The Relationship Between The Damascus Document and The Community RuleSarianna 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.
End of Abstract
During the past twenty years, while waiting for the Cave 4 material of the Damascus Document (CD) and the Community Rule (1QS) to be published, there was fairly little discussion on the rules. Although some reports on additional fragmentary Qumran rule texts appeared, the manuscripts almost solely referred to as the Essene rules were 1QS and CDa,b. The Cave 4 material of both the Damascus Document and of the Community Rule is now available, but before it is possible to form a synthesis, more investigation is needed. The analysis of the Cave 4 material has barely begun, but already it does not seem plausible to me that simple supplementation of the old theories regarding both the textual development of the various documents and the history of the community in the light of the new material is sufficient. A re-evaluation at a deeper level is necessary, and it needs to be asked whether the earlier theories stand the test of the new evidence. The textual basis of the individual documents needs to be known before posing the question as to the function of the rule texts in the Essene movement or attempting the reconstruction of the history of the community on the basis of the rule texts. Quite obviously there is still a lot to be done in this area.
Questions regarding the history of the Qumran community and that of the larger Essene movement have played a central role in the study of the rule texts. Influenced by JosephusM 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. Naturally, there are modifications within this basic solution: J. Baumgarten, for eaxmple, maintains that the community living at Qumran was celibate, whereas L. Schiffman thinks that most members were either not yet married or already married before they came to the community, but had (at least temporarily) left their families. 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 the Qumran rule texts have been used in the reconstruction of the history of the community.
In the present situation of research, I find it difficult to reckon only with the community behind the Damascus Document on the one hand, and the commnuity behind the Commnuity Rule on the other hand. Many of the recently published or as yet unpublished Cave 4 documents like 4Q265 (Serek Damascus), 4Q477 (Decrees), 4Q275 (Communal Ceremony; previously 4QSx or Tohorot B a) and 4Q279 (Order of Assembly; previously 4QSy or Tohorot D a) do not seem to represent clearly either one group or the other. Moreover, the Cave 4 copies of the the Damascus Document and the Community Rule have confirmed the view that they are composite documents with complex redactional histories.
I think that the composite nature of the texts needs to be taken seriously when different documents are compared with each other. Instead of comparing the documents as a whole, we ought rather to pay attention first to separate sections. Textual similarities and differencies need to be considered, before the historical questions can be posed to the manuscripts, for it is possible and even likely that there were contacts between the different groups responsible for various sections. They may have used common sources and borrowed material from each other. Quite naturally, the manuscripts found at Qumran functioned as whole documents, and individial sections may have gained new focuses in their new contexts. But if the purpose of study is to reach to the historical reality of the groups behind the texts, a more detailed analysis is needed, viz., analysis of the compositional history of the text rather than reckoning only with the final redactional stage.
The methodological difficulty we face while dealing with the question as to the groups behind the Qumran rule texts. is evident in the case of the parallel penal codes between the Damascus Document and Community Rule. The Cave 4 verison of the Damascus Document witnessed by 4QDa (4Q266) and 4QDe (4Q270) includes includes a section of a penal code which is clearly based on the same text as the one in 1QS 7. Although the text in 1QS contains a few regulations that are absent from the parallel sections of 4QDa,e, the order of the shared regulations is the same. Either the writers of the Community Rule and those of the Damascus Document used the same source, or one of the sections is directly dependent on the other. The transgressions are in most cases expressed in an identical way; the differences, when they occur, are mainly orthographic and morphological. The punishments, however, tend to differ in an interesting way: Unlike in the Community Rule, many of the punishments in 4QD sections consist of two parts, of punishment (çn[n) and exclusion (ldbwh). In most cases the length of the punishment in 1QS corresponds to that of the exclusion in D.
