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Title: Penitents of the desert : an investigation into the function of repentance in the Qumran community
Author: Jason, Mark Andrew
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
This dissertation investigates the function of repentance in the life of the Qumran Community from evidence provided by the Dead Sea Scrolls with the aim of addressing a major lacuna in Qumran scholarship regarding the concept of repentance in the scrolls. If given sufficient attention, this concept can be used to reconstruct the function of repentance within the community's belief system. The concept is examined thematically, first of all within a covenantal framework: the prerequisite to participate in the covenantal community involved an act of repentance manifested by a spatial withdrawal to the wilderness as well as a return to the sectarian Law. Secondly, at Qumran, one was predestined to repent but yet repentance was seen as a voluntary act. However, in the scrolls, this paradoxical "agency" issue was not an end in itself but rather bolstered the necessity of an on-going penitential life. Thirdly, this on-going penitential life was maintained by daily cultic acts. At Qumran rituals had a prominent penitential dimension as they were effective "vehicles" for repentance. Fourthly, there was a conscious linking of repentance with eschatology. While the community's understanding of eschatology demanded repentance, the complete advent of the eschatological age depended on their repentance. Based on these findings, repentance motifs in the scrolls (based on chapters 4-7) are compared with repentance texts from the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, New Testament (chapters 2 & 3). This exercise enables us to isolate repentance motifs that are particularly emphasized in or even distinctive to the scrolls. Such motifs enable us to conclude that a "penitential worldview" dominated the Qumran belief system; they also allow us to plausibly reconstruct the functions of repentance in the community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.446581  DOI: Not available
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