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orion Sects, separation, scrolls, Sadducees,

Michael Abdon wrote:

>Today the term "Sadducee" is used because we have inherited it from sources
>contemporary of the time as well as the references in the scrolls themselves
>where "Tzqadokiym" is designated as referring to the group at Qumran.  We
>have references in the writings themselves to this Tzadokee self designation.

This is an important fact. A section of the dss claims to be Zadokite and I
see no reason to doubt this fact, especially when the term mysteriously
disappears in later documents in the dss. This is of course consistent with
the Hasmonean takeover of the high priestly office. (Incidentally, most of
the Zadokite stuff comes from cave 1.) This naturally doesn't mean in common
terms that Sadducee may not have been used after the end of the Zadokite
line, though it should in more normative writings as is seen among the dss.
Josephus tells us that John Hyrcanus sided with the Sadducees. But they
weren't Zadokites though, were they?

> To conclude that all of these scrolls are 63 BCE or before is unwarranted
>and not in accord with probability.

I don't know how you can talk about probability this way. Besides, there is
no evidence other than a few erratic C14 readings that indicate anything
later than 63 bce.

>Although the site was abandoned for a
>period, it was later reinhabited and no firm assertion can be made that the
>scrolls were placed in the caves by either period of habitation exclusively.
> These texts can conceivably range from +/- 300 BCE to 68 CE.

You can conceive of 68 CE but you have no evidence for it. We have a clear
abandonment of the site of Qumran for what could be seventy years from 63
bce until the new era. Most of the documents are written accepted in
scholarly circles to have been written prior to 63 bce. This is confirmed by
palaeography and C14 -- neither of which are truly exact sciences, which
brings into doubt the few dates outside the majority range. We are clearly
told that Pompey put everyone in the temple to death, the supporters of
Aristobulus, a lot of whom were the Sadducees. We have plain evidence of the
decimation of the Sadducees of that time and the ascendency of the Pharisees
who supported Hyrcanus II. Josephus tells us that the Sadducees were given
control of many of the Hasmonean strongholds -- Qumran being a Hasmonean
installation. Drori for example analyses the system to supply water to
Qumran as only likely for a royal installation. The opportunity to deposit
the texts was while the supporters of Aristobulus had control of the
strongholds. This was the only historical instance of when the Sadducees are
shown to have been away from the temple, ie the opportunity for temple
documents being deposited near Qumran and Jericho (where there was another

>The talmud.

You cannot presume connections.

>Although of a later date, does record theological differentiation between
>what it calls Tzadokiym and the by then more normative Rabbanism.

As the Rabbis were the strict successors of the Pharisees, it's not strange
that there would be talk of the Sadducees who were the enemies of the
Pharisees (eg as documented during the reign of Salome Alexandra) who got
their just deserts as we are told in that Pharisaic collection the Psalms of
Solomon which makes it clear the fate of those polluters of the temple.
However, to go from talk of Sadducees in Rabbinic sources to making much of
a claim about 300 years or more previously is not functional scholarship as
I see it.

>That the
>talmud reflects a record of history earlier than its penning is not in

I have no doubt about this, but the problem is validating what is evidence
and what is not. Good luck.

>The identification of Qumran as a sect is made by comparison.

Almost exclusively from documents found in cave 1. Before they can be used
one has to supply a context for them, not afterwards. 

>If the beliefs
>and positions of Qumran were accepted and followed by all of 1st Century
>Judaism then we would not have a sect.  However, as the DSS themselves show,
>there were some black and white differences between both the Temple
>establishment, Pharisaic and Saduceean, and the Qumranites.

What are your contemporary sources for your statements above? OK, you have
the dss, but what are you comparing them with? No other sectarian supporters
have come out with anything, but I'd be happy if you could.

>In the DSS own
>text is not this the reason for their separation?

If you remember from Ezekiel's picture of the temple and its surroundings,
the priests were given the land around the temple, ie they were already
separated. The sanctuary had a wall across the middle of it separating the
priests from the rest of the Jews. There was plain separation in the temple
prior to Alcimus's knocking it down. Ordinary Jews weren't allowed anywhere
near the priests: touching the garments, which meant a transference of
purity to the toucher, was strictly prohibited. The separation was there in
the temple. The priests were separated from the rest of the Jews. MMT
explains why.

>MMT specifically is
>adamant about the "pollution of the seed".

With dirty hellenistic blood.

>By clear implication this letter
>is written to another group or "sect" that does not hold the more strict
>Halakha of the Qumran group or if they do, they do so hypocritically.

Point clearly not made. I'd simply say strict temple halakhah for protecting
the temple and the purity of the priesthood. Written from the temple elite
to keep everything in line.

