About Maxine Grossman

Maxine Grossman

Maxine Grossman (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is an associate professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies in the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland. Her research interests include the study of ancient Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls; methods and theories in the study of religion; gender studies; and articulations of lived religious experience in contemporary society.

Her books include Reading for History in the Damascus Document: A Methodological Study (Brill, 2002; SBL Press 2009), and the edited collection, Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Approaches and Methods (2010). Her scholarly work on the Dead Sea Scrolls has included articles on priesthood, sectarianism, and postmodern approaches to the scrolls, and her current scholarship focuses on gender, sexuality, embodiment, and sectarian identity in the scrolls.

Prof. Grossman is a founding co-editor of the Journal of Ancient Judaism, now in its tenth year. Her other editing projects have included work as senior editor of the second edition of the Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, with editor-in-chief Adele Berlin (2011) and a celebration volume for Prof. Berlin, Built by Wisdom, Established by Understanding (2013).

Prof. Grossman serves as the advisor to the undergraduate program in Religious Studies at University of Maryland, which includes both a general religious studies minor and a subject-specific major in Religions and Cultures of the Ancient Middle East.


Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XXIII, November 20 – 22, 2020
Not the Essenes: How to Talk about the Dead Sea Scrolls

The movement associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls was ascetic, sectarian, and deeply concerned with its predestined fate and God’s power over all of human history. These qualities regularly lead us to think of the scrolls movement as The Essenes, made famous by the descriptions of Philo, Pliny the Elder, and especially Josephus, in their writings from the first century. But calling the scrolls sectarians by the name “Essene” is a misrepresentation of these classical texts. Close attention to the evidence for the scrolls sectarians — and the Essenes! — reveals a need to make sharp and careful distinctions between these terms and the groups associated with them.