Eruv and Sectarianism in Ancient Judaism: Parallel Passages

Water Channel at Qumran

Water Channel at Qumran

With the full publication and release of the Dead Sea Scrolls, two additional sources pertaining to the subject of this presentation have become available. The first is in a passage in 4Q251, Halakha A, which I edited together with Erik Larson and the late Manfred Lehmann. The fragmentary passage first contains an apparent prohibition of drawing water on the Sabbath from a cistern and then continues as follows:

[let no] one carry (anything) out of his place for the entire Sabbath [from the outside to the house] and from the house to the ou[tside…

This text is actually a collection of various laws, and it is not possible to understand exactly by what criteria our passage was included. It is of course parallel to Zadokite Fragments 11:1-2.
A second text, 4Q265, Miscellaneous Rules includes a whole variety of Qumran laws, some from the Rule of the Community and some from the Zadokite Fragments. Here we find the following:

Let no on[e] ca[rry out] any vessel or foo[d] from his (or her) tent on the day of the Sabbath.

Clearly, this is again a prohibition on the carrying of anything (I take the term “vessel” to be very general) out of one’s dwelling place on the Sabbath. In view of the fact that archaeological remains of tents used as dwellings have been found in the area of Qumran, it is interesting that tents are mentioned, but for our purpose the nature of the enclosed dwelling is not really significant. This passage, like those we saw above, prohibits carrying from the private domain outside, presumably to a public area, on the Sabbath.

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