> However, I think a more pronounced differentiation between the Qumranites
>and presumably many of the other contemporary 1st century groups is their
>peculiar reliance on a variant calendar from that used at the Jerusalem

Oh, goodness. Enoch is rather strong on the solar calendar along with the
mishmarot that are themselves regulatory documents of the temple. This
calendar argument begs too much.

>This is a very defining piece of knowledge when distinguishing the
>Qumranites relationship with the other Jewish groups of the period.

Only from the hindsight of a Pharisaic engendered form of the religion. The
winners make the history. It doesn't mean that that was how it really was.
We fortunately have the dss to indicate formative Judaism. You can see the
development of tefillim from the dss, but Schiffman casually calls them
variant from the norm as he sees it, using a norm of centuries later.

>To the extent that Saduccees were known to officiate in the temple, even
>contemporaneously with the Pharisaic members of the temple cultus, and the
>knowledge through the DSS that this temple Governance is rebuked in the DSS,
>it is not difficult to assert that the Qumranites were not of the same group
>as the Temple Tzadokiym.

I don't think it is wise to treat the documents as though they were written
in one instant of time. You overlook the temple scroll's commitment to the
temple, a commitment also seen in MMT. You don't mention the SabbathSongs
which don't have sense outside a sacrificial temple cultus. There is a great
deal of liturgical material amongst the dss. You have what seems to be the
temple treasure listed on the copper scrolls. The Mishmarot are solar
calendar based records of the regulation of priestly shifts in the temple.
Why look at the stain and not the full dress?

>They may share some of the same beliefs but that

This is far too understated.

>does not mean that they identified with the accomodationist and even
>collaborationist allowances of the Jerusalem Temple Saducees.

What evidence do you have for the Jerusalem Sadducees other than from the dss?

  To that
>extent, for the Qumranites, these Sadducees in the Temple were certainly
>"false" Sadduccees.

Your are assuming Qumranites. You only have dss. They don't amount to the
same thing.

>What we know is that the site was
>abandoned in 68CE.

The coins, the coins.

>We also know that there was a period when it was not
>inhabited, but not that it remained uninhabited or was taken over and
>exclusively controlled by Romans.

We basically know who was at the site until 63 bce. We have no evidence of
any document being later than that time. The site was abandoned and Josephus
tells us that the sites had to be given over. (That the Romans occupied them
is not implied.) I show that the site was occupied up to 63 bce. We know the
site was occupied in the first century. I'll assume it was unoccupied
between those times until someone can show hard evidence that contradicts
the coins.

>The only evidence for the dating of "a
>scroll" is that in the Paen to King Jonathan.

This is an important document that shows that the Hasmoneans were accepted
by the dss (or at least Alexander Jannaeus, whose coins called him
Jonathan). You might also like to consider the evidence of pNahum or MishC
for dating dss.

>We may not have evidence from the
>texts for anything after 63 BCE but we have evidence from the site itself of
>habitation beyond that date.

Habitation of the site means nothing until you make a strong connection
between the texts and the inhabitants.

>Furthermore, the texts dated to 63 bce may have
>been copies of an earlier original.  

This is true, but the common dating procedures negate this idea.

>The Qumranites, as I stated above, document their own separation from the
>Temple Cultus.

Michael, you can't just claim this. Your post hasn't given much to support
any of it. If you want to select some documents and ignore others I don't
think you'll get very far. The temple content of the scrolls far outweighs
almost any other content.

>This separation when taken into account along with their
>calendar and other beliefs, not known to have been part of the Jerusalem
>establishment Temple Hierarchy of the time,

You haven't established any reference at all to what the Jerusalem
establishment Temple Hierarchy was of the time actually was. Please try and
give a few facts.

> de facto show that they were a
>sect, unless you choose to change or clarify your definition of the term

You simply cannot call those who establish the normative religion a sect.

>I hope you like an omelet Ian, all in fun of course.

I wouldn't mind, but I'm still waiting for it to arrive. Chef's pretty slow.

>I think by the groups
>own words which play out in scroll after scroll as a common lyric show their
>separation, and thus "sectness", when contrasted with those other "sects"
>they are writing to and about. 

Michael, this mantra only works for you. Which scrolls, which words?

If separation means "sectness" to you then obviously the temple priesthood
were a sect given the fact that they did separate themselves from the rest
of the people.

I truly have the idea that this sect stuff has been stretched so far that
it's transparently useless. No evidence has come out at all other than a few
ambiguous allusions to cave 1 documents and MMT. A more coherent scenario
can be supplied that is free of sectarianism, that functions in the
historical context, that explains the demise of the Sadducee political
force, that covers the content of the documents and their deposition, and
that accounts for the enormous multiplicity of scribal hands, without
anachronistic recourse to documents of centuries later.

Would a few truly evidence laden supporters of the sect hypothesis please
stand up?


Ian Hutchesson