THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT: A CENTENNIAL OF DISCOVERY
4-8 FEBRUARY 1998
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Stefan Reif (Cambridge University)
Current theories about the understanding of history place due emphasis on the lives and personalities of those who are responsible for writing it. In the case of CD, there are a number of aspects, previously unknown or unnoticed and relating to Solomon Schechter's discovery and early study of the Genizah manuscripts, that will be of interest and assistance to those who are still struggling to fathom the historical and theological significance of CD. When did Schechter discover the manuscripts of CD and why did it take him so long to publish them? Was there any development in his theories about CD and, if so, under whose influence? How do his views, and those of his contemporaries, compare with post-Qumranic interpretations? Does current research about the earliest Genizah discoveries contribute anything to the discussions about CD? The fresh treatment of these questions will make it possible to assess the degree to which George Margoliouth is justified when he claims in 1910 that Schechter "has added glory to his name by bringing to light a document which will, in the opinion of many, take an even higher rank than the Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus, which owes its identification to the same ingenious and practiced scholar.
Joseph Baumgarten (Baltimore Hebrew College)
As an illustration of the biblical roots of Qumran law, this paper hypothesizes that the enigmatic Catalogue of Transgressors found in 4Q270 consists of an anthology of sins depicted as profanations of holiness in Lev 17-22. To this biblical base a number of transgressions of a sectarian nature were appended.
A significant development in the direction of tannaitic methodology was the rudimentary collection of laws under subject rubrics with the preposition 'al.Another is the use of nomenclature identifying various areas of halakha similar to that in the early strata of the Mishnah.
The laws of Shabbat in the Damascus Document, much like those in Jubilees offer parallels to restrictions which in talmudic halakha are classified as shebut, functionally as "fences" about the Torah. Yet, in sectarian law they are not distinguished from biblical prohibitions, nor treated with greater leniency, even when life is threatened.Moreover, we do not find at Qumran the kind of conceptual analysis and generalized principles of Shabbat halakha which is familiar from the Mishnah.
The foregoing methodological observations appear compatible with the historical placement of the Qumran literature between Bible and Mishnah.
Lawrence Schiffman (New York University)
The recent publication of the Cave 4 fragments of all the Zadokite Fragments (more generally known as the Damascus Document) has made available to us important material for reevaluating the relationship of this central sectarian text to the Temple Scroll. The need for such a study is greatly enhanced by the fact that a number of legal rulings are shared between these two texts and 4QMMT. At the same time, it is clear that the sectarian orientation of the Zadokite Fragments differs extensively in form and content from the priestly, sacrificial nature of the Temple Scroll and its irenic tone. Further, in the legal section, the Zadokite Fragments for the most part, although not entirely, consist of apodictic laws, themselves exegetically derived, whereas the Temple Scroll is based on biblical material much more directly.
This paper will investigate the relationship of these texts from a number of perspectives. First, we shall discuss the literary structure of the two texts and their relation to their biblical and post-biblical sources. We shall then comment on the contrast between these texts regarding the use of sectarian technical terminology and make some linguistic observations. We shall then survey those laws found in common in both texts. We shall also comment on some possible differences in legal rulings between these works. Finally, we will discuss the implications of our observations for the wider issues arising from the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Hartmut Stegemann (Göttingen)
Sarianna Metso (University of Helsinki)
Influenced by Josephus' reports on the Essenes, something of a consensus was formed among Qumran scholars fairly early that the Community Rule describes the life of the Qumran Community specifically, whereas the Damascus Document was addressed to the members of the larger Essene movement. The view that the Essene movement may have included groups differing in their practices and ideas may be correct; but with the availability of new material consisting both of additional copies of earlier published manuscripts as well as of previously unknown documents, we should aim at a sharper picture. Not only contents, but also methodology needs re-examination. In the light of the new evidence, we should re-test not only earlier hypotheses and results, but also the method by which scholars used the Qumran rule texts for reconstructing the history of the Qumran community and the larger Essene movement.
