"Prophets and Prophecy in the Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament"
George J. Brooke - University of Manchester
I. Introduction
The purpose of this paper is to begin to reassess in a modest way some aspects of what can be stated about prophets and prophecy in the Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament in light of the virtually complete publication of all the fragments that were found in the Qumran caves. There is a problem of definition at the outset which cannot be side-stepped. Recent work on prophets and prophecy has resulted in a more integrated reading of the evidence and a determination to set the whole breadth of what might be labelled 'prophetic' within a framework which includes both ancient Near Eastern parallels for the prophets of the Hebrew Bible and the classical traditions of the Graeco-Roman world for the late second temple period and the evidence of the New Testament. I wish to begin the process of reassessment of this issue solely by a comprehensive survey of the uses of איבנ/אבנ in the Hebrew and Aramaic sources found at Qumran and a consideration of the uses of ????????/????????? in the writings of the New Testament.
This study thus has a very limited purview, but in my opinion it is a necessary first step before there is a renewed attempt at a thoroughgoing phenomenological reading of the extant data. Such a comprehensive consideration of prophecy in early Judaism and early Christianity must engage with many diverse topics and a wide range of technical terms which might have some relationship with prophecy or prophetic activity. For example, such a term as האר, "to see," whose participle can refer to a seer, might make part of the poem in the War Rule relevant to this discussion:
Who is like Thy people Israel
which Thou hast chosen for Thyself
from all the peoples of the lands;
the people of the saints of the Covenant,
instructed in the laws
and learned in wisdom ...
who have heard the voice of Majesty
and have seen (יאורו) the Angels of Holiness,
whose ear has been unstopped,
and who have heard profound things? (1QM 10:9-11; Vermes, p. 173)
Or again, it is certain that any study of prophecy in late second temple times, and within the communities reflected in the Qumran documents in particular, should contain a detailed analysis of references to the spirit or holy spirit. However, for the immediate purposes of this study, the starting point has been the well-known observation that in the Septuagint ???????? and ????????? are used almost exclusively to render איבנ/אבנ. In relation to prophecy there is thus a prima facie case that all the uses of the root אבנ in the scrolls found at Qumran should be studied. For the New Testament all the uses of ???????? and ????????? and their associated terms are the clear comparator.

II אבנ in the scrolls from Qumran.
The largest number of uses of the root אבנ in the scrolls found at Qumran are uses of the nominal form in relation to the prophets found in the scriptural books. There are thus many uses of the term איבנ which have clear referents. Sometimes the designation prophet is juxtaposed explicitly with a named person, often in introductory formulae for quotations from their works: Isaiah (CD 4:13; 4Q174 1-2 i 15; 4Q265 1, 3; 4Q285 7, 1; 11Q13 2:15; cf. 4Q177 5-6, 2, 5 ), Jeremiah (4Q385a 18 i a-b 2, 6; B, 1), Ezekiel (CD 3:21; 4Q174 1-2 i 16; 4Q177 7, 3), Amos (CD 7:10), Zechariah (CD 19:7) and Daniel (4Q174 1-3 ii 3); 11Q5 28:8 and 13 refer to Samuel, explicitly or implicitly, as prophet. Sometimes the references seem to be clearly to the literary prophets whose works carry some authority in the late second temple period. Thus there are several references in the movement's literature to the "books of the prophets" (CD 7:17; 4Q266 3 iii 18; 4Q397 14-21, 10; 14-21, 15 ). In addition to the literary prophets, David's activity as psalmist is famously described in 11Q5 27:10: "all these he spoke through prophecy (האובנב) which was given to him from before the Most High."
