Dead Sea Scrolls (THE2119)

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

Module aims

To introduce the Dead Sea Scrolls, their significance for our understanding of the origins of Judaism and Christianity, scholarly controversies in their interpretation, and 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

The following are the topics typically considered in this module:

  • 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 activities33eleven 2-hour classes and eleven 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)4,000 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)1004,000 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

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)

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date

Spring 2016