[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: orion "Qumran sect" dogma
>> >So what about Serech Ha-Yachad? It pretty straightforwardly testifies to
>> >existance of a sect. So does the Damascus covenant and commentary on
>> >Habbakuk. Seriously, if the case for a sect was as empty as you present
>> >it, it would have never beed suggested. The people who came up with it
>> >(e.g., Sukenik, De Vaux) were far from being either idiots or sharlatans.
>> I have no problem with a temple community that had a written rule. I have no
>> problem with that temple community having been driven out of the temple
>> during the hellenistic crisis writing its damascus covenant. Remember that
>> the damascus document dates itself 390 years after the fall of Jerusalem
>> (plus 20 years until the TR). 586 bce (fall) - 410 = 176 bce (just prior to
>> the removal of Onias III who is the major candidate for the TR). Was Onias a
>> sectarian (whether or not he was TR)? Was the temple priesthood a sect?
>Why do we need to discuss the identification of Teacher of Righteousness?
Though you are being extremely selective of my post (please read again what
you have quoted of my previous note to see the TR is not a central part of
it), why do you want to exclude the implications of the TR in your notion of
sectarian? What about the temple priesthood which I asked you about: are
they also sectarian? After all if these documents come from the temple
(well, didn't they?), and the documents are sectarian, then weren't the
>This seems to me quite irrelevant to the question of whether some texts of
>DSS testify to a sectarian set of mind.
Again, the TR was only a minor consideration in my post, but... as the TR is
of major concern in some of the texts that may be considered "sectarian", I
can see no reason why you want to avoid him.
>If you insist, the answer is that
>if Onias was the TR, or somehow subscribed to the opinions of Serech
>Ha-Yachad than indeed he was a sectarian at some point in his life.
"sect" means a religious group not accepted as mainstream religion by those
contemporaries who say what the prevailing mainstream is. Under this
definition of sect, your last sentence unfortunately is complete nonsense,
given that Onias belongs to the category of "those contemporaries who say
what the prevailing mainstream is". (I don't think Antiochus Epiphanes'
efforts to change the status quo in Jerusalem also changed the status of
>I took the liberty to remove a passage on MMT - I do not think that MMT is
>in any striking way sectarian.
What else will you take the liverty to remove? If you pick and choose as too
many commentators on the dss have done, you can say whatever you like. I
won't reflect the corpus, merely your selection.
>It seems to me that there ia a fairly coherent understanding of what it
>means to be "sectarian." E.g, what makes David Koresh' movement sectarian?
While not holding that the mainstream is a united front, would anyone who is
in the mainstream see Koresh's movement mainstream?
>Well, its their self-understanding as a groop that holds opinions
>substatially different from the rest of their community, opinions that are
>not merely different but represent the "true way" vs. "the false way" .
The gospels tell us pretty clearly that Jesus taught the true way. The pope
will tell you what is and is not the true way. I don't think the definition
is offering anything useful.
>addition, you have the sense of the sectarians pursuing some kind of a new
>path over and against a commonly accepted way of doing things. Hence the
>necessity to hold apart, to put a distance between themeselves and the
>rest of the community.
Are monks and nuns who are separated from the community therefore members of
sects? Or have they just received what they consider special directions?
>All of this things you have (in spades!) in the three texts that I already
Sorry, which were the three you chose?
>"Serech Ha-Yachad", e.g., is a dictionary compendium of all
>those attitudes that are understood to make something a "sect".
OK, you can overlook the temple scroll, the SabbathSongs, the liturgies,
MMT, Mishmarot, and whatever else is pretty directly Jerusalem temple based,
in order to isolate three texts -- probably all principally from cave 1 --,
then without having any context for them make definitive conclusions.
Consider part of the Wise/Abegg/Cook intro to the work: "Scholars commonly
.. [view] .. this work .. to have governed a community living at Qumran. But
that view is at least partly wrong; the work itself refers to various groups
or chapters scattered throughout Palestine... This text does not merely
reflect a small community living [at Qumran]" p123. (In fact the authors
expressly say there that they don't know what the connection between the
texts and Qumran is.)
As to the idea of starting something new in the document, we often hear in
the OT of establishing a covenent. 1QS outlines what is necessary to belong
to the covenant. I see nothing particularly sectarian about this at all.
Perhaps you could give some specific indications of what you find as
anomalous in the work.
Let me give a context to the Damascus Document, which may be one of your
three. We know that in 167 bce the temple was polluted by Antiochus
Epiphanes, who attempted to force the Jews to worship in the hellenistic
way. Many Jews escaped to the wilderness, "they drove Israel into hiding in
every place of refuge they had", 1Mac1:53. They took with them many things
including "the garments of the priesthood and the first fruits and the
tithes", 1Mac3:49. This was the mainstream in exile with those priestly
garments. They were in the wilderness basically until Jonathan became high
priest. The Damascus Document goes further in its efforts than MMT (I think,
pre-crisis) to give indications of right actions for good Jews (here, who
are in exile), this of course being necessary as there was no centralizing
function of a temple available for the regulation of religious life. Hence
there are instructions for the group leaders of how to administer their
charges along with right conduct for individuals and the consequences of
being refractory. Hopefully I have provided a working context to deal with
any sectarian quibbling regarding CD. Whether it is right or not is another
matter, but I think I can deal with all the stops without the added
necessity of referring to sectarianism.
>do not think that it's justified to claim that there are no suggestions at
>all of sectarianism in DSS.
You might consider first giving some specific examples of what makes you
think there is evidence for sectarianism in the dss. I haven't seen anything
tangible to suggest that the religious ideas are not those of the then
contemporary mainstream. It is in fact strange that a large body of
documents were found that were immediately classified as sectarian without
any contextual reasons for doing so. (Whereas at least at Nag Hammadi there
was a ton of contemporary documentation, there is such a dearth for the time
of the dss.) One would think that they would be treated at least as
potentially mainstream until proven otherwise. The a priori treatment of
these documents as sectarian for the last 50 years has been extremely poor
-- o0o --
Are the following sectarian?
"And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root
downward, and bear fruit upward: For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a
remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of
hosts shall do this."
"I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and
will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of
"Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I
will make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the sure mercies of David."
"And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the
LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be
deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall
-- o0o --
(Small parenthesis: when the first fruits were taken into exile, 1Mac3:49,
does this not suggest the preservation of a more regular ritual meal?)
sretpahc eht era srebmun
37,42,55, Jt, 2 Km
koob hcae rof seno tcerroc eht gniwollof ereh srettel
31, 6, 3, 32