Swords into Plowshares, The Isaiah Scroll and Its Message of Peace
Closes September 16
Studying Art in the Museum
for adults and children at beginning and advanced levels
Secrets and Ties
Wondrous Connections in the Israel Museum Collections
The galleries in the main building are currently closed to the public
due to the comprehensive program of renewal at the Israel Museum.
Signs of Life: Animating Ticho House
Until September 26
The Shrine of the Book
Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period
Youth Wing
Campus Renewal Project

The Qumran Library

---Prayers, Hymns, and Thanksgiving Psalms

The profoundly religious, reclusive community living at Qumran devoted all its energies to the worship of God. The sectarians believed that the angels were their companions and that their spiritual level elevated them to the border between the human and the divine. The atmosphere of sanctity that enveloped them is evident from the one hundred biblical psalms and more than two hundred extra-biblical prayers and hymns preserved in the scrolls. Most of the latter were previously unknown; they include prayers for different days (even the End of Days), magical spells, and so forth.

Among this abundance of literary texts is a unique genre of hymns called hodayot or “Thanksgiving Hymns,” on the basis of their fixed opening formula, “I thank Thee, O Lord.” Scholars have divided the eight manuscripts of the Thanksgiving Hymns into two main types: “Hodayot of the Teacher,” in which an individual (the sect’s “Teacher of Righteousness”?) thanks God for rescuing him from Belial (Satan in the sect’s writings) and the forces of evil, and for granting him the intelligence to recount God’s greatness and justice; and “Hodayot of the Community,” hymns concerned with topics relevant to the Community as a whole. Both types extensively employ such terms as “mystery,” “appointed time,” and “light” and express ideas characteristic of the Community’s beliefs, such as divine love and predestination.

Archaeology Wing
Judaica and Jewish Ethnography
Art Wing
Youth Wing
Art Garden
Shrine of the Book
Ticho House
Rockefeller Museum
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