Dead Sea Scrolls
The Identity of the Qumran Community
T. S. Beall, Josephus’ Description of the Essenes Illustrated by the Dead Sea Scrolls (1988); R. Bergmeier, Die Essenerberichte des Flavius Josephus. Quellen studien zu den Essenertexten im Werk des Jüdischen Historiographen (1993); P. Bilde, "The Essenes in Philo and Josephus," Qumran between the Old and New Testaments (ed. F. Cryer and T. Thompson) 32-68; G. Brooke, The Dead Sea Scrolls And The New Testament (2005); P. Callaway, The History of the Qumran Community (1988); A. F. M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran (1994) 54-87; A. Dupont-Sommer, Les écrits esséniens découverts près de la Mer Morte (1983) 349-68; R. C. Leaney, The Rule of Qumran and its Meaning (1966) 31-33; J. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea (1959) 80-98; P. Sacchi, The History of the Second Temple Period (2000) 214-49; H. Stegemann, The Library of Qumran (1998); J. Vanderkam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (1994) 71–119; G. Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (1997) 1–90; id., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective (rev. ed.) (1977); G. Vermes and M. Goodman, The Essenes According to the Classical Sources (1989); P. Wernberg-Møller, The Manual of Discipline (1957) 19-20.
As is now well-known, in 1947 the first of many manuscripts mostly written in Hebrew and Aramaic was discovered in a cave near Khirbet Qumran, a village on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. After many years of searching and political wrangling, many more caves containing manuscripts were located. Between 1947 and 1956 eleven caves were located around the ruins of an ancient settlement. The caves in this area were found to contain biblical manuscripts and other texts dating paleographically from the second-Temple period. Of the non-biblical texts discovered, some were already known and available to scholars, but most were not. In addition, some of these were clearly sectarian in origin and not the common intellectual property of second-Temple Judaism.
Soon after the discovery of these manuscripts investigation began into who was responsible for the composition or copying and preservation of these texts; it is generally assumed that the ruins located nearby were connected to the texts found in the caves, belonging to the community to which the texts belonged, although not every scholar has granted this assumption. The fact that artifacts recovered in the caves are similar to those found at the ruins at the settlement at Khirbet Qumran suggests that the residents of that settlement owned the manuscripts and placed them in the caves. In particular, the clay jars, of a type not otherwise known, in which some of the scrolls were placed are the kind found and produced at the Qumran settlement (Stegemann, The Library of Qumran, 64-65). Naturally, scholars turned to the historical sources to search for the most likely candidate from known Jewish religious groups (or "philosophies," as Josephus calls them) of the second-Temple period. Although there are some who dispute this conclusion, most agreed that the most likely candidate for the production and/or preservation of the Qumran texts was the Essenes, about whom some ancient authors wrote, but, until the Qumran discoveries, whose writings were unavailable. The evidence for the identification of the settlement and texts as Essene is as follows.
R. de Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, rev. ed. (1973) 133-38; M. Broshi, "The Archeology of Qumran—A Reconsideration," The Dead Sea Scrolls: Forty Years of Research (ed. D. Dimant and U. Rappaport) (1992); P. R. Davies, Qumran (1982); id., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective (1977); J. Murphy-O'Connor, "Kh. Qumran," ABD 5.590-94; J. Magness, "What Was Qumran? Not A Country Villa," BAR 22/6 (1996): 38, 40-47, 72; id., The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002); E. M. Cook, "Qumran: A Ritual Purification Center," BAR 22/6 (1996) 39, 48-51, 73-75.
Josephus describes the Essenes as one of three Jewish "philosophies," by which he means interpretations of Judaism: "For there are three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of the first of which are the Pharisees; of the second, the Sadducees; and the third sect, which pretends to a stricter discipline, are called Essenes (War 2.8.2; 119). Three non-Jewish sources identify an Essene settlement in the vicinity of the ruins found in Khirbet Qumran. Since there is no detracting evidence, it is probable that the inhabitants of the Qumran settlement were Essenes.
Pliny the Elder, a Roman, compiled a text from various sources that is a description of places from Spain to India that would interest a Roman reader (Natural History). Probably relying upon a written source, Pliny describes an Essene settlement on the western side of the Dead Sea, to the south of which is the town of En-gedi (infra hos Engada). He writes, "Lying on the west of Asphaltites, and sufficiently distant to escape its noxious exhalations, are the Esseni....Below this people was formerly the town of Engada" (Ab occidente litora Esseni fugiunt usque qua nocent....infra hos Engada oppidum fuit) (5.73). The reason that the phrase infra hos Engada is translated as meaning to the south of and not beneath in a vertical sense is that there is no trace of a settlement "above" En-gedi. Both meanings are possible, and Pliny himself sometimes uses infra with the meaning of "south of" (E. M. Cook, "Qumran: A Ritual Purification Center," BAR 22/6  39, 48-51, 73-75. But see A. D. Crown & L. Cansdale, "Qumran: Was It An Essene Settlement?" BAR 20/5  25-35, 73). The only ancient ruins that fit Pliny's description are those at Qumran. The fact that when he wrote, c. 77 CE, the Romans had already destroyed the Qumran settlement does not mean that Pliny is referring to another Jewish group who had taken up residence there since its destruction (see Callaway, The History of the Qumran Community, 82-83, 86). Rather, Pliny's source no doubt predates 68 CE.
There are some factual errors in Pliny's account. First, to say that the Essenes have existed for a "thousand centuries" (per saeculorum milia) is exaggeration easily recognizable as such by any reader, ancient or modern. Second, the comparison between En-gedi and Jerusalem should probably be between En-gedi and Jericho. Third, why Jerusalem (or Jericho) is an "ash-heap" and not En-gedi is not clear. If he was writing after the Jewish war with Rome, Pliny may have been referring to the fact that the Romans destroyed and burnt the city. But why would he refer to the Essene settlement as if it were still flourishing, for surely it was destroyed at the same time? (R. de Vaux placed the destruction of the settlement to 68 CE, following which it was occupied by Roman soldiers.) As indicated, probably Pliny's source antedated the Jewish war with Rome, whereas, when writing his Natural History after the war, he was aware that Jerusalem (or Jericho) had been destroyed. In other words, he did not update his source used for the Essene settlement. In spite of these factual errors, however, Pliny's report is credible, and, therefore, becomes strong evidence that the inhabitants of this settlement in the second-Temple period were Essenes; this further suggests that the texts found in the nearby caves were placed there by them.
Dio Cocceianus, later known as Chrysotomos, in a discourse preserved by Synesius of Cyrene (c. 370-413) probably identifies Khirbet Qumran as an Essene settlement (Dio 3.2). Synesius of Cyrene writes, "Also somewhere he [Dio Cocceianus] praises the Essenes, who form an entire and prosperous city (polin holên eudaimona) near the Dead Sea, in the center of Palestine, not far from Sodom" (Dio, 3). Most likely the ruins of the settlement at Khirbet Qumran represents what remains of this "city," because there are no other ruins in the region that could be what Dio describes.
Although he mistook it for a Samaritan sect, Epiphanius makes reference to a sect called the "Ossaioi" that dwelt in the region of the Dead Sea (Haer. 19.1.1-4, 10). The group to which he refers is probably the Essenes at Khirbet Qumran.
Another support for the Essene hypothesis is the fact that what the classical sources, such as Josephus, Philo and Pliny (in the quotation above), affirmed about the Essenes agrees well with Qumran sectarian practice and theology. This includes halakic views.
Because oil can transmit ritual uncleanness, the Essenes refrained from using it on their bodies, so as not to render themselves ritually impure. This is consistent with the view expressed in the Qumran sectarians writings that oil is easily susceptible to ritual impurity, unlike the more liberal views of their opponents.
In the classical sources, the Essenes are said to have no private property. This agrees with the procedure in the Rule of the Community whereby the property of full members will be "assimilated" into the common resources of the community.
In the classical sources, the Essenes ritually purify themselves by bathing in cold water before they eat a common meal. In the Rule of the Community, regulations for a common meal eaten in a state of ritual purity effected through washing with water are found.
Josephus indicates that the Essenes did not reveal to outsiders their distinctive beliefs and practices. The same injunction to secretiveness occurs in the Qumran sectarian writings.
Josephus distinguishes the three Jewish "philosophies" on the basis of their views on divine sovereignty ("fate") and human freedom; the three represent the spectrum of possibilities: the Pharisees believe that in some things human beings have free will while in others they do not; the Essenes deny human freedom and attribute everything to God's sovereignty ("fate"); the Sadducees reject "fate," holding that human beings have free will.
The depiction of the Essenes as believing "that fate governs all things, and that nothing befalls men but what is according to its determination" agrees with similar assertions in the Qumran sectarian writings. (Unlike Josephus' statements, these assertions are stated, of course, using non-Hellenistic terminology.) There are passages in the Qumran sectarian writings that assert God's complete sovereignty over human affairs, including presumably including the choices of human beings (1QH-a 10.9-10; 1QS 1.7-8, 19-20; 11.11, 17-18). Likewise, in several passages from the Qumran sectarian writings, it is affirmed that the eternal destiny of each Jew (or perhaps every human being) is determined by God. In 1QS 3.18-25, Jews are differentiated according to whether he walks in the spirit of truth or of falsehood. Those "born of Truth" originate from a fountain of light, while those "born of falsehood" originate from a source of darkness. It adds that the sons of righteousness are ruled by the Prince of Light and the sons of falsehood are ruled by the Angel of Darkness. The implication is that Jews find themselves in one of these categories and then live out their lives accordingly. Similarly, in 1QH-a 15.13-19, the author confesses that the inclination of every spirit is in the control of God. Not only did God create the righteous from the womb, in order to bless with salvation, but God also created the wicked from the womb, in order to punish in the day of wrath. Since of the three Jewish "philosophies" only the Essenes hold to the full sovereignty of God ("fate") and since 1QS and 1QH-a, two obviously sectarian writings, affirm that all affairs, human or otherwise, are under the control of God, it seems to follow that the Qumran community was Essene.
Josephus also notes as a distinctive belief of the Essenes their belief in the immortality of the soul and that righteous souls receive a reward of eternal, incorporeal life.
Similarly, according to Ant. 18.18, the Essenes "declare that souls are immortal, and consider it necessary to struggle to obtain the reward of righteousness." (The phrase "reward of righteousness" is a genitive of origin: reward resulting from righteousness.) The reward no doubt is eternal life. Essene convictions about the soul differ from those of the Sadducees insofar as they did not believe in an immortal soul at all and the Pharisees insofar as they believe that the righteous souls are destined "to revive and live again," referring to a renewed corporeal existence (Ant. 18.14; see War 3.374). What Josephus reports about the Essenes' post-mortem hope is consistent with what the fact in the Qumran sectarian writings nothing is said about a renewed corporeal existence for the righteous who have died. It should be noted, however, that Hippolytus claims that the Essenes had a doctrine of the resurrection (ho tês anastaseôs logos). He writes, "The doctrine of the resurrection has also derived support from among them, for they acknowledge both that the flesh will rise again and that it will be immortal in the manner as the soul is imperishable" (Refut. 9.22). It seems that Hippolytus has erroneously interpolated this statement into Josephus' account or the common source to which both he and Josephus were indebted.
From the descriptions of them in the writings of Philo and Josephus (the Jewish sources on the Essenes) it is clear that the Essenes did not all reside in one geographical location. Rather, members of the Essene movement were spread throughout Palestine, including Jerusalem. Certainly, the site at Qumran could not have supported the some 4,000 Essenes that Josephus or his source knew to have existed at one time (Ant.18.20; see Philo, Omn. Prob. Lib. 75 "over four thousand"). In spite of not living together in one place, the Essenes, nonetheless, formed a sociologically distinct group, which explains why they are called a "people" (gens [Nat. Hist. 5.73; genos [War 2.113; Ant. 13.172; 15.371]). The evidence for this derives from Philo and Josephus' description of the Essenes. Hippolytus' lengthy account of the Essenes is very close to Josephus' account in War 2, but does differ at points; it is not certain whether the differences have resulted from Hippolytus' own redaction of Josephus' account or whether he and Josephus share a common source, to which one, the other or both have made changes (see M. Smith, "The Description of the Essenes in Josephus and the Philosophoumena," HUCA  273-313). The evidence from Josephus and Philo makes sense of the reference in the War Scroll to how the victorious Essene army shall return "to the congregation in Jerusalem, by which is meant the Essene community" (1QM 3.10-11; see 7.3-4).
From the evidence provided by Philo and Josephus, one can conclude that the Essenes were a voluntary religious association within Judaism, and so could be called a "people" in a sociological sense. Their members attempted to withdraw socially and religiously as much as possible from other Jews and live communally, even though they did not work communally, but each had his own occupation. Combining the data from Josephus and Philo, it seems that Essenes both lived together in districts within cities and towns throughout Palestine, separated from non-Essenes as much as possible, and lived apart from other Jews in their own villages because of the immorality of the former: "fleeing the cities because of the ungodliness customary among town-dwellers" (Omn. Prob. Lib. 76). It is probable that the Damascus Document refers to the Essenes living in communities throughout Palestine as living in "camps" (mchnwt) in imitation of Israel in the wilderness (CD 7.6-7; 12.23; 13.20; 14.3; 19.2). Each camp has its own "examiner" (mevaqqer ) (CD 13.7) and there exists one "examiner" for all the camps (14.8-9), possibly residing at the Qumran settlement. (Josephus may refer to the examiners of the "camps" as epimelêtai [War 2.123, 129; see also the phrase apodektas tôn prosodôn ["collectors of the revenue"] in Ant. 18.22).
The Essenes held everything in common (War 2.122, 127; Omn. Prob. Lib. 86-87, Apol. 4), lived communally in houses (Omn. Prob. Lib. 85; War 2.132) but still worked at their various trades outside of the community, perhaps out of economic necessity.
As as community they ate their two meals communally every day in a refectory in a state of ritual purity (Omn. Prob. Lib. 86, 91; Apol. 5, 11; War 2.129-33). The morning meal is taken after working until the fifth hour of the day (11:00 a.m.); the second meal was taken later in the day. Each morning, before dawn, the Essenes would gather and recite ancestral prayers; afterwards they would do to their various places of work (War 2.128-29). On the Sabbath, the Essenes would gather together in synagogues primarily for the purpose of religious instruction (Omn. Prob. Lib. 81-83). (According to Philo, their interest was the "ancestral laws" [patroi nomoi] [Omn. Prob. Lib. 81].) These synagogues seem to be used only by the Essenes.
Philo explains that the Essenes are a celibate community: "Shrewdly providing against against the sole or principal obstacle threatening to dissolve the bonds of communal life, they banned marriage at the same time as they ordered the practice of perfect continence. Indeed, no Essaean takes a woman (Apologia pro Iudaeis 14). Likewise, according to Josephus, the Essenes did not marry. He writes in his Antiquities, "They take no wives and acquire no slaves" (18.21). Similarly, he affirms elsewhere the reason that the Essenes did not take wives: "The Essenes renounce pleasure as an evil, and regard continence and resistance to the passions as a virtue. They disdain marriage for themselves, but adopt the children of others at a tender age in order to instruct them... It is not that they abolish marriage, or the propagation of the species resulting from it (War 2.120-21). (Josephus' claim that the Essenes would adopt "the children of others," however, seems to contradict Philo's assertion that there were neither children, adolescents nor even young men among the Essenes. Philo writes about the Essenes [Apol. 3]. Perhaps Philo is speaking of what was generally true.) Nevertheless, Josephus also indicates that there was another group of Essenes who did marry, but only for the sake of procreation; they considered having children to an important part of their religious life and obligation.
From what Josephus says, there does not seem to have been any acrimony or division between the two groups. In fact, the Rule of the Community assumes that the members of the community are celibate, but the Damascus Document provides rules for a domestic context, in which one would find women and married couples (see CD A 16.10-11; 11-12; CD B 19.1-5). This may be explained by assuming the Rule of the Community concerns only celibate Essenes, whereas the Damascus Document prescribes for the other order of Essenes, those men who have not fully left domestic life.
