Ritual in the Damascus document and the Gospel of Matthew
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines the ritual content of the Damascus Document and the Gospel of Matthew, demonstrating how community identity is constructed and developed through the interpretation of the Law represented in each. The content is arranged according to the ritual typology of Catherine Bell, which organises ritual into six categories: calendrical ritual, rites of exchange and communion, political ritual, rites of passage, rites of affliction and rites of feasting and fasting. Analysis by type enables comparison and comment on the features and effects of ritual. I identify the Scriptural precedent for the discussions of ritual and any similar texts from the same period. These two ritually dense texts provide a great deal of material representing different perspectives on ritual function and obligations within a Jewish community setting. The Damascus Document is a non-sectarian legal text from the Second Temple period. The Gospel of Matthew presents the narrative of Jesus with considerable comment on ritual matters, reflecting an audience steeped in Jewish ritual praxis while looking towards an eschatological inclusion of Gentiles who adhere to Jewish obligations. Each offers an insight into a community dissenting from aspects of mainstream Judaism without withdrawing completely. Each community maintains traditional ritual obligations to some extent, but claims additional information clarifying the correct interpretations of the Law. This thesis analyses how they negotiate the practical, and often theological, issues that accompany their distinct practices, creating a community identity through ritual.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.