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On June 14th I was trying to explore the proposition that it is not literally
correct to talk about "Essene thought" per se surviving into the Middle Ages
but more accurate to think of the Qumran documents (whatever their source) as
expessing ideas or notions that are representative of points along a line.
Earlier points might be zoroastrian theology, gnosticism and I Enoch. In
posing that view I said that "the book of Enoch (170 - 66 B.C.E. ?) recounts
the fall of Satan and his cohorts, the consequent intrusion of evil and
suffering in human life and the redemption of mankind by a Messiah."
As I said, I don't claim this is an original thought.
In partial response to some of the comments I have received, The New Lexicon
Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language defines "Satan" as
"the chief or the rebel angels and the anthropomorphic personifications of
evil, the devil." In Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scroll (1994) at 182,
Schliffman writes: "Generally, I Enoch is understood to have five parts. The
first, the Book of the Watchers . . . relates the story of the fallen angels
. . . (and) I Enoch 6-11 refers to Shemihazah as the leader of the fallen
angels." Is it correct to view the union of the fallen angels with human
women as representing the intrusion of evil into human life? Perhaps it is
incorrect to call Shemihazah Satan, but it seems reasonable to say that "the
chief of the rebel angels" and the leader of the fallen angels are reasonably
comparable and that those fallen angels brought evil to personification to
the form of the giants . Aren't the specific attributes of these figures
simply nuances in the development of a theme? Another parallel might be
4Q390 described in Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (1992) by Eisenman & Wise (at
54) . They describe the angels of Mastemoth as "obviously the same fallen
Angels or heavenly 'Watchers' prominent in Enoch and the Damascus Document."
They would trace this idea forward into James 4:4 They also describe the
book of Jubilees as based upon I Enoch. Schliffman says (at 354) that
"[w]ith the exception of the Parables (chs. 37-71) the entire book (on Enoch)
can be considered representative of the pre-Maccabean period. If this is so,
then we can safely conclude that even more material related to later Jewish
mystical tradition preexisted the Qumran sect and found it way into the
sect's collection of texts." Assume that one is not required to accept the
idea of a defined "Qumran sect" as posited by Schliffman and others. As an
alternative to talking about "Essen Thought," isn't it more accurate to say
that (1) the dualism in I Enoch (and in other 'theological' expressions such
as the zoroastrians) "preexisted" the Qumran/Essene era, (2) numerous DSS
contain the same or very similar dualism, and (3) such dualsim was thereafter
passed forward, for example, into Christian tradition. Or is there something
considered unique on these subjects in the Qumran documents that does qualify
as "Essene thought?" Eisemann and Wise say that "at least six, and perhaps
as many as eleven, copies of the Book of Giants are among the Qumran texts.
Maybe it was just a scary bed time story read to the new recruits.
Just a lawyer without cv.