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There is a broad consensus that the Qumran community was founded by a group of priests that broke away from the Temple cult in Jerusalem, that it was governed by priests, and that it anticipated an eschatological age that would be inaugurated, in part, by a priestly messiah and in which priests would play the central role (Cross, 1995; Hauer, 1959; Milik, 1959; Schiffman, 1994; VanderKam, 1994). A survey of the testimony of the scrolls regarding the priesthood that critically reviews this consensus follows.

Terms for Priests in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Numerous references in the scrolls to priests under various titles illustrate the community's intense interest in the priesthood; they also underscore the ambiguity of the evidence.

The title kohen (“priest”) appears approximately three hundred times in the scrolls, in sectarian rule books, biblical interpretations, apocalyptic works, legal documents, and even in mystery and wisdom compositions (e.g., Mysteriesa, 4Q299 63.3, 75.6; Sapiential Work B, 4Q419 1.3). Besides evincing the community's interest in priestly matters, appearances of the term kohen in nonsectarian works underscore the community's negative attitude toward the Jerusalem priesthood's practice (Pseudo-Mosesb, 4Q387a 3.iii.6; Pseudo-Mosese, 4Q390 1–2) and its interest in linking an ideal priesthood to Levi and his immediate descendants (Aramaic Levia–e, 4Q213–214a; Testament of Qahat, 4Q542; Visions of Amrama–f?, 4Q543–548; Pseudo-Jubileesa, 4Q225 2.ii.11–12; Pseudo-Jubileesb, 4Q226 7.4). Kohen is also used in sectarian texts that refer to the Jerusalem priesthood as religiously and morally corrupt (Pesher Habakkuk, 1QpHab ix.4; Pesher Micah, 1Q14 11.1; Pesher Nahum, 4Q169 3–4.i.11, 3–4.ii.9). Unexpectedly, though, the occurrences of the term in sectarian texts support the consensus view regarding the role of priests at Qumran in only two respects: it is clear that priests assumed a leading role in community life and were responsible for much of its governance (Rule of the Community from Qumran Cave 1, hereafter, 1QRule of the Community, 1QS vi.4–5, 8; Damascus Document, CD ix.13, 15; xiii.2–3; xiv.3, 5), and they were to have a similarly elevated place in the anticipated new age (Rule of the Congregation, 1Q28a i.16, 24, ii.3, 12–13). However, the scrolls do not unequivocally describe priests as community founders. For instance, although the discussion of what appears to be a founding group of three priests and twelve laymen in 1QRule of the Community (1QS viii.1) indicates a priestly role in the community's beginnings, the priests are in the minority; and even though the Aaronides of this founding group control aspects of the group's life (1QS ix.7), the highest authority, the maskil (“Master”), was probably a layman (1QS ix.12).

The title ha-kohen ha-gadol (“high priest”) and its congeners appear nearly twenty times in the scrolls, generally referring to the chief priest of the eschatological age or of a restored temple. In the War Scroll (1QM) a chief priest directs the priests committed to battle. Temple Scrolla mentions the high priest in connection with his ordination (11Q19 xv.15, xvi.1), the Festival of the Wood (11Q19 xxiii.9), and Yom Kippur (11Q19 xxv.16, xxiii.6). An anointed priest appears in the Apocryphon of Moses Ba (4Q375 1.i.9) and the Apocryphon of Moses Bb (4Q376 1.i.1) as the judge of true prophecy. Some scholars treat occurrences of the simple title ha-kohen (“the priest”) in the Rule of the Congregation (1Q28a ii.12–13, 19) as references to an eschatological high priest; Hartmut Stegemann (1990) asserts that the designation of the Teacher of Righteousness by the same title indicates that he was the high priest of the Intersacerdotium. Michael Wise (1990) has demonstrated that biblical, numismatic, and inscriptional evidence regarding the term the priest undermines Stegemann's suggestion. The War Scroll (1QM ii.1–5) lists as the deputy of the high priest a mishneh; this figure probably parallels the rabbinic sagan (B.T., Yoma 39a).

