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Re: Calendar, MMT

Russell Gmirkin writes: 

> On Greg's suggestion, Moshe Shulman has already pointed out the incongruity
> of the priestly establishment "separating" from the people.  I would add, MMT

Voluntary separation of priests from non-priestly people 
seems a well-attested issue.  Didn't you see David Suter's 
post with the Philo quote on priestly intermarriage
issues (which seems to be the issue in the immediate 
context of the MMT "separation" phrase, so far as the 
broken words can be read [at least the editors of MMT
so interpreted the meaning of the surrounding lines])?  
Suter also referred to his article in the _Hebrew Union 
College Annual_ (50 [1979]:115-135) which expands on these 
themes much more.  

> 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. 

MMT is a very broken text.  I have not worked on the text
but am relying on the Qimron and Strugnell transcription.  
In Q and S's transcription, there is no
reading of "sanctuary" which you identify as part of the
text.  HZNWT, the word behind your "fornications", is the 
subject of some discussion in Q and S but they take it as 
a proper versus improper marriage issue--priestly 
intermarriage with laity is what MMT means by HZNWT, according
to Q and S.  The line with "the sons of Aaron" reads in full
as an indicative parenthetical clause, "Because they (Israel) 
are holy, and the sons of Aaron are [...].  This seems to work
as a setup to the charge that "some of the priests" [...
(intermarry with laity?--Q and S restoration)...]".  This
could be read as outsiders critical of an establishment but
it seems to me also can be read as conservatives in 
power condemning other priests who have acted wickedly.      

> 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
> establishment!!!  

The line about violence and HZNWT followed by "[...] places
were destroyed" may be a reference to something past in 
historical tradition.  This again may be rhetorical setup to the
following explanation of what the authors did in response to
correct the situation in the present.  The question is is this 
(a) some priests talking about other priests, or is this 
(b) non-priests talking about all priests.  You assume the 
latter as if this is self-evident.  It is not self-evident 
to me that the first is excluded.  Your conclusion seems overly 
dogmatic considering both the lacunas and the fact that the 
separation is not explicitly from the "sins of the priests in 
Jerusalem" but is explicitly "from _the multitude of the people_".
> 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.  

After looking at the Brill photo on 4Q395 I am not persuaded 
by Strugnell (in Ulrich and Vanderkam, eds., _Community of the 
Renewed Covenant_ 1994) who cites a 1.75 mm uninscribed space to
the right as indication that there was no preceding writing and 
therefore no calendar section in 4Q395 as in 4Q394.  (My
reason is that 1.75 mm is not enough to establish this point,
particularly as the margin between columns in 4Q396 seems 
to be about 1.75mm as well.)  Therefore the calendar remains
a "maybe" as relevant to MMT.  But I am troubled by this use 
of yours of the word "sectarian".  Taking a meaning of "out 
of power and opposed to the establishment", I fail to see any
evidence for a solar calendar in the 1st BCE implying this 
meaning and urge you to examine this semantic leap you have 
Postscript: the strongest argument in favor of the
consensus view that I can see is a contrast which appears
several times between a statement cast in the
indicative that X is occurring (which is bad) versus
a statement cast in the language of "but we say Y".  
Question to the list: is this syntactic
pattern evidence that X is occurring and Y is not (and
hence closes the case in favor of the consensus view), 
or is this syntax and contrast to be understood as a
rhetorical pattern which does not necessarily convey
such a meaning?  Martin Abegg long ago suggested 
a genre parallel with letters of Paul in the NT written 
to friendly congregations arguing against wrong
practices and giving instructions for right practices.
In I and II Corinthians, there is frequent contrast between
what "they" do and what "we say" or "I say" in response.

Greg Doudna