Dead Sea Discoveries 15 (2008) 172–189 www.brill.nl/dsd Qumran Self-Identity: “Israel” or “Judah”? John S. Bergsma Franciscan University of Steubenville Abstract A careful analysis of the Qumran “sectarian” texts reveals a consistent preference for self-identiﬁcation as “Israel” rather than “Judah.” In fact, they contain no unambiguous identi ﬁcations of the community as “Judah” or its members as “Judeans”. Like most biblical texts and unlike Josephus and the authors of 1–2 Maccabees, the Qumran community does not equate Israelite with Judean. They regard themselves as the vanguard of the eschatological restoration of the twelve tribes; for them, the Judean state is not the sole heir of biblical Israel. Keywords self-identity; yehudim; ioudaios/oi; Damascus Document; Pesher Habakkuk; eschatology The Qumran community, in their so-called “sectarian” documents, shows a marked preference for identifying themselves either as “Israel” or “Isra- elites” ( לארשי ינב ) rather than as “Judah” or “Judahites” ( םידוהי ). This is a curious phenomenon, in marked contrast to other second temple texts, such as the works of Josephus and 1–2 Maccabees. In this paper, I will ﬁrst discuss terminology, in order to establish that “Israel” and “Judah,” and their respective gentilic formations, are not nec- essarily synonymous either
Dead Sea Discoveries – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: IOUDAIOS/OI; PESHER HABAKKUK; YEHUDIM; SELF-IDENTITY; ESCHATOLOGY; DAMASCUS DOCUMENT
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