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Re: Calendar, MMT & Enoch (longish)

Ian Hutchesson writes:
>  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 
>  [than 175-170 BCE] 
>  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
>  Hyrcanus II/Aristobulus II conflict that was closed by Roman entry into
>  temple. MMT doesn't have any of this sort of conflict visible.

I agree that the turmoil during the Hellenizing high priests and the
Maccabean Wars had such an obvious and intense religious significance that
MMT would have had some trace of this conflict.  However, the wars of
Hyrkanus I and AJ were of a mainly political/nationalistic nature, and could
easily have escaped mention by MMT.

My proposal is that MMT was written to Hyrkanus I when he switched allegiance
from the Pharisees to the Sadducees, to persuade him to adopt
Sadducean/"Essene" temple practices.  This accounts for the contents and tone
of MMT in my opinion.

Under this scenario, the Sadducees and DSS sectarians (by now perhaps the
Essenes) had an amicable split ca. 150-130 BCE.  The two will have shared the
same halakhah, but the Sadducees would have been willing to serve in a temple
controlled by the Pharisees (then favored by the Hasmoneans), while the
Essenes would have originated as a sect distinct from the Sadducees by their
unwillingness to participate in the temple cult, i.e. by their continued
"separation."  It seems to me that MMT is an attempt to achieve temple
reforms such that the Essenes (or sectarians -- whichever) could participate
fully in temple life again.  My main evidence for this scenario is MMT
itself, so feel free to charge me with circular reasoning.

Ian Hutchesson writes:
>  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
>  in the non-acceptable marital relationships ejected from the temple?
>  ...How do you see the power structure before 175 bce?

The incident with the denunciation of Onias by Simon the captain of the
temple and brother of Menelaus shows a certain boldness on the part of the
Hellenists.  Probably the Oniad party was not able to fully control the
temple (as it probably did in the days of Simon the Just and Antiochus the
Great) due to the growing political power of the pro-Seleucid Hellenists
(including the Samaritan/Jerusalem Tobiads).

Ian Hutchesson writes:
>  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
>  who were in fact the sons of Zadok?

I agree.  This seems very common sense, and the Zadokite terminology seems to
point to the end of the Oniad dynasty as the context for the rise of the

Russell writes:
>  >This model says both groups coexisted in the temple, and were not
>  >"sectarian" in the sense of powerless and dispossessed.  ...my
>  >position is that MMT is from the sectarian council, dominated by priests,

>  > all of whom were boycotting the temple, against priests still serving in
>  >temple.]  This model sees a relation between MMT and Qumran documents
>  >as CD that show a boycott of the temple, and are therefore of a definite
>  >sectarian character.

Ian Hutchesson responds:
>  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
>  presuppositions. Whether I'm right or wrong, at least I have attempted to
>  deal with all of these things.

Russell writes:
I will grant you your last statement.  Our constructs are fairly similar,
except that I put MMT in a later era than CR & CD, while you put it earlier.

>  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
>  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.

A very relevant example is the boycott of the temple by the Hasidim,
Maccabees and other opponents of the Hellenized temple under Menelaus.
 During the period ca. 170-164 BCE these various groups boycotted an
increasingly corrupt, defiled temple that ultimately had been transformed
into a Hellenistic-Syrian cult center.  Were the Hasidim and related groups
sectarians because they boycotted the temple?  Not at all -- in fact, they
represented mainstream Judaism at the time.  So if we define "sectarian" as
somehow alienated from mainstream religious life, they were not sectarians.
 (And since it seems to me that much of the DSS emanates from this period, it
is not sectarian in that sense.)

However, move forward in time to the genesis of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and
Essenes/DSS sect probably by ca. 130 BCE.  If MMT was written at this time,
then we see separation from the Jewish temple cult as a feature which
distinguished the DSS sectarians defining (possibly by now Essenes), not from
the foreign-corrupted Hellenist faction, but from other Jewish schools of
thought.  At this point the Essenes/DSS group begin to have the normal
connotations of a "sect." 

>>4. Improper marriages.
>>I've been studying these documents this fall, and I think I can advance
>>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
>>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
>>in the temple at Mount Gerizim, along with other Jewish priests.  And later
>>the Tobaids, who had Samaritan connections, intermarried with the Oniad
>>priestly clan.  So the polemics David points out may be against the
>>Samaritan-Jewish priests intermarriage (which was also strongly condemned
>>the Talmud).
Ian Hutchesson responds:
>  Gotta admit this is rather interesting. I have felt for a long time that
>  Samaritan problem was one of the key issues that isn't being discussed,
>  of course should be. (You wouldn't mind a lazy request for the ancient
>  references here, would you?)