In some instances the precise referent of the term "prophet(s)" is not entirely clear. For example, at the opening of 1QS (1:3) there is an appeal to do what is just and good in God's presence "as he commanded by the hands of Moses and by the hand of all his servants the prophets"; it would seem that here is a reference to the Law and the authoritative prophetic books put in terms of those understood to be responsible for them, but the term "prophets" might possibly have a wider reference than that. This opening statement in the cave 1 copy of the Rule of the Community may provide the most suitable frame of reference for understanding the subsequent interpretation of Isa 40:3 in 1QS 8:15-16: the preparation of the way of the Lord is the study of the law which God commanded by the hand of Moses, "to do according to all that has been revealed from age to age" and according to what "the prophets have revealed by his holy spirit." The prophets of old are clearly understood as inspired interpreters of the law. In Pesher Habakkuk the commentator refers to the priest whom God has set in the midst of the congregation who will interpret "all the words of his servants the prophets" (1QpHab 2:9); subsequently the commentator refers to the Teacher of Righteousness "to whom God has made known all the mysteries of the words of his servants the prophets" (1QpHab 7:5) and that the final age will go beyond "all that the prophets said" (1QpHab 7:8). In the context of the explicit interpretation of the writings of Habakkuk, it is most natural again to take these references to prophets as references to the scriptural literary prophets. Or again, in 4Q265 7, 7-8 J.M. Baumgarten has suitably restored "[When] there will be in the council of the Communit[y] fift[een men, as God foretold through his servants,]/[the p]rophets, the council of the Community will be established [in truth." However, some other kind of restoration, even one which might suggest that there are prophets in the council of the Community, is indeed possible though less likely. A general reference in Tobit 14:4 is also to be considered here: on his deathbed Tobit mentions all that the prophets of Israel have spoken (4Q198 1, 12). All these references seem to be to the prophets of earlier times, many of whom have left literary traditions.
In 4Q292, a composition whose remains attest no explicit sectarian terminology, there is again reference to "all your servants the prophets" (4Q292 2, 4). The second person suffix indicates that the context is a prayer addressed to God, possibly a prayer that prophetic sayings containing eschatological promises to Israel might be fulfilled. In another liturgical text, 4Q381 69, 4, there is the following reading: "and he gave them to you by his spirit, prophets to instruct and teach you." As E.M. Schuller has noted, the task of the prophets as teachers echoes the Deuteronomistic description of the role of Moses (e.g., Deut 4:1, 5, 14). It is intriguing that in the quasi-historical recitation that the poetic fragment reflects, the mention of the prophets is followed by rather than itself following the allusions to Sinai. The prophets of 4Q381 seem to belong securely in the past but the context is not extensive enough for any sure conclusions.
Further liturgical references to the prophets can be found in the psalms of 11Q5. In the Apostrophe to Zion there are two references to prophets; in neither is it clear whether they are entirely figures of the past: in the first God is requested to remember the merciful deeds of the prophets (11Q5 22:5), and in the second to recognize the dreams of prophets (11Q5 22:14). In 11Q5 28:8 the reference in Psalm 151 is to Samuel, and the title of another composition (Psalm 151B) refers to "David's power after the prophet of God had anointed him." In addition to these poetical references to the prophets, there are some narrative texts in which the term occurs. In 4Qpap paraKings et al. (4Q382) several of whose fragments seem to be a reworking of the Elijah and Elishah cycles of stories in the Books of Kings, the term םיאיב[נה] occurs in a small fragment (4Q382 31, 5) which has some small amount of eschatological orientation and phraseology, as its editor has observed. The exegesis of "the mountains" of Isa 52:7 in 11Q13 2:13 as "the prophets" implies that the messenger in the prophetic text has his message based upon what was declared by the prophets of old. In receiving messages from God, these prophets old are understood to hear, see, dream (4Q88 8:14; 11Q5 22:14) and in delivering their messages they speak (רבד: CD 4:13) and write (בתכ: CD 19:7).
