|About the Book|
Why were the Dead Sea Scrolls written?Neither traditional nor cautious, this book dares to interpret the secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls in new ambitious ways that may be closer to the truth than other scholars have been willing to say. Dr. BlauMoreWhy were the Dead Sea Scrolls written?Neither traditional nor cautious, this book dares to interpret the secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls in new ambitious ways that may be closer to the truth than other scholars have been willing to say. Dr. Blau suggests some lowly and mixed origins for the sectarians who wrote the Scrolls and finds good reasons for their promotion of an apocalyptic ideology and holy war. But her emphasis is on the much-neglected esoteric elements in the Scrolls: the magical, the mysterious, wonders like miraculous births, astrological readings, and beliefs that the ancient world took for granted as truly possible. The reader will find virgins (male and female), angels (eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven), prophets of righteousness, and evil doers populating the work.The author explores why the fundamentalist inclination, first espoused by the classical prophets would grow more intense, more radical, in the First Centuries (B.C.E. and C.E). She concludes that the sectarians believed that an extreme form of purification was the only way to reverse the downward trend of history and the coming ill fate of the Judean nation. The reader will see why the messianic promise, so embedded in the Dead Sea Scrolls and probably borrowed in part from Egyptian religion, offered an appealing alternative to established Temple Judaism. Yet the legacy of the fanatic holiness promoted in the Dead Sea Scrolls may not be so positive.Anne Blau has been immersed in research on the Dead Sea Scrolls for several decades. As a sociologist, she has traced links between the various texts to synthesize biblical scholarship with sociological and historical perspectives. Dr. Blau has published with her coaurther Ita Sheres several journal articles and a book, The Truth about the Virgin: Sex and Ritual in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Continuum, 1995). Dr. Blau received her Ph.D. from Boston College.