[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion response to R. Gmirkin (long)

Stephen Goranson writes:

>Dear Russell  Gmirkin,
>	You have been asked on orion by me and by Philip Davies, each more
>than once,  to justify your use of 1, 2 Maccabees and its Hasideans and to
>answer the substantial, published critiques of this old misapprehension.

     To my knowledge, Philip Davies has never posted me on this subject,
either privately or on orion.  Nor is it easy to discover a question in your
postings.  It is not sufficient to simply cite secondary literature as though
that constituted an argument or a question.  
     I presume you allude to Davies' "Hasidim in the Maccabean Period", JSJ
28:2 (1977) 127-140, in which Davies critiques what he refers to as the
"Hasidic hypothesis," especially as presented by Hengel.  My review is as
follows.  This article scores several good points.  First, he discounts a
connection between Hasidim and Essenes based on etymology.  I fully agree
that etymology is one of the weakest forms of argument, which I would never
resort to, a point you might consider.  Second, he very effectively
criticizes Hengel's theory that Daniel is a Hasidim composition, and thereby
discredit's Hengel's wider thesis that the Hasidim were responsible for
Maccabean Era apocalypses in general.  Third, he counters the IMO silly idea
that the Hasidim were pacifists.  On the minus side, Davies does not
adequately or even directly address the evidence that the Hasidim were the
authors of the Animal Apocalypse, and I think Davies errs when he discounts
the Hasidim as a formal movement.  These two criticisms are not unrelated,
since the Animal Apocalypse outlines the history of the Hasidim as a reform
movement, taking note of Judas Maccabee joining their ranks; thereafter the
history of the Hasidim as presented in the Animal Apocalypse conforms to the
history of the Maccabean army in 1/2 Maccabees.  Hence IMO the Hasidim were a
well-defined group  that constituted the most important military supporters
of Judas Maccabee between at least the years 166-64 BCE.  The history of the
Hasidim also has extensive parallels to the scrolls sectarians which I
outlined in the paper I presented at last summer's congress.

>You push Essenes late, precisely contrary to the historical record which you
elsewhere claim to > revere. You ignore that 4QpNah and MMT are Essene texts.

I think "dispute" is the proper term; and I believe MMT as an Essene text is
a minority opinion.

>You ignore anti-Hasmonean elements in the scrolls. 

The only allegedly anti-Hasmonean elements in the scrolls are in pNahum.  I
believe you might be ignoring certain pro-Hasmonean elements in the Hymn to
King Jonathan, for instance.  There are allegedly anti-Hasmonean elements in
11QT, but every paper I've read discussing them has started out with the
explicit premise that the scrolls are anti-Hasmonean:  that is called
circular reasoning.  One could just as easily lay out a case that 11QT is

>Apocalyptic in Qumran pesharim is more similar to the earlier
>Daniel and the later Apocalypse of John than to Maccabees.

If you are refering to apocalypse as literary genre, you miss my point
entirely.  Daniel and Revelation are apocalypses.  The genre of 1/2 Macc. is
history.  Yet the latter provide historical evidence of the apocalyptic
climate in the mid-160s that runs throughout the Qumran corpus.   

>Qumranites and Essenes were not an army, unlike the Maccabees. 

Yet the Sons of Light from the War Scroll clearly comprised an army, and 1QSa
describes conscription into an army, and the organization of the sectarians
was military.  This rather shows the link between the scrolls sectarians and
the Maccabeean army (i.e. the Hasidim) are rather closer than between the
scrolls sectarians and either the Qumranites or the Essenes.  Thank you for
illustrating my point.

>To say priest X was the most wicked needs be qualified: from whose
>There were different opinions on just such questions, certainly. 

Menelaus assassinated a former high priest in exile; he stole sacred vessels
from the temple, prompting widespread riots; he collaborated with Antiochus
IV and presided over the temple during the  period it housed a pagan cult;
all our sources vilify him.  If you are aware of any other high priest with
worse press, please forward me the reference.

>You make many assertions without basis; for example, that the (or a?)
teacher of
>righteousness was not associated with Qumran. 

Are you suggesting there is a basis other than wishful thinking that the TR
founded Qumran?  Where is the archaeological evidence for that, pray tell?
 And while you're at it, please correlate the occupation layers of Qumran
with sectarian history.

>Why, as has been asked, is the anti-Hellenism of Maccabees not a focus of
Qumran texts? 

Jubilees is found in many copies at Qumran, and it contains much of the
anti-Hellenistic polemics you request, from the period leading up to 167.  It
also celebrates Maccabean military victories, as has been long recognized.
 Interestingly, it lacks direct unambiguous reference to the worst outrages
167-64 (as does the sectarian literature).  Why is that?  My theory is that
the Hasidim were too busy fighting during the critical period - and then the
crisis was resolved.  However, generally speaking, I take references to the
Seekers of Smooth Things to apply to the Hellenists, taking my cue from
Daniel 11:32, 34.

Best wishes,
Russell Gmirkin