Since only a small percentage of the Essenes would have dwelt at Qumran, the question that needs to be addressed is how the Qumran community of Essenes related to the other Essenes scattered throughout Palestine. The Jewish sources, Philo and Josephus, testify to a network of Essene communities in Palestine, whereas the non-Jewish sources, Pliny and Dio speak as if there is only one Essene community near the Dead Sea existing in complete isolation from other Jews. A common explanation has been that the Qumran settlement represents celibate Essenes, whereas the Essenes who married and had children lived outside of this monastic community. The impression left by the description by Josephus and Philo, however, is that there were celibate Essenes among those Essenes who lived communally in the villages, towns and cities of Palestine. To conclude that all celibate Essenes dwelt at Qumran, whereas all married Essenes dwelt elsewhere seems unwarranted from the classical sources. It is also possible that the community at Qumran was simply one of many Essene "villages" throughout Palestine. (This is consistent with Philo's assertion about the Essenes that " fleeing the cities because of the ungodliness customary among town-dwellers, they live in villages" (Omn. Prob. Lib. 76). But, given the presence there of an extensive library, it seems unlikely that the settlement at Qumran was just one "village" among many others. Rather it is more probable that the settlement at Qumran served as a type of a religious headquarters for the Essenes. There may have been a permanent "staff" there overseeing the production and preservation of texts (see S. Goranson, "Qumran: A Hub of Scribal Activity?" BAR 20/5  37-39). (Stegemann argues that there is archaeological evidence of a non-odiferous type of tannery at Qumran [The Library of Qumran, 43-44; 52-54].) (Of course, there is evidence of economic activity at the Qumran settlement, which was probably undertaken in conjunction with scribal activities.) The fact that there are no private houses found among the ruins at the site implies that this was not a settlement in the usual sense. Exactly how the non-Qumran Essenes related to the Qumran settlement and its inhabitants remains an unknown. H. Stegemann suggests that the Qumran site functioned as a library and a type of a publishing house where manuscripts were produced for the larger Essene community ("The Qumran Essenes: Local Members of the Main Jewish Union in Late Second Temple Times," The Madrid Qumran Conference: Proceedings of the International Congress on the Dead Sea Scrolls  1.83-166; id., The Library of Qumran  51-57; 80-85.) Indeed, the discovery of long tables and inkwells in one of the rooms of the settlement at Qumran suggests that it was used for writing and copying scrolls, a scriptorium. It is also possible that Essenes visited the Qumran settlement in order to make use of the library there for the purpose of study. This would make sense of the quotation from Isa 40:3 "In the wilderness prepare the way of **** (Yahweh)" interpreted as being fulfilled in the Essene's withdrawal into the wilderness to study the Torah:
The Essenes saw their community as that which was preparing the way of the Yahweh in the wilderness. The means by which they prepared the way of God was through the study of the Law; this was the "path" that they were making for God. Their study of the Law was preliminary to the soon-to-come eschatological judgment and salvation of God. (E. M. Cook even proposes that it was ritual purification center and that the Essenes used the halakot for ritual purification found in the Temple Scroll ["Qumran: A Ritual Purification Center".)
Unfortunately, the etymology of the Greek term "Essene" (Philo: Essaioi; Josephus, Dio, Hippolytus: Essênoi) is obscure and so discloses no information on the origin and nature of this Jewish group. There have been several speculative attempts at etymology but these cannot be established with any probability. Josephus first mentions the Essenes as a distinct Jewish group in the time of Jonathan (160-142 BCE): "Now at this time there were three schools of thought (haereseis) among the Jews" (Ant. 13.171). The implication may be that before this time the Essenes did not exist as such. Whether the Essenes (or the other two Jewish "schools of thought") emerged from other Jewish groups, in particular, the Chasidim mentioned in 1 & 2 Maccabees, is not stated, because Josephus says nothing about their origin. There is no comprehensive history of the community among the textual finds at Qumran, but there are a several historical references in the Qumran sectarian texts that allow for a tentative situating of the Essenes in the larger historical movements of the second-Temple period. To reconstruct the origin and history of the Essenes assumes that these oblique references provide historical data that may be synthesized in order to reconstruct a very partial historical account of the Essenes. If these assumptions are not granted, then little can be known about the Essenes from their own writings. (Neither P. Davies [The Damascus Covenant, 1982] nor P. Callaway [The History of the Qumran Community, 1988] is sympathetic to this synthesizing and harmonizing approach.) It must also be noted that the archaeologists who excavated the site of the Qumran settlement determined that it was inhabited by the community from c. 150 BCE until 68 CE (see R. de Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls). If this is true, then the history of the community must be situated in relation to that chronological period. Unfortunately, not all scholars agree with these chronological perimeters. J. Magness maintains the site was settled no earlier than 130 BCE and probably not until between 100 and 50 BCE (The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls). Similarly, George Brooke affirms that settlement at the site did not begin until around 100 BCE (The Dead Sea Scrolls And The New Testament). But it must not be thought that the inception of the Essene movement is necessarily tied to the beginning of the settlement at Qumran. Rather the settlement may have come into existence after the Essenes had existed for a period of time.
Ruins at Khirbet Qumran
In the Damascus Document an account of the origins of the community is provided. The earliest history of the community can be divided into two periods: before the arrival of someone called the Teacher of Righteousness and after his arrival. References to this man occur in the Damascus Document and the Pesharim. (He is never mentioned in the Rule of the Community, however, probably because it contains so few historical references or allusions.) This individual is probably also known as "the Teacher" (CD B 20.28) and the "unique Teacher" (CD B 19.35-20.1), who was "gathered in," i.e. died (CD 20.14). (But possibly the text should be emended as "the teacher of the yahad" [community].) He is also no doubt the man called the "interpreter of knowledge" in contradistinction to "the man of the lie (4QpPs-a 1.27) and may also be the "interpreter of the Law" (CD A 6.7).The person referred to as "the one who teaches righteousness in the end of days," however, appears to be an eschatological teacher expected in the future (CD A 6.11). The Damascus Document explains the historical appearance of the Teacher of Righteousness as follows:
The community came into being 390 years after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE (see 2 Kings 24; 2 Chron 36), which places its inception in 196 BCE, if the number 390 is to be taken literally. (It has been suggested that the figure of 390 derives from Ezekiel’s lying on his side for 390 days [Ezek 4:5] by a similar process by which Jeremiah’s seventy years becomes 490 years in Dan 9:2, 24–25, in which case the number may not be historically reliable.) Although they had repented (i.e. "perceived their iniquity and recognized that they were guilty men," the members of the community did not know what to do by way of obedience to the Law until twenty years later, which would be 176 BCE, when the man identified as the Teacher of Righteousness assumed leadership of the community (CD 1.11). (It should be noted that the figure of twenty years may not be intended literally either.) This seminal event is also described in the "well-pesher" in CD 6.2-11, which is based on Num 21:18. In the pesher, there is distinguished "those who dug the well" interpreted as "the repentant of Israel" from the "staff," identified as "the interpreter of the Law," who is probably the Teacher of Righteousness. He is also said to be the "star" in Num 24:17: "The star is the interpreter of the Law who came to Damascus, as it is written, 'a star stepped forth out of Jacob...'" (CD 7.18-19). Thus, taking CD 1.5 literally, the inception of the community is to be dated during the reign of Antiochus III. This period is called the "age of wrath" because, in retrospect, this was the period of Israel's apostate infatuation with Hellenism that led to God's wrath being poured out in the form of the Antiochan persecution. It is tempting to identify this community, which identified itself in 196 BCE as "a plant root to spring from Israel and Aaron to inherit his land and to prosper on the good things of His earth," as the Chasidim referred to in 1 & 2 Maccabees and Josephus' writings, but the evidence falls short of proof. The many references to "the sons of Zadok," and the distinction made between both priests and Levites and the general memberships suggests that the community had a significant priestly component to it. Thus it is not surprising that the Teacher of Righteousness himself was a priest (4QpPs-a [4Q171] 3.15; 1QpHab 11.8). At a later time, in the mid-second century BCE or perhaps later, the Essenes founded the settlement at Qumran, probably as a religious center of their movement; the majority of the Essenes, followers of the Teacher of Righteousness, however, lived outside of Qumran in the cities and towns of Palestine.
References to the Teacher of Righteousness
The Teacher of Righteousness claimed to have the proper of understanding of the Torah, being the one through whom God would reveal to the community "the hidden things in which Israel had gone astray" (CD 3.12-15). He also claimed to be an inspired interpreter of the prophets, as the one "to whom God made known all the mysteries of the words of his servants the prophets" (1QpHab 7.5). He is "the Priest whom God has placed wi[thin the community,] to foretell the fulfillment of all the words of his servants the prophets" (1QpHab 2.8; see 4QpPs-a 3.15). In other words, the Teacher of Righteousness claimed to find inspired new applications of prophecy for the final generation before the eschaton. Probably, some of the Thanksgiving Hymns (Hodayot) were composed by the Teacher of Righteousness and reflect his personal experiences. These compositions, however, tend to be general and lacking in detail, so that they historical usefulness is limited. (G. Jeremias claims that the following derive from the founder, whom he identifies as the Teacher of Righteous: 1QH-a 10.1–19; 10.31–39; 11.1–18; 12.5–13.4; 13.5–19; 13.20–15.5; 15.6–25; 16.4–40 [Der Lehrer der Gerechtigkeit, 168–267].)
One area in which Israel
had gone astray was in its adoption of the lunar calendar, rather than
a solar calendar consisting of 364 days (see 11QPs-a 27.6). (The lunar
year had 354 days; a lunar month was c. 29.5 days long and so six months
would have twenty-nine days, while the other six had thirty days; approximately
seven times during a period of nineteen years an extra month would be
added at the end of the year, with the result that the intercalated
year would have 383 days.) The result of using the wrong calendar was
that Sabbaths, new moon festivals and annual festivals were observed
on the wrong day, which, from an Essene point of view, meant that they
were not observed at all. There were many other halakic issues, however,
that separated the Essenes from other Jews, and especially the Hasmonean
rulers. Lists of these can be found in the Damascus Document,
the Temple Scroll, Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT)
and Ordinances (4Q159).
There are several oblique references to conflicts between the Teacher of Righteousness and other Jewish groups and individuals from those groups. In fact, the community's self-identity is defined in part by an internal conflict with a faction from within their own ranks and an external dispute with one called "the Wicked Priest."
Mention is made in the Damascus Document to an apostasy from the original community (CD A 1.11-2.1; CD A 7.9-8.21 [see CD B 19.1-35]; CD B 20.15). In 1QS 5.1-2, the community is described as those who "shall separate from the congregation of the men of deceit, in order to become a community, with Law and property, under the authority of the sons of Zadok, the priests who keep the covenant." The phrase "the congregation of the men of deceit" may refer to this original group of apostates; if so, then this traumatic event served to define the community, so that they understood themselves negatively as those who separated from this rival religious group. This apostate group was led by a man variously called in the Damascus Document and the Pesharim "the Man of Scoffing" (h'sh hltzwn) (CD 1.13), "Man of the Lie" ('sh hkzb) (CD 20.15; 1QpHab 2.1b-2a; 5.11; 4QpPsa 1.26; 4.14) and "the Spouter of [the] Lie" (mtyp [h]kzb) (CD A 8.13; 1QpHab 10.9) (see CD A 1.14 "who spouted to Israel waters of lie"; CD B 19.25b-26a "spouts to human beings lie," CD A 4.19b-20a "the Spouter" and "Zaw" (or "Vanity"), based on an pesher interpretation of Hos 5:11b (CD 4.19). The indictment against this opponent of the Teacher of Righteousness is that he led Jews astray, which means that he taught wrong halakic and perhaps theological views. In so doing he defied the Teacher of Righteousness and contested his teaching: ""[This concerns] those who were unfaithful together with the Liar, in that they [did] not [listen to the word received by] the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of God" (1QpHab 2.1-3; see 4Q171 1.26-27). (The statement that the Spouter of Lies led many astray "that he might build his city of vanity with blood" is metaphorical of establishing a religious community in unrighteousness [1QpHab 10.9.) Who exactly this man was, however, is unknown.
The followers of this religious rival of the Teacher of Righteousness are called "the Men of Scoffing" (CD 20.11; 4QIs-b 2.6, 10) and " Traitors with the Man of the Lie" (1QpHab 2.1b-2a) and the "violent ones of the covenant" (4QpPs-a 2.14-16; 3.12). The fact that this dissenting group is also said to have "sought smooth things" (CD 1.18) could indicate that, after its falling out with the Teacher of Righteousness, this group eventually evolved into the Pharisees, since the sobriquet "Seekers of Smooth Things" is used to refer to the Pharisees in the Nahum Pesher (4Q169 frg. 3+4, cols. 1.3; 3.3, 6) (see also see 1QH-a 10 .15, 32; 4.7-12; 4QpIs-c frg. 23, col. 2.10; 4Q169 frg. 3+4, col. 2.2, 4; 4QCat-a [4Q177] frg. 9, col. 1.4).
Rather than calling the Pharisees "Seekers of Laws” (dorshe halakot) as they no doubt called themselves, the Qumran community created a pun on this self-designation, referring to the Pharisees as "Seekers after Smooth Things" (dorshe halaqot). (The phrase "Seekers of Smooth Things" is an allusion to Isa 30:10, where the prophet criticizes Israel for rejecting the prophetic message of impending judgment and preferring to hear "smooth things," which is to say, easy, non-threatening things) Implicit in this designation is the criticism of the Pharisees for being too lenient in their interpretation of the Law, hence the name seekers of "smooth" (or easy) things. This is borne out by the halakot found in the Qumran sectarian texts: consistently they are stricter than what we know to be Pharisaic halakot and early rabbinic halakot. In the view of the Essenes, the Pharisees replaced biblical commandments with their own easier regulations, and this became for the community a reason to separate from this rival group. The fact that in Hos 5:11b those who have gone after "Zaw" (Vanity) (interpreted as the leader of the apostate group) are called Ephraim may have attracted the interpreter to this passage in CD 4.19 because in the Nahum Pesher "Ephraim" denotes the Pharisees (4Q169 frg. 3+4, cols. 1.12; 2.2, 8; 3.5; 4.5). It should also be noted that the Qumran sectarians criticize an unidentified group referred to only as "builders of the wall" (CD 4.19-20); probably this criticism was also directed against the Pharisees, the rivals of the Essenes, who created extra-biblical laws in order to protect the Law (see m. Abot 1.1: "And make a fence around the Torah") (see also CD 8.12-13, 18; 19.31) (see See L. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, 249-52). The point is that the Pharisees replace biblical commandments with their own regulations.
It has been suggested that
the man known as "the Man of Scoffing," "the Man of the Lie"
and "the Spouter of [the] Lie" (mtyp [h]kzb), possibly
the leader of the group that one could call the proto-Pharisees, is
also to be identified with the one called "the Wicked Priest" (hkwhn
hrsh') known from the Pesharim (1QpHab 8.8; 9.9; 11.4-5; 12.2, 6;
4QPs-a 4.8; see 1QpHab 8.16 "the priest who rebelled"). The
basis for this identification is the fact that the Wicked Priest is
portrayed in these texts as opposing and even persecuting the Teacher
of Righteousness and his followers. Nevertheless, it seems more probable
that the Wicked Priest is another opponent of the Teacher of Righteousness
and his community. (The absence of any reference to the Wicked Priest
in the Damascus Document is difficult to explain, if he is
to be identified with the leader of the original apostasy.) Based on
what is said about him in the Habakkuk Pesher, it is probable
that the Wicked Priest was actually the High Priest, who exercised both
religious and civil authority. Statements such as "When he ruled
over Israel, his heart became proud" (8.9-10) and "He robbed and amassed
the riches of the men of violence who rebelled against God, and took
the wealth of the peoples, heaping sinful iniquity upon himself" (8.11-12)
imply that the Wicked Priest wielded political power, which, at that
time, would only have been possible for the High Priest to do, since
he was recognized as the ruler of Judea. If the Wicked Priest was the
High Priest, then this may explain the choice of the epithet "Wicked
Priest": in Hebrew the term "High Priest" (ha-kohen ha-ro'sh)
sounds like "Wicked Priest" (ha-kohen ha-rasha'). The
statement in 1QpHab 8.8-11: "Its interpretation concerns the Wicked
Priest who was called by the name of truth when he first arose" implies
that initially the community and the Teacher of Righteousness supported
this man, but then turned against him. After their falling out with
him, the community withdrew from Judea to "the land of Damascus," which
could be taken literally to the city of Damascus or figuratively as
referring to where the Essenes withdrew, possibly to near Qumran where
they constructed their own religious center (CD A 6.3-5; see A 7.14).
If the latter, then it may derive from the community's pesher interpretation
of Amos 5:27 as found in CD 7.14-18: "Damascus" is the place
of their "exile," just as for Amos Israel was to be exiled
"from my tent to Damascus" (not "beyond Damascus,"
as in the MT). Or, if the settlement at Qumran did not begin until later,
it is possible that their withdrawal to "Damascus" means simply
their "exile" or separation from other Jews to become a distinction
community living in various places in Palestine. At any rate, they were
waiting for God's eschatological vengeance to come to their enemies.
