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orion DSS and rabbis

Martin Jaffee's interesting earlier post brings about this.  A basic premise 
or conclusion which runs through much, perhaps almost all, Qumran 
discourse, ranging from the early Schecter on CD to the first generation 
Qumran scholars on the pesharim, to Qimron and Sussmann and many 
more on MMT, is . . . 

In the so-called "sectarian" or yachad related clusters of texts, there 
is a conscious positioning of the writers of these texts against some 
form of Judaism in power in Jerusalem.  There is an "us" and a "them".  
Both "us" and "them" are Jewish, but which kinds?  The basic view is 
that rabbinical Judaism of later texts is to be identified, more or less, 
as in some form of continuity with the _opponents_ of the scrolls writers, 
and not in continuity _from_ the scrolls writers.  I.e. the scrolls writers 
are considered, so to speak, "the side that lost".  (Then there are the 
theories that propose connections between this "side that lost" and 
Christians, Karaites, the Talmud's Sadducees and minim, et al.)  
The Judaism of the rabbis is identified as descended from or holding 
basic continuities from the _opponents_ of the writers of the scrolls 
rather than from the writers of the scrolls.

This basic heuristic construction preceded 4QMMT, but MMT seems 
to provide smoking-gun confirmation of this scheme.  Everyone is 
aware of Qimron and Sussmann's identification of MMT halakha in 
several specific cases with what the rabbis termed sadducee or 
heretical halakha on matters of dispute.  

The question here is: how certain is this construction?  How certain 
is it that rabbinical Judaism does not descend from the _scrolls 
halakha_ (of c. mid-1st BCE) instead of from the _opponents_ of 
MMT and other Qumran texts?  

Has anyone current, post-MMT, attempted to make an argument for 
this reverse proposition?  (I admit it seems a tough argument to make, 
and I would like to emphasize I personally find the Qimron/Sussmann, 
and Yadin and Schiffmann and Baumgarten, discussions on rabbinic sadducee 
continuities to the scrolls texts very compelling, but ask this question on 
this list because it may be an interesting one--and also in the hope of 
drawing out some of the knowledgeable ones on halakha on this list to 

It might be asked: how could such an argument be possible?  Again I 
am not endorsing the following, but outlining one line of direction an 
opposing argument might go on this.  First of all, let us stick to MMT.  
As the person preparing to publish more than anyone will ever want to know 
on 4QpNah, let me say I don't see an anti-Pharisee polemic in 4QpNah as 
stronger than plausible (there are other readings of 4QpNah), i.e. that is not 
independent evidence.  Never mind 4QpNah for the moment; let us stick 
to the real heart of the argument: MMT.

Some of the 20 or so halakhic disputes of MMT are broken, damaged, 
and unreadable due to lacunas.  But the information that is there is 
of great interest, particularly the 2 or 3 cases of the striking 
correspondences to rabbis vs. sadducees debates (i.e. the running stream 
argument, the red heifer at sunset argument).  But has the attention 
mistakenly been focused on minute differences which could be explained 
as post-scrolls, post 1st-BCE inter-rabbinical development and change 
over time, when other points might be overlooked.  An example: the first 
point in MMT's list of issues against its opponents (to paraphrase), 
is: "we say that Jerusalem is the only right place".  Why are the authors 
of MMT saying this?  Is it possible it is because their opponents are 
saying Jerusalem is not the only right place?  In this case, MMT, and 
not the opponents, represent agreement and continuity with what is 
known of the later rabbis.  Are there other examples in which massive 
continuities between the scrolls and later rabbinical Judaism are so 
obvious that we have missed them, i.e. these continuities are assumed 
_by us_ to be generic to both the scrolls authors and their opponents, 
when an alternative analysis might propose that the scrolls positions 
(what was _then_ "sectarian") in fact won and their continuity is to be 
found in the rabbis . . . as distinguished from the rabbis being the 
heirs of the scrolls writers' opponents?

Just a question for discussion.  But is it possible that such an argument 
could credibly be made?  

Greg Doudna
U. of Copenhagen