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Unit information: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Scripture in 2020/21

Unit name The Dead Sea Scrolls and Scripture
Unit code THRSM0132
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lindsey Askin
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit treats the world of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of nearly 900 Jewish manuscripts discovered in eleven caves near Qumran in 1947 by Bedouin shepherds. The Scrolls are over 2000 years old, with texts produced across late Second Temple Judaism (c. 250 BCE-70 CE). Topics that students will explore include the texts, archaeology, debates, and issues surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls in depth. Students will become familiar with many of the Dead Sea Scrolls as primary sources and related early Jewish literature. The unit will give context and colour to the fascinating historical and literary world of the Dead Sea Scrolls. All ancient sources will be read in English translation. This unit aims to provide an in-depth critical understanding of: (1) the overall nature of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the variety of early Jewish literature; (2) the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the study of early Judaism and Christianity; (3) different critical perspectives in modern scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls They will also be expected to have acquired: (4) appropriate skills in critical thinking, textual interpretation, historical analysis, and argumentation in written and oral communication, using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the overall nature of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the variety of early Jewish literature;

2. apply an understanding of critical and theoretical reading to specific issues of the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the study of early Judaism and Christianity;

3. discriminate between different critical perspectives in modern scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls

4. demonstrate appropriate skills in critical thinking, textual interpretation, historical analysis, and argumentation in written and oral communication, using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources.

Teaching details

2x 1-hour lectures per week

1x 1-hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

One 5000 word essay [ILOs 1-4].

Reading and References

  • Jodi Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Eerdmans, 2002.
  • James C. VanderKam, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. T&T Clark, 2002.
  • George Brooke and Charlotte Hempel, ed., T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls. T&T Clark, 2018.
  • Géza Vermès, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. Rev ed. Penguin 2004.
  • Lawrence H. Schiffman & James C. VanderKam, eds., Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, vols 1-2, 2000.
  • Philip R. Davies, et al., Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thames & Hudson, 2002.

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