Religion 340: Ancient Judaism and the Dead Sea
course studies the development of Judaism in Palestine from the conquest of
Alexander to the destruction of the SecondTemple; during the second semester
I offer a course on Jews in the diaspora, particularly Egypt, in the same historical period.During this period, in part as a result of
the contact with Greek culture, biblical religion was transformed into ancient
Judaism, the ancestor of both rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity.I have chosen to omit early Christian texts
from the syllabus, with two brief exceptions, not because they are
irrelevant—they are extremely relevant—but out of practical considerations:
there is a great deal of material to study, and the Religion Department offers
several courses on early Christianity.
the course concentrates on the close reading of primary texts, it will be
conducted as a seminar as much as possible.Thus your participation is essential to its success.We will be reading and discussing primary
texts at each meeting; please bring the assigned texts with you.To prepare for our meetings, I urge you to
read the primary texts carefully and to jot down notes, questions, and comments
to refer to during class.I have
assigned secondary reading to provide historical background and to help you
make sense of the primary texts, and I will also spend some time in class
placing the primary texts in context.
for the course are active participation in class (10%); a take-home mid-term
exercise (date to be announced) (25%); a research paper on a primary text or
texts that requires the use of secondary literature as well (10-12 pages), the
topic to chosen in consultation with the instructor (due Tues., Jan 12) (35%);
and a take-home final exercise (due Mon., Jan. 18) (30%).I will provide more information about the
paper and a schedule for getting topics approved later in the semester.
following books are available for purchase at Labyrinth.I have marked those containing primary texts
with an asterisk.If you wish to limit
your purchases, they and the Bible and Apocrypha are the most important ones to
* F. García Martínez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated
F. García Martínez and J.
Trebolle Barrera, The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls
G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah
* G. W. E. Nickelsburg and J.
VanderKam, 1 Enoch: A New Translation
this course you must own a Bible and Apocrypha.The Oxford edition of the Apocrypha is
available as a separate volume, and I have ordered it for those of you who
already own a Bible.If you do not have
a Bible readily available, I suggest buying an edition that includes the
Apocrypha, available many places in Princeton.
packet for the course is available from Pequod.It is also essential that you own it since it includes several primary
texts that you will need to have with you in class as well as a wonderful
introductory work that is now out of print, E. Bickerman, From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees, and other secondary
A brief overview of biblical history
to take us up to the Persian period and a glance at some of the major issues we
The Persian Period and the Coming of Alexander Ezra 7-10, Nehemiah 1-2,
5-6, 8, 13 (Bible).Start reading Bickerman,
3-90 (packet, 3-48); try to complete this reading in the next two weeks.
Enoch and the Third Century
Enoch and the Calendar: Genesis 5:1-6:4 (Bible). The Astronomical Book (=1
Enoch 72-82).Nickelsburg, 43-46.
The Book of the Watchers (=1 Enoch 1-36).Ezekiel 1, 40-48 (Bible).Nickelsburg, 46-53.
BJoshua ben Sira:Sirach (=Wisdom of ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus)
1-4, 24 (compare Proverbs 8 [Bible]), 38:24-39:35, 42:15-51:30
(Apocrypha).Nickelsburg, 53-63.Bickerman, 54-71 (packet, 30-38).
The Hellenistic Reform and the Maccabean Revolt
The Reform and Persecution:2 Maccabees
3:1-6:17; 1 Maccabees 1-2 (Apocrypha).Bickerman, 92-111 (packet, 49-58).
Maccabees 3-16.Bickerman, 112-86
(packet, 59-96).Nickelsburg, 102-6.
The Emergence of Historical Apocalypses
Daniel (skim 1-6, prepare 7-12) (Bible).Collins, “Jewish Apocalyptic Against Its Hellenistic Environment”
(packet, 119-28).Nickelsburg, 17-22, 77-83.
The Apocalypse of Weeks (=1 Enoch 91, 93).Nickelsburg, 110-14.
11QMelchizedek (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 139-40).Leviticus 25 (Bible).
The Calendar ContestedJubilees
1-6, 30-33 (compare Jubilees 30 to Genesis 34), 48-50 (packet, 136-46,
177-83, 197-200).Nicklesburg, 69-74.
Sea Scrolls, Essenes, Qumran Community
War 2.117-66 (packet, 202-12), Antiquities
18.11-25 (packet, 214-21).
BThe Communities of the ScrollsGarcía Martínez and Trebolle Barrera, 1-29.
1 The Damascus Document (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 33-44, skim 47-71 to see contents of
fragments from Cave 4 without parallels in the Genizah manuscripts).García Martínez and Trebolle Barrera, 77-96.
2 The Yahad: The Rule of the Community (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 3-19, 27-29
[jubilees and signs]).War Scroll (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 95-115).García Martínez and Trebolle Barrera, 31-76.
AMatt - (New Testament).
B 4QMMT(=Halakhic Letter) (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 77-79).L. Schiffman, “Origins and Early History,” Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, 83-89
(packet, 223-31).D. Schwartz, “MMT,
Josephus and the Pharisees” (packet, 234-41).
CA controversy over the tevul yom?Numbers 19 (Bible). Mishnah Parah chaps. 1-3 (packet, 244-46). Dead Sea Scrolls: TempleScroll col. 45, lines 7-10 (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 167); 4QD (4Q266) frag. 6, col. 2 lines
1-4 (packet, 249); 4QMMT 64-72 (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 82); 4QMMT 16-19 (Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 80 [end of frag. 1 col.
1 and beginning of frag. 1 col. 2]).
DJ. Lightstone,“Sadducees Versus Pharisees:
The Tannaitic Sources” (packet, 252-57).
Messiahs, and RomeNickelsburg, 231-38.Josephus, Jewish
War 2.225-65, 6.271-315, 7.26-36 (packet, 260-80), Antiquities 17.271-85, 18.85-87, 20.97-98 (packet, 283-92).Mark 11 (New Testament).
The Destruction and Its Aftermath4 Ezra (=2 Esdras 3-14) (Apocrypha).Nickelsburg, 263-65 (brief historical account), 270-77.
BackJudaism in Greco-Roman Palestine
from the vantage point of the destruction of the temple and the emergence of