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Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature$
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Jonathan Ben-Dov and Seth L. Sanders

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479823048

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479823048.001.0001

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Ideals of Science

Ideals of Science

The Infrastructure of Scientific Activity in Apocalyptic Literature and in the Yahad

(p.109) 6. Ideals of Science
Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature

Jonathan Ben-Dov

NYU Press

This chapter examines the intellectual climate that gave rise to a creative scientific environment in the Dead Sea Scrolls community called Yahad. It first considers the antecedents of the Yahad's scientific outlook within larger movements of Judaism of the Hellenistic period, including the Enochic literature and the apocalyptic-sapiential Aramaic texts from a cave. It then outlines some of the prerequisites for the development of science as they are represented in the early Jewish tradition, along with the myths about the birth of knowledge found in the apocalyptic literature and in the literature of the Yahad. It also presents a case study from the integration of astrological and astronomical themes in Yahad literature and concludes with a discussion of the epistemological infrastructure that triggered the commitment of the Yahad to science.

Keywords:   science, Dead Sea Scrolls, Yahad, Judaism, Enochic literature, Aramaic texts, Jewish tradition, knowledge, apocalyptic literature, Yahad literature

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