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Qumran

Dots on Deuteronomy 29:28: A Polemical Response to Qumran’s Secret Laws

“The secret things belong unto YHWH our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever”—the verse has eleven dotted letters indicating erasure marks, but why? The answer lies in a controversial interpretation found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Prof.

Albert I. Baumgarten

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How Was the Hebrew of the Bible Originally Pronounced?

Three traditions of pronouncing the Hebrew Bible existed in the first millennium C.E.: Babylonian, Palestinian, and Tiberian, each with its own written vocalization system. From the later Middle Ages on, however, biblical manuscripts have been written almost exclusively with the vowels and cantillation marks of the Tiberian system while paradoxically, the Tiberian pronunciation itself fell into oblivion.

Prof.

Geoffrey Khan

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How the Temple Scroll Rewrote the Festival of Bikkurim

Throughout the Bible, we find that the land of Israel is blessed with grain, wine, and oil (דגן, תירוש, ויצהר). In the Torah, however, the festival of Bikkurim, “First Produce,” only celebrates the wheat harvest. In Qumran, the Essenes rewrote the biblical festival calendar to include two further bikkurim festivals to celebrate wine and oil.[1] 

Prof.

Marvin A. Sweeney

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The Biblical Prohibition of Polygyny?

Popular legend tells us that Rabbenu Gershom (d. ca 1028) was the first to prohibit polygyny. The Damascus Covenant’s understanding of the law in Leviticus 18:18, however, suggests that polygyny may have been prohibited more than a thousand years earlier by the Priestly authors.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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Haazinu: The Song's Enigmatic Climax

The final phrase of Haazinu (Deut 32:1-43) in the MT, וכפר אדמתו עמו, is grammatically problematic, but the textual variants may help clarify its meaning.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Historical Uniqueness and Centrality of Yom Kippur

Prof.

Isaac Kalimi

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Ezekiel's Failure To Mention Shavuot

And the Re-imagining of the Harvest Festival in the Wake of the Babylonian Exile

Rabbi

Evan Hoffman

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The Mitzvah of Covering the Blood of Wild Animals

Leviticus requires covering the blood of undomesticated animals; Deuteronomy requires pouring out the blood of slaughtered domesticated animals onto the ground. How do these laws jibe with each other? The Essenes have one answer, the rabbis another, the academics a third.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Judean Desert Texts Outside Qumran

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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The Oldest Known Copy of the Decalogue?

A careful examination of the three oldest copies of the Decalogue—4QDeutn, 4QPaleoExodusm, and the Nash Papyrus—surprisingly shows that none of them reflects the Masoretic Text.

Dr.

Esther Eshel

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