Book Review: John J. Collins, Scriptures and Sectarianism: Essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Part 1)

Reading Acts

Collins, John J. Scriptures and Sectarianism: Essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls. WUNT 2/332; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. 329 pp. HB; 119,00 €.  Link to Mohr Siebeck

Due to the length of this review, part two appears here.

Collins-Scripture-And-SectarianismIn this collection of previously published essays, Collins focuses on how the Dead Sea Scrolls interpret Scripture to support that particular form of Second Temple Judaism. Collins accepts a more or less standard view of the relationship of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Qumran. The reason the yahad existed was to study the Torah (54) and this study included sectarian interpretations of the authoritative text. He considers attempts to find a prototype for Jesus in the scrolls as a theologically and ideologically driven “mirage” (13). There are similarities, Collins says, but the differences are significant (15). “Essenism and Christianity were different movements, with different values, even though they arose in essentially…

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