Descriptions of the priests of Qumran as benei Tsadoq (“Zadokites”) are commonplace; for this reason many scholars assume that they were responsible for founding and governing the community (Cross, 1995; Gärtner, 1965; Hauer, 1959; Milik, 1959; Schiffman, 1994; Schürer, 1979). There are a few references to Zadokites that neither support nor undermine that view (see the midrash on Ezek. 44.15 in CD iii.20–iv.4; see also Pesher Isaiahc, 4Q163 22.3; Florilegium, 4Q174 1–iii.i.17; Rule of the Blessings, 1Q28b iii.22), and it is true that 1QRule of the Community (1QS v.2, 9) and the Rule of the Congregation (1Q28a i.2, 24; ii.3) do name Zadokites as the ruling figures of the community, both in this age and in the one to come. Nevertheless, Damascus Documenta (4Q266 6.i.14) and 1QRule of the Community (1QS ix.14) limit the Zadokites' power, requiring them to submit to the judgment of the Master. More significantly, the occurrences of the term benei Tsadoq in the manuscripts of the Rule of the Community undercut the claim that the Zadokites were the community's founders and its governors from the beginning. Although 1QRule of the Community (1QS v.2, 9) indicates that Zadokites did govern community life (but in cooperation with the “multitude of the men of the community”), the corresponding passages in Rule of the Communityb (4Q256) and Rule of the Communityd (4Q258)—an earlier recension of the Rule of the Community than the one available in Qumran Cave 1 (1QS)— omit Zadokites, giving authority instead to ha-rabbim (“the many”). Further, casting doubt on the notion that the title Zadokite has to do with priestly lineage at all is the fact that it is used interchangeably with the title Aaronide (cf. 1QS v.2, 4, 8–9; ix.7; see also 1Q28a i.23–24; 4Q266 6.i.14, 6.ii.5, 8, 10, 12).

Meanwhile, nearly thirty times the Dead Sea Scrolls designate priests with the typical postexilic title benei Aharon (“Aaronides” or “descendants of Aaron”). The name Aaron alone is used on occasion to designate part of the community as priestly (1QS v.6, viii.9, xi.6), and several times his name appears in conjunction with Levi's to refer to the tribe from which priests arise (CD x.5; 1QM v.1). As already noted, the title Aaronides is used interchangeably with Zadokites, but generally in sectarian texts it distinguishes priests from other community members: in the Rule of the Congregation (1Q28a i.16, 23), the War Scroll (1QM vii.10), and throughout Temple Scrolla (11Q19), the title sets priests apart from Levites; it distinguishes priests from the laity in 1QRule of the Community (1QS ix.7), where Aaronides wield absolute power over the life of the community; and in Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Toraha (4Q394 1–2.iv.8), the Aaronides are called the most holy while Israel (the laity) is only holy (1QS viii.5–6). Yet, in 1QRule of the Community (1QS v.21), Aaronides share power with the laity; in the Rule of the Congregation (1Q28a ii.13), they stand under the authority of a single priest who may be messianic in character; and like Zadokites they are subject to the Master's judgment (1QS ix.14; 4Q266 6.i.15, 6.ii.5, 8, 10, 12). In nonsectarian texts the title appears infrequently, the most notable occurrence being in Pseudo-Mosese (4Q390 1.1–2), where Aaronides—presumably the Jerusalem Temple priests—are denigrated for their apostasy.

