Life within Qumran
The scrolls that were discovered in the caves revealed much about the lives of the city’s inhabitants. The Temple Scroll, Rules of Congregation, and the Damascus Document contain the most information on women. These texts cover the matters of marriage, purity, and many more things concerning women. The Rules of Congregation concerns the man who will be admitted into the sect and the life he will live. The matters addressed in the Temple Scroll include that of purity, marriage, sexual relations, and childbirth.
Purity. During the early excavations of Khirbet Qumran there were strange tub-like structures discovered. These structures remained a mystery until they were identified by archaeologist Yigael Yadin. They were identified to be miqva’ot. These miqva’ot were used to undertake the ritual bath to purify oneself. Upon finding these miqva’ot, it was determined that the society living with Qumran was indeed a Jewish sect...
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... which acted otherwise. This Essene group could have been the group of the Qumranites. The site of Qumran might have been an Essene settlement with both groups living together but in separate districts. This can explain the reason why only the small graves on the side might have had women. The majority of those in Qumran might have been the celibate group; hence the smaller cemetery contained skeletons of both genders. Another theory can be that the Essenes in Qumran would allow the Essenes, who lived in tents, to bury their dead in their holy city.
Though the true identity has not been determined, it is known that both these sects held women to some value. Archaeologists and ancient manuscript scholars are currently translating more manuscripts and excavating the site of Qumran. In the near future, more information will soon be revealed to uncover this mystery.
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