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Title: Purity and the communities of the Dead Sea Scrolls : a socio-historical re-evaluation of classical Jewish purity systems with special reference to gender studies
Author: Keady, Jessica Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 6567
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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The Dead Sea Scrolls provide verifiable everyday depictions of mixed communities of elite and ordinary Essenes in the Second Temple period. However, to date, scholarship on purity and impurity in the Dead Sea Scrolls has been mainly concerned with establishing an elite - predominantly male focused - history. This thesis aims to redress this imbalance through the application of contemporary theories from Gender Studies to selected purity passages of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to challenge the view that women are an uncontrollable and leaky problem when they are impure and to bring the uncontrollable aspects of the impure and vulnerable male into discussion. This will be achieved in four ways. Firstly, by applying Raewyn Connell’s hegemonic masculinity framework, I will use references to the Rule of the Community (in its 1QS form) and the War Scroll (in its 1QM form), to demonstrate the vulnerable and uncontrollable aspects of ordinary male impurities. This will reveal the evolving vulnerability of men when impure and the dimensions at play between masculinity and purity/impurity. Secondly, the embodied and empowered aspects of impure women will be revealed through an application of embodiment theories to selected passages from 4QD (4Q266 and 4Q272) and 4QTohorot A (4Q274). This will demonstrate from an empowered and embodied perspective how the impure female is regulated. Thirdly, I will be applying Susies Scott’s three conceptual features for understanding the everyday to the Temple Scroll (11QTa) and the Rule of the Congregation (1QSa) to demonstrate the changing dynamics between ordinary impure males and impure females. When necessary Scott’s three conceptual features will be used throughout each of the three principal chapters to reveal how impurity disrupts the construction of daily life. Fourthly, underlying each of these points is the premise that gender and purity in the Dead Sea Scrolls communities are performative, dynamic and constantly changing categories. To conclude, the application of inter-disciplinary approaches provides an enhanced understanding of the everyday realities experienced by the pure and impure ordinary members of the Dead Sea Scrolls communities and forms the basis for additional studies in this topic area.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Purity ; Gender Studies ; Dead Sea Scrolls ; Judaism