the same time as it shapes the nature of the biblical canon.
Alex P. Jassen is Associate Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He previously taught at the University of Minnesota, where he was the recipient of the university's prestigious McKnight Land-Grant Fellowship. Dr Jassen holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Washington (2001) and a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University (2006). He has published widely on the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient Judaism and is a member of the international editorial team responsible for publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is the author of Mediating the Divine: Prophecy and Revelation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism (2012), winner of the 2009 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, as well as many articles in leading journals such as the Association for Jewish Studies Review, Biblical Interpretation, Dead Sea Discoveries, the Journal of Biblical Literature, the Journal of Jewish Studies, and Revue de Qumran. He is the co-editor of Scripture, Violence, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity (with Ra'anan S Boustan and Calvin J. Roetzel, 2010), and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ancient Judaism. He served as academic advisor for the 'Dead Sea Scrolls: Words that Changed the World' exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. His work on religious violence has been recognized with a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
1. Introduction; 2. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the history of Jewish law and legal exegesis; 3. Jewish legal exegesis and the origins and development of the canon; 4. Isaiah 58:13 and the Sabbath prohibition on speech in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Part 1: the Damascus Document; 5. Isaiah 58:13 and the Sabbath prohibition on speech in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Part 2: 4QHalakha B; 6. Isaiah 58:13 and the Sabbath prohibition on speech in the Book of Jubilees and Rabbinic literature; 7. Isaiah 58:13 and the restriction on thoughts of labor on the Sabbath in the Dead Sea Scrolls; 8. Isaiah 58:13 and the restriction on thoughts of labor on the Sabbath in Philo and Rabbinic literature; 9. Jeremiah 17:21-22 and the Sabbath carrying prohibition in the Dead Sea Scrolls; 10. Jeremiah 17:21-22 and the Sabbath carrying prohibition in Nehemiah, Jubilees, and Rabbinic literature; 11. Non-pentateuchal passages as prooftexts; 12. Conclusions.