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Re: Calendar, MMT
Russell Gmirkin writes:
> >MMT has "we", "you", and "they". Schiffman (for one) argues in my
> >quite properly that the "we" group is the council.
Ian Hutchesson writes:
> But what exactly do you mean by "the council"? The Jerusalem high priestly
> leadership, or a "sectarian" council?
I would say sectarian council -- I don't subscribe to Greg's theory on MMT
Ian Hutchesson continues:
> I know you want to put MMT late, but I do like Greg's suggestion that MMT
> written not as a sectarian document. If it was really written by the
> Jerusalem inner priesthood, which seems a credible reading, it was
> before Jason and Menelaus -- before 175 bce.
> As I see that MMT was written in a comparatively tranquil period (as
> say the Zadokite fragments), I'd say that it was pre 175 bce.
There are two problems here. First, Greg Doudna's suggestion that MMT was a
priestly rather than a sectarian document. Second, that MMT emanates from a
tranquil period prior to 175 BCE.
On Greg's suggestion, Moshe Shulman has already pointed out the incongruity
of the priestly establishment "separating" from the people. I would add, MMT
is highly critical of the priestly establishment. The entirety of MMT is
_capable_ of being interpreted as critical of the current temple cult
practices. More to the point, MMT 1 iv 4, 8-11 accuses "the sons of Aaron"
and "part of the priests" of defiling themselves and the sanctuary with their
fornications. This is hardly something written by the priestly
establishment. Also, in the succeeding section (per Martinez reconstruction),
MMT 7+8 4-8 further accuse (the priests, by context) of violence,
fornication, and bringing an abomination into the House (i.e. the temple),
and states that "we have segregated ourselves from the rest of the people
[to avoid] mingling ourselves in these affairs." The reason for the
separation is explicitly to avoid participating in the sins of the priests at
Jerusalem. Clearly this was not written by the Jerusalem priestly
I am not one to support concensus thinking, but the concensus that MMT was
written against current Jerusalem priestly practices is clearly correct here
in my opinion. And the calendar concerns in MMT also seem to identify it as
a sectarian document.
Various other fragments of MMT continue by saying that this (priestly)
wickedness and the resulting curses on Israel were symptomatic of the end of
days (which MMT equates with the present) and the "evil scheming and the
counsel of Belial" in the end times. This apocalyptic outlook seems to me
appropriate to the Maccabean Crisis and thereafter, not the tranquil period
before 175 BCE. (The severe accusations of moral improprieties by the
priests also _seem_ to echo the temple under Menelaus, but given the
possibility of polemical exaggerations of one's enemies' faults, I won't
press this point.)
CD appears to indicate that the era of the dominion of Belial began with the
death of the Teacher of Righteousness. If & since MMT appears to view the
present as the time when Belial and the forces of wickedness were dominant,
this would date MMT after CD. A major reason why I date MMT late is that it
appears to inherit its Belial language from CD and related documents.