Meals and politics in the yahad: A reconsideration

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Abstract

The "Rule of the Community" (1QS) prescribes the organization of meals in a short and not very informative way, which has led to widespread speculations about the cultic significance and/or the political character of meals held in the yahad. This analysis seeks to show that there is nothing in the Qumran texts which justifies the designation of the meal as either "holy" or "political" in the sense usually given to that term. No anti-Hellenistic attitude is apparent. The meals are political in a different sense, designed to visualize hierarchies and to inscribe them into daily practice. Strategies employed for securing the status of priests make the use of semantics potentially associated with the cult understandable as the attempt to create a frame of reference which makes acceptance of priestly status in the community unavoidable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-209
Number of pages30
JournalDead Sea Discoveries
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010

Keywords

  • anti-meals
  • meals
  • rule of the community
  • rule of the congregation
  • voluntary associations

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