1QS srk

RGmyrken at aol.com RGmyrken at aol.com
Wed Sep 11 12:07:46 EDT 2002

    The best discussion of the etymology of serekh is probably that at L. 
Schiffman, The Halakhah at Qumran (Leiden:  E.J. Brill, 1975) 60-68.  
Schiffman's detailed analysis shows that the term serekh was originally used 
in a military context and was later applied in organizational and legal 
settings.   At page 68 he summarizes his conclusions as follows:

    'A denominative verb meaning "to administrate, issue an order or array" 
came into use, followed by a noun meaning "battle array, order, instruction." 
 This military use of serekh led to its employment for a list of names in a 
military context.  Since the sect saw itself as a militia preparing for the 
eschatological war, it appropriated the term for a roster of its members.  At 
the same time, serekh became a general term for a series of orders or 
instructions and was used for a list, body, or code of halakhot (usually on 
one subject) and even as a general term for sectarian law.'

    My own view is that the serekh literature is to be associated with the 
Maccabean army, who first used the term serekh in a military context (its 
development can be traced in the War Scroll, 1QM) and later applied it to 
civil institutions, legal contexts, etc.  The use of Serekh in 1QS as an 
organizational term belongs to this latter phase.

Best regards,
Russell Gmirkin

>    Dear all,
>  what do you think about the etymology of seret (srt) hayyaHad in the (
> restored) title of 1QS, occurring also elsewhere in Qumran literature? Is 
> related to Aram. srk 'to clutch, hold fast, hang to'  (Jastrow 1027b)  and 
> serek ''clinging to, following the example of; habit' (ibid.1028a), and if 
> is, what is the  semantic relation between these notions  and 'RULE  of the 
> Community'? Common law?
>  Thank you 
>     Serge Lyosov

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