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The way to the desert: origin and formation of the Qumran community according to a historical analysis of the Damascus document and the rule scroll

Abstract

The Babylonian exile marked an irreversible social rupture in the history of Israel. As they resumed to their ancestral land after the exile, the community of remites clashed with the population that migrated to live in that territory as well as those of the people who had not been in exile. The differences in their religious thought caused the first actions towards the sectarianism in the Jewish society of that period. Despite the fact the following centuries apparent/y did not record any deeper disruption, another crisis which took place in the 11 century B. C., the Seleucid persecution against the observance of Judaism, turned out to be the new point of origin for the outbreak of opposing groups within this society. Among the groups derived from this crisis it is to be found the one which went on to establish the Qumran community, aiming to isolate themselves from the surrounding society to settle in the desert near the dead sea, but also in other places of residence scattered throughout Judaea. This same group wrote the sectarian documents among the Qumran Scrolls. The rule scroll and the Damascus document are texts that, par excellence, allow us to glimpse on how this group lived and organized itself, aiming, above all, to follow its peculiar and radical interpretation of the law. In this perspective, focusing on the documents we elaborated our work analyzing their textual construction during the sect's history, attesting to the existence of a lively active and dynamic group. (AU)

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