There are nearly one hundred references to benei Levi (“Levites”) in the scrolls. Levites are often elevated above their traditionally lower status vis-à-vis the priests, and at times their privileges even transcend those granted the priests. For example, Temple Scrolla (11Q19 xxi.1, xxii.10–12, lx.6–7) gives Levites more generous portions from the offerings than those provided for the priests, and (in 11QT xliv.5, 14) they are granted more quarters in the Temple than are the priests. More often, they are elevated over their second-class status becoming equivalent to the priests (11Q19 lvii.12, lx.12, 14, lxi.8; 1QM xiii.1, xviii.5–6; War Scrolla, 4Q491 1–3, 9; War Scrollc, 4Q493 9–10; CD xiii.3; 1QS i.18–19, ii.11; New Jerusalem from Qumran Cave 11, 11Q18 30.2). In still other passages Levites are maintained in their biblically mandated role as second to priests in rank and privilege (11Q19 xxi.4, xxii.4, lviii.13, lx.7–11; 1QM ii.2, vii.14–16, viii.9, xv.4, xvi.7; CD xiv.4–5; 1QS ii.20). But when they are mentioned in relationship to the other eleven tribes, Levites consistently are privileged (11Q19 xxiii.9–10, xxiv.11, xxxix.12, xl.14–15; Reworked Pentateuchc 4Q365 23.10). Meanwhile, in a number of nonsectarian works, Levi is the progenitor of all priests and is often exalted as a figure of priestly wisdom, good judgment, and purity: Pseudo-Jubileesa (4Q225 2.ii.11–12) and Pseudo-Jubileesb (4Q226 7.4) list Levi along with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in what is certainly a priestly genealogy; in Psalms of Joshuab (4Q379 1.5), Levi is the first of Jacob's sons listed in a passage based on Deuteronomy 33; the Rule (5Q13 2.7) describes Levi as set apart for special service; Testimonia (4Q175 14–20) expresses Levitical messianic sentiment; and Aramaic Levi (1Q21, 4Q213–214a) exalts Levi as the archetypal priestly figure, while Testament of Qahat (4Q542) and Visions of Amrama–f? (4Q543–548) extend that tradition. Indeed, it seems possible that the priestly messianism of Qumran had substantial roots in this tradition (VanderKam, 1988).

Priests and Named Figures in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Because of the importance of priests for the Qumran community, it is probable that some named figures in the scrolls were priests. Pesher Psalmsa (4Q171 3.15) states the priestly identity of the Teacher of Righteousness; Pesher Habakkuk (1QpHab ii.8–9, vii.4–5) describes a priest and the Teacher of Righteousness in the same way. Some scholars, like Stegemann, believe that the Teacher was a deposed high priest while others, like Wise, maintain there is insufficient evidence for that claim.

The Wicked Priest appears in Pesher Habakkuk (1QpHab i.13; viii.8, 16; ix.9, 16; xi.4, 12; xii.2, 8), Pesher Isaiahc (4Q163 30.3), and Pesher Psalmsa (4Q171 3–10.iv.8). The issue here is which priestly historical figure he was. Nominees include figures from Alcimus to Alexander Jannaeus, while some (van der Woude, 1982; García Martínez, 1988) think specific occurrences of the term correspond to the succession of Hasmonean priest-kings. Timothy Lim (1993) challenges the precision of that hypothesis without denying that uses of the title may refer to more than one person.

Although the mevaqqer (“Overseer”) is never explicitly identified as a priest, many scholars think he must have been one. The duties assigned him are like those of a priest at Qumran: he judges disputes (CD ix.17–22, xiv.11–12), instructs the community in God's deeds (CD xiii.8), passes judgment on new initiates (CD xiii.11–12), and instructs the priest in cases of confusion over the law (CD xi.5–6). Moreover, the appearance of the mevaqqer in the Rule (5Q13 4.1) after the mention of Levi and Levites in fragment 2 might indicate that he was a Levitical priest.

The paqid (“Appointed One”) is a priest according to the broken text of Berakhotd (4Q289 1.4). He is also the examiner of the neophyte in 1QRule of the Community (1QS vi.14), while the Damascus Document (CD xiv.6–8) assigns the same responsibility to a priest who is appointed (pqd) at the head of the Many. Consequently, although it seems likely that the paqid was a priest, so little else is written about him that nothing further can be concluded from this observation.

