[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: Calendar, MMT & Enoch (longish)
>From your latest post, 11/26/96:
>Ian has taken up [Greg's] proposal [ie that MMT was written by a group in
>power], suggesting that MMT was written in the "comparatively tranquil period"
>prior to the Hellenistic Crisis of 175-170 BCE.
I'm not convinced about the matter (I'll abandon it for a better going
concern!), but it seems to be productive. I've looked at other possible
times for the writing of MMT given its contents and I cannot imagine any
time between 175 and 62 bce that would provide a context for such a
document. We had over twenty years of hellenizing high priests
(Jason/Menelaus/Alcimus) -- all of which imply a more drastic conflict.
There were the Maccabean/Seleucid struggles -- again turmoil. Then the
Greater Israel wars of John Hyrcanus and Alexander Jannaeus, followed by the
Hyrcanus II/Aristobulus II conflict that was closed by Roman entry into the
temple. MMT doesn't have any of this sort of conflict visible.
So, let me go back to the earlier period. If we assume for the moment that
Onias III was the righteous teacher, he probably didn't have any major hand
(probably no hand) in the framing of MMT -- again, if MMT was the initial
public statement of the conflict: this is what I think is implied in the
Zadokite fragments -- MMT was written -- say -- during the time of Simon his
father (as I said to David Suter closer to the time of the early Enochian
books). The Community Rule seems by its relatively generalized content, not
knowing of the righteous teacher, talking generically of the prophet and the
two messiahs, would also seem to me prior to 175 bce.
>1. Were the MMT authors in control of the temple?
Sorry to answer a question with another question or two, but how do you see
the situation in the temple before Onias III was removed? Were the
hellenizers lying low, pretending to toe the line? During the time referred
to by the Book of the Watchers (and perhaps MMT), were the priests engaging
in the non-acceptable marital relationships ejected from the temple?
>Would not "a group in power, in control
>of the temple" be able to enforce the disqualification of such priests from
>service in the temple?
This is all or nothing, Russell. Another possibility was that there was
space to hold differing positions within the priestly power structure, a bit
like the peace in the Verona of Romeo and Juliet, with the exception that
the chief representative of the Oniad family was in the position of the Duke
-- thinking a bit more, perhaps the Rome of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
would be even more accurate an image of the scenario.
Remember that the hellenizing faction would have had tacit support from
Antioch. Do you think that the conservative faction would not have known the
dangers in enforcing their policies outlined in MMT?
How do you see the power structure before 175 bce?
>If the authors of MMT controlled the temple, does
>this imply the ruling in MMT represented those under which the temple
Probably not. I can't imagine that they would have been able to get it
working given the way things developed.
>But MMT indicates that the entirety of Jerusalem (not just the
>temple) was the "camp," and as such subject to higher levels of purity. I
>have never seen it suggested that this idea (also found in other writings at
>Qumran generally regarded as sectarian) was ever historically implemented.
But then, how much of the biblical purity laws were enforced?
>So I don't think MMT can be considered the "status quo" of the Jerusalem
>temple cult at any historical period.
The position was that of the conservative anti-hellenizing group that must
have been in the majority until Antiochus IV chopped the head off. That that
group couldn't enforce MMT was another matter.
>2. The basic issue clarified.
>Greg and Ian's model ... is that there were more than
>one faction of priests serving in the temple at Jerusalem,
(I'm sure you'll agree with the bare fact that there was a situation of this
kind immediately prior to 175 bce.)
>and that MMT represents polemics from one of these groups....
>Ian specifically suggest the possibility that MMT
>is polemics from the Onias faction against the Hellenists prior to 175 BCE.
The dss are pretty adamant in their use of the sons of Zadok. On what
grounds could the dss use such a term without it being a reference to those
who were in fact the sons of Zadok?
>This model says both groups coexisted in the temple, and were not
>"sectarian" in the sense of powerless and dispossessed.
>position is that MMT is from the sectarian council, dominated by priests, all
>of whom were boycotting the temple, against priests still serving in the
>temple.] This model sees a relation between MMT and Qumran documents such as
>CD that show a boycott of the temple, and are therefore of a definite
Unfortunately I see no attempt to deal with the chronology or "historical"
information contained in the dss in this position. There is no attempt to
work out the contents -- how does the righteous teacher fit into this
analysis? how do the sons of Zadok fit? how do you account for the
contextual differences between MMT, CR, and the Zadokite fragments? They
were clearly not written at the same time and display diverse sentiments and
presuppositions. Whether I'm right or wrong, at least I have attempted to
deal with all of these things.
MMT set out grievances. CR sets out plans. The Zadokite fragments, which I
see referring to the period after 175 bce, reflect a drastic change for the
worse and an attempt to carry on. But, does a boycott of the temple
necessarily reflect sectarianism? If we are to judge by Josephus and the
Maccabean books, the overthrow of the hellenizers was welcomed. This would
suggest that the opposers to the temple regime at that time were the majority.
