Samuel Robert Blumberg

"The Fruit of Holiness Shall be on My Tongue:" A Close Look at Food in the Community Rule

First discovered in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls reflect the lifestyle and rules of a group that inhabited several caves near the Dead Sea. My research focuses on the role of food as portrayed in the Community Rule document. The text is full of food imagery and speaks of a sacred communal Meal that only full members of the sect were allowed to take part in. While many scholars choose to relate this sect to the Essenes based on documents from late antiquity, I have attempted to analyze the sect based on the content of the Community Rule itself, as well as other scholarly research supported by archaeological and textual findings. In my research I intend to explore 1) the social implications of the sect’s Meal; 2) the importance of food and drink in the Community Rule text; and 3) whether or not the Meal was the pinnacle of importance for the Dead Sea community. By delving into these and other topics, I hope to paint a revised picture of the Dead Sea community and further interpret the real importance of the community Meal.