The list of compositions so far would strongly imply that those labelled as prophets were all members of earlier generations and for the most part could be clearly identified with the figures associated with authoritative texts. There is, however, a small group of texts whose interpretation is more complex. 4Q375 contains a reworked form of the laws of Deuteronomy 13 and 18. 4Q375 1 i opens with a section on the true prophet through whom God commands his people. A subsequent section discusses the false prophet (4Q375 1 i 4, 6) who rises up and teaches apostasy (as is the case in CD 6:1-2; 1QHa 12:16; 4Q267 2, 6; 4Q269 4 i 2). Such a false prophet is to be put to death, except that 4Q375 contains a non-scriptural exception clause such that if the tribe of the prophet so accused stands up in his defence, then all those concerned will assemble with the anointed priest for judgement. In his interpretation of this text J. Strugnell has oscillated between seeing it as a reference on the one hand to future or eschatological prophetic figures, and on the other to understanding that "this text is giving general prescriptions for any case of prophecy that will occur." A thorough investigation of the composition by G. Brin has concluded that 4Q375 is "an example of the usage of legal material, the law of the prophet in Deuteronomy, in a new, non-biblical context... In practice, this reflects an attempt to explain actual events in the life of the sect and its world-view while presenting them as biblical legal material." It is possible that the reworked legislation of 4Q375 was pre-sectarian but reused and copied at Qumran for the community's own purposes as members tried to judge between true and false prophets. The implication of the composition is that prophecy in some form or other had not ceased.
In the Temple Scroll the same passage of legislation about prophets is repeated with minor redactional variations, notably the change to the scroll's first person fictional stance. Deuteronomy 13:2-6 is rehearsed in 11Q19 54:8-18 and so three uses of איבנ occur in 54:8, 11, and 15. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 is represented in 11Q19 61:1-5 with three uses of איבנ in 61:2, 3, and 4. The legislation of the Temple Scroll is difficult to locate in a life setting; it seems to be presenting itself as legislation that should have been put in place when the first temple was built, but never was. It is apparently legislation that should have lasted until the day of new creation referred to in 11QT19, column 29. As such it could well be that it reflects something of the practices of those who put it all together. If so, the legislation against false prophets can be understood as being in force in the second and first centuries BCE. As with 4Q375 there may be hints in the Temple Scroll of the outlook and practices of those who produced and transmitted the text.
A further text which may belong in the same category as 4Q375 and the Temple Scroll is the Aramaic 4Q339, the list of false prophets (ארק[ש] יאיבנ). This list begins with Balaam (Numbers 22-24) and runs through the man of Bethel (1 Kgs 13:11-31), Zedekiah (1 Kgs 22:1-28), Ahab and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah (Jer 29:21-24), Shemaiah the Nehelamite (Jer 29:24-32) and Hananiah son of Azur (Jeremiah 28); but it may conclude with a reference to John Hyrcanus (ןוע[מש ןב ןנחוי]) which would bring the list down to the end of the second century BCE, though the principal editors prefer to reconstruct the last line as a reference to Gibeon from where Hananiah came.
Of some occurrences of the term איבנ little or nothing can be said. In 4Q379 36, 2 the plural םיאיבנ occurs without any surviving context; if the fragment is correctly assigned to 4QApocryphon of Joshuab, then it may reflect some aspect of the rewriting of the Joshua traditions in light of "subsequent" prophetic traditions. Such would not be surprising, given the use of various scriptural passages, especially the Psalms, in the composition, as well as the well-known occurrence of the parallel to 4Q175 in 4Q379 22 ii which seems to have been understood as prophecy. In a tiny fragment which has been assigned to 4Q383 6, either the noun [אי]בנה or a verbal form can be reconstructed at the beginning of line 1. The likely reference to Egypt in line 2 suggests to D. Dimant, the fragment's editor, that it is likely that the prophet referred to is Jeremiah. The reading of 4Q418 221, 2 is very unclear, though J. Strugnell and D. Harrington suggest it may be read as םיאיבנ, with the first three letters narked as uncertain. If so this is the only occurrence of the term in a sapiential text from Qumran, though the term does indeed occur in Ben Sira which was known at Qumran. Also to be included in this small group of references without context is the one tantalising reference to a prophetess in the whole corpus from Qumran. In PAM 43.677 fragment 6 the only preserved word is האיבנ (possibly, "prophetess") without a definite article. Three very fragmentary Aramaic compositions also contain the word איאבנ (4Q556 1, 7; 4Q562 7, 1; 4Q570 30, 4); since very little context survives in each case, it is impossible to determine to whom the noun refers.
