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Re: orion Hannukah

In the FWIW ("For What It's Worth) Department:

According to Orion List:
> From: habas@netvision.net.il (E. Habas)

I forget who it was that E. Habas quoted--a problem with some software for
email is that it does not automatically identify the mail being quoted.
So, I have used the poor substitution of "anonymous" to indicate that the
speaker of these portions is unknown to me.

> >1) If Hanukkah was not celebrated by Essenes and/or Qumranites, this
> >indicates some disapproval of the Hasmoneans.
> Not necessarily. There could be other reasons. All kinds of differences of
> >2) I Macc 14:41 limited the approval of the rule and priesthood of Simon
> >"until a true prophet should arise."
> Not exactly. It limited the *dynastic* aspect of the *threefold* leadership
> the assembly granted Simon *and his offspring*, until God makes his will
> known through his prophet.
> >Was it the case that Essenes and/or
> >Qumranites in the first century BCE and following considered that a true
> >prophet had arisen?
> Again, not necessarily. There were enough other reasons (real or imaginary)
> to disaprove of Herod's heirs as kings and/or high priests.

Another construction can be placed on "until God makes his will known
through his prophet." It is a construction that occurs earlier in First
Maccabees, at the point where the Temple is cleansed. Most of the
decisions about Jewish standards of practice are made on the spot by Judah
the Maccabee or other priests. However, no one knows, or everyone argues,
what to do with the stones of the altar that have been desecrated, so they
are buried, until a prophet comes to decide the issue. I would suggest
this as an antecedent to the later rabbis who made temporary decisions,
such as the placement of a mezuzah on an angle, "until Elijah comes" [to
decide the issue properly.] 

The construction in First Maccabees may be a referent to Deuteronomy 18,
where Moses speaks of "the prophet who will come after me," probably in
context meaning Joshua. There are other references in First Maccabees to
Deuteronomy, as the source for their rules of making war, for example,
which strengthens the association.

I suspect that First Maccabees records a common pietistic expression
derived from the Book of the Law, a formula for setting aside insoluble
problems, a manner of speaking. 

That the sectarians in the Qumran texts believed that *the* true prophet
had come, seems to me unlikely. That they believed that their community
and the individuals within it had access to the true prophecy for their
times, the <italics>pesher</> or *real* prognostic meaning of an older
prophetic meaning, is more probable in my view. 

> E. Habas  (habas@netvision.net.il)
Sigrid Peterson  UPenn   petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu