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Calendar, MMT & Enoch
Responding to my...
>> 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.
This of course doesn't mean a totally isolating separation otherwise their
priestly role would be rendered useless. The priestly observances that they
were advocating and following were in themselves something that separated
them from the others -- especially those of the priestly caste who were
hellenizing. It is important to note that the Enochian Book of the Watchers
was written -- if David Suter's analysis is correct -- against the
fornications of members of the priestly caste who were probably "guilty" of
mixed marriages and therefore responsible for polluting the temple.
I don't think you'd have trouble dating the Book of the Watchers to a
pre-cataclysmic period. It does display a status quo that is that of MMT and
in doing so is just as "highly critical of the priestly establishment" as MMT.
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
Let me quote from the version of MMT I'm using -- Eisenman & Wise:
"(Mixing is forbidden) because (the people) is Holy, and the sons of Aaron
are H[oly of Holy] -- [nevertheless, as y]ou know, some of the priests and
the [people are mixing (intermarrying).] [They] are intermarrying and
(thereby) polluting the [hol]y seed, [as well as] their own [see]d, with
This translation should throw a different light on your previous thoughts
and should supply some context for your next.
>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 mingling here is mixing or intermarrying as shown in the previous quote.
Again, E & W:
"...we broke with the majority of the peo[ple and refused] to mix or go
along wi[th them] on these matters."
>The reason for the
>separation is explicitly to avoid participating in the sins of the priests at
Their separation is on the practice of certain acts and this document is
making clear their points of view. Does this necessarily imply a physical
separation? Given the attitude towards the temple clearly derived from MMT
such a separation doesn't make sense.
>Clearly this was not written by the Jerusalem priestly
If we think of the period pre-175 bce, we have the supporters of Onias III
who would be of the non-mixing view well aware of what was happening with
the others -- the continuing hellenization that stimulated Antiochus IV's
intervention and put first the hellenizing Jason and then Menelaus into the
I talked of a "comparatively tranquil period", ie laden with all sorts of
internal tensions, though no gross acts of violence. I didn't imply that
there were no problems at the time of writing -- otherwise the document
would not have been written. I simply see it was written before the eruption.
>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.
Would you say that the Enochian Book of the Watchers was sectarian??? I
can't see your scenario of what was happening before 175 bce. You give the
impression that everything was rosy within the Jerusalem priesthood, and,
boioioing, that naughty Antiochus IV just out of the blue picked Jason oops
Jesus to take the place of Onias III.
>And the calendar concerns in MMT also seem to identify it as
>a sectarian document.
What are your contemporary documents to justify the calendrical statement?
If 1 Enoch, which is contemporary, shows a calendar that is in accord with
MMT, why should MMT be sectarian because of its calendar?
How much weight one can put on the apocalyptic of the end times I'm not yet
sure -- again some of 1 Enoch might be considered apocalyptic, but it was
not produced in the time you are talking about. I would say though that the
Zadokite fragments were more likely written after the intervention of
Antiochus IV and its aftermath.
MMT is a hopeful document, written to inform and to correct: "You also k[now
that] no rebellion or Lying or Evil [should be] found in His Temple. It is
because of [these things w]e present [these words] [and (earlier) wrot]e to
you, so that you will understand the Book of Moses..." The spirit of the
document makes it early: later there is not much hope for the scoffers and
the liar etc.
I don't think you have shown your case for making MMT a "sectarian"
document. In fact I think you've shown a problem that a lot of supporters of
secarianism make and that is not consulting documents outside those
considered sectarian. Mixing and fornication here have a reasonably clear
context and wouldn't have had such an important role as indicated in MMT had
it been written after 175 bce when more ostensibly grave problems were loosed.
Incidentally, I might be a little blind, but where does the notion of the
death of the righteous teacher appear in the CR?