The final category of occurrences of the term איבנ concern the future. There is a small group of compositions which refer explicitly to a future or eschatological prophet (1QS 9:11; 4Q158 6, 6; 4Q175 5, 7). All these texts seem to depend, either directly or indirectly, on Deut 18:15 and 18.
Overall we may conclude from the scrolls found at Qumran that the majority of explicit uses of the term איבנ are references to the prophets are to the great prophetic figures of the past, especially the literary prophets, the three major prophets, the twelve minor ones, and Daniel. In addition the creative hymnic activity of David is described as prophecy, so that the Psalms become available for the kind of fulfilment interpretation which is also to be found for all other unfulfilled blessings, curses, and oracles.
However, the overall ideology of the community in the so-called sectarian scrolls is also a reading of the present as if the community had ongoing continuity with biblical Israel. As such it is possible that both true and false prophets might arise at any time. Adapted forms of pentateuchal legislation are available to deal with cases as they occur. As is suggested by 4Q375 and the Temple Scroll, the harsh scriptural rules of Deuteronomy 13 and 18 seem to have been adapted pragmatically, so that there was always a chance of survival for the one who was falsely accused of false prophecy, provided his tribe came out in his support. It is also the hope of the community that one day a Mosaic prophet will arise as promised in Deuteronomy 18.
In sum, it is important to indicate that the term איבנ and its cognates is not used freely or frequently. In no texts from Qumran is the kind of divination in which there is some interest ever associated with the activity of a prophet (איבנ). Although Abraham is described as a prophet in Genesis 20:7, his extended activity as dreamer and healer in the Genesis Apocryphon does not seem to depend on his role as so defined. Genesis 20 defines his prophetic activity in terms of intercessory prayer rather than any other activity.
Although I am inclined to think that the community which preserved the scrolls did not subscribe to the view that prophecy had ceased, it was indeed reluctant to use the specific language of prophecy of its own activities. Nevertheless, there are some practices at Qumran which seem to be largely continuous with how the prophets of old were viewed. Although at this point it is tempting to shift to a more comprehensive phenomenological approach to the subject, I will restrict myself to brief comments on three possibilities. It is perhaps with these that an overall description of prophetic activity at Qumran might begin.
To begin with it would seem that the identification of David's compositions as given through prophecy might suggest that the creation of poetry could be understood as ongoing prophetic activity. The presence in the Qumran library of several scrolls containing such works might reflect such an opinion. Most especially the various copies of the Hodayot and the real possibility that some or all of its contents can be associated directly or indirectly with the leading Teacher is suggestive of the likelihood that such activity was deemed consistent with David's inspired psaltery. Although the Teacher is nowhere identified as a איבנ, the way in which the author of the Hodayot sets himself over against the false prophets (1QHa 12:16) may suggest that he understood himself to be a true prophet.
Second, as has been noted the prophets and their books are often idiomatically associated with Moses and the law as the means through which God has made demands on Israel through the ages. There were commands and Israel's failure to follow them resulted in disaster. Just as the prophets of old had attempted to expound the meaning of the law, so discerning the meaning of the divine commandments was a priority within the community. If it was to live out its wilderness vocation, then the study of the law and the prophets was the way to discern righteous behaviour which was continuous with what the prophets disclosed of the divine purposes. Halakhah was to be found in both the law and the prophets and the community's halakhic decisions and practices were about living within the ongoing prophetic call to obedience. The hope for a prophet like Moses was an expression of how the future will also be continuous with the present; nowhere was any contemporary figure clearly identified with the prophet like Moses.
