Lawrence H. Schiffman, “The Significance of the Scrolls,” BR 06:05; see also my “Confessionalism and the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Jewish Studies 31 (1991), pp. 3–14.


C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E. (Before the Common Era), used by this author, are the alternate designations corresponding to A.D. and B.C. often used in scholarly literature.


Halakhah (plural: halakhot) is the obligatory, legal side of Judaism, including Jewish practices and observances, covering daily life, festivals, dietary laws, purity rituals and civil and criminal law.



For a comprehensive discussion of this entire period, see Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition, A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1991).


See Jacob Neusner, From Politics to Piety, the Emergence of Pharisaic Judaism (Englewood, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1973).


Note that Avot 1:1 ascribes this notion to “the men of the Great Assembly,” the last of which is said to have lived c. 250 B.C.E.


See Schiffman, The Halakhah at Qumran (Leiden: Brill, 1975), pp. 22–32.


M.P. Horgan, Pesharim: Qumran Interpretations of Biblical Books, Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 8 (Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Assn., 1979), pp. 160–162.


For bibliography, see Horgan, Pesharim, p. 184.


Ben Zion Wacholder, “A Qumran Attack on Oral Exegesis? The Phrase ‘asher be-talmud shegaram in 4QPesher Nahum,” Revue de Qumran 5 (1964–1966), pp. 575–578.


Frank M. Cross, “The Early History of the Qumran Community,” New Directions in Biblical Archaeology, ed. David Noel Freedman and Jonas C. Greenfield (Garden City: Doubleday, 1971), pp. 70–89.


See the extremely important article of Yaakov Sussmann, “The History of Halakha and the Dead Sea Scrolls—Preliminary Observations on Miqsat Ma’ase Ha-Torah (4QMMT),” Tarbiz 59 (1989–1990), pp. 11–76 (in Hebrew).


See also Schiffman, “The Temple Scroll and the Systems of Jewish Law of the Second Temple Period,” Temple Scroll Studies, ed. G.J. Brooke (Sheffield, UK: JSOT Press, 1989), pp. 245–251 and “Miqsat Ma‘aseh Ha-Torah and the Temple Scroll,” Revue de Qumran 14 (1990), pp. 435–457.


See Schiffman, “The New Halakhic Letter (4QMMT) and the Origins of the Dead Sea Sect,” Biblical Archaeologist 53 (June 1990), pp. 64–73.


In the scrolls we also find evidence of the falling out that was to separate the Pharisees from the Hasmonean dynasty as the Hasmoneans became progressively Hellenized. In this respect, the scrolls confirm evidence found in Josephus and in rabbinic literature.