Although it is possible to compare thematically parallel passages between 1QS and CD (rules for admission of new members, for example) there are no identical passages between them. Two Cave 4 manuscripts of the Damascus Document (4Q266/4QDa and 4Q270/4QDe), however, include a penal code which is clearly based on the same text as the one in 1QS VII. Either the writers of the Community Rule and those of the Damascus Document used the same source, or one of the codes is directly dependent on the other. If various groups may have used common sources and borrowed material from each other, how can the groups behind the manuscripts be identified and categorized? If large parts of the material included in various manuscripts are borrowed and modified, what is the criterion that enables us to assign whole manuscripts to particular groups? If the purpose of study is to reach to the historical reality of the groups behind the texts, an analysis of the compositional history of the text is needed rather than reckoning only with the latest redactional stage.
Philip R. Davies (University of Sheffield)
Recent research in many quarters has identified various 'Judaisms' rather than a single "Judaism' at the end of the Second Temple period, and it is obviously tempting to suggest a "Judaism of Qumran'. However, it remains far from clear that the Qumran corpus offers a systematic account of a single 'Judaism'.
The paper tackles two questions simultaneously. 1. Is it possible to isolate the literature of the 'Damascus' community and indeed to distinguish that community from, e.g. the *'edah* of 1QSa and the *yahad* of 1QS? 2. Can a ;Judaism' of the Qumran D texts be articulated? I propose that by trying to articulate both the Juydaism of D and of S (the latter will not be developed in the paper) the distinctiveness of D's Judaism can be illustrated; this in turn strengthens the argument that D and S texts reflects different communities (though the possibility that they reflect identical communities at different times is not necessarily excluded). Recent research in many quarters has identified various 'Judaisms' rather than a single "Judaism' at the end of the Second Temple period, and it is obviously tempting to suggest a "Judaism of Qumran'. However, it remains far from clear that the Qumran corpus offers a systematic account of a single 'Judaism'.
The Damascus texts, however, comprise a coherent corpus of texts describing a single kind of Jewish organization, and offer significant clues as to its practices and the ideology that informs them. In defining the "Damascus' organization as a Jewish sect, I propose to explore it in terms of the categories of 'Israel' 'Torah and 'Temple', since I suggest these are central to any clarification of a 'Judaism' in the Second Temple period.
I am concerned here not with actual halakhic practices nor with putting a name to this 'Damascus' sect, nor indeed with reconstructing its history. I am trying only to test how far the D materials can be used to explicate a systematic Judaism. If the attempt fails, then a fortiori it will fail for Qumran texts as whole; if it succeeds, it can possibly be used as a basis for exploring other Q texts whether explicitly linked to organizational structures (such as the Yahad) and also to texts such as 1QSa and the M materials, where connections to a specific sectarian organization are more complicated or are disputed.
The definition of "Judaism" in D proceeds under three headings: Israel, Torah and Temple. The D community regards itself as the true Israel, maintaining boundaries especially with the 'historical' Israel; it alone possessed the true interpretation of Torah; and it believes that it alone can use the Temple without defiling it.
This Judaism can be compared, in fact, not only with other Q Judaisms, but with the Judaisms of the rabbis and of some early 'Christianities' and in this way the Damascus Document can make an important contribution to our understanding of the dynamics and the fundamental categories of 'Judaism' in the late Second Temple period.
Alexander Rofé (Hebrew University)
Steven Fassberg (Hebrew University)
The analysis of the language of the Damascus Document (CD), in particular the vocabulary and phraseology of the text, has served as the basis for the differing views on the identity, customs, and beliefs of the sectarian community mentioned in the Cairo Geniza MSS A and B. Consequently, today a century since the discovery of the document, it is only fitting that attention be given to the history of linguistic research into the CD. The paper offered here will trace the study of the language of CD from the initial publication of the manuscripts by Schecter in 1910 through the publication of the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1950-51 (1QIsaa, 1QpHab, 1QS) to the recent publication (DJD XVIII) of the CD Qumran manuscripts. The study of the orthography, phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon of CD will be examined in the light of the advances in our knowledge of Hebrew (e.g. Late Biblical Hebrew, Rabbinic Hebrew, the Hebrew of Ben Sira and of the Dead Sea Scrolls) during the past hundred years.