Third, part of the discernment of divine purposes in the prophetic literature and the lives of the prophets depended upon suitable scriptural interpretation. The varieties of such interpretation covered not just halakhic matters but insight into how God might be working his purposes out through the current circumstances of the community and the wider movement of which it was a part. The pesharim provided a mode of interpretation of unfulfilled prophetic texts of all kinds which demonstrated that the experiences of the community were anticipated in the prophecies of previous generations. Prophetic text and inspired exegetical interpretation are coherent with one another, so much so that the interpretation sometimes infected the presentation of the prophetic text and the prophetic text bears frequent repetition in the interpretation.

III. ????????, ????????? and associated terms in the New Testament
In turning to the New Testament for further insight on prophecy and prophets, it is important to recall that some of the terminology is found exclusively in the LXX and so it is highly likely that the Septuagint played a key part in providing the language which was reused by New Testament authors in light of this Jewish usage. Some of the Greek terms also occur in Hellenistic sources, so the background of the understanding of prophets and prophecy in the New Testament probably does not depend upon Jewish precedents alone. What picture emerges?
To begin with, as with the Qumran scrolls, there are many uses of the terminology in association with the designation of prophet or prophets, referring to the scriptural prophets, several of whom are named explicitly as prophets: Isaiah (Matt 1:22; 3:3 [Mark 1:2; Luke 3:4]; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14, 35; 15:7 [Mark 7:6]; Luke 4:17; John 1:23; 12:38; Acts 7:48; 8:28-34; 28:25); Jeremiah (Matt 2:17; 27:9); Ezekiel, Hosea (Matt 2:15), Joel (Acts 2:16); Amos (Acts 7:42); Jonah (Matt 12:39); Micah (Matt 2:5-6); Habakkuk (Acts 13:40); Zechariah (Matt 21:4-5; 27:9), Daniel (Matt 24:15); Moses (Acts 3:22); Samuel (Acts 3:24; 13:20); David (Acts 2:30); Elisha (Luke 4:27); and even Enoch (Jude 14).
There are also more general references to the scriptural prophets: "No prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but people moved by the holy spirit spoke from God" (2 Pet 1:21). It seems as if the references to prophesying and prophecy in the vision of Revelation 11 are to scriptural prophets who testify to how the temple and those who worship there are to be preserved. "All the prophets and the law prophesied until John came" declares Matthew's Jesus in marking that a new era has begun with John the Baptist (Matt 11:13). The author of 1 Peter refers to the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be experienced to his addressees (1 Pet 1:10).
Second, in continuity with the scriptural prophetic works, the Book of Revelation appears to speak of itself as prophecy in its opening, "blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it" (Rev 1:3), and its closing chapter, "Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book" (Rev 22:7; cf. 22:10, 18, 19). In addition the author of the work is commanded by the angels: "You must prophesy again about many peoples and nations an languages and kings" (Rev 10:11).
Third, as for particular prophets of the first century CE, some of the New Testament writers identify John the Baptist as a prophet (Luke 1:76), or more than a prophet (Matt 11:92), or tell how the crowds recognised him as such (Matt 14:52; 21:262); the author of the Fourth Gospel has John deny that he is "the prophet" (John 1:21, 25), presumably so that that title can be retained by Jesus (John 4:19; 6:14). It is indeed possible that Jesus aligned himself with the prophets (Matt13:572) or was perceived by those he encountered as a prophet (Matt 16:142; 21:11, 46; Mark 6:152; Luke 7:39; John 7:40; 7:52; 9:17). According to Luke the crowd declare Jesus to be a great prophet in reaction to the raising from the dead of the widow of Nain's son and the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who even in their state of lack of perception describe Jesus as a "prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people" (Luke 24:19). In the Acts of the Apostles Luke has Peter preach about Jesus identifying him with the prophet like Moses whom God will raise up (Acts 3:22-23); and Stephen subsequently echoes Peter's words (Acts 7:52), also using Deut 18:15. In the Acts of the Apostles Luke names Agabus as one of the prophets who went from Jerusalem to Antioch and predicted by the spirit a great famine (Acts 11:27-28) and in Acts 13:1 he narrates that there were prophets and teachers at Antioch, naming several people, but not identifying them with one role or the other. Judas and Silas, "who were themselves prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers" (Acts 15:32).
