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This study explores the Dead Sea Scrolls to demonstrate how Essene socio-religious values shaped their accounting and economic practices during the late Second Temple period (ca. first century BCE to 70 CE). Our primary focus is on the accounting and commercial responsibilities of a leader within their community – the Examiner. We contend that certain sectarian accounting practices may be understood as ritual/religious ceremony and address the performative roles of the Essenes' accounting and business procedures in light of their purity laws and eschatological beliefs. Far from being antithetical to religious beliefs, we find that accounting actually enabled the better practice and monitoring of religious behavior. We add to the literature on the interaction of religion with the structures and practices of accounting and regulation within a society.



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