The temple scroll, toilet practices, and the essenes

Albert I. Baumgarten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Previous discussions of the relationship between the Dead Sea Scroll texts and the Essenes of classical sources have been inconclusive, because they did not focus on matters of high significance in the life of the groups being compared. This article asserts further that such points of high significance can often be found in practices connected with the body of the member of such movements, what goes in and what comes out. Specifically, it analyzes defecation habits of the Essenes and the Temple Scroll, and explains why this was a subject of great consequence for Essene identity, as well as indicating the difference between Essene custom and that advocated in the Temple Scroll. I therefore conclude that the Temple Scroll was not an Essene document.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalJewish History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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