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Re: orion dss and rabbis
I was part of a group of us who kicked these issues around a while on
ioudaios-l list, some time ago, in somewhat separate discussions.
Setting aside continuity of rabbis/pharisees, because I've argued by
analogy that it simply cannot be solved (in ioudaios-l archives,
somewhere), I would like to tackle the xalaqot/halakha question.
I thought about it earlier today, before logging on and finding a pretty
good discussion going. It seems to me as well as some others--Marty and
Al, at least--that <italics>halakha</> should be a term reserved for its
usage in Rabbinic Judaism to describe a process derived from oral law by
rabbinic modes of reasoning and judgment, in order to determine
appropriate Jewish practice. It differs fundamentally from earlier
approaches, particularly by the naming of particular individual rabbinic
decisors, and by its international, intercultural spread throughout Jewish
civilization. In earlier literature, one can detect particular Jewish
standards of practice or observance, and discuss it under the umbrella
term <italics>halakha</>, much as I want to talk about martyrdom before
the Greek word <Gk>martus</> was ever used.
However, I would suggest using something like "standards of Jewish
practice" for earlier literature such as Josephus or the sectarian
materials from Qumran, in place of the technical word <italics>halakha</>.
The second question is, "was there an intended pun between
<italics>xalaqot</> and <italics>halakha</>?" I don't think so; as
indicated by the way I've just transliterated the two words, they are
actually from different Hebrew roots. Although xet is often replaced by
"h" and qof by "k" or "kh" in Latin transliteration, leading to a visual
similarity between the words in European texts, they are written
differently in Hebrew. The khaf and quf sounds are distinctly different,
although in the Late 2nd Temple period the loss of xet when
transliterating to Greek (LXX Numbers 33, for example) might indicate that
beginning of the two words sounded similar.
However, it seems to me that the word underlying the English translations
of Qumran materials as "people of the Way" may be <italics>halakha</>.
This would indicate a difference in meaning from rabbinic
<italics>halakha</>, not simply an absence of the word and meaning as
found in Rabbinic Judaism. In that case, it is important to use a term
that represents the distinction between Second Temple and Rabbinic
approaches to determining the appropriate practice of the Law in a
Again, I'd suggest "standards of Jewish practice," or "Jewish standards of
practice" or something similar.
Sigrid Peterson University of Pennsylvania firstname.lastname@example.org