Hostname: page-component-5db6c4db9b-qvlvc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-23T04:13:16.849Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue false

On the Classification of Judaic Laws in the Antiquities of Josephus and the Temple Scroll of Qumran

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2009

David Altshuler
George Washington University, Judaic Studies, 2106 G Street, N. W., Washington, DC 20052
Get access


Yigael Yadin's publication of the Temple Scroll (ts) from Qumran is a pioneering work of scholarship that will stimulate a generation of further research. At this relatively early date, most attention naturally will focus on understanding the scroll itself and its place within Qumran literature. Alongside these concerns, however, are many tantalizing prospects for comparative study, through which the literature and life of Qumran might illumine the larger context of Judaism in late antiquity. Clearly, for example, the way TS treats biblical law is of both intrinsic and comparative significance. This study is a preliminary contribution to a fertile area for future investigations.

Research Article
Copyright © Association for Jewish Studies 1982

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1. Yadin, Yigael, ed., The Temple Scroll[Hebrew] 2 vols. (Jerusalem, 1977), 1:62, 9394, 305.Google Scholar

2. I have surveyed the literature on this question and argued that legal material in AJ is of little use in establishing a Pharisaic identity for Josephus. See Altshuler, David, “Descriptions in Josephus' Antiquities of the Mosaic Constitution,” Ph.D. diss., Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion, 1977, esp. pp. 9–23, 55–57.Google ScholarAttridge, Cf. Harold W., The Interpretation of Biblical History in the Antiquitates Judaicae of Flavius Josephus(Missoula, Montana, 1976), pp. 116Google Scholar, 178–179, and Goldenberg, David M., “Halakhah in Josephus and Tannaitic Literature,” Ph.D. diss., Dropsie College, 1978.Google Scholar

3. For the date of TS see Yadin, 1:295–98.

4. See Altshuler, pp. 4–9, 87,88,91, 103, 111, 112, 114–15, 119, 126, 133, 147, 149.

5. See Yadin, 1:69–73,298–300.

6. See Altshuler, pp. 3–23, 55–68.

7. A synthetic analysis and paragraph by paragraph commentary are found in Altshuler, pp. 24–54,69–158.

8. Yadin, 1:4–15.

9. Yadin, l:x.

10. Yadin, 1: 39–60. The proposed divisions are my own. Cf. Yadin, 2: 3, 39–40, 93, 140, 160, 195.

11. Yadin, 1:70, 137–39 argues that the scriptural support of TS is 1 Chron. 28:11–21, esp. v. 19.

12. Yadin, 1: 71–72. Here Yadin posits Neh. 10:33–35 as the scriptural justification for the “Torah of appointed times and their offerings.”

13. Yadin, 1: 137–214. It is beyond thescopeof this paperto evaluate Yadin's comparisons of TS with other schemes of the Temple. We simply may note that as a historian Josephus distinguished between the Tabernacle of Moses (described in AJ Books 3 and 4) and the Temple of Solomon (AJ 8:61–98). The latter is Yadin's concern (see 1: 150–52); the former, our own.

14. Yadin, 1: 215–263. Yadin notes scriptural support for this section in Isa. 52:1. Yadin notes (p. 216) that TS traces purity laws from the most strict to the most lenient, whereas rabbinic texts are in the opposite order. On the relation of Qumran purity laws in general (though not in TS) with those of the Mishnah, cf. Neusner, Jacob, A History of the Mishnaic Laws of Purity, 23 vols. (Leiden, 1977), 22: 101–9,298.Google Scholar

15. Yadin, 1: 70–71, 264–77. Yadin cites 1 Sam. 10:25 as scriptural support for this collection.

16. Yadin, 1:61.

17. Naturally, TS and AJ agree in many interesting points of detail. For example, TS 63:5 says that the elders wash their hands over the head of the heifer of expiation (cf. Deut. 21:6). AJ 4:222 agrees, probably following LXX. Agreements of this sort permit various explanations; taken together they seem insufficient to document Josephus's purported Essene education.

18. Yadin, 1: 296–98. Comparison of this theme in TS with legal and theological positions in other Qumran materials is beyond the scope of this paper. Cf. Gartner, Bertil, The Temple and the Community in Qumran and the New Testament(Cambridge, 1965), pp. 1646CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Vermes, Geza, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective(Philadelphia, 1981), pp. 163188; and Attridge.Google Scholar

19. This conclusion is reached, for different reasons, by Halpern, Betsy Amaru in “Land Theology in Josephus' Jewish Antiquities,” Jewish Quarterly Review, n.s. 71:4 (1981): 201229.Google Scholar

20. Cf. Attridge.