An Old Problem Gets More Interesting: Resurrection in the Dead Sea Scrolls

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By: C.D. Elledge

Jewish hope in resurrection of the dead plays an important role in the history of Western religions.  It was principally during the Second Temple Period that Jews developed increasing innovation in the varied forms in which they envisioned a blessed afterlife – including hope in resurrection of the dead, the belief that God would actively raise humans from the realm of the dead and restore them to a renewed form of life.  While beliefs about resurrection remained diverse, Jews of the Second Temple Period left behind to the rabbinic age, the early church, and even later to Islam, the predominant idiom in which they would express their eschatological hopes. (more…)

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5 Comments for : An Old Problem Gets More Interesting: Resurrection in the Dead Sea Scrolls
    • Ed Babinski
    • September 26, 2012

    McGrath pointed me to this particular entry in your blog on the fascinating topic of pre-Christian ideas of resurrection. I recall reading about a verse in Isaiah that is echoed in Matthew 11:5 "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor." But in Isaiah the words, "the dead are raised" are not found, so they were added by the Christian writer. I also recall reading that in a Dead Sea Scroll there's this same verse from Isaiah and that the Dead Sea Scroll writers also had added the words, "the dead are raised," and that the addition of those words was probably earlier than the Christian usage seen in Matthew. Is that the case so far as you've read?

    • Ed Babinski
    • September 26, 2012

    Also, does the acknowledgement that resurrection played a more prominent role in DSS writing mean that N.T. Wright overplayed his hand in his enormous book on The Resurrection? Any thoughts you'd care to add concerning N.T. Wright's views of the resurrection, or even his apparently certainty as revealed in a later work of his that we'll all be physically resurrected and live together on a new earth?

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  2. Ed, you are exactly right on that point and it is surely quite significant. What we have is the Q source (Luke 7/Matt 11) functioning as a kind of midrash on the tradition reflected in this earlier Qumran fragment. Michael Wise and I published this point before the official text came out. It first appeared in BAR magazine, then subsequently in a special Charlesworth edited edition of the Journal of the Pseudipigrapha. See the cities and links here: http://jamestabor.com/2012/08/14/making-live-the-

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