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I've just had a very quick reread of the Thanksgiving Hymns in the context
of the debate on MMT and non-sectarianism. I naturally don't find them in
any way sectarian, but I do find that a post-intervention date -- expressly
between 175 -170 bce -- quite a valid context for them.
If I specifically look at Hymn 7, we find (using Vermes):
"They have banished me from my land
like a bird from its nest;"
which is consistent with an imprisonment in Antioch. We find later with the
opposition in control:
"they walk in stubbornness of heart
and seek Thee among idols"
the first line taken up again in the Zadokite fragments regarding the
Heavenly Watchers, but the second line could easily reflect a hellenistic
approach in the temple, as may
"They come to inquire of Thee
from the mouth of lying prophets deceived by error
who speak [with strange] lips to Thy people,
and an alien tongue"
The repeated talk of idols ("chastising them... because of their idols")
doesn't seem possible after the period of the hellenizing high priests. In
fact, later there is what seems like a brief description of the intervention:
"When the wicked rose against thy Covenant
and the damned against Thy word,
I said in my sinfulness,
'I am forsaken by Thy Covenant'."
If this is right then the worries that the writer shows are very real and we
should be able to appreciate all the more the signs of reconciliation to his
position of insecurity that are shown as the hymns continue.
Can anyone see anything wrong with this reading?