Among the invaluable manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are numerous fragments of liturgical texts pertaining to the ritual life of Jews living around the turn of the common era. These fascinating writings include prayers for annual festivals, a covenant renewal liturgy, a mystical liturgy for Sabbath sacrifices, a grace ceremony for mourners, daily and weekly prayers, liturgies of purification, and perhaps even a wedding ceremony. In this volume, the first to be published in the Eerdmans Commentaries on the Dead Sea Scrolls series, James Davila introduces, translates, and provides a detailed exegesis of these important documents.
The book begins with a general introduction to the Qumran library and Jewish liturgical traditions. Davila then provides an introduction, translation, notes on the original Hebrew, and line-by-line commentary for each of the Qumran liturgical works. Davila's excellent translation work combines overlapping fragmentary manuscripts into a single, smoothly flowing text, and his commentary includes numerous fresh insights and observations on these writings. Giving full attention to parallel texts found in the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish and Christian writings through late antiquity, Davila firmly situates the Qumran liturgical works in their historical context in Second Temple Judaism and discusses their significance as background to the Jewish liturgy, Jewish mysticism, and Christian origins.
Shedding light on a period of Jewish history whose ritual life formerly lay almost entirely in darkness, this volume makes--and subsequent ECDSS volumes will make--a valuable contribution to our understanding of the biblical world.