In the meantime, they had withdrawn from participation in Temple worship
(CD A 6.11-12; see Omn. Prob. Lib. 75 "They do not offer
animal sacrifice" ) (It should be noted, however, that CD 11.19-12.2
provides regulations for the use of the Temple, presumably for the time
when the Temple is no longer defiled [see CD 16.13-14; see 1QS 16.13].
It should also be noted that Josephus says that the Essenes "send
offerings to the Temple," which may imply that the Essenes did
send some sacrifices to the Temple but did not personally participate
in the Temple worship [Ant. 18.19]. The epitome of Josephus
and the Latin version, however, place a negation before epitelousin:
"They do not send.")
Opponents of the Teacher of Righteousness
It may be possible to identify the High Priest known to the community as the Wicked Priest and thereby fill in some of the gaps in the sparse historical reconstruction. (It should be noted that not every reference to the Wicked Priest may be to same man [see W. Brownlee, "The Wicked Priest, the man of Lies, and the Righteous Teacher—The Problem of Identity," JQR 73  1-37; A. S. van der Woude, “Wicked Priest or Wicked Priests? Reflections on the Identification of the Wicked Priest in the Habakkuk Commentary,” JJS 33 (1982) 349-59. P. Davies even goes as far as to deny all historical reality to the Wicked Priest [Behind the Essenes, 28]. Nevertheless, the burden of proof is on the one who would deny this assumption. It is possible that the two references to the "Priest" in 1QpHab do not denote the same person as the "Wicked Priest.") The Teacher of Righteousness made his appearance to the community in 176 BCE, assuming that the chronology in the Damascus Document is to be taken literally. At this time, the High Priest was Onias III and the Seleucid king was Antiochus III. Sometime later there occured a break between the Teacher of Righteousness and the High Priest and his supporters. After the break, the Teacher of Righteousness and his adherents separated themselves from mainstream Jewish society. In this period after 176 BCE there were five men who served as High Priest who therefore are candidates for being identified as the Wicked Priest: Joshua (Jason), brother of Onias III, Menelaus, Alcimus, Jonathan (the Maccabean) and his brother Simon. The first three were pro-Hellenistic, and would never have been supported by the community and the Teacher of Righteousness at the beginning of his administration. This leaves Jonathan, who was appointed High Priest by Alexander Balas, and Simon, brother of Jonathan, who was acclaimed High Priest by the Jewish people (1 Macc 10:18-20; Ant. 13.2.2; 45). Of the two, the most probable is Jonathan, since his death as described in 1 Macc 13:39-48 and Ant. 13.6.1-3; 187-96 agrees with the description of the demise of the Wicked Priest described in 1QpHab 9: "This concerns the Wicked Priest whom God delivered into the hands of his enemies because of the iniquity committed against the Teacher of Righteousness and the men of his Council, that he might be humbled by means of a destroying scourge, in bitterness of soul, because he had done wickedly to His elect." Similarly, 4Q171 describes the end of the Wicked Priest as follows: "And [God] will pay him his reward by delivering him into the hand of the violent of the nations, that they may execute upon him [judgment]" (4.10). Jonathan was murdered by Tryphon while being held captive; in other words, he was murdered by "his enemies" and the "violent of the nations." Simon, on the other hand, was murdered by his own son-in-law. In 4Q175 (4QTestimonia) reference is made to "a man of Belial" and another man, both of whom are instruments of violence; although these men are not named, they are probably Jonathan and his brother Simon. It follows that, if the "King Jonathan" mentioned in it is Jonathan, the brother of Judas, 4Q448 (4QApocryphal Psalm and Prayer) must have been composed before the falling out between the Teacher of Righteousness and the High Priest Jonathan. (Why this text was preserved in view of Jonathan's eventual status as the Wicked Priest is unclear.) (The other, perhaps more probable alternative, however, is that "King Jonathan" refers to Alexander Jannaeus, because the Hasmonean rulers did not begin to refer to themselves as "king" until Simon.)
Probably, the reason that the community turned against the High Priest, whom they came to identify as the Wicked Priest, was that he would not yield to the authority of the Teacher of Righteousness. When Jonathan was appointed High Priest by Alexander Balas, it seems that the Teacher attempted to dictate religious and political policy to him, which he resisted. This resulted in a crisis in the alliance between the Hasmoneans and the Teacher and his supporters. (As already indicated, it is possible that the movement whose inception is described in CD 1 is the group designated as the Chasidim in 1 & 2 Maccabees and Josephus' writings, or, at least, formed a part of the Chasidim.) From what is said in the Psalms Pesher-a, the Teacher of Righteousness sent a letter to the Wicked Priest outlining his views, but, not only did he reject his interpretation of the Torah, the Wicked Priest also tried to have the Teacher killed (4Q171 4.7-9). In 4Q171 the author interprets Ps 37:32-33 as follows: "Its interpretation concerns the [Wic]ked Priest, who spies on the righteous man [and wants] to kill him." (The righteous man is probably an allusion to the Teacher of Righteousness.) It is also said the Wicked Priest attacked in some way the Teacher of Righteousness and his followers on the day on which they were observing the Day of Atonement (according to their calendar), which may be a reference to a second attack on the Teacher of Righteousness (1QpHab 11.1-9). In some of the Thanksgiving Hymns, the Teacher complains about the mistreatment that he suffered at the hands of his enemies, including no doubt the Wicked Priest. Many scholars identify the text known as Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT) as this letter written to Jonathan, the High Priest (see 4QMMT).
One possible historical reconstruction of the religious history of this period is that in the early part of the second century BCE, the Chasidim, the opponents of the Hellenists and early supporters of Judas, were still undifferentiated, but with the appearance of Teacher of Righteousness, who apparently insisted on being recognized as a religious authority, and then the appointment of Jonathan as High Priest, there arose disputes that split the movement into the Essenes, the Pharisees and possibly the Sadducees. It is conceivable that a part of the Chasidim, at least, should be identified with the movement described in CD 1: "And they discerned their iniquity and knew that they were a guilty people" (1.8-9). If so, then the original apostates from the authority of the Teacher of Righteousness and his followers "separated" to become the Pharisees and then allied themselves with the Hasmonean Jonathan. The explanation offered in 1QpHab 11.12-14 for the refusal of the Wicked Priest to accept the authority of the Teacher is the former's spiritual depravity: "He did not circumcise the foreskin of his heart, and he walked in the ways of drunkenness that he might quench his thirst." Needless to say, Jonathan and his supporters would have a different perspective. The Pharisees, however, eventually have a falling-out with the Hasmoneans.
It is clear that the community did not expect to out of power indefinitely. Rather, these Jews believed that, at the "visitation" of God, there would be an eschatological reversal of fortunes, when God would vindicate their community (see CD 8; 4Q171 4.10-12). It is explained that from the death of the Teacher of Righteousness until the end of those apostates who left the community under the leadership of the "Liar," there will be forty years, perhaps a symbolic number, corresponding to the Israelites forty years spent in the wilderness (CD 20.13-17). In the Damascus Document B occurs a pesher-type interpretation of Zech 13:7 and Ezek 9:4 used to express the community's expectation of God's "visitation" (a different version using different Old Testament texts occurs in Damascus Document A [7.9-8.10).
The community interpreted Zech 13:7 as foretelling the "visitation" of God, the first part describing judgment of those outside of the community and the latter as describing the salvation of the community. Who the shepherd is who will be struck by the sword as judgment is not identified, but probably he is a contemporary Jewish leader, no doubt a Hasmonean. The sheep represent Israel and the "poor of the sheep" the community, also designated as "those who guard the precept," by which is meant those who maintain correct obedience to the Law (see 1QpHab 12.3, 6, 10; 4Q171 2.8-11; 1QM 14.7 for references to the community as "poor"). Judgment will come in conjuection with the appearance of an eschatological figure known as "the Messiah of Aaron and Israel," who seems to be the Davidic Messiah of Old Testament prophecy; it seems, however, that Belial will be the means by which punishment in the form of the sword will be carried out. The community expects a judgment like that upon Judah in the 6th century BCE through the Babylonians , which is why it interprets Ezek 9:4 as referring to themselves as a second fulfilment. In other texts, the community expected that the "Kittim" (i.e., the Romans) would bring the Hasmonean dynasty to a premature end (1QpHab 8.16-9.15), and then the community would defeat the Kittim and their Jewish apostate allies (War Scroll). It seems, however, that the Essenes took up arms against Vespasian and then later Titus and were destroyed as a religious group within Judaism (see War 2.152, 567).
