History and Memory in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Remembering the Teacher of Righteousness

History and Memory in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Remembering the Teacher of Righteousness

by Travis B. Williams


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The nature and reliability of the ancient sources are among the most important issues in the scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is noteworthy, therefore, that scholars have grown increasingly skeptical about the value of these materials for reconstructing the life of the Teacher of Righteousness. Travis B. Williams' study is designed to address this new perspective and its implications for historical inquiry. He offers an important corrective to popular conceptions of history and memory by introducing memory theory as a means of informing historical investigation. Charting a new methodological course in Dead Sea Scrolls research, Williams reveals that properly representing the past requires an explanation of how the mnemonic evidence found in the relevant sources could have developed from a historical progression that began with the Teacher. His book represents the first attempt in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship to integrate history and memory in a comprehensive way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108493338
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 05/16/2019
Pages: 458
Product dimensions: 6.18(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

Travis B. Williams is associate professor of religion at Tusculum University. He is the author of Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering (2012) and Good Works in 1 Peter: Negotiating Social Conflict and Christian Identity in the Greco-Roman World (2014).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; Part I. Methodological Considerations: 2. A theoretical approach toward history; 3. A mnemonic approach toward history; Part II. The Circumstances of Memory: 4. Dating the teacher and the sources; 5. The availability of memory carriers; 6. Memory and the impact of sources materials; 7. The teacher of righteousness in ancient media; Part III. The Processes of Memory: 8. The cognitive origins of memory: scripturalizing the life of the teacher; 9. From cognitive perceptions to community traditions: the formation of collective memory; 10. Tracing the development of memory: the transmission of the teacher tradition; 11. Evaluating the potential for change: the malleability and persistence of the teacher tradition; Appendix 1: the historical value of attributed authorship; Appendix 2: the life of the teacher as an interpretive frame; Appendix 3: the instructions of the teacher.

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