HIS310: THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS with Dr Dennis Green, PhD
Last offered: 2021 Term 4
Next Offered: 2022 Term 4
Day and Time: The day and time still to be scheduled.
Location: EarthDiverse, 401 Grey Street, Hamilton East, Hamilton (see map below under Location tab), or on-line via-Zoom.
Ever since their discovery in the 1940s the Dead Sea Scrolls have generated massive amounts of scholarly controversy. Even those outside the field of Biblical Studies tend to be vaguely aware of academic scandals, Religiously motivated cover-ups and conspiracy theories. So what is it about the “most significant archaeological discovery of the 20th century” that has created so much controversy?
Week 1: The Discovery and Publication Controversy of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1947-1956: “The Ain Feshkah Genizah” documents. The Wadi Qumran Documents and the Wadi Murabba’at discoveries. The American Schools of Oriental Research, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Jordanian Department of Antiquities and the École Biblique.
Week 2: Discovery and Publication: 1956-1967: French, English, Israeli and American scholarship. The growing consensus. The publication Controversy and resolution: 1967-1991: Middle-East politics and Conspiracy theories.
Week 3: The 1991 Revolution: “Crisis in the Scrollery”: The old consensus breaks down. “Sectually explicit” literature from Qumran and the new non-consensus.
Week 4: The “Other” Dead Sea Scrolls: Document discoveries from Wadi Murabba’at, Nahal Hever, Nahal Se’elim, Wadi Daliyeh, Khirber Mird, and Masada.
Week 5: The Essenes: Three ancient authors refer to a late Second Temple era Jewish sect called the “Essenes.” What do we actually learn from them about this group? With the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 the Essene question re-emerges. Primarily because a scholarly consensus soon solidifies with most scholars associating the Dead Sea Scrolls with the Essenes. But how sound is this association?
Week 6: The Archaeology of the Dead Sea Scrolls: The archaeology of Khirbet Qumran by Roland De Vaux, the École Biblique and the Jordanian Department of Antiquities.(1951-1957). “Armchair” archaeology (1994-present). The École Biblique and Pauline Donceel-Voute, Jodi Magness, Yizhar Hirschfeld and Joan Taylor.
Week 7: The Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus, the New Testament and the early Church: With the discovery of the first scrolls, strong resemblances to certain aspects of the early Church became apparent. Further scroll discoveries exhibited multiple parallels to Gospel sayings attributed to Jesus. What are we to make of these undeniable parallels? Was Jesus somehow associated with, or even a member of the sect? Was there a relationship between the sect and the early Church?
Week 8: Review of some of the Qumran Sectarian literature: Here we will, finally, spend time looking at some of the sectarian literature, primarily the “Pesherim” (commentaries) and “Serakhim” (legislative literature). This will involve an attempt to unlock the “cryptograms” within these documents. Our aim here will be an attempt to understand the nature of the sect, and its development, from the presuppositions of its own literature.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.
Distance Learning: This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:
- attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time,
- attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time,
- watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.
These options can be mixed and matched throughout the course to suit your own availability and location.
Dr Dennis Green, PhD
Dennis holds a PhD from the University of Waikato, and is a graduate of the Oxford Center for Postgraduate Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He lectured for 16 years for the University of Waikato’s Religious Studies Department. He has special interests in the Archaeology and Anthropology of the southern Levant, Iron Age Israelite history and the Second Temple Period of Jewish history. Apart from ongoing research, he is employed doing archaeological excavations in the greater Waikato area.
In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.
Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.
Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.
- Detailed Syllabi are available at the start of each Term.
- Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.
- This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.
- All classes encourage questions and group discussion.
- PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!
- Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.
- There are no refunds for missed classes.
- Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.
- Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.
Cost per person per Term (8 classes):
- Waged: $150 (includes GST + online registration fee)
- Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $125 (includes GST + online registration fee)
Prices for Waged and Unwaged registrants remain the same regardless of your chosen method for accessing our courses. This means that you have the option to mix and match access between attending our regularly-scheduled live class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms, accessing our live class sessions on-line via Zoom at the regularly scheduled class meeting time (no matter where you are located), or watching the video-recorded sessions anywhere at a time and date of your choosing. This allows you to study at your own pace and in your own time.
Once registered, you have three choices for attending your course:
- attend our in-person class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms,
- Zoom in to our live classroom sessions and participate in discussions,
- access the live-recorded class sessions each week. This allows you to register for an entire course, even though the scheduled class session day/time may not be suitable to your schedule. You may also use this option to watch any recorded session for review, or in case you may miss a class session due to prior engagement, being away, or due to illness. This allows you to catch up with any “missed” sessions at a more suitable time.
Once registered, you will receive detailed instructions on how to access our courses via either of the distance-learning options, i.e. live access via Zoom, or watching the video-recorded sessions.
LOCATION: All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse offices and classrooms temporarily located at 401 Grey Street, Hamilton East, Hamilton. Please enter via the Cook Street entrance (see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front on the main entrance in any of the available car parks via the Cook Street entrance. On-street daytime parking can be found on Cook Street, Grey Street or around Steele Park. There is a single Disability car park located a few steps from the front door. Plenty of space for bicycles too!
DISTANCE LEARNING: You get to choose your location when you Zoom in to our live classroom sessions, or access our classes at your leisure and at a time and day of your choosing by watching the video recorded sessions from each class. This allows you to study at your own pace.