References to Other Historical Events in Dead Sea Scrolls
Although they no doubt applied to the Essenes who dwelt at Qumran, regulations for the organization of the community found in the Rule of the Community probably applied to all Essenes regardless of where they lived. If so, then all the members of the Essene were organized by rank (1QS 6.22). This ranking consisted of divisions between priests, Levites and then the remainder, who are organized in a military fashion by thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, in conformity to how the Israelites were organized in Exod 18:21-22 (1QS 2.19-3.12). (Some scholars doubt that there were ever so many members as to be able to organize them into groups of hundreds and thousands.) Within each of the categories of priests, Levites and the remaining members, individual members were ranked, probably according to their understanding and obedience. The priests played a leadership role in the community. For this reason, a priest must be present at every gathering over ten or more members of the community, and was the one to recite the blessing before a meal (1QS 6.3-8). It is probable that priests are those who are to study the Torah continually, so that they could be teachers of the other members (1QS 6.7; 8.11-12).
Although sometimes in Qumran sectarian writings it is said priests in general occupy the highest ranking (see 1QS 9.7), it seems that Zadokite priests (priests who could trace their lineage back to Zadok the High Priest in the time of Solomon) took precedence over all other priests. The Zadokite priests served as teachers and judges to which all the other members must submit, and they conducted the meetings of the entire congregation (1QS 5.1-3, 8-10; 1QSa 1.1-3, 2.1-3). In 1QSa 1.23-25, the following ranking is set forth regarding the supervision of the members in their work: the sons of Levi supervise the lower ranked members, but the sons of Levi are supervised by sons of Aaron and the non-priestly "heads of the family of the congregation," but the ultimate authorities are named as the sons of Zadok along with more "heads of the family of the congregation." Although it is not clear how exactly this authority structure was to work, nevertheless, the sons of Zadok shared authority with a body of non-priestly leaders.
It goes without saying, however, that the Teacher of Righteousness, a priest probably of Zadokite extraction, functioned as the highest authority when he was alive. Thus, probably, when he died, an office was created to fill the leadership void that his death left. There are two titles that occur in the Dead Sea Scrolls both of which seem to denote the leader of the entire community: mevaqqer (examiner) and maskil (instructor). These two terms probably refer to a single office, the leader of the entire community, whose responsibilities include teaching (see 1QS 3.13-15; CD 13.7-9), presiding over assemblies (1QS 6.11-13), examining those seeking to join (CD 13.7-9; see CD 13.13; 14.8-12) and ranking members (1QS 6.20-22). He is to conform to high moral standards (1QS 9.12-14; see CD 12.20-22); he is also not to dispute with "the men of the pit" and not to transmit any the teaching of the community to them (1QS 9.16-17 ). Another term for the leader designated as "the examiner" and "the instructor" is probably the "appointed one" (paqid); like the mevaqqer, he is to examine those seeking membership (1QS 6.14).
In 1QS 8.1-4, there is a reference to a group of fifteen men, three of whom are priests (see 4Q265 frg. 7 2): "In the Council of the Community there shall be twelve men and three priests....They shall preserve the faith in the Land with steadfastness and meekness and shall atone for sin by the practice of justice and by suffering the sorrows of afflictions." How exactly these fifteen men relate to the leader of the community and where they are to be situated in the overall authority structure, however, is not clear. Whether these fifteen men lived together in the Qumran community is unclear.
Because they were were a voluntary Jewish group, formal entrance into the Essenes was required. In the Qumran sectarian texts, there are several description of the procedures for the initiation of members. In addition, Josephus provides an account of how Jews became members of the Essenes.
The candidate for membership is first interviewed by the paqid ("appointed one"), who is probably the leader of the community and is also known by the titles mevaqqer (examiner) and maskil (instructor). If the candidate is found to have sufficient knowledge ("insight") and is generally obedient to the Law ("works"), he is accepted. This qualifies him to receive instruction into the precepts of the community for an undetermined period of time. Based on CD 15.6 , the man seeking entrance takes an oath to return to the Torah of Moses at this time. This means that he will learn Essene halakah and foundational beliefs, including their understanding of their place in salvation history. (According to 1QS 9.16-18, the members of the community are forbidden from revealing Essene teaching to non-Essenes.)
After an undisclosed period of time, the initiate shall appear before the "many," or the entire community, and a decision shall be made about whether he is qualified to become an Essene: "As the lot comes out according to the counsel of the many, he shall approach or withdraw." How exactly the decision is made is not specified. If accepted, during the next full year, the initiate has only a provisional standing within the community. For this reason, he is ineligible to eat with the community: "He must not touch the pure food of the many." In addition, he has no access to the common property of the community. (He has not yet given his own financial assets to the community.)
After a year of conditional membership in the community, the initiate is again brought before the community, at which time his "affairs" are examined by the priests and the men of the community. During the past year, the initiate has had a partial and provisional membership in the community. He is examined according to his "his insight and his works in the Torah," which means that his knowledge of the Torah and his behavior are the criteria by which he is judged worthy of membership. Although how exactly a decision is made is not clear, if he is found worthy, the initiate is admitted to a higher level of membership in the community: "Both his property and his possessions shall be given to the hand of the man who is the examiner over the possessions of the many." In other words, he will be allowed to hand over his assets to the community. Nevertheless, during the next year his assets will be kept apart from the community's and kept by a man identified as "the examiner over the possessions of the many," who seems to a different man from the man identified the paqid. The initiate will be allowed to eat with the community but not to partake of its drink; this is because liquid foods are more susceptible to ritual impurity than dry foods, and the initiate is not yet trusted to handle what is more susceptible to ritual impurity.
After the second probationary year, the initiate shall become a full member of the community, and will now be allowed to come into contact with liquid foods. He will be given a rank according to his knowledge of the Torah, the foundational principles of the community ("judgment") and his knowledge of ritual purity (see War 2.150). (According to 1QS 5.23-24, all the members are annually examined and their ranks adjusted accordingly.) His assets will be merged with those of the community and he will be allowed to give counsel during the community's assemblies. (But, from what Josephus says, it seems that full members retained control over some of their financial assets because they are allowed to render assistance to the needy at their own discretion [War 2.134].)
It should be added that the initiates are required to take an oath upon being admitted to the community, which includes returning to the Torah of Moses and separating from the "men of deceit," who would be all other Jews (5.8-10; see 5.14-18). There seems to have been a formal, annual ceremony during which new members were admitted (1QS 1.16-2.23).
In the Damascus Document, there is another description of the formal procedure for joining the community, which differs somewhat from that found in the Rule of the Community.
From what is described, it seems that the initiate presents himself to the mevaqqer (examiner) and is "mustered" or enlisted into the ranks of the community and takes an oath to "to return to the Torah of Moses with all his heart and with all his soul." It is possible that the procedure is that only after a year does the mevaqqer (examiner) reveal to him the foundational teaching of the community ("precepts"), unless what is being described is a one-year initiation period after taking an oath during which the initiate is instructed in the "precepts." It is likely that CD 15.6-15 describes the procedure for the admission of members into the community, parallel to 1QS 6.13b-24. In this case the mevaqqer (examiner) is a synonym for the paqid ("appointed one"). The procedure in CD 15.6-15, however, is a two stage initiation, whereas the procedure in 1QS 6.13b-24 is longer and more complicated. How the differences are to be explained is not clear. It is possible that, based on what is said in 1QS 6.13b-24, what is described is the period between the time when a man states his intention to join the community and appears for the first time before the paqid ("appointed one"), following or during which he receives instruction in "all the precepts," and his appearance before "the many" for the first time. If so, then the description in 1QS 6.13b-24 omits to mention that there was a period of time of the duration of a year between an initiate's appearance before the paqid ("appointed one") and his first appearance before "the many," which is described in CD 15.6-15. It is also possible that there were different procedures in force at different times in the history of the community.
Josephus provides a similar description of the procedure whereby a man enters the Essene community.
There are some obvious parallels between Josephus' description and 1QS 6.13a-24, but there are some differences also. He agrees that no man is immediately received into membership, but must submit to a multi-year process to become a member. Unlike 1QS 6.13b-15a, however, Josephus indicates that the period of time during which the initial instruction occurs is one year. This does agree, however, with CD 15.15: "The mevaqqer (examiner) shall make it known to him and enjoin it upon him, and teach him for a minimum of one complete year." Josephus adds that the initiate upon being admitted to the year-long period of instruction receives a "hatchet" (for burying feces), a loin cloth and a white garment. Josephus seems to collapse the two probationary years following the instruction in the "precepts" into a two-year period without differentiating between the two years.
