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Halakhah in the Making and Book Sales


Aharon Shemesh has a new book coming out soon, Halakhah in the Making: The Development of Jewish Law from Qumran to the Rabbis.

Halakhah in the Making offers the first comprehensive study of the legal material found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and its significance in the greater history of Jewish religious law (halakhah). Aharon Shemesh’s pioneering study revives an issue long dormant in religious scholarship: namely, the relationship between rabbinic law, as written more than one hundred years after the destruction of the Second Temple, and Jewish practice during the Second Temple. The monumental discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran led to the revelation of this missing material and the closing of a two-hundred-year gap in knowledge, allowing work to begin comparing specific laws of the Qumran sect with rabbinic laws. With the publication of scroll 4QMMT-a polemical letter by Dead Sea sectarians concerning points of Jewish law-an effective comparison was finally possible. This is the first book-length treatment of the material to appear since the publication of 4QMMT and the first attempt to apply its discoveries to the work of nineteenth-century scholars. It is also the first work on this important topic written in plain language and accessible to nonspecialists in the history of Jewish law.

It will be published by the Univerisity of California Press which is having an online sale until Oct. 31. (hat tip) They have some good books at reasonable prices.

3 Responses to “Halakhah in the Making and Book Sales”

  1. 1

    Thanks for the UCP info – there are several books there that have been on my wish list!

  2. 2

    Isn’t the book comparing apples and oranges – the traditions of one sect of Jews against the traditions of another sect of Jews a couple hundred years later?

  3. 3

    MMT is a polemical work against halachot that we find in mishna Yadiam in exactly the same order as we find it in the Mishna. What it shows is that Qumran’ites had a system of halacha that was alternative to and, at best, in dialogue with rabbinic halacha during tthe time that the latter was being formalized. To say that Qumran halacha developed into Rabbinic halacha is at best committing an error.




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