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Out of the Cave: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Dead Sea Scrolls Research Hardcover – April 10, 2006
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There is a lull in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship now, and this book tells us where we have been and what we need to do. It may well provide a theoretical impetus to further reflection. It also offers an interesting test case as to how 'scientific' scholarship works in literature, history, and archaeology regarding methods, achievements, and limitations. The book is well informed, clearly written, and understandable for nonspecialists. The blend of Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship and analytical philosophical reasoning makes an interesting and unique combination. No other book examines in such depth the logic underlying the debates about the Dead Sea Scrolls and why they remain so controversial. This book represents a good summary of where we have been and might provide a bridge to future scholarship. It will interest Dead Sea Scrolls specialists, biblical scholars, and archaeologists, as well as the general public. It is a readable and stimulating work, which might play a salutary role in the history of Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship. It identifies the problems, and clarifies what we know and do not know, and tells us why. (Daniel J. Harrington, Weston Jesuit School of Theology)
[Ullmann-Margalit's] critical study goes far to explain why even today the Scrolls remain objects of fierce controversy...For all those interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Out of the Cave provides a lucid intellectual structure for the classification and evaluation of Qumranologists. But the book could also serve as an introductory text in philosophy of science. Introducing, with an admirably light touch, classical theories from Bayes to Popper and currently popular models of inference to the best explanation, the author uses scrolls research as a test-bed for the logic of discovery and argument in the human sciences. (Anthony Kenny Times Literary Supplement 2008-10-24)
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The overall aim of Dr. Ullmann-Margalit is to examine the field of Qumran Studies, and specifically the Essene connection to the Dead Sea Scrolls. For this, in the first chapter she briefly, but succinctly, sets out to acquaint the reader with the background facts, including the history of discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, and the subsequent scholarship. The main controversy surrounding the Dead Sea scroll study is whether or not they can be attributed to the Essenes - a Jewish sect residing in a nearby settlement - Qumran. Whereas the Qumran-Essene connection is currently the prevailing view, Dr. Ullmann-Margalit points out numerous inconsistencies in the evidence. Specifically, as pointed out in the review of the book by the pre-eminent philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny "...Ullmann-Margalit claims that researchers, instead of respecting the independence of the sources, have allowed them to contaminate each other. Thus the archaeological data are presented not neutrally but in the light of an interpretation of the Scrolls... Instead of a convergence of evidence, she claims, we meet an interpretive circle". (The Times Literary Supplement, October 24, 2008).
In the monumental second chapter, Dr.Read more ›