Periodization, the belief that God has divided history into fixed segments of time, frequently appears in Second Temple Period Jewish literature. It is especially popular in the Qumran texts, whose authors often display an interest in apocalyptic historiography to explain and categorize historical occurrences. The writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls frequently use periodization to uncover and comprehend historical events. These writings often couple this doctrine with apocalyptic eschatology, specifically the use of Scripture to organize history into discrete historical periods to calculate the end of days. The present study briefly highlights periodization in the Dead Sea Scrolls in light of Hellenistic understandings of this concept. It focuses on how the community at Qumran and its precursor movement(s) incorporated periodization from Greco-Roman culture to explain the often traumatic events of their time.
Department of History
Original Publication Date
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Atkinson, Kenneth, "Periodization at Qumran and its Importance for Understanding Hellenistic History" (2022). Faculty Publications. 5530.