Rule of Community Scroll (1QS)
Qumran, Cave 1
1st century BCE - 1st century CE
H: 24, L: 121 cm
Government of Israel
Accession number: 96.83/208A
Photo © IMJ, by David Harris
The Rule of the Community is the book of regulations of the Jewish community that lived in Qumran on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea from sometime in the first century BCE until 67 CE. At that time, there existed in Qumran the first "monastic" community in the Western world that used to "eat in common, pray in common, and deliberate in common." The scholarly consensus is that this was a group of Essenes, belonging to one of three major Jewish religious movements of that period.
The scroll deals with such matters as acceptance of new members, conduct at communal meals and assemblies, and punishment for infringements of the rules. A long passage elaborates the Essenes' main theological principle in which they differed from mainstream Judaism - their belief in predestination. The caves preserved no less than twelve copies of this book, of which this is the most complete.
Written in Hebrew.
"Teaching for the Master concerning the men of the Law who have freely pledged themselves to convert from all evil and hold fast to all that He has commanded. And they shall separate from the congregation of the men of injustice and shall unite with respect to doctrine and property, and they shall be under the authority of the Congregation concerning all matters of doctrine and property."
A Day at Qumran: The Dead Sea Sect and Its Scrolls, Shrine of the Book, 01/09/2004 - present
Archaeology and the Bible: From King David to the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ottawa, 18/06/2003 - 02/11/2003