Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
E. P. Sanders
The aim of the thesis is to examine the use of Jewish scriptures in connection with the self-definition of the Qumran community and the early church. The working hypothesis is that self-definition and scriptural interpretation were reciprocally conditioning factors in both, Qumran and the early church. That is, on the one hand, each group found itself described in the scriptures and justified its own practices and beliefs by citing them. On the other hand, the scriptures conditioned the way in which each group understood itself. Doctrines and practices were both justified by scripture and developed with dependence on it. While numerous aspects of doctrines and practices will be explored, the thesis will focus on the question of how each group's understanding of itself as the right, and the only right group was both defended by proof texts and modified by the texts cited.
There has been extensive research done on the relationship between Jewish scriptures, Qumran and the New Testament. However, very little of this work has been directed toward the study of self-definition in Qumran and the early church.
The thesis is of general significance for the broader study of religion in two ways: it addresses a significant topic in Judaism and Christianity and thus enables a fruitful comparison to be made; it bears on the question of how groups forge and modify their own self-definition.
McCready, Wayne Osborne, "The Use of Jewish Scriptures in Qumran and Paul as a Means of Self-Definition" (1980). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3258.