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Re: orion-list 63 BCE (answer to George Brooks)
I think Greg Doudna did a nice effort to explain more of his
views, but I think he could still get more detailed.
There seems to be lots of "dancing" in the academic world
of Qumran study. I guess there is a strong hesitancy to become
too closely linked to an idea that can be quickly dismantled or
But simply saying ...
"... but it is also appealing to link the "yachad" to the Sadducees" ....
is hardly going to set the world on its heels, if not followed by some
Let me suggest some evolutionary details that might trigger some
equally detailed counter-proposals:
1) Mattathias and family flee into the wilderness because of
Greek provocation. They are a priestly family with obvious
"Pious/Ascetic" inclinations since there is mention in the Books
of Maccabees of the family eating only plants in order to
maintain the highest level of purity. These are **not** your
2) The Hasid/Assideans represent a fairly large group, since
up to a thousand were killed who chose not to defend
themselves on the Sabbath. Obviously not of a military inclination,
they probably represent a fairly religious or priestly association of
3) A common denominator of religious/priestly background might
explain the relative promptness of the Hasidim combining with the
Mattathian family and of following his lead when it came to violating
the Sabbath for the sake of self defense.
4) Enter the Scribes. I found it rather striking that the Scribes
appear as a coherent element of the Hasidim/Assideans. Probably
a sub-set of the priestly families, these are the families (no doubt
interrelated) that pass literacy and writing and bible interpretation
down from father to son. And they might be considered the
intelligentsia of the Hasidim. Obviously they are more trusting
than war-like, since they naively agree to Alcimus's entreaties,
and 60 of them are betrayed and killed.
5) In the years it takes to defeat the Greek forces, the Priestly
and Scribal families attract other recruits who come from the
less distinguished levels of society: the poor, the farmers,
those who were more spiritual than wealthy. And through
the intense flames of conflict and struggle, what emerged
as a more or less commonly-focused "salad" of spiritual
warriors emerged. Call them Judah-ites, or Maccabeeans,
or Hasidim.... it doesn't really matter too much. They
had common goals.
6) But as the conflict waxed and waned, "cracks" in the
alliance become visible now and again. The Scribes'
rather surprising interest in making peace even when the
rest of the Hasidim were not interested, is one of the earliest
signs showing that the Hasidim were ***not*** a unified
organization of forces. If they followed the command of
a single person, it was probably only Judah, by the sheer
force of his charismatic personality.
7) And yet, on the day of his death, we learn that despite
all the tremendous successes of this leader, there were plenty
who would **not** follow him anywhere he led them. In
fact, it might have been **because** of his successes that
the factions have begun to lose interest. The times are no
longer so desperate. Concessions have been squeezed out
of the Greeks. Why risk life and limb for Judah when Israel
has accomplished the same kind of rights it had enjoyed for
hundreds of years prior to the Greek opposition to Hebrew
8) Out of the thousands that once were "lumped in" with
the Hasidim, only a core of 800 choose to stay with Judah.
Perhaps these represent the "true Hasidim", or perhaps
there were plenty of "Hasidim" that fled, leaving only the
most hard core element of the Hasidim.
9) After Judah, his brothers continue the conflict. And
the Maccabeean armies get even larger. This means,
by definition, that lots more "common people" are joining
the ranks of the Maccabeean troops. No doubt they
are becoming influenced by the spiritual values of the
"core" Hasidim. But because of their more "democratic"
or "common" origins, it would be understandable if they
were not the same kind of fanatics that the "core" Hasidim
10) Finally, a Maccabeean brother is completely victorious.
He is high priest and King (not just governor). There is one
more Yachad-style assembly which formally elects him to
his "eternal" position .... with only some future prophet to
move this position from his family line.
11) Established "eternally" with the trappings of governmental
support, suddenly the voting preferences of the yachad become
completely irrelevant. The king is the king.... and the yachad has
nothing left to do. This is **exactly** when the factional divisions
within the Hasidim become most aggravated. The most common
element within the Hasidim begin to chafe under the arrogant
superiority of the "hard core" Hasidim and/or Priestly families.
12) The more democratic elements begin to coalesce around
a few leaders and become known as "separate ones" or ("separators" ?)
and Pharisees. The royal family still enjoys the support of the
Hasidim/Priestly clans. These clans enjoy the prestige of the
posts of highest priestly functions. Whether it is the same old
name (Zadok), or a new name, the Sadducees (of **this** particular
period, not the Sadducees of the N.T.) are clearly linked to the
Hasidim/Priestly "hard core".
13) Eventually the conflict between the Royal family and the
Sadducees vs. the Pharisees become so bad that hundreds of the
"more-common" Pharisees die in armed conflict.
14) But after years since Greek defeat become old memories, the more
populous (and increasingly popular) Pharisees eventually prevail against
the higher-classed (and less numerous) Hasidim (later called Essenes)
I think I will stop here. No reason to continue to build this
scenario without some input from other Orion participants.
I would welcome input on how to make these ideas about
the evolution of Hasidim-into-Sadducees and Hasidim-into-Pharisees
(and even Hasidim-to-be-named-Essenes) more realistic.
I understand that silence does **not** mean agreement. But
considering how rarely we see a clear statement of historical
premises building on historical premises, I think this particular
e-mail would be a good "exercise" for most of the Orion
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