Fourth, prophecy is clearly named by Paul as one of the spiritual gifts present in the Christian communities with which he is associated. Not everybody is a prophet (1 Cor 12:29). "We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith" (Rom 12:6). In 1 Corinthians Paul is particularly exercised by the practice of spiritual gifts amongst which is prophecy, which is distinguished from wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discernment of spirits, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12:8-10), and in another list from revelation, knowledge and teaching (1 Cor 14:6), though it is associated closely with prayer (1 Cor 11:4-5). In one place this activity is given pre-eminence: "Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy" (1 Cor 14:1, 5); in another place prophets are placed second after apostles (1 Cor 12:27). In instructing his Corinthian church Paul underlines that the exercise of prophetic powers is of no value unless done with love (1 Cor 13:2), not least because in his view one day prophecies will cease (1 Cor 13:8-9), but the love that motivates them will not. Prophets must act with decorum (1 Cor 14:29-33, 39-40). Prophecy is a practice for believers, not for those outside the community (1 Cor 14:22), though outsiders who encounter it will nevertheless be impressed (1 Cor 14:24). Prophesying is to be done for edification and encouragement (1 Cor 14:3-4); it should not be despised (1 Thess 5:20). In the Acts of the Apostles the gift of prophecy (together with tongues) is associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6).
What were the contents of prophecies? The term is used in a popular way when those who mock Jesus ask him to prophesy to them by identifying who struck him (Matt 26:68 [Mark 14:65; Luke 22:64]). Prophecies are indeed declarations of what is happening or predictions of what is about to happen: the author of the Fourth Gospel describes the high priest's words about the imminent fate of Jesus to be an act of prophesying, an act somehow made possible because he was high priest and so was not speaking on his own (John 11:51). Prophecies can be made about and for individuals: "I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you" (1 Tim 1:18) says the author of 1 Timothy, who later reminds the letter's recipient not to neglect the gifts given to him through prophecy. But it seems as if in some early Christian traditions the content of prophecy was considered to be "the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 19:10). In a distinctive reference in the Gospels, Zechariah's song, the so-called Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79) is declared prophetically (Luke 1:67).
The practice of prophecy was seen as continuous with the activities of the scriptural prophets, as is represented in the narration of Jesus' teaching which links the prophets, sages and scribes (and/or apostles) who will follow Jesus with the scriptural prophets and others who have been abused by those amongst whom they worked (Matt 23:342). The practice was justified by the author of the Acts of the Apostles through appeal to Joel 2:28-32: "In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17-18). This proof text may go some way towards explaining why occasionally women are specifically identified with prophetic activity, such as the four unmarried daughters of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:9).
Although we cannot now be at all sure about what its content was, all this indicates that prophecy was practised in the early churches. Matthew's Jesus declares for those to whom the Gospel of Matthew was addressed: "whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward" (Matt 10:41). As at Qumran, so within early church practices there seem to have been the need to discern between true and false prophecy. This is implied in the saying of Jesus preserved distinctly in Matthew that only those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom, not those who may claim to have prophesied in his name (Matt 7:22). It is also acknowledged that outside the Jewish and nascent Christian traditions there have been and probably still are true (Epimenides: Tit 1:12) and false prophets.
