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Re: Qumran question (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 08:39:36 EST
From: Dr DR de Lacey <email@example.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Qumran question (fwd)
I responded to David Kaufman's recent posting in a personal e-mail
(fearing my questions may not be of sufficient general interest to excite
the whole group:-) David's gracious response, however, contains
significant clarifications and so at his invitation I am posting it here;
with one necessary addition from his original posting and one further
question; both in brackets.
Thank you, David!
Douglas de Lacey.
Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 12:36:27 -0500 (EST)
From: David Jay Kaufman <email@example.com>
To: Dr DR de Lacey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Qumran question
On Mon, 4 Mar 1996, Dr DR de Lacey wrote:
> Presumably you mean "divided itself [by personal choices]"? Why should the
> Oniads have had to flee the whole country?
I believe that the Oniads were backed by the Seleucids and the Hasmoneans
by the Romans. The argument for this involves understanding my handling
of the fall of the Oniad High Priesthood. The Romans forced the
pro-Seleucid forces from power. The Oniads needed to flee lest they be
killed. Obviously, this is not necessarily true for the bulk of their
followers. They may have stayed behind. Some may have fled elsewhere, not
necessarily to Egypt.
> This presumably means a return from Egypt? I ask in ignorance: is there
> any evidence of such a tradition among any (possible) Pharisee sources?
The answer is that everyone did not go to Egypt. It is also possible,
even likely by my theory, that the split between the Pharisees and the
Essenes was over the building of the temple in Egypt. In this case, there
would be no tradition of flight to Egypt or a return from Egypt in the
> Again, is there any evidence that the Essenes saw themselves as
> returnees? Or linked themselves with any other temple than the Jerusalem
> one? As I read the (admittedly scant) evidence, they reject the Jerusalem
> cultus because the halakah of its priests renders it unholy; but still
> revere the place. Am I wrong? Had they changed their minds about Leontopolis?
In my theory, admittedly without any evidence one way or another, the
Oniads themselves and the Essenes considered the temple in Egypt as a
temporary thing. The temple in Jerusalem would be the greater holy. They
desired the return of the Oniad High Priests to Jerusalem and not the
sanctification of the Egyptian temple.
> Do we need anything more than a line of descent (however vague:-) from
> Pharisees to rabbis to explain this last?:-) [That is, "this theory
explains explains why the Pharisees are seen as experts in cultic matters
.. in the rabbinic works"]
Yes. Who were the Pharisees? Who were the rabbis? The fact that the
rabbis were Pharisees explains nothing in and of itself. The fact that a
group other than the functioning priesthood even had an influence on the
ritual actions of the priests is something logical strange. The long
history of scholarship on the Pharisees has dulled this response. We tend
to assume that it was okay for a non-priest, who had no connection to the
priesthood and had never performed any of the rituals in the temple, was
a higher authority than the priests!!! This argument is not logical. The
Pharisees must have had additional authority and my linkage of them with
the Oniad High Priests would give them that.
[My further question: can we be so sure that this perspective is
historical, rather than just a piece of rabbinic of-course-our-forebears-
knew-best polemic? -- Douglas de L]
> Does it explain what I would take to be the most significant aspect of
> the groups; at least as far as we can reconstruct them from our sources:
> namely, that they held specifically different theological views on
> fate/freewill and on resurrection/afterlife?
No, it does not. However, if the actual separation of the groups is as I
would show it, then the positions seem logically connected. The Essenes,
those devoutly in favor of the Oniad High Priests, could easily have
believed that it was their fate to obtain the High Priesthood. The
Sadducees, who took over the High Priesthood, were not fated to it, but
altered their destiny and took it. The Pharisees believed that the Oniads
fate was to inherit the High Priesthood, but that the Sadducees could
alter that in some way. Thus, the philosophical positions fit them in my
theory. Why Josephus separates the groups based upon this issue, I do not
I hope this helps. If you don't mind the group seeing this response,
please forward it to the list.