In addition to being known as healers (Philo, De vit. comtemp., 2; Jos., War 2, 136), the Essenes had a reputation for foretelling the future (see War 2, 159: "expert in foreseeing the future"). Josephus relates three such accounts.
According to Josephus's source, the Hasmonean king Aristobolus tragically arranges to have his brother Antigonus killed, because he wrongly suspects him of disloyalty. Judas the Essene predicted the day of Antigonus' death and place, Straton's Tower, which was the name of Caesarea (Maritima) before Herod's reconstruction of the city. When he saw Antigonus in the Temple on the day that he was predicted to die, Judas assumed that he was wrong and became despondent, because there was no way that Antigonus could reach Caesarea from Jerusalem on that day since it was already 10:00 a.m. and the distance between the cites was six hundred stadia (stadion = c. 85 meters). According to the account in Ant. 13.311, Josephus explains that Judas was in the Temple surrounded by his disciples whom he was instructing in foretelling the future (tou prolegein). It turned out, however, that Judas was correct after all, because Antigonus was killed "in the underground spot which is also called Straton's Tower."
An Essene called Menahem (Manaemus) foretold that Herod (the Great) would become "king of the Jews," but would "forget piety and justice." Remembering that he predicted that he would be king of the Jews, Herod summons Menahem to ask him how long his reign would be. He replies that he has twenty or even thirty years as king. Because of Manaemus, Herod holds the Essenes in high esteem.
In this account, an Essene named Simon provided a prophetic interpretation of a dream that Archelaus, son of Herod the Great and ruler of Judea and Samaria had. The dream foretold that he would be removed from power after only nine years.
P. Alexander and G. Vermes, Qumran Cave 4 XIX Serekh Ha-Yahad and Two Related Texts (Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 26) (1998); W. H. Brownlee, The Dead Sea Manual of Discipline: Translations and Notes (1951); J. Charlesworth, ed., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Texts with English Translations. Volume 1. Rule of the Community and Related Documents (1994); M. Knibb, The Qumran Community (1987); A. R. C. Leaney, The Rule of Qumran and its Meaning (1966); S. Metso, The Textual Development of the Qumran Community Rule (1997); J. Murphy-O'Connor, "La genèse littéraire de la Régle de la Communauté" RB 76 (1969) 528-49; J. Pouilly, La régle de la communauté de Qumrân. Son évolution littéraire (1976); P. Wernberg-Møller, The Manual of Discipline (1957).
What is called the “Book of Rule of the Community” served as something of a constitution for the Qumran community. It provided for the maskil not only regulations for entrance into the community and the ordering of common life, but also some of the theoretical underpinnings of the sectarian movement. Twelve copies of this text have been discovered in the Qumran caves. In addition to the well-preserved copy from cave one (1QS), fragments of ten more copies of the Rule of the Community were found in cave four (4QS-a-j [4Q255-264]) and another in cave five (5Q11). Based on paleographical considerations, 1QS is be dated from between 100 to 75 BCE. 4QS-a is the earliest copy of the Rule of the Community found among the text fragments from cave four, dating from the end of the second century (125-100 BCE), earlier than 1QS. Another of these cave four copies, 4QS-c, is roughly contemporary with 1QS (100-75 BCE), while the remaining nine are later than 1QS. It is reasonable to assume that the earliest stage of the Rule of the Community began in the middle of the second century BCE, coeval with the beginnings of the Qumran community. Even though fragmentary, the copies of the Rule of the Community from caves four and five at times differ significantly from 1QS, so that one must conclude that there were different recensions of the Rule of the Community. Thus, one cannot assume that, because it happened to survive relatively in tact, 1QS is the original and the others derive from it.
The Rule of the Community is clearly composite, and its literary divisions probably reflect the stages of its development; in addition, each of the literary divisions also shows signs of being composite. Evidence of its evolution is the fact that 1QS has changes to the text introduced by a later scribe or scribes; moreover, the copies of this text from cave four and five have variant readings and not every section of 1QS is found in the other copies of the Rule of the Community. It is one thing, however, to recognize that a text has evolved literarily, but another thing altogether to be able to trace the stages of its evolution. It is not surprising, therefore, that reconstructions of the literary history of the Rule of the Community tend to be on the speculative side. Although there is some debate over the literary divisions of the Rule of the Community, 1QS can be divided into the following divisions: 1QS 1.1–1.15; 1.16–3.12; 3.13–4.26; 5–7 (5.1–6.23; 6.24–7.25); 8.1–9.26a; 9.26b–11.22. (These literary divisions no doubt correlate somehow with stages in the evolution of the text, but how exactly is a matter of debate.)
A. 1QS 1.1-15
Serving as an introduction to the Rule of the Community, this section sets out the nature and purpose of the community.
B. 1QS 1.16-3.12
This section continues the theme of entrance into the community begun in 1.1-15, providing details about the procedure of admitting initiates.
C. 1QS 3.13-4.26
The Two-Spirits Teaching found in this section functions literarily as an appendix to the material in 1QS 1.1-3.12. It explains the origin of evil in the world and even the community itself by recourse to a cosmic, ethical and psychological dualism. Although it probably does not originate with it, the Qumran community adopted the Two-Spirits Teaching and incorporated it into some of its recensions of the Rule of the Community.
This section begins with a heading that describes its contents: "It is for the Master to instruct and teach all the sons of light concerning the nature of all the sons of men, according to all the kinds of spirits revealed in the character of their deeds during their generations and according to their visitation of affliction as well as their times of reward" (3.12). In other word, this section of the Rule of the Community provides an interpretation of the human being, including the two possible eschatological destinies of "the sons of men."
D. 1QS 5-7
These three columns contain a series of procedures and rules for the ordering of common life. This is implied by the headings found in this section, “This is the rule for the men of the community who have freely pledged themselves to be converted from all evil and to cling to all his commandments according to his will,” “This is the rule for the assembly of the congregation,” and “These are the rules by which they shall judge at a community inquiry according to the cases.” Although generally very practical in orientation, nevertheless, frequently the theological self-understanding of the community become transparent. Also more information is provided on the procedure by which a Jew becomes a member of the community.
E. 1QS 8.1-9.26a
This section of the Rule of the Community represents another programmatic text, perhaps going back before the inception of the community. The purpose and underlying principles of the community are restated, along with some of the rules governing the membership, including the process by which a Jew would join the community. 1QS 8.1-9.11 concerns itself predominantly with the general membership, while 9.12-26a provides directions for the leaders of the community.
F. 1QS 9.26b-11
A hymn follows the descriptions of the responsibilities of the master (maskil), which presumably is for his use as master. This hymn is both personal and theological.
J. Baumgarten, Qumran Cave 4 XIII The Damascus Document (4Q266-273) (Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 18) (1996); M. Broshi, ed., The Damascus Document Reconsidered (1992); J. Charlesworth, ed., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations. Volume 2. Damascus Document, War Scroll and Related Documents (1995); P. R. Davies, The Damascus Covenant (1982); P. Kahle, The Cairo Genizah (1959); J. Murphy-O'Connor, “An Essene Missionary Document? CD II, 14–VI, 1,” RB 77 (1970) 201–29; id., “A Literary Analysis of Damascus Document VI, 2–VIII,3,” RB (1971) 210–32; id., “The Damascus Document Revisited,” RB 92 (1985) 223-46; id., “A Literary Analysis of Damascus Document XIX, 33–XX, 34,” RB 79 (1972) 544–64; "The Critique of the Princes of Judah (CD VIII, 3-19) RB 79 (1972) 200-16; H. H. Rowley, The Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1952).
Two copies of the Damascus Document (so called because of several times it is stated that the new covenant was made in the land of Damascus [6.19; 8.21; 10.34; 20.12] and Damascus is mentioned in other contexts [6.5; 7.15, 19]) were found in the Cairo Genizah (the storeroom of a synagogue in Cairo). These texts became known as Cairo Damascus (Document) (CD) A and B, and were dated to the tenth and twelfth centuries respectively. The longest of the two copies of the Damascus Document is CD A, containing sixteen columns of twenty and twenty-three lines each; CD B contains only two columns, one with thirty-five lines and the other with thirty-four lines. (The first column of CD B, known as CD 19, parallels CD 7.5-8.21.) The Damascus Document as reconstructed from manuscripts A and B consists of two major divisions: the exhortation (1–8; 19–20) and a collection of laws (9–16). The former serves to introduce the latter. (CD MS A 7.6–8.21 is parallel to CD MS B 19.1–34; CD MS B 20.1–34 is the continuation of the text that is absent in CD A.)
