The Qumran Library
---The Temple Scroll
“They shall not profane the city where I abide, for I, the Lord, abide amongst the children of Israel for ever and ever” (Temple Scroll XLV:13–14).
The Temple Scroll, which deals with the structural details of the Temple and its rituals, proposes a plan for a future imaginary Temple, remarkably sophisticated, and, above all, pure, which was to replace the existing Temple in Jerusalem. This plan is based on the plan of the Tabernacle and of Solomon and Ezekiel’s Temples, but it is also influenced by Hellenistic architecture.
The scroll is written in the style of the book of Deuteronomy, with God speaking as if in first person. Some authorities consider it an alternative to the Mosaic Law; others, a complementary legal interpretation (midrash halakha
). This work combines the various laws relating to the Temple with a new version of the laws set out in Deuteronomy 12–23. Its author probably belonged to priestly circles and composed it at a time before the Community left Jerusalem for the desert, in the second half of the second century BCE. It was apparently written against the background of the controversy centering on the Temple in Jerusalem.
The Temple Scroll, the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls (8.148 m), comprises 66 columns of text.