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Halakhah in the MakingThe Development of Jewish Law from Qumran to the Rabbis$
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Aharon Shemesh

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520259102

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520259102.001.0001

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Introduction: In the Beginning

Introduction: In the Beginning

(p.1) Introduction: In the Beginning
Halakhah in the Making

Aharon Shemesh

University of California Press

Research to bridge the gap between the Bible and the established halakhah of the Rabbis as found in the rabbinic literature has been conducted. But this research, hampered primarily by the lack of reliable, authentic sources, proved to be disappointing and was abandoned. However, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, primary material from the period of the Second Temple was made available. Recognition of the centrality of the law to the life and consciousness of the Qumran sectarians came with the publication of the Temple Scroll in 1977. Since that time, a goodly number of halakhic compositions have been published. However, despite all this, a comprehensive reassessment of these findings with respect to the original project, that is, the history and development of halakhah, is lacking. In this regard this study presents two models which can be used to describe the relationship between Qumranic and rabbinic literature. The first model can be termed “developmental,” whereas the other model is termed as “reflective.” This chapter surveys briefly the principal criteria for ascribing a specific legal issue to one of these models.

Keywords:   halakhah, Dead Sea Scrolls, Second Temple, Qumran sectarians, Temple Scroll, rabbinic literature

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