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orion Re: 4QpesherNahum and crucifixion
It is with a certain amount of dismay that I read the following:
>Many readers of 4QpesherNahum--not all readers, certainly, but many,
>including me--agree with the following:
>1) The Lion is identified as Alexander Jannaeus.
>2) Ephraim, the Pharisees.
>3) Manasseh, the Sadducees.
>4) The author is an Essene.
>5) The crucifixion account is paralleled in Josephus.
I'm pleased to say however that history is not a democratic process and I
would urge those who would like it to be to think again. As we know so
little about what actually happened in Judah down to the time of Josephus,
it would seem imprudent to take the above list as given.
1) If the furious young lion is indeed Alexander Jannaeus, what about that
other reference to a furious young lion in pHosea(b)? Alexander might be a
bit more credible had we a name (as in 4Q448).
2) If I remember correctly, this is a Schiffman gem. Ephraim has already
been worked overtime as an allusion to the Samaritans. Will a term that
already has such a rich content be used perversely for some other meaning?
Such terminology would have been transparent to the users, not confusing.
3) This naturally is a corollary of the previous guess. If one cared to read
Saldarini one might not be so hasty as to say much at all about the
Sadducees, especially considering the high position given to Manasseh in
pNahum: Saldarini sees the Sadducees a rung or two lower.
4) I suppose the author could be an Essene, though there's nothing to
substantiate the proposal: this has been a problem with the idea from the start.
5) Crucifixion was known in Judah at least from the time of Antiochus IV
Epiphanes, as should be clear from a perusal of the Assumption of Moses 8:1.
(It might be worth pointing out that Josephus's is a lonely, unattested
Incidentally, while the diviners of pNahum are at it, who are the House of
Peleg? When did Manasseh (not the king) actually have control over Israel?
When did the Pharisees have sway over kings and princes? (Again Saldarini
only finds one brief period under Alexandra when they were "unleashed".)
Dr Goranson goes on to say "the use of a widely-debated text, 4Q448, to
attempt to clarify 4QpNah is an iffy procedure". The basic iffiness of the
original analysis of pNahum doesn't help the whole bodgey business. I must
admit that what is said here regarding the text seems similar enough to what
was said forty years ago (for example, Allegro's vintage book) to wonder why
no progress has been made with pNahum since then. This may be because there
isn't enough in the text to make anything stick.
For those interested in Damascus, one might like to know that the decrepit
Seleucid Empire had collapsed into factions by the time of Alexander
Jannaeus and the infamous Demetrius III had the region whose center was
Damascus. Perhaps this salvation through Damascus has something to do with
the Qumran interest in that place, ie the real one. (small grin)
Have a good weekend.
John J. Hays
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto!