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Jewish history and literature from the Second Temple period: interdisciplinary commentaries on the Qumran manuscripts

Abstract

At around the middle of the last century, the discovery of hundreds of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts dating from the Second Temple period in the region now called Qumran, in the Judaean Desert, completely changed our way of understanding the pre-rabbinic Judaism, which proved to be considerably more multifaceted and active than it was supposed until that moment A rich literature, composed of genres as diverse as poetry or apocalyptic, was found in eleven caves close to a set of ruins that many specialists uphold was used as a communal center of a radical Jewish sect, which intended to isolate themselves from the surrounding society, assumed by them to be corrupt. During a crisis, when the Roman army passed through the desert to reach Jerusalem and clamp down the first Jewish Revolt, this community was attacked and utterly destroyed. Their precious books, many of them produced by their own members, were forgotten until they saw the light of day again in our era. It is this corpus of Jewish religious texts, being them poetical, liturgical, legal, sectarian, sapiential, apocalyptic or exegetical, which we propose to translate from the original Hebrew into Portuguese and, by a comparative analysis as well as through the pertinent bibliography, build interdisciplinary commentaries that will comprehend historical, paleographical and philological aspects. We, therefore, make the collection of the Qumran Manuscripts the object of our own collection of translated and commented texts with a view to contribute to the research on the Jewish literature from the Second Temple period, producing commentaries which, we hope, will not only elucidate the texts and their socio-historical background, but also promote new studies, themes and questions. (AU)

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