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The interpritation of this being an exclusively Sadducean sect(s) is not an
issue. Rather that these finds were mixed. I suspect the R. Teacher was
around before the schisms that created the various sectarian groups we come
to know. And the W.Priest was one of many Hellenistic Priests that were the
objects of rebellion in the time of the Maccabees.
I feel that the the sects were once united as the Chasidim, but were
divided later by the political stains of Judean independance. As each group
struggled over control for the Temple. There were several civil wars,
causing the distinction of the sects. But those that preserved the DSS may
have been a movement to return to the old ways when the special interest
groups were united in communes in the diasporah/exile period. Hence the
Essenes, the Chasidim, and their decention from the corrupt quarreling over
the Temple, siezed by opportunists, as opposed to men of God.
There is no reason to suspect that the Essenes did not support a
Zodockite leadership amongst their priestly leaders, Their Guardian was
probably Pharasaic in orientation, and so on. But not all the material in
the DSS is of a single period. Rather slowly deposited over time. Hence the
MMT document may have nothing to do with the R. Teacher or the drama
surrounding him. Only that a Sadducean purists joined the commune lifestyle
of the Essene sects, or deposited worn out scrolls in the caves separetly,
or the Essenes were employed to copy worn-out scrolls for Sadducean clients.
The possibilities are endless and depends upon what perspective one
subscribes to, or paradigm.
The dating has been methodologically unsound. C14 was done on selective
scrolls when it should have been done on all of them, as if seperate finds
or loci. TL dating has yet been utilized on the pots to cross reference the
scrolls that were in them. No trends have yet been seen into the age of the
scrolls vs the pots. This would clarify alot. If the many jars were
manufactured in a short period and the scrolls were written at a longer
period, then can conclude that they were ancient scrolls hastily deposited
in newer jars in a single period. Needless to say, it's a mess.
Lechem ben HaAri
AKA: Brad Harrison
BA MA Gratz College