Here is the abstract for the essay for today's seminar on women in the Dead Sea Scrolls:
This paper addresses the issue of women in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It does so by taking a primarily-text based approach, believing that it is mainly though the texts themselves that we will discover the people who wrote and used them. Accordingly, the role played by women in the sect is examined through three texts, the Damascus Document, the Rule of the Congregation (1QSa), and a text depicting a Wedding Ceremony (4Q502). In doing this, conclusions have been drawn about how these relate to one anther and to the wider corpus of texts found at Qumran. This essay also examines the impact that excavation of the cemetery at the Qumran site has had on the topic of women, and how this debate has been changed by recent reanalysis of some of the remains from the site. The inconclusive nature of these excavations is highlighted and questions asked as to what we can really learn from them. Finally, the topic of marriage and celibacy is addressed, and the approach of using other sources questioned.