Dead Sea Scrolls (THE2177)

StaffProfessor Siam Bhayro - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This option module will introduce and analyse the Dead Sea Scrolls, in English, discussing the various genres found within them, such as Rewritten Bible, Apocalypse, Communal Texts, Liturgy, Magic and Pesharim, with attention to authorship, context and significance for the origins of Judaism and Christianity.

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. Identify elements of development within the scrolls
  • 4. Appreciate their impact on our understanding of how the Hebrew Bible was written

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate, with limited guidance, detailed comprehension of and engagement with the texts in English translation
  • 6. Discuss and demonstrate detailed comprehension, with limited guidance, of the contemporary historical sources
  • 7. Demonstrate detailed understanding of the modern controversies surrounding the scrolls
  • 8. Evaluate and analyse, with guidance, a diversity of primary and secondary sources

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Undertake guided work within broad guidelines
  • 10. Shape detailed information into a coherent account, with some guidance
  • 11. Demonstrate consistency and rigour in method and argument
  • 12. Make thorough use of selected written sources, with some guidance; 13. communicate clearly in writing
  • 13. Participate appropriately in a learning group
  • 14. Discuss sensitive issues with appropriate generosity

Syllabus plan

Week 1 The Dead Sea Scrolls - an introduction
Week 2 Pesharim
Week 3 Rewritten Bible
Week 4 Apocalypticism
Week 5 Community Rules
Week 6 Magic, Angels and Demons
Week 7 The DSS 'community'
Week 8 The DSS and Jewish sectarianism
Week 9 The DSS and Christianity
Week 10 East and West - the afterlife of the DSS
Week 11 Summary and Conclusions

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 activities22Seminars
Guided independent study128Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Preparaatory reading for each class11-12, 14-15

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
Exam1003 hours1-13Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExamExam1-13Refer/defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


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