>3. The calendar and MMT.
>I would say MMT is to be dated later in the Sectarian Phase.
(Though I don't think you'd be able to justify your timetable on the
calendrical developments, thus I don't adhere to your notion of "sectarian
phase") why would you say that MMT is dated then?
>4. Improper marriages.
>I've been studying these documents this fall, and I think I can advance David
>Suter's arguments a little. It seems to me that Testament of Levi doesn't
>merely argue against improper priestly marriages, but at several points very
>specifically marriages with gentiles, and even more specifically against
>marriages with Samaritans. The alleged rape of Dinah by Shemer figures
>prominently here as in Jubilees, underscoring the point. The historical
>context of these anti-Samaritan polemics is unclear, but in Josephus the
>Jewish high priest Manasseh was evicted from the Jerusalem priesthood for
>marrying the daughter of the Samaritan Sanballat (II) and subsequently served
>in the temple at Mount Gerizim, along with other Jewish priests. And later
>the Tobaids, who had Samaritan connections, intermarried with the Oniad high
>priestly clan. So the polemics David points out may be against the
>Samaritan-Jewish priests intermarriage (which was also strongly condemned in
Gotta admit this is rather interesting. I have felt for a long time that the
Samaritan problem was one of the key issues that isn't being discussed, that
of course should be. (You wouldn't mind a lazy request for the ancient
references here, would you?)
>My point in discussing this is that the polemics in Watchers may not
>necessarily reflect criticism of one group of priests serving in the temple
>by another, but a criticism of ex-priests or evicted priests. I'm not sure
>how Jewish-Samaritan polemics bears on Ian's model, or whether MMT reflects
>the same polemics as Watchers.
I'm not sure either. It wasn't in my mind, though it is now. And it's worthy
to note that the Watchers crop up in the Zadokite fragments close to the end
of the third column (I'm using Vermes: Because they walked in the
stubbornness of their heart the Heavenly Watchers fell".)
>5. How intense was the MMT debate?
>An interesting question I will pose to Greg and Ian: did the authors of MMT
>consider the practices of their opponents intolerable or merely
>objectionable? Did these incorrect practices defile the temple and its cult?
> If merely objectionable, then maybe the two factions coexisted in the
>temple. If intolerable, it seems to me this supports the proposition that
>the authors of MMT boycotted the temple.
Perhaps the question doesn't allow for the delicate nature of the situation.
If you marginally hold power while the opposition holds an ace up its sleeve
(Antiochus IV), how would you deal with an objectionable practice under such
>A related question: when did power-sharing among the Jewish sects active at
>the temple begin?
The sort of situation that would allow this would be -- say -- the effects
of the various factions, having fought for the Maccabean cause, not being
able to establish enough individual control.
>It is fairly widely recognized that the genre of historical apocalypse came
>about as a response to the Hellenistic crisis.
Naturally I would change the word "recognized" in the above statement with
>Hence MMT's reference to the end of
>days, etc., seem to indicate a date later than 170 BCE.
One thought about apocalypse is that it was a development on Zoroastian
eschatology, along with angels, and last judgements. If this is so, then the
opportunity was already there well before 170 bce to develop on these thoughts.
>It's use of "Belial" language points in the same direction.
Moshe Shulman has added a timely comment on Belial here that should adjust
this line of thought.
>7. Pharisees in 175 BCE?
>> MMT is a hopeful document, written to inform and to correct...
>> Mixing and fornication ... 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.
>Well, I agree that during the Hellenistic/Maccabean Crises far more serious
>issues were at stake than those raised in MMT. That is one reason I tend to
>put MMT as one of the last of the DSS, as Greg also suggests.
I attempted earlier to show that there was no time later that was at all a
context for MMT.
> I find it
>difficult to accept MMT predating the Hellenistic Crisis of 175 BCE, as MMT
>appears to contain specific opposition to Pharisee positions. Agreed?
I gather this is the Schiffman "pouring of liquids" argument. I wouldn't pin
too much credence on this one argument notwithstanding its long enduring
nature. Perhaps, I have missed other arguments you might like to use to
make Pharisaic connections with the situations mentioned in MMT.
>I think it best to put the rise of the Pharisees
>between the Maccabean War and Hyrkanus I
I would go along with this...
>In that case, MMT is most likely later than the Maccabean War.
...but naturally not this. How about some context for MMT then? Who wrote
it? If this is a sectarian document, how do you account for the tone? How do
you account for the specific treatment of mixed marriages? How do you
account for the temple centred nature of its content?
A late dating causes you more problems than you can deal with. It's plainly