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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

Dead Sea Scrolls (3 cr.)
Eva Mroczek
JSTU-J 303 Art & Humanities Topics in Jewish Studies #26007/ REL-A 300 Studies in African, European, and West Asian Religions #27362
MW 2:30-3:45

Hidden treasure, writings by Jesus, and a Vatican cover-up? The conspiracy theories may be wrong, but the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 is still one of the most fascinating archeological finds of all time. In this course, we discuss how the Scrolls have challenged scholars to rewrite the history of the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity.

Collected by a group of Jews around the time of Jesus, the Scrolls contain the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, additional stories about biblical characters, instructions for life, prayers and poetry, biblical interpretation, and descriptions of heaven and the end of the world. What do the Scrolls tell us about the culture and beliefs of early Jewish communities and about the context of early Christianity? Who wrote and used these documents, and what did they think about God, scripture, the meaning of life, and the end of time? In this course, we will ask these questions through close reading of the Scrolls themselves and secondary scholarship. We will also analyze modern reactions to the Scrolls, including their initial discovery in the chaos of the earliest days of the state of Israel, the conspiracy theories surrounding their publication, Jewish and Christian responses to their contents, and the way they are (mis)represented in the popular media.

All texts will be read in translation, but students who can read Hebrew will have a chance to work with the Scrolls in their original language.

Beginning Summer 2011 & after: CASE A&H
Before Summer 2011:  A&H, JS Religion & Thought