Classics and Religious Studies


Date of this Version

January 2003


Published in The Dead Sea Scrolls as Background to Postbiblical Judaism and Early Christianity: Papers from an International Conference at St. Andrews in 2001. Edited by James R. Davila. Brill: Leiden & Boston, 2003. Pages 177–191. Copyright © 2003 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Used by permission.


In this paper I will investigate two fragmentary texts from the Qumran scrolls, each of which gives us a tantalizing glimpse of women, first as part of the community presupposed by each text, and second as having a particular role or status within that community. That role or status is indicated by the use of particular titles, which, according to their grammatical forms, are applied only to women. I will then trace the use of these same titles in later Jewish inscriptions and texts, in order to suggest a wider context in which the Qumran titles might be understood. Finally, I will look at the use of these titles in the early Christian community as illustrated by certain passages in the New Testament. I hope to show thereby a certain continuity of usage among Jewish communities in the second temple period, from the late second century B.C.E. to the early second century C.E.

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