It is difficult to be certain that the Master (maskil) was a priest, and if he was, what significance should be attached to his identification. His role as teacher and guardian of the law of the community (1QS iii.13–15, ix.12–14) and his function as the judge of people's suitability for community life (1QS ix.14; see also 4Q266 6.i.15) remind one of the Qumran priests. Yet his function is mostly to educate and maintain the division between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. So even though he assumes the priestly role of blessing in the Rule of the Blessings (1Q28b i.1), it is best to reserve judgment regarding his priestly status.

The title Messiah of Aaron refers to an eschatological priest. It does not occur, however, in isolation, but as meshiaḥ Aharon ve-yisra᾽el (“Messiah of Aaron and Israel”; 1QS ix.9–11; CD xii.22–13.1; xiv.18–19; xix.10–11; xix.33–xx.1; 1Q28a ii.11–15, 17–22; see also 4Q375 1.i.9; 4Q376 1.i.1, 1.iii.1). Because the title appears with the construct plural meshiḥei (“messiahs”) only in 1QRule of the Community (1QS ix.11), there is some question whether it refers not to two messiahs but to a single messianic figure (Abegg, 1995). However, syntax permits the singular messiah before the following two names to refer to two figures, and where a Davidic messiah is mentioned with a priestly partner, the priest is always superior to the kingly messiah and is thus in practice a messiah too (see, for example, 1Q28a ii.11–14; 1Q28b; Pesher Isaiaha 4Q161 8–10.17– 24; War Rule 4Q285 5.4–5; and 11QT19 lviii.19 [Collins, 1995]). So, on the whole, although the ambiguity of the evidence (especially that preserved in the differing manuscripts of the Damascus Document from the Cairo Genizah) has led some, such as George Brooke and J. Starcky, to posit theories of messianic development at Qumran in which the community expected only one or the other of the two messiahs, it seems likely that the community almost always anticipated two messiahs together, with the ascendant one being a priest.

The title doresh ha-Torah (“Interpreter of the Law”) occurs in the Florilegium (4Q174 1–2.i.11–12), the Damascus Document (CD vi.7, vii.18), and perhaps in the Commentary on Genesis A (4Q252 5.5). Apart from the Damascus Document (CD vi.7), the references are to an eschatological priest paired with a future Davidide, just as the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah of Israel appear together. Aaronic Text A (Aramaic Levid? 4Q541 9.i) may provide additional evidence that the Interpreter of the Law was the eschatological priest since it appears to some that the text deals with a future priest to whom is assigned the task of interpreting the law (Collins, 1995).

Function of Priests in Community Life.

During the Second Temple period, priests filled a variety of roles: they led the community in prayer, interpreted the law, judged disputes, controlled communal wealth and affairs, and made sacrifice for the laity (Schürer, 1979). The evidence indicates that the priests of Qumran filled all these roles except that of performing sacrifices, and they looked forward to fulfilling that function, too, in the eschatological age, an age that one of their own would inaugurate.

Priests were prominent in community ceremonies; they pronounced blessings, announced God's deeds, and cursed the wicked (1QS i.18, 21; ii.1, 11); they blessed food (1QS vi.5; 1Q28a ii.19); and they ceremonially dismissed errant community members (4Q266 18.v.8). In the eschatological battle they were to serve as sacerdotal combatants (see especially 1QM xiii.1–xiv.16). According to Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Toraha (4Q394 3–7.ii.1; parallel to Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Torahb 4Q395 1.11); Purification Rules Bb (4Q276 1.9), and Purification Rules Bc (4Q277 1.3, 6, 9), priests had some role in the preparation and sprinkling of the water of cleansing from the red heifer rite.

