The Dead Sea Scrolls: Context and Content - 2016

This page is for past year, View 2017 unit details.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Essay - 2500 words (60%) , Paper 1 - Tutorial Paper 1 750 words (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

This unit was previously known as HST245 The Dead Sea Scrolls: Context and Content.

Since their first discovery in 1946 the Dead Sea Scrolls have been a constant focus of interest and intrigue. What did the first century sect that produced and transmitted these scrolls actually believe? What sort of Judaism was it? What was the sect's relationship to Christianity? Were the modern authorities withholding publication? We will study in detail the most important texts of the sect and contextualise them against the historical movements and trends that transformed the centuries that we now call the second Temple Period, a period out of which both Judaism and Christianity were to emerge.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. understand the political, social and religious developments in Palestine from the Persian through to the Roman periods
  2. have an in depth understanding of the ancient sources (literary, documentary and epigraphic) that relate to Jewish communities, Jewish values and attitudes, and the events that occurred in the period of time in question
  3. synthesise knowledge by relating different ancient sources to find common themes, viewpoints and attitudes that can be thought to be characteristic of Jews in Palestine in this period. This includes the critical use of current methodologies within the discipline of practice
  4. critically evaluate scholarship on the ancient sources, focusing on such aspects as: use of and interaction with ancient sources; discerning and critiquing methodology and its impact on the arguments and conclusions presented; and bias (overt or hidden)
  5. present findings in a professional manner, through developed written and/or oral communication skills.
  • Essay — 2500 words (60%)
  • Paper 1 — Tutorial Paper 1 750 words (20%)
  • Paper 2 — Tutorial Paper 2 750 words (20%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • HST245 — The Dead Sea Scrolls: Context and Content

You must have successfully completed a Level 1 History unit.

  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
2The return from Babylonian exile
3The community rule (1QS)
4The Persian period: Ezra and Nehemiah
5The calendar at Qumran
6Alexander and the Hellenistic kingdoms
7The Bible at Qumran
8The Septuagint
9The Damascus document (CD)
10Seleucid Period
11The Damascus document
12The Maccabaean revolt and the Hasmonaean kingdom
13Pesher and Biblical interpretation at Qumran
14Daniel and apocalyptic literature
15The temple scroll (11QT)
16The Herodian and Roman period
17The identity of the Sectarians at Qumran
18Religious sects within Judaism
19The war scroll (1QM)
20The first revolt
21The library of Qumran
23Christianity and the Dead Sea sect
24Diaspora Judaism

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English

    By:Geza Vermes

    ISBN: 9780141197319


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Jewish War


    ISBN: 9780140444209


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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