J. Baumgarten has studied these sections both in his article of 1992 qThe Cave 4 Versions of the Qumran Penal Coden (JJS 43) and in his DJD edition of 4QD manuscripts, and Charlotte Hempel has discussed the parallels extensively in her most helpful article in the Cambridge Congress Volume published by Brill just a few monhs ago in the series Studies on the texts of the Desert of Judah. Baumgarten comments on these sections in the edition in the following way: qIt thus appears that the penal code, which in the Community Rule seems to reflect the discipline of an all male order, was capable of being also applied to a society in which both men and women took part in communal life.n Hempel considers the relationship to be more complex speaking of a parent movement. Indeed, the relationship between the penal codes does not seem to be that of direct dependence, such that the author of D would have borrowed and modified the penal code of S, or vice versa. The variantsboth of content and of grammar point rather in the direction that the authors used a common source, since both the section in D and the section in S seem to have undergone redaction independently of each other.
I think that the observations we can make through comparison of the penal codes have methodological implications for the study of the rule texts: If various groups were using common sources and borrowing material from each other, how can we identify the specific groups behind the manuscripts? If large parts of the material included in various manuscripts are borrowed and modified, what are the criteria that enable us to assign whole manuscripts to particular groups (e.g. a celibate community versus a community where marriage was a common practice)? The case of the penal codes in S and D, in my view, shows clearly that the composite nature of the documents needs to be considered in any attempt at the reconstruction of the life and history of the Essene communities.
A second major topic in the discussion on 1QS and Cd has been the question as to how the rules originated that were included in the documents. L. Schiffman takes as his starting point that the doctrine of oral transmission of law, and more generally, the concept of oral law was absent at Qumran. According to him the Qumranic legal traditions originate only from scriptural exegesis. P. Davies and M. Weinfeld have somewhat criticized his views from different angles. Davies emphasizes the differences between the two rules. He thinks that the Damascus Document indeed, save one or two exceptions, is based on scriptural exegesis, whereas the laws recorded in the Community Rule have not been presented as, or were not intended to be understood as, derived from scriptural exegesis. From this Davies concludes that the group behind the Damascus Document must have been different from that behind the Community Rule. Moshe WeinfeldMs criticism of SchiffmanMs views stems from his observation that the rules regulating the community organization and admission of new members are very similar to those found in Hellenistic and Roman religious groups. He argues that we must distinguish between rules sanctified by the Torah and those arising only within the community itself: the laws of Torah belong to the realm of the covenant between God and Israel, whereas community regulations concern social organization, the members of which were bound by a voluntary commitment to the rules approved by the group. Weinfeld does not subscribe to SchiffmanMs conclusion that, if a member of the community did not obey an order given by a superior, by rejecting a communal rule he ultimately was rejecting a divine commandment.
I should like to add a comment to this discussion. One of the results of my study of the redaction history of the Community Rule was that the need to find a scriptural legitimation for the regulations of the community arose only at a later stage, presumably in a situation where the communityMs strict rules had been questioned. Thus, the process appears to have been the reverse of what has been often presumed, at least in some cases. The laws regulating omatter of factM details of the community life especially seem not to have emerged as a result of scriptural exegesis, but scriptural quotations or allusions were added in the need to justify the rules already in effect. Though some of the rules did come from scriptural exegesis, the scriptural sources were not always explicitly quoted. The section in 1QS VI,8-13 dealing with the session of the rabbim provides quite a detailed picture of a situation where community legislation was created. What catches attention is that the Torah or written rules are not at all referred to. Whenever the community authority is discussed in the Community Rule, the decisions are said to be made µybrh yp l[ on the basis of the word of the rabbim or, as in IX,7, on the word of the sons of Aaron. The hypothesis, however, that the community would have made a distinction between its own rules and the regulations of the Torah does not seem plausible. The fact that in the redactional process of the Community Rule scriptural quotations were added as proof-texts for the community regulations, speaks rather for the assumption that ultimately, the commnuity regarded its own regulations as resting on the Old Testament authority. The formula qfor thus it is writtenn (bwtk k ayk÷bwtk rçak) is a clear indication for this. From the point of view of a modern reader, the connection between a regulation and a citation supporting it may be artificial. The community, however, considered its laws to be in accordance with the Torah.