Priests also taught and interpreted the law as it was defined by the community. The Damascus Document (CD xiii.2; xiv.6–8) states that a priest learned in the “Book of Hagu” is required for understanding of the law. The Rule of the Community (1QS v.9–10) requires that priests teach the law to all under their authority; where ten are gathered, a priest should guide them (1QS vi.6); before the eschatological battle the priests should instruct the people in God's assistance in making war (1QM x.2–5, xv.6–11); and according to Pesher Habakkuk (1QpHab ii.8–9), the Teacher of Righteousness as priest interprets the words of the prophets.

The priests of Qumran had a variety of adjudicatory roles. For instance, they judged the acceptability of neophytes (1QS v.21, vi.19, ix.7), and they determined the status of the leper (CD xiii.5; 4Q266 9.i.13 and parallels). The Damascus Document (CD x.4–6) requires that the community's judicial body be composed of ten men, four of whom must be priests (cf. Ordinancesa, 4Q159 2–4.4, where ten men and two priests are required).

The Rule of the Community (1QS v.2, 9, 21; viii.1; ix.7) and the Damascus Document (CD x.5, xiii.3, xiv.6) indicate that priests governed the community, although in cooperation with laity. Their ascendancy is implied by their privileged place in community gatherings (1QS vi.8; 1Q28a i.2; ii.3, 12–13; CD xiv.3, 6; 4Q270 11.i.16). Priests also had oversight of community wealth (e.g. 1QS ix.7–8; CD ix.13, 15). In this regard one wonders how priests maintained such authority in the absence of the Temple and its prerogatives. Carol Newsom (1990) suggests that participation in the liturgy of Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400–407) reminded the community of the priesthood's ascendancy in God's plan and so provided liturgical legitimation to priestly claims of superiority at Qumran.

It seems unlikely that priests offered sacrifices at Qumran, notwithstanding the conflicting testimony of Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 18.1.5) and Philo (That Every Good Man Is Free 75), the scant positive archaeological evidence, and Frank Moore Cross's strong defense of the notion. Although it is true that the Damascus Document (CD ix.14, xi.17–xii.2, xvi.13–16) may indicate that community adherents sent sacrifices to the Temple or even dedicated offerings to Temple priests, that Damascus Documenta (4Q266 6.ii; parallel to Damascus Documentc, 4Q268 4.iii) lists priestly disqualifications that imply priests had sacrificial obligations, and that calendrical documents from Cave 4 at Qumran imagine a world in which priestly courses are observed, one cannot deny that 1QRule of the Community (1QS ix.4–5) unequivocally states that prayer and praise replaced sacrifice at Qumran. As for the evidence that the rite of the red heifer was observed at Qumran (1QS iii.1–12; 4Q395 3–7.ii.1; 4Q276 1; 4Q277 1), John Bowman (1958) notes that the rite itself is not sacrificial, and so its possible practice at Qumran does not mean that priests offered sacrifices there. It is clear that in the new age the community anticipated a restoration of priestly sacrifice (4Q174 1–3; 1QM ii.5–6; New Jerusalem from Qumran Cave 2, 2Q24 4.11–18). [See Sacrifice.]

Priests also figured prominently in the community's eschatological imagination. Not only would the priests inaugurate the new age, they would also serve in all the roles just described above, have highest authority, and have sacrificial responsibilities restored to them (1Q28a i.2, 16, 23; ii.12–13; 1QpHab ii.8; 4Q491 5.5).

Significance of Priests for the Qumran Community.

Some suggest that the Qumran community understood itself as an entirely priestly community, a replacement for the Temple cult: one can cite the community's atoning function (1QS v.1–7), its self-designation as holy (1QS viii.5–6, 8; ix.6; x.4), priestly (1QS v.6, viii.9, ix.6; CD iii.18–iv.4; 4Q174 1.3–4), and destined to be like the heavenly angels (1QS xi.8; 1Q28b iii.25–26, iv.24–26; 4Q174 1.4), as well as its adoption of priestly rules for purity (1QS v.13, vi.16–17; 1Q28a ii.3–10; CD xv.15–17) and age of service (1Q28a i.8–17; CD x.6–8). Yet the evidence surveyed above shows that the community distinguished between priests and laity; the use of titles, the assignment of tasks and authority, and the division of the community into Israel (holy) and Aaron (holy of holies) demonstrate the separation of the two classes.

