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orion-list Chicago exhibit; Jonathans
1) In Chicago, the Field Museum has announced a display of a good
selection of Qumran manuscripts. One could question, though, some of the
text descriptions posted at
For example, these descriptions, in my opinion, give too much credence to
the suggestion that some Greek fragments include some New Testament
passages. On the other hand, we read that Damascus Document drew 17
community identity guesses (though these were mostly after the 1910 Cairo
genizah publication and most of them are not taken seriously today) and we
read descriptions of "Torah Precepts" ("precepts" could well be replaced by
"acts," "deeds," or "observances") and of the Community Rule and
others--all without mention of Essenes.
2) In rereading James C. VanderKam's essay on community history (in
Flint/VanderKam vol.2), particularly the section summarizing arguments made
for Jonathan son of Mattathias as wicked priest, it seemed to me that the
supporting arguments have been diminished over the years by several
developments, including revision of the settlement date at Qumran to
somewhat later than de Vaux estimated and speculation that the "sons of
Zadok" emphasis may have increased in later phases of community history.
Even the quotation from Cross on paleography indicating a possible date
range for the wicked priest--(p. 512 = Ancient Library, p. 97) "....from
the priesthood of Jonathan (160-142 BC) to the reign of Alexander Jannaeus
(103-76 BC[E])"--allows the possibility of King Jonathan.
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