Leviticus and Its Reception in the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Baesick Choi


Abstract The book of Leviticus is reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Qumran Caves in significant ways. This concept has not been investigated thoroughly in scholarship. The aim of this thesis is to describe the considerable number of manuscripts that seem to contain all or part of the book of Leviticus and subsequently to describe and analyse the wide range of the use of Leviticus in four major compositions, in addition to some other texts that survive from the Qumran Caves. After a brief introductory chapter, the thesis in chapter II, provides an assessment of twenty-five Leviticus manuscripts with particular attention to the possible function of each manuscript, arguing that in some cases the manuscripts were produced for private use and in other cases for educational or cultic purposes. Chapters III to VII describe the uses of Leviticus in various non-scriptural compositions: Jubilees and the Temple Scroll as presectarian works, the Damascus Document and MMT as sectarian compositions, and several other works from the Qumran Caves. The thesis seeks to demonstrate that Leviticus has been influential in various ways. In some places, parts of Leviticus seem to control the structure of literary works. In other places Leviticus provides key motifs and themes that are reworked to strengthen the ideological concerns of the authors and editors of the later works. In particular, this thesis highlights how the ideas present in Lev 26 often underpin the perspectives of subsequent Jewish literature, and it makes clear that the majority of quotations and allusions to Leviticus are derived from Lev 16–27, which scholars subsequently labelled the Holiness Code. Thus, the thesis argues that the ideology of the Holiness Code persisted in the communities that collected the manuscripts and placed them in the Qumran Caves and had been preserved in the pre-sectarian groups that preceded them.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2018