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Re: orion Hanukkah civil holiday?; Etc.
Stephen Goranson renews arguments I've already replied. Clearly there is
an important objective distinction between the sacred festivals of the Torah
and 11QT and the lesser Yomim Tovim or "days of gladness" which reference to
modern dictionaries does not serve to obscure.
At 1QM 2.1-6 we have a prominent reference to the temple cult being
established in a land sabbath year. As I discussed in my recent DSD article
"Historical Allusions in the War Scroll," this arguably refers to the
Maccabean restoration of the temple cult in the land sabbath year 164/163 BCE,
i.e. the very event celebrated by Hanukkah.
1QM 2 is an introduction to the sub-document 1QM 2-9, adapted from a
second century BCE Roman Tactica, and datable to 164/163 BCE. The older,
"primitive" material in 1QM 10-19, predating the restoration of the temple in
Dec. 164 BCE, contains no references to Jewish troops in control of Jerusalem.
But 1QM 2-9 contains references Jewish troops leaving and returning to
Jerusalem (1QM 7.3-4; 3.11) and to priests of war who also had access to the
temple (1QM 7.11). It proceeds from this analysis that at the time 1QM 2-9
was written -- and no earlier -- Jerusalem and its temple had come under
control of the authors of the War Scroll. This is completely consistent with
a dating in 164/163 BCE, i.e. after the events of the first Hanukkah, but
represents somewhat of a scandal for current conventional models in which the
sectarians remained permanently alienated from the (Hasmonean) temple.
In my published views, the major sectarians texts (CD, 1QS, etc.) were
during the early 160s when observant Jews were alienated from the corrupt
temple run by the Hellenists. The War Scroll, which documents the return of
the temple to those loyal to the Torah in 164/163 BCE, signals the end of that
troubled phase in Jewish history. Why, then, would one expect Hanukkah to
appear in texts composed prior to the inauguration of that holiday?
> Dear Russell Gmirkin.
> Previously, you attempted to separate out "civil" observances. Now
> you attempt, apparently, to separate "religious" ones from "sacred" ones.
> Any dictionary would caution you about this.
> Here is a simple observation: with over 850 manscripts manifesting
> pervasive religious concerns--including festival prayers, calendars, and
> texts of more genres and sources than you seem to wish to allow--the
> absence of any mention of Hanukkah is indeed an indication of interest to
> historians. Added to clear disapproval of Hasmonean temple administration
> and the absence of any copy of 1 and 2 Maccabees, the non-participation in
> this observance is striking, and not likely to recede after mere proposed
> imposition of artificial categories.
> best wishes,
> Stephen Goranson
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