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Re: orion Orion James Brother of Jesus
Michael Abdon wrote in response to:
>>1. James was a Nazorean/Essene/Rachabite/ priest whose approach to his
>>religion was in pari materi with the "Qumran Sect." (The implication is
>>that so was his brother.)
> It appears to me that the implication is that James was, in Eisenman's
>contention, a significant leader in what was some form of alliance or
>affiliation contra to the more accomodationist sects of the period.
>However, I think Eisenman tends more in this book
>toward the position that James was of the group/s represented by the writings
>or Qumran and more than that, was a significant player or leader in this
This fascinates me. I have argued on this list that there is nothing in the
dss to suggest that any are later than 63 bce, that Qumran was a Hasmonean
stronghold to the time of Aristobulus (pre 63 bce) and probably in the hands
of the Sadducees ejected from power under Hyrcanus II, that the coin
evidence suggests a long hiatus from the 1B occupation with only few coins
from late Hasmonean through to the early Roman occupation, when coins are
again profuse. Whether people like it or not, the evidence points to an
early deposit of the documents that were clearly (for numerous reasons) not
written at Qumran (we have seen contortionists who have tried to make it
look so), but belong to a wider movement as seen by texts found around
Jericho (mentioned in Eusebius and the famous Nestorian letter from the
middle ages of texts found in caves). The home of such a wider movement is
almost certainly the Jerusalem temple based cultus. Schiffman is right to
see Sadducean influence in the dss -- they were probably written by
Sadducees who were after all in control of the temple cultus most of the
time before 63 bce. (One can willfully read around the enormous temple
orientation of the texts and come to other conclusions.)
I don't see what James, who lived 100 years after the burial of the dss, has
to do with the religion contained therein other than through that connection
most other religious people of his period shared.
>>2. James was stoned by Herodian backed Pharisees because he was
>>threatening their control of, inter alia, the Temple.
(Naturally it is extremely hard to make a connection between the Pharisees
and the temple. During the Hasmonean period they were effectively excluded
from the temple and probably followed their religion in synagogues. It was
the Pharisees who were left after the fall of Jerusalem, because they had
few ties to the temple. It was the Pharisees who were spread (who knows how
thinly?) through the Diaspora and thus not directly temple oriented.
>The stoning of James in my reading to this point is averred to have been
>undertaken not necessarily by Herodian backed Pharisees, but rather by the
>Jerusalem establishment which included not only these Pharisees but also
>collaborationist Saducees all garnering support and power through Herodian
I'd love to know where this idea of "collaborationist Sadducees" comes from.
There is just so little information about Sadducees. Josephus knows almost
nothing. The gospels likewise. "Sadducees" is a very hollow name by the end
of the first century.
>The opposition Eisenman refers more correctly
>in my reading as opposition to the corruption and ritual uncleanness going on
>among the Herodian/Roman appointed caretakers of the Temple.
Yes, this rings true for the situation in the first century.
>>> 6. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the above.
>...I would say that so far the presentation I
>receive is that the Scrolls do not in and of themselves confirm Eisenmans
>assertions. This is the reason I believe Eisenman brings so many sources
>into his book. I see much more reliance by Eisenman on the
>PseudoClementines, Eusebius, and other early texts to support his positions.
It has always seemed to me to be an unreasonable step to use texts written
several centuries after the events they purport to relate to. The linear
connection can only go one way, from earlier to later. There is no way to go
in the other direction. All reconstructions based on this sort of procedure
can at best be wishful thinking. There may be truth in the conclusions, but
there is no way of knowing.
>>...The early Church and the Qumran community may drink from
>>the same well- but they are not the same thing...
>...Eisenman does not suggest parallels
>between the early church and Qumran, he delivers them. Philologically,
>historically (to the extent that the early historians can be trusted), and
>with theological comparison Eisenman thus far has provided numerous instances
>where the "early church" expressed themselves in an identical fashion with
>the writers of the scrolls.
This much seems quite coherent. It seems to me that one can make numerous
>Further conforming evidence is given with
>regards to "early church" history paralleling that of the Qumran sect.
However this is pure fantasy, based on the fantasy coming from 50 years of
mismanaged analysis of the dss. One has to create a "Qumran sect" and a
series of scenarios that give that sect a history by sewing together the
sparse historical data in the dss, before one can have said parallels. Sect?
>christian sects, contended as being offshoots of the theology found in the
Hey, noting family similarities doesn't indicate what the relationship
between the members is.
>By examining these
>early sects and their writings and traditions Eisenman endeavors to trace
>back the sources for these parallel beliefs and traditions
This is of course one useful way to go, but the following
>as emanating from
>the "opposition alliance" as represented in part by James.
will probably bias the outcome.
It is however often only through the understanding brought to our eyes by
independent thinkers that we can reevaluate our more fundamentally held
presuppositions. I haven't read this book, though I have read others by
Eisenman and have always found something interesting in them notwithstanding
his a priori position regarding James which he seems to have held unchanged
since 1983. I look forward to finding some time to get hold of, and read,
We'll find the speck of truth in each riddle.