The labelling of certain members of the community as prophets and of their activity as prophecy naturally demands that some account be given of the function and content of prophecy. Earlier conclusions about the Qumran evidence may provide a starting point. Some poetic compositions, such as Zechariah's Benedictus in Luke or the whole or parts of the Book of Revelation are explicitly identified as the product of prophetic activity; they have a future orientation, but it is an immediate future, and so barely falls within the category of prediction. An understanding that prophecy was predictive may be discerned as lying behind some of the statements in relation both to Jesus and his first followers, and certainly lies behind the use and interpretation of prophetic texts from the literary prophets of old as well as the view that the prophets know what must soon take place (Rev 22:6). The role of prophets in the church at Corinth and probably elsewhere seems to have been primarily one of insight and encouragement. The form and content of such encouragement is difficult to discern, but it may well have deserved the label prophecy either because it took some kind of oracular form or because it was an interpretation of what was discerned as an insight into the will of God, just as the prophets of old were perceived to have made demands related to the divine purposes as disclosed in the Torah. An exception may be found in Ephesians 3:5 where it seems that the inclusion of the Gentiles is a very specific item which has been revealed to the apostles and prophets by the spirit. For insight, the depictions of Jesus may again be the models to discuss: when he tells the woman of Samaria something out of her past, she is described as perceiving him to be a prophet.

IV. Conclusion: Qumran and the New Testament
At Qumran the explicit use of terms associated with אבנ is largely restricted to the scriptural prophets of old. A few texts imply that prophecy could have been an ongoing activity, since legislation concerning what should be done with false prophets seems to have been updated for contemporary use. A further small group of texts suggest that there was a hope in the arrival of a future prophet like Moses. The weight of explicit use of the terms is in the past, but there is enough to suggest that continuities with scriptural prophets and prophecy were maintained in the community's present and for the future. The strength of identifying and describing those continuities rests chiefly in a more phenomenological approach in which it is possible to see that the communities interest in the exposition of the law, its interpretation of the prophets and its creative poetic activities were very much consistent, coherent, and continuous with the activities of prophets of earlier generations.
For the New Testament writers, the use of the terminology still points to a very significant place for the scriptural prophets. However, two readily identifiable factors seem to have resulted in a much wider use of the terms ???????? and ????????? in the early churches. First, the way in which both John the Baptist and Jesus are variously explicitly identified as the expected eschatological prophet, in Jesus' case as the fulfilment of the prophecy to Moses, created a more direct bridge to the prophets of old than was found in the Qumran sectarian literature in which the expected future prophet remained explicitly a future figure. But the label prophet is not dominant in the descriptions of Jesus in the New Testament; it seems to have been supplanted at an early stage by other titles more likely to explain his distinctiveness and the perceived significance of his death. That may have released the designation prophet for use by early church members of some of their number. Second, the fulfilment of the scriptural prophetic promises is intensified in the present, perhaps not least because the eschatological prophet is understood to have come in some form or other. In addition, a third factor may have played a part in the freer use of the terms: the wider Graeco-Roman context for the activity of the early churches may have stimulated early church authors to define the activities of some members of the early churches with the labels of ???????? and ?????????.
Without considering the broader phenomenological analysis of what might be labelled "prophetic" both in the Qumran community and in the early churches, there is considerable overlap between the two groups with regard to their use of the terms. At Qumran there is apparently a greater reluctance to use the term prophet of current members, for all that the functions of a prophet were being variously carried out in the community. In the early churches there is an apparent reluctance to specify the content of prophetic activity, though this is a problem for several of the "offices" mentioned in the New Testament. These socio-linguistic reluctances are worth further investigation.
Phenomenologically, there are not surprisingly overlaps too, though these require subtle and lengthy discussion, both from theological and sociological perspectives, before the similarities crowd out the differences. In both the texts from Qumran and in the New Testament, in addition to what reverberates around the explicit terminology of prophecy, there are aspects of prophetic activity which seem to reflect broad developments in apocalyptic, whether this might be described in terms of mantic wisdom or apocalyptic discourse.