Fragments of eight manuscripts of this text discovered in cave four at Qumran indicate that manuscripts A and B from the the Cairo Genizah are missing significant material from the original text, much of which is halakic. (There were also small fragments of the Damascus Document discovered in caves five and six.) The earliest of the Qumran manuscripts of the Damascus Document is 4QDa (4Q266), dating from the first half or the middle of the first century BCE. It is generally accepted that the Damascus Document is a composite text, which means that it has evolved literarily to its present form, so that different sections of the text may have different dates. (The fact that there are some differences among the manuscripts could also indicate that there may be different texts with different evolutionary histories.) Although there have been attempts to reconstruction the literary and redactional history of the Damascus Document, as yet no consensus has been reached; in fact, owing to insufficient evidence, it is improbable that any hypothesis can be established with any degree of probability. The task of separating out sources, identifying their original setting and audience, not to mention identifying later interpolations and spotting scribal errors and omissions is superhuman. The absence of any allusion to the Roman presence in Palestine in the text, however, probably indicates that it was finished before c. 70 BCE.
The nature and purpose of the Damascus Document has been debated. When CD A and CD B were first discovered, it was difficult to place these texts in what was then known of Jewish religious history. With its discovery among the texts at Qumran it became clear that the Damascus Document had to be situated in the history of the Essene movement. Like the Rule of the Community, the Damascus Document probably functioned as a type of constitutional document, explaining the origins of the community, providing a theological basis of its existence and setting forth rules for the community. Much of the legislation in the text presupposes that those for whom the legislation is given live among non-Essenes in cities, towns and villages. What is especially significant about the Damascus Document is that it gives an insight into how the Essenes interpreted scripture: Routinely, biblical passages are interpreted non-literally as applying to past or future events not envisioned by the original author (This has come to be known as the “pesher” method of interpretation.)
Outline of the Damascus Document
As indicated, the Damascus
Document as reconstructed from Manuscripts A and B consists of
two major divisions: the exhortation (1-8; 19-20); a collection of laws
(9-16); the former serves to introduce the latter. (CD MS A 7.6-8.21
is parallel to CD MS B 19.1-34; CD MS B 20.1-34 is the continuation
of the text that is absent in CD A.) From the evidence of the fragments
of the manuscripts of the Damascus Document found at Qumran,
some—and perhaps most—versions of the Damascus Document
have material preceding CD A 1.1. Similarly, on the basis of the 4QDamascus
Document fragments, it is clear that CD A does not contain all the material
from the second section (Collections of Laws) that other copies of the
text have. In addition, it is probable that columns fifteen and sixteen
should be place before column nine since this makes better literary
sense and because this is the order of the material in the Qumran copies
of the Damascus Document.
* = Material from copies
of the Damascus Document from Qumran
A. The Exhortation
*1. First-person call of
teacher to sons of light to separate from sinners and remain faithful
to the Law.
2. 1.1-2.1 begins with an
exhortation, followed by an account of the community’s origins and a
contrast of the community with sinners.
3. 2.2-2.13 contains an exhortation
followed by a description of God’s judgment on Israel and his preserving
of a remnant of the people (the community).
4. 2.14-3.12a begins with
an exhortation, and then describes examples of those who rebelled against
God and were destroyed and of those who kept God’s ordinances.
5. 3.12b-4.12a describes
how God established a covenant with those who obeyed God’s ordinances
(the community). The process by which the community came into
existence is explained.
6. 4.12b-6.1 describes
how Belial leads astray Jews outside of the community. The community’s
criticism of the Jewish religious establishment is found.
7. 6.2-7.8 describes
how God renewed the covenant with the community; passages from the Bible
are interpreted as predictive of this. Those lawless Jews outside
of the community are criticized.
8. 7.9-8.21 = CD B 19.5b-34;
CD B 19.35-20.27a prescribes for non-celibate members and then describes
God’s future judgment of the wicked and those who have left the community.
It is also affirmed that those who held firmly to the covenant will
be saved, in accordance with the predictions of scripture.
9. CD B 20.27b-34 contains
blessings for those who repent and join the community.
B. Collections of Laws
*1. Introduction to the laws,
the overseer and the priests
*2. Rules about priests and
*3. Diagnosis of skin diseases,
the Zab (man with discharge)
*4. Impurity from menstruation
*5. Levitical laws pertaining
*6. Gleanings from grapes
*7 Fruits of the fourth year
*8 Measures and tithes
*9 Impurity of Idolators'
metal, corpse impurity and sprinkling
*10. Wife suspected of adultery
*11 Integrity in commercial
dealings and marriage
*12 Overseer of the camp
13. 15.1-15a: Oath
to return to the law of Moses be taken by those entering the covenant.
14. 15.15b-20: Exclusion
from the community on the basis of a physical defect.
15. 16.1-20: Oath to
enter the community, as well as laws concerning the taking of other
oaths and vows.
16. 9.1: Death to the
one responsible for the death of a Jew using gentile courts of justice.
17. 9.2-8: Laws about
reproof and vengeance.
18. 9.9-10.10a: Laws
about oaths, lost articles and testimony and judges.
“Purification in water.”
20. 10.14-11.18 Regulations
for keeping the Sabbath.
21. 11.19-12.2a Laws
for maintaining the purity of the Temple.
22. 12.2b-6a Handling
23. 12.6b-11a Relations
25. 12.15b-22a Two
purity rules (This is where the “rule” (regulations) for the “cities”
of Israel ends.)
26. 12.22b-14.19 Regulations)
for those dwelling in the camps
27. 14.20-22 Fragment
of a penal code dealing with infractions of communal discipline.
*28. Expulsion Ceremony
As indicated, the Damascus Document as reconstructed from Manuscripts A and B consists of two major divisions: the exhortation (1-8; 19-20); a collection of laws (9-16); the former serves to introduce the latter. (CD MS A 7.6-8.21 is parallel to CD MS B 19.1-34; CD MS B 20.1-34 is the continuation of the text that is absent in CD A.) From the evidence of the fragments of the manuscripts of the Damascus Document found at Qumran, some—and perhaps most—versions of the Damascus Document have material preceding CD A 1.1. Similarly, on the basis of the 4QDamascus Document fragments, it is clear that CD A does not contain all the material from the second section (Collections of Laws) that other copies of the text have. In addition, it is probable that columns fifteen and sixteen should be place before column nine since this makes better literary sense and because this is the order of the material in the Qumran copies of the Damascus Document.
* = Material from copies of the Damascus Document from Qumran
A. The Exhortation
*1. First-person call of teacher to sons of light to separate from sinners and remain faithful to the Law.
2. 1.1-2.1 begins with an exhortation, followed by an account of the community’s origins and a contrast of the community with sinners.
3. 2.2-2.13 contains an exhortation followed by a description of God’s judgment on Israel and his preserving of a remnant of the people (the community).
4. 2.14-3.12a begins with an exhortation, and then describes examples of those who rebelled against God and were destroyed and of those who kept God’s ordinances.
5. 3.12b-4.12a describes how God established a covenant with those who obeyed God’s ordinances (the community). The process by which the community came into existence is explained.
6. 4.12b-6.1 describes how Belial leads astray Jews outside of the community. The community’s criticism of the Jewish religious establishment is found.
7. 6.2-7.8 describes how God renewed the covenant with the community; passages from the Bible are interpreted as predictive of this. Those lawless Jews outside of the community are criticized.
8. 7.9-8.21 = CD B 19.5b-34; CD B 19.35-20.27a prescribes for non-celibate members and then describes God’s future judgment of the wicked and those who have left the community. It is also affirmed that those who held firmly to the covenant will be saved, in accordance with the predictions of scripture.
9. CD B 20.27b-34 contains blessings for those who repent and join the community.
B. Collections of Laws
*1. Introduction to the laws, the overseer and the priests
*2. Rules about priests and their disqualification
*3. Diagnosis of skin diseases, the Zab (man with discharge)
*4. Impurity from menstruation and childbirth
*5. Levitical laws pertaining to harvest
*