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Alexander Jannaeus, history vs. construct
>Now to 4QpNah.: in addition to 1st Maccabees and Josephus, what other
>contemporary materials are available to increase our knowledge of the reign
>of Alexander Janneus and Salome Alexandra. And can we accept as a fact
>perushim, even of the earlier hasmoneic period were identical with
Why is there an assumed direct jump from 4QpNah to Alexander Jannaeus?
Scholarly concensus aside, the connection is altogether problematic.
The Angry Lion of 4QpNah 3+4 is clearly a gentile, as the opening lines of
column 1 show (wherein the lions in their den are interpreted as the
wicked of the gentiles occupying Jerusalem). Further, there is no
historical basis for Demetrius seeking or being invited to enter Jerusalem.
1 Maccabees is not a source on Jannaeus at all, and according to Josephus,
Antiquities 13.377-379=13.14.1-2, Demetrius never made it further south than
Shechem. Had he been invited into Jerusalem, he would have stayed there and
defended himself against Alexander rather than withdrawing from Judea.
Let's face it, ever since Allegro's day 4QpNah has been used as a
historical source on Jannaeus, not vice versa. The case for 4QpNah
in the time of Demetrius Akairos is in this respect entirely circular.
However, speaking more directly to your question, one may note that
Strabo 16.2.40 indicates that Alexander Jannaeus was the first Jewish
ruler to wear a crown (rather than Aristobulus, AJ's predecessor, as at
There are also Talmudic (Mishnaic?) references to Simeon b. Shetah going into
exile to Alexandria
under AJ and being recalled under Salome, in connection with the persecution
of the Pharisees (cf. Ant. 13.408-409=13.16.2). [I apologize if my memory on
may be slightly inaccurate, as I do not have the exact citations in front of
someone else on the list can help out here.]
In connection with the return to power of the Pharisees under Salome,
Ant. 13.410-417=13.16.2-3 states that the former AJ partisans,
i.e. the Sadducees, were subsequently exiled by assigning them to guard
"all the fortresses with the _exception_ of Hyrkania, Alexandreion, and
Surely the fortress of Qumran is included in this description. Given the
Sadducee and sectarian halakhah, one must assume a relationship (but not
identity) between these two groups. Might not the arrival of sectarians to
fortress of Qumran
be attributed to this historical - I emphasize historical - event, rather
than the entirely speculative
theory that the TR founded Qumran?
-- Russell Gmirkin.
"One good question is worth a thousand bad answers" -- Cossack proverb.