Cana Werman (Ben Gurion University)
In the Damascus Document XI:17 (CD), the banning of holiday sacrifices on the Sabbath is supported by the biblical phrase in Leviticus 23:38. The author interprets the phrase as "apart from your Sabbaths," i.e. designating the day and not the type of sacrifice.
I will show that Bet Hillel uses the same interpretation of Leviticus 23:38 to ban different sacrifices on holidays that fell on the Shabbat, the festive peace offering (hagiga) and the burnt offering (r'iyah)--Sifra Emor 102:3. Only Bet Shamai reads the expression from Leviticus 23:38 to mean in addition to the Sabbath sacrifice, arguing that the Sabbath sacrifice should be offered together with the holiday sacrifice. This contradicts the view of the Damascus Document.
Aharon Shemesh (Bar Ilan University)
4Q271-3 contains a series of Halakhot pertaining to the arrangement for marriages and matrimony. In this paper I will examine these Halakhot, look for the Biblical origins, and compare them to rabbinic interpretations of Scripture. I will also suggest that one Halakhic principle underlines this set of Halakhot. This principle bears a close relationship to the well known sectarian law prohibiting second marriage after divorce and reflects the sect's view on the nature of marriage. I hope to prove that this fundamental principle holds the key to understanding this fragment and others that appear in sectarian literature.
Adiel Schremer (Bar Ilan University)
In a well known and often cited passage (CD IV: 20-V:11) the author of the Damascus Document accuses his opponents, the RBuilders of the wallS, of several legal offenses. While the text may reflect the sectUs views on some major Halakhic and social issues, its polemic also makes it a valuable source of information about the marriage norms prevailing among Palestinian Jews of the Second Temple era. The present aims to uncover that social reality by analyzing some tannaitic texts from the first chapter of tractate Yabamot which describe a dispute between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai on how the duty of levirate marriage should be fulfilled in the instance of the death of a childless man who has was married both to his brotherUs daughter and, at the same time, to another woman.
Both polygamy and marriage with oneUs niece are known to have been in practice amongh the Jews of the Second Temple Period. The tannaitic sources mentioned above suggest that the debate between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai was not a theoretical issue but rather reflected their social reality. In other words, such marriage practices were prevalent among Jews in Palestine at that time.
Therefore it is proposed that the first accusation made by the author of the Damascus Document, that of marrying two women, and the last one, that of marryings one's niece, are closely related and are in fact two aspects of the same phenomenon.
In the light of the recent publication of the cave 4 manuscripts of the Damascus Document the balance of admonitory material vis-a-vis the laws has changed considerably in favor of its legal components. Whereas the first hundred years or so of research on the Damascus Document have focused primarily, though not exclusively, on the Admonition it is foreseeable that the next centenary celebration will look back on a substantial increase of studies dealing with the legal part of the document. In this paper I will attempt a preliminary comparative study of the Laws of the Damascus Document and the halakhic portion of 4QMMT. It will be argued that such a comparison reveals a number shared features alongside substantial differences.
Hanan Eshel (Bar Ilan University)
About two hundred pieces of stone vessels were found at Qumran. Two Halakhot mentioned in the scrolls deal with stone vessels: One in CD 12: 15-17 and the other in the Temple scroll 49: 11-16. According to those two Halakhot some scholars believed that stone vessels did not have a special restriction in the Halakha of Qumran, i.e. they were susceptible to defilement. In my paper I will try to show, that according to those Halakhot stone vessels were not susceptible to defilement as long as they were not in contact with oil. Other liquids did not make stone vessels for storage of all kinds of dry goods and liquids--but not oil. The difference between the Qumran law and the Sages law is that according to the Sages stone vessels never susceptible to defilement while in the Qumran law if stone vessels were in contact with oil, they became impure.
