Date of Award

10-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Religious Studies

Supervisor

Professor Eileen Schuller

Abstract

This dissertation investigates the Qumran New Jerusalem [NJ] text, which is partially preerved in seven fragmentary copies recovered from five Dead Sea caves. The NJ details the measurements of a magnificent, a monumental city that is similar to the cities exhibited in other Second Temple writings. The principal contribution of this dissertation is its systematic examination of several aspects of this comparatively understudied and somewhat misunderstood text. Chapter 1 presents the first working edition of the Cave 4 NJ fragments 4Q554, 4Q554a, and 4Q555. Such an edition is very much a desirderatum. Chapter 2 investigates the NJ as an important example of the "New Jerusalem" topos. It concentrates on the common themes of the topos, the ways in which its expressions may be categorized, and the stages of its historical evolution. In the light of the results of this investigation, we examine the genre of the NJ and the antecedents of its orthogonal city plan, and the question as to whether one can reconstruct the original order of the NJ. In Chapter 3 challenges the prevailing scholarly opinion regarding the degree of correspondence between the NJ and the other Dead Sea Scrolls concerning their descriptions of architectural details and eschatological expectations. This chapter also contains the first investigation of the points of contact between the NJ and the recently published texts 4Q391, 4Q462, 4Q475, 4Q537, and 4Q491. In the Conclusion we suggest that NJ is a response to the Antiochene crisis of the mid-second century BCE. The NJ describes an ideal end-time when Jerusalem would enjoy peace and strength, without enemies. Although it made no impact on the conceptions and expectations of the sectarians, the NJ would not have been out of place with respect to the general eschatological anticipations of the Qumran community.

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Religion Commons

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