Skip to main content

Study information

Dead Sea Scrolls

Module titleDead Sea Scrolls
Module codeTHE2119
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Siam Bhayro (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This option module will introduce and analyse the Dead Sea Scrolls, in English, discussing various genres such as Rewritten Bible, Apocalyptic, Communal Texts, Liturgy, Magic and Pesharim, with attention to authorship, context and significance for the origins of Judaism and Christianity. It will comprise weekly two-hour classes and one-hour seminars, with lecture material and guided discussion, the presentation of various primary sources with secondary analysis, and the regular provision of written handouts. Formative feedback is provided in class and in tutorials. Students will be expected to read at least one chapter from a secondary source in preparation for each class.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to introduce:

  • the Dead Sea Scrolls, their significance for our understanding of the origins of Judaism and Christianity
  • scholarly controversies in their interpretation
  • major resources and recent advances in the field

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe and understand the context and content of the scrolls
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of their use of the Bible
  • 3. Appreciate their impact on our understanding of how the Hebrew Bible was written

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate, with limited guidance, detailed comprehension of and engagement with the texts in English translation
  • 5. Discuss and demonstrate detailed comprehension, with limited guidance, of the contemporary historical sources
  • 6. Demonstrate detailed understanding of the modern controversies surrounding the scrolls

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Undertake guided work within broad guidelines
  • 8. Shape detailed information into a coherent account, with some guidance
  • 9. Demonstrate consistency and rigour in method and argument
  • 10. Make thorough use of selected written sources, with some guidance
  • 11. Participate in seminars in an appropriate, sensitive and generous manner
  • 12. Communicate clearly in writing

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Pesharim
  • Rewritten Bible
  • Apocalypticism
  • Community rules and Halakhah
  • Magic, Angels and Demons
  • The DSS community and Jewish sectarianism
  • The DSS and Christianity
  • Identities of the Teacher of Righteousness, the Man of Lies and the Wicked Priest

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour classes
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1 hour seminars
Guided independent study267Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay (first draft of final essay)4000 words1-10, 12Tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay (revised formative essay)1004000 words1-10, 12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-10, 12Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative primary texts:

  • G. Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (London: Penguin, 1997)

Indicative secondary texts

  • J.J. Collins, Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls (London: Routledge, 1997)
  • J.J. Collins & R.A. Kugler (eds), Religion in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2000)
  • H. Eshel, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2008)
  • J.A. Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2000)
  • C. Hempel, The Damascus Texts (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000)
  • T.H. Lim, Pesharim (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002)
  • J.C. Vanderkam, An Introduction to Early Judaism (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2001)
  • E. Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1999)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date