Regarding priestly descent at Qumran, Daniel Schwartz (1990) insists that the title Zadokite asserts the proper lineage of the Qumran priests over the improper lineage of the Hasmonean high priests who claimed Aaronide descent through Jehoiarib (1 Chr. 24.7, 1 Mc. 2.1). Jacob Liver (1967) says that although the priests of Qumran may have been Zadokites, their lineage was not the reason for the community's separation from the Hasmoneans; there is no polemic against Hasmonean descent in the scrolls, and the use of the term Aaronide as a priestly title indicates the coexistence at Qumran of priests from various lines. Joseph Baumgarten (1979) notes the infrequency of the title Zadokite in Second Temple literature (Ezek. 40.46, 43.19, 44.15, 48.11; Sir. 51.12) and contends that the term does not pertain to priestly lineage but reflects the community's concept of its priesthood as more righteous than others. Inasmuch as the titles Zadokite and Aaronide were used interchangeably, Baumgarten's view may be the most plausible. At any rate, the conflicting evidence regarding the lineage of the Qumran priests permits little to be said on the topic with any confidence.

That the biblical division between priests and Levites was maintained at Qumran appears to be accurate, although the community occasionally elevated Levites above their biblically mandated status as second to the priests (Milgrom, 1978) and took interest in works that exalted Levi as the progenitor of a proper priesthood. The community's fondness for traditions that elevated an oppressed priestly class (see above) is rooted in the community's identity as a protest group vis-à-vis the Temple and its clergy (Kugler, 1997). The elevation of Levi is evident in other works of the Second Temple era, such as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and Jubilees.

The consensus that the community was critical of the Jerusalem priesthood is supported by the textual evidence and is also not unusual in the period (see, for instance, the Testament of Levi 17–18; Psalms of Solomon 1.7–8, 2.3–4, 8.12–14, 16.18–19). The question is whether the community rejected the validity of the Jerusalem priests and their leader or whether they objected only to their practices. Since the Dead Sea Scrolls never question the legitimacy of the priests—even of the Wicked Priest—it seems that practice was the point of contention, in particular, the priests' ethical behavior, ritual laxity, and personal apostasy (Hauer, 1959); see, for example, the condemnation of behavior of the Jerusalem priesthood in Pseudo-Mosesb (4Q387a 3.iii.6; Pesher Habakkuk (1QpHab ix.4), and Pesher Micah (1Q14 11.1). [See Calendars and Mishmarot.]

The oft-stated view that the Qumran community was founded by Zadokite priests who had withdrawn from the Temple because of Hasmonean seizure of the high priest's office is undermined by the evidence adduced above. The equivocal nature of the texts describing the community's origins (CD i; 1QS viii–ix), the absence of any references to Zadokites in the earliest recension of the Rule of the Community (Kugler, 1996), and the inconsistent use of the title Zadokite require that this view be reassessed. It now seems possible that the community developed from the withdrawal from the Temple of a pious group dominated by laity because of the impure priesthood; only later did the community give full authority to similarly disaffected priests whom they called either Aaronides, Zadokites, or simply priests. But one must also admit to the possibility that the late introduction of the title was not matched by a corresponding influx of priests, but merely reflects the community's late, idealized view of how a proper priesthood should be defined as a matter of character and lineage.

Whatever the nature of the community's origins, the consensus that priests came to play important roles in community life survives in light of the evidence. Yet the texts also indicate that the community as a whole assimilated priestly tasks and characteristics. This also raises the possibility that the community was at one time a largely lay group that was disenchanted with the Jerusalem Temple and its priesthood, and that saw itself as a replacement for the apostate Temple leadership until proper priests could take charge.

