Dead Sea Scrolls (THE2119)

StaffProfessor Siam Bhayro - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce:

  • the Dead Sea Scrolls, their significance for our understanding of the origins of Judaism and Christianity
  • scholarly controversies in their interpretation
  • major resources and recent advances in the field

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Describe and understand the context and content of the scrolls
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of their use of the Bible
  • 3. Appreciate their impact on our understanding of how the Hebrew Bible was written

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate, with limited guidance, detailed comprehension of and engagement with the texts in English translation
  • 5. Discuss and demonstrate detailed comprehension, with limited guidance, of the contemporary historical sources
  • 6. Demonstrate detailed understanding of the modern controversies surrounding the scrolls

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Undertake guided work within broad guidelines
  • 8. Shape detailed information into a coherent account, with some guidance
  • 9. Demonstrate consistency and rigour in method and argument
  • 10. Make thorough use of selected written sources, with some guidance
  • 11. Participate in seminars in an appropriate, sensitive and generous manner
  • 12. Communicate clearly in writing

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Pesharim
  • Rewritten Bible
  • Apocalypticism
  • Community rules and Halakhah
  • Magic, Angels and Demons
  • The DSS community and Jewish sectarianism
  • The DSS and Christianity
  • Identities of the Teacher of Righteousness, the Man of Lies and the Wicked Priest

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2211 x 2 hour classes
Scheduled learning and teaching activities1111 x 1 hour seminars
Guided independent study267Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay (first draft of final essay)4000 words1-10, 12Tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay (revised formative essay)1004000 words1-10, 12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-10, 12Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative Primary Texts:

  • G. Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (London: Penguin, 1997)

Indicative Secondary Texts

  • J.J. Collins, Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls (London: Routledge, 1997)
  • J.J. Collins & R.A. Kugler (eds), Religion in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2000)
  • H. Eshel, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2008)
  • J.A. Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2000)
  • C. Hempel, The Damascus Texts (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000)
  • T.H. Lim, Pesharim (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002)
  • J.C. Vanderkam, An Introduction to Early Judaism (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2001)
  • E. Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1999)
  • Web based and electronic resources:

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE –

Available as distance learning?


Last revision date