BAR 35:06, Nov/Dec 2009
Dead Sea Scrolls Reflect Political History
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 220 pages, $28 (paperback)
The first generation of Dead Sea Scroll scholars in the 1940s and 1950s was fascinated with trying to identify the historical figures who might be referred to in the scrolls. They were identified not by name, but by a kind of coded sobriquet—the Teacher of Righteousness, the Wicked Priest, the Wrathful Lion, the “Seekers-After-Smooth-Things.” Leading scholars like Frank Moore Cross, Jozef T. Milik and Geza Vermes tried to identify the historical referents of these nicknames, people who lived when Judea was ruled by the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty (142–37 B.C.E.).