Although there may be some evidence for theories of a developmental history of the two-messiahs doctrine at Qumran (Brooke, 1991; Starcky, 1963), the idea that the community probably all along expected two messiahs is well supported by the evidence of the scrolls (Collins, 1995). At any rate, there is little reason to doubt that the community was ever without priestly messianic expectations. The seeds for priestly messianism had been sown at least as early as the Persian period; an “anointed priest” appears in Leviticus (Lv. 4.3, 5, 16; 6.15); Zechariah (Zec. 6.9–14) elevated the priest above the royal figure; and Persian imperial policy gave priests ruling authority. As for the preeminent role imagined by the community for priests in the new age, that has never been disputed and remains certain in light of the evidence. [See Messiahs.]

[See also Damascus Document; Levi; Rule of the Community; Zadok, Sons of; Temple Scroll; and War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness.]


  • Abegg, Martin, G. “The Messiah at Qumran: Are We Still Seeing Double?” Dead Sea Discoveries 2 (1995), 125–144.
  • Baumgarten, Joseph. “The Heavenly Tribunal and the Personification of Ṣedeq in Jewish Apocalytic.” In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt 2.19.1 (1979), 233–236.
  • Bowman, John. “Did the Qumran Sect Burn the Red Heifer?” Revue de Qumrân 1 (1958), 73–84.
    A study of the question posed in the title that concludes tentatively in the positive but dismisses the notion that such a practice at Qumran means priests offered sacrifices there as well.
  • Brooke, George. “The Messiah of Aaron in the Damascus Document.” Revue de Qumrân 15 (1991), 215–230.
    An attempt to posit a developmental history for the dual messianism at Qumran on the basis of the varying manuscripts of the Damascus Document from the Cairo Genizah. See Collins's discussion of this article and others of a similar approach.
  • Collins, John J. The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature. New York, 1995. A recent and comprehensive study of the messianism of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which defends the view that the community expected two messiahs at Qumran, one royal and one priestly. The book also provides an invaluable bibliography and discusses the most significant studies of priestly messianism at Qumran and in the Second Temple period in general. See pages 74–135.
  • Cross, Frank Moore. The Ancient Library of Qumran. 3d ed. Sheffield, 1995. The most recent edition of one of the earliest introductory treatments of the Qumran community's origin and history (1958). In the first edition Cross defended the view that the community arose from a dispute over the Zadokite priesthood, a view he reasserts in this edition. See pages 88–120, 183–191.
  • García Martínez, Florentino. “Qumran Origins and Early History: A Gröningen Hypothesis.” Folia Orientalia 25 (1988), 113–136.
  • Gärtner, Bertil. The Temple and the Community in Qumran and the New Testament: A Comparative Study of the Temple Symbolism of the Qumran Texts and the New Testament. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, 1. Cambridge, 1965. A clear discussion of the relationships among the Qumran community, its priests, and the temple priesthood. See pages 4–15.
  • Hauer, Christian. “The Priests of Qumran.” Ph.D. diss., Vanderbilt University, 1959.
    An exhaustive study devoted to the priesthood at Qumran; though hindered by the limited evidence available in 1959, the thesis deals comprehensively with the material known to its author and is still a valuable study.
  • Kugler, Robert. “A Note on 1QS 9.14: The Sons of Righteousness or the Sons of Zadok.” Dead Sea Discoveries 3 (1996), 315–320.
    Discussion of 1QRule of the Community and Rule of the Communitye and the absence of references to Zadokites in earliest recensions of Rule of the Community.
  • Kugler, Robert. “The Priesthood at Qumran: The Evidence of References to Levi and the Levites.” In The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls: Technological Innovations, New Texts, and Reformulated Issues, edited by D. Parry and E. Ulrich, pp. 465–479. Leiden, 1999.
    A survey of references to Levi and Levites in the scrolls that reveals the community's fondness for Levites and for literature that exalts Levi as an ideal priestly figure.
