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Re: angels.

This is by way of response to David Suter's last comment on angels and
Genesis and Enoch and the sectarians' "Shirot"

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, which is still quite new: either  
Barnes & Noble, B. Dalton, your favorite bookstore, or  
directly from the publisher: Continuum Pub. Group,. 370  
Lexington Ave., NY, NY 10017 (800-937-5557 or 212-953-5858;  
fax 212-953-5944)  
2. The timing: the flood history represents Qumran's  favorite device of
reading their own 
history backward into  the Bible.  Noah is adopted  by the sectarians as
their father figure.  
Enoch too, in our view,  is the code name for one of the sect's founders,
perhaps a  
hero living during the Hasmonean struggle with  the Hellinists and their
culture.   Enoch , 
even in the Biblical record has a special status and is particularly
righteous.  The seeds of 
the sectarian  movement came to full fruition in Roman times  and the same
can  be said 
about the progression of their philosophical  dualism.  It is reasonable for
them to interpret 
such events, first  the Greeks and then the Romans, with xenophobia of
them-us,  God's 
side-sin, etc.
3. We agree that these angels are depicted as having gone  bad, or more
precisely, having 
"fallen," because they have  departed from the way that was set out for them.  
Interestingly, "gone bad" involves the transmission of magical and healing
arts which you 
have commented on in your book (dissertation) "Tradition and Composition in the 
Parables of Enoch." The  allegory, written under the influence of Qumranian  
theology, speaks to breaching the laws of priestly family  purity by having
intercourse in a human way (with  daughters of man).  Their ablution is to
forever as "pure" watchers (including the Melchizedek model and he, like
Noah and 
others,  has a special "miraculous" birth narrative) or guardian angels, but
eunuchs  in service to the priesthood.  As we argue in our book, and  we do
hope that you 
will read it, the theology at Qumran  suggests that "life forever" (and it
is not always clear 
what that means; it may just be a life of purity  in contrast with sin and
evil) is obtainable 
only by giving  up all sexual intercourse.  The emphasis on sexual matters
was as much 
their "hangup" as it is ours.  
This "virginal" role of the angel-eunuchs or "god-like  beings"  [see just
two examples in 
4Q400 1:4-16 e.g.  "there is no unclean thing  (tameh) in their holy
places.."; or,  "and 
God purifies (vaiytaher) the pure ones...";   "eternally pure." the
"tongues" imagery is also 
very telling; they are all singing "zemer oz" (4Q403 1 i  6) and 4Q403 1 ii
which is filled 
with fire (lahav. gehalim, esh), light, secrets and tongues offerings
(terumat leshoneyhem)] 
did not mean, however, that the   priests of the inner circle did not leave
a holy remnant;  
they claim otherwise.  
Where we are going with this line of thinking is alluded to in  the title of
our book.  The 
Ritual of Immaculate Conception  was the sectarian priesthood's way around this 
seemingly  contradictory issue (tohora and procreation).  And the
angel-eunuchs, who  
sing-chant,  played a critical intermediary role in the  ritual and process
of the "pure 
4. Finally, our reference to angels in art was a bit  unclear.  What we mean
is that early medieval pictorial  representations of angels, which become a
ubiquitous motif, 
are ambiguous about their gender.  We focus on this part of "angelic"
history  in an attempt to show the lasting legacy  of Qumran.

Ita Sheres
Anne K. Blau.