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In this imaginative and well-written book, Boccaccini seeks to specify the identity of the Essene movement and its relationship to the Qumran community of the Dead Sea by constructing a literary history of texts that represent "Enochic Judaism," a movement within second temple Judaism distinct from the Zadokite Judaism that predominated until the Maccabean revolt.


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It is this Enochic Judaism that gave rise to the Essene theology characteristic of many of the Qumran texts. In part 1, "The Essenes in Ancient Historiography" chap. Boccaccini concludes that the historiographical record shows that the community of the Dead Sea described by Pliny and Dio was a radical and minority group within the larger Essene movement described by Philo and Josephus, who were more interested in major trends of Jewish theology and society than in its peculiar and sensational manifestations.

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In part 2, chap. Author: John D.

Date: Jan. From: Hebrew Studies Vol.

Beyond the Essene Hypothesis (The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism)

In Beyond the Essene Hypothesis , respected scholar Gabriele Boccaccini offers readers a new and challenging view of the ideology of the Qumran sect—the community closely related to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Building his case on what the ancient records tell us about the Essenes and a systematic analysis of the documents found at Qumran, Boccaccini argues that the literature reveals the core of an ancient and distinct variety of Second Temple Judaism.

Tracing the development of this tradition, Boccaccini shows that the Essene community at Qumran was really the offspring of the Enochic party, which in turn contributed to the birth of parties led by John the Baptist and Jesus. Convincingly argued, this work will surely spark fresh debate in the discussion on the Qumran community and their famous writings.

Gabriele Boccaccini is professor of Second Temple Judaism and Christian origins at the University of Michigan and director of the Enoch Seminar, a biennial international conferences on the Enoch literature.

Format: Digital.