  • Lim, Timothy. “The Wicked Priests of the Gröningen Hypothesis.” Journal of Biblical Literature 112 (1993), 415–425.
  • Liver, Jacob. “The Sons of Zadok, the Priests in the Dead Sea Sect.” Revue de Qumrân 6 (1967), 3–30.
    A careful study that concludes that while there were probably Zadokite priests among those gathered at Qumran, the impetus for the founding of the community was not the supposed non-Zadokite lineage of Hasmonean priests.
  • Milgrom, Jacob. “Studies in the Temple Scroll.” Journal of Biblical Literature 97 (1978), 501–523.
    A study of selected aspects of the Temple Scroll, one of which is the unusual elevation of the Levites in the service in the future temple.
  • Milik, Józef T. Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judea, pp. 44–98. London, 1959.
    Another first-generation introduction to the scrolls that posits a largely priestly origin for the community; however, Milik allows for a considerable lay element in the early period.
  • Newsom, Carol. “He Has Established for Himself Priests: Human and Angelic Priesthood in the Qumran Sabbath Shirot.” In Archaeology and History in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The New York University Conference in Memory of Yigael Yadin, edited by Lawrence Schiffman, pp. 101–120. Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha Supplement Series, 8; JSOT/ASOR Monographs 2. Sheffield, 1990.
    An overview of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice and a discussion of their function as legitimation for the authority of the priests of Qumran in the absence of the Temple and its prerogatives.
  • Schiffman, Lawrence. Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: The History of Judaism, the Background of Christianity, the Lost Library at Qumran. Philadelphia, 1994. An introduction to the scrolls from the most recent generation; he defends the view that the community was founded and led by a “Sadducean Zadokite priesthood.” See pages 83–126.
  • Schürer, Emil. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.–A.D. 135). Vol. 2, rev. ed. edited by G. Vermes, F. Millar, and M. Black. Edinburgh, 1979.
    A reliable overview of the priesthood in the period of the Dead Sea Scrolls (pp. 237–308), as well as discussions of Qumran origins and messianism that place priests at the center of both (pp. 550–554, 585–590).
  • Schwartz, Daniel. “On Two Aspects of a Priestly View of Descent at Qumran.” In Archaeology and History in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The New York University Conference in Memory of Yigael Yadin, edited by Lawrence H. Schiffman, pp. 157–179. Sheffield, 1990.
    A spirited defense of the view that the appearance of the priestly title Zadokites in the scrolls indicates that the group originated when priests claiming Zadokite lineage fled the Hasmonean takeover of the high priesthood.
  • Starcky, Jean. “Les quatres étapes du messianisme à Qumran.” Revue biblique 70 (1963), 481–505.
    An early and important attempt to posit a developmental history for royal and priestly messianism at Qumran.
  • Stegemann, Hartmut. “Die Entstehung der Qumrangemeinde.” Ph.D. diss., Bonn, 1971.
    A classic study that claims that the high priest of the Intersacerdotium was the Teacher of Righteousness known from the Dead Sea Scrolls and that the community originated from a division within Judaism over the Hasmonean possession of the high priesthood.
  • VanderKam, James. “Jubilees and the Priestly Messiah of Qumran.” Revue de Qumrân 13 (1988), 353–365.
    A discussion of the connections between the exaltation of Levi in Jubilees (and other texts of the era) and the priestly messianism of Qumran.
  • VanderKam, James. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1994.
    A sane and sober introduction to the scrolls from a representative of the present generation of scholarship that defends the consensus regarding the priestly origin and oversight of the community. See pages 99–119 for a discussion of the consensus.
  • Van der Woude, A. S. “Wicked Priest or Wicked Priests? Reflections on the Identification of the Wicked Priest in the Habakkuk Commentary.” Journal of Jewish Studies 33 (1982), 349–359.
  • Wise, Michael. “The Teacher of Righteousness and the High Priest of the Intersacerdotium: Two Approaches.” Revue de Qumrân 14 (1990), 587–613.

Robert A. Kugler

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