On Manasseh marriage to Nikosa daughter of Sanballat, building of the temple
at Gerizim, and appt. there as high priest see Jos. Ant. 11.302-324 =

On the Joseph the Tobiad whose mother was a daughter of Onias II, see Jos.
Ant. 12.160ff = 12.4.2. 

On polemics against Samaritans and foreign marriages in Testament of Levi,
see TestLevi 2:1-2; 5:3-4; 6:4-11; 7:2-3; 9:9-10; 14:5-6.

Russell writes:
>  > [Greg misunderstands my position to be that MMT is "non-priests talking
>  >about all priests."  MMT obviously reflects priestly concerns.  Rather,
>  >position is that MMT is from the sectarian council, dominated by priests,
>  >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
>  >sectarian character.

Moshe Schulman responds:
>  Why is it so 'obvious' that the concerns are ONLY those of priests. While
>  there are a few laws of specific sacrifices, the majority of the laws are
>  those that would effect ALL the people. I can't see this being restricted.

I didn't mean to imply that these concerns were exclusively priestly, that
is, to the exclusion of the laity.  One may point to the example of the
sectarian ruling council, composed of both priests and elders, to show that
both priests and non-priests were active in the DSS community.  However, it
is instructive that in this arrangement the priests were clearly superior.
 My point was merely that there were priests on both sides of the debate in
>  >5. How intense was the MMT debate?
>  >
>  >An interesting question I will pose to Greg and Ian: did the authors of
>  >consider the practices of their opponents intolerable or merely
>  >objectionable?  Did these incorrect practices defile the temple and its
>  > If merely objectionable, then maybe the two factions coexisted in the
>  >temple.   If intolerable, it seems to me this supports the proposition
>  >the authors of MMT boycotted the temple.  

Moshe Schulman responds:
>  This is a key question because it leads to other questions. If we say that
>  these differences were intolerable (as I would suspect, as my
>  here is they were serious enough to case these people to seperate from the
>  majority), then can we say they are Essenes? The reason is that if they
>  we have two non Essenes, Josephus and Philo (who would most likely have
>  supported the temple worship, and other laws), who actually had very
>  complementary things to say about the Essenes. My feeling is that what was
>  serious and the cause of conflict in the 2nd century, was cooled down by
>  1st century CE.

This sounds entirely reasonable to me.

Ian Hutchesson also responds:
>  Perhaps the question doesn't allow for the delicate nature of the
>  If you marginally hold power while the opposition holds an ace up its
>  (Antiochus IV), how would you deal with an objectionable practice under
>  conditions?

You either allow it to continue, or you boycott the temple, the two
alternatives in my original question.

Russ writes:
>  >6. Apocalypse
>  >Hence MMT's reference to the end of
>  >days, etc., seem to indicate a date later than 170 BCE.

Ian Hutchesson responds:
>  One thought about apocalypse is that it was a development on Zoroastian
>  eschatology, along with angels, and last judgements. If this is so, then
>  opportunity was already there well before 170 bce to develop on these 
> thoughts.

Russell responds:
The fact is there are no examples of historical apocalypses prior to ca. 170
BCE, and this development seems to have been a response to the extreme
tension of the Hellenistic Crisis.  There are of course pseudo-scientific
apocalypses in the early Enoch literature, where angels reveal the geography
of heaven and secrets of astronomy and meteorology, but the evolution to this
type of apocalypse into historical (predictive) apocalypse is fairly clear
from the Enoch literature, & the latter development appears later than your
suggested date for MMT.

>  >7. Pharisees in 175 BCE?
>  > I find it
>  >difficult to accept MMT predating the Hellenistic Crisis of 175 BCE, as
>  >appears to contain specific opposition to Pharisee positions.  Agreed?

Ian Hutchesson writes:
>  I gather this is the Schiffman "pouring of liquids" argument. I wouldn't
>  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'll let someone more qualified respond on the Talmudic data.  Moshe has
brought up the red heifer legislation as particularly compelling.  I could
only repeat the arguments made by Segal (in Qimron's book), Schiffman, &
others, which I haven't read for a while -- but they seemed as a whole quite
convincing at the time.

>  >I think it best to put the rise of the Pharisees
>  >between the Maccabean War and Hyrkanus I
>  I would go along with this...

It seems to me this point is crucial.  If MMT can be shown to be directed
against Pharisee positions, then a Maccabean date or earlier is excluded.
  On the other hand, you appear to propose it may have been directed against
Hellenists.  Let me ask you, then, in what way the Hellenist position is
reflected in the halakhah that MMT opposes?  Did the Hellenists have strong
opinions regarding the red heifer, pregnant animals, and poured liquids?  ;-)
 Alright, possibly unfair question.  But it seems the opponents position
shows a strong religious concern rather than an irreligious concern.  It
seems to me your case depends on demonstrating MMT reflects polemics against
Hellenists rather than Pharisees -- or that the Pharisees started out as

Russell Gmirkin