The Liturgical use of "the Hymn of the Maskil" from the Dead Sea Scrolls

L. Gore-Jones, N. Langley, A. Wrathall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses the hymn found in one of the most important of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dubbed “Community Rules” or 1QS. We identify it as belonging to a genre designated as Hodayot or Thanksgiving Hymns. Its original Sitz-im-Leben (life-setting) is difficult to resolve and its function is much debated, but we propose that it was adapted and liturgically used in community worship. Specifically, it was most likely sung at the annual ceremony when new members were initiated into the community and existing members renewed their commitment. The ceremony is described in 1QS, hence the hymn’s inclusion in the “Community Rules”. The hymn reveals a highly ritualized religious life which was not merely internally spiritualized, but physically performed. It is through hymns like this and the ceremonies with which they were associated that the Qumran community was able to construct and bolster its unique identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-77
Number of pages16
JournalMacquarie Matrix: undergraduate research journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Qumran
  • 1QS
  • Hodayot
  • Hymn of the Maskil
  • ritual
  • identity


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