Eyal Regev (Bar Ilan University)
From the outset the Pharisees and the Qumran sectarians were concerned with the same problem of purities. Yose be Yoezer is the earliest Pharisaic figure who deals with halakhaic problems and four of his halakhot reflect Pharisaic law in the early Hasmonean period. It is significant that the Damascus Document, the Temple Scroll and the other fragments point in the same direction as the sources which deal with the early Pharisees. By juxtaposing these different pieces of evidence from the early days of the Pharisees and Qumran we can confirm the theory that purities were indeed the main issue which divided the Pharisees and the Qumran sect in the early Hasmonean period.
The Perception of the Past in the Damascus Document
Albert Baumgarten (Bar Ilan University)
Three aspects of a sectarian movement are connected to each other in a finely tuned and mutually reinforcing balance, so that each effects the other, and changes in one result in adjustments in the other. They are (1) voluntary boundaries, separating the group from the surrounding world and defining its identity (sometimes at the price of internal pursuit of dissenters); (2) recognition by the larger culture, important even if expressed through denunciation and persecution; (3) making sense out of the experience of members through ideological constructs. As part of the latter, some connection is usually made with the past, corresponding to the place of the group in the present, and its hopes for the future.
In this paper I examine the conception of the past in the Damascus Document. In light of the comments above, this cannot be done in a vacuum, hence the paper begins with a discussion of the way of life sanctioned by the Damascus Document and the place of its loyal followers in the larger context of Jewish society. One discovers a mixture of tolerance of others, alongside harsh denunciation of a rogue's gallery of deviants.
In a similar vein, the conceptions of the past presented in the Damascus Document show a similar variety, from the benign attitude towards predecessors, viewed as forerunners, at the beginning of the Admonition, to the cosmic "March of Folly" which began with the Watchers of Heaven, continued through the sons of Noah, the sons of Jacob, the Israelites in the desert, and kings, and culminating in those loyal to the original covenant, as opposed to those who have adopted the new covenant in the land of Damascus.
While I have no new solution to offer to the quandary of the era of 390 years from the exile of Nebuchadnezzer, I would like to explore the significance of creating such a counting from the perspective outlined above. The paper concludes with suggestions for identifying the factors which may have contributed to creating these mutually reinforcing composites of tolerance and denunciation on the practical and ideological levels.
The Damascus Document And The Karaite Literature Of The 10th Century
Bruno Chiesa (Pavia, Italy)
The existence of some relationship between the Qumran halakhah and early Karaite doctrines of law is a well-established fact. The latest examples have been provided by both J.M. Baumgarten and Charlotte Hempel in their contributions to the International Congress The Dead Sea Scrolls - Fifty Years after Their Discovery, as well as by Y. Erder in his contribution to the Twelfth World Congress of Jewish Studies. In order to explain this relationship two main hypotheses have been advanced: (1) a direct, literary, dependence of the early Ananite and Karaite thinkers from some documents owned by the Qumran community, and / or (2) some kind of underground relationship between the two groups _ a relationship to be conceived either as a physical continuum between them or as the survival in marginal branches of non-conformist traditions. Even if the two hypotheses are all but incompatible, it is only too obvious that it was simply impossible to substantiate the first one before the discovery of the Damascus Document, from one hand, and the findings of Qumran, from the other. But, even in this case, what remains to be explained is "the gap of over a millennium which separates the tenth century Genizah Ms. A of the Damascus Document from the earliest Cave 4 texts, and the absence of any known manuscript history. In our contribution we will try and:
1. examine in detail the possibility that the ancestors of the Genizah fragments were part of the lot of manuscripts discovered "near JerichoÈ during the 8th century; 2. establish the chronology of such a discovery, and, consequently, the possibility (or impossibility) that some of the related documents were already available to Anan; 3. offer a full account of the documentary evidence concerning the availability to 10th cent. Karaite circles of "Zadokite writings" (and, secondarily, of part of the Philonic corpus); 4. add unpublished materials related to the history of the Jewish calendar reckoning.