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Re: Herod-Era DSS

Chaim Milikowsky writes:

> I did not follow this thread from the beginning, and I am quoting a double
>  quote, so I have no idea who said what, but the following ...
>  >(Russell Gmirkin writes:)
>  >my view is that MMT was written long after the death of the TR 
>  >and the passing of the urgent apocalyptic phase,
>  >i.e. after the sectarians had nothing better to due than quibble minor 
>  >points of law.
>  is mind-boggling.  The entire context of MMT is one of ultimate importance
>  and the centrality of "minor points of law" in the Weltanshaung of the
>  group(s) behind the scrolls found at Qumran is clear from many other
>  texts;  nonetheless, the idea that questions of law, such as purity and
>  impurity, can create and destroy distinct social groupings is so hard for
>  some people to grasp.  The entire phrase "minor points of law" stems from
>  a predisposition to view the world from behind very specific lenses, and
>  an inability to remove them when needed.

In my opinion, the sectarians arose during the Maccabean crisis, when the
Jewish religion was outlawed, the land occupied by foreign armies, Torahs
burned, the temple looted and defiled, those loyal to their ancestral
religion slaughtered, or forced to flee to the wilderness, where they
organized themselves into a guerilla army to fight against desperate odds for
their nation and ancestral religion.  In contrast to the visceral issues of
this historical context, I think the later discussions over whether germs
could travel up a stream of water to contaminate the pouring vessel are, by
contrast, minor in the extreme.

However, I do agree that in times of peace such disputes in points of law can
be blown up into practically apocalyptic proportions -- kind of like the
non-stories that make front page news on a slow news day.  And actually, I
totally agree with you that issues of ritual purity may well have created the
divisions between Pharisee and Sadducee, Sadducee and Essene.  But I'll
guarantee these developments took place in peacetime -- during times of
genuine crisis, like that of the 160s, people of diverse viewpoints ignored
their minor differences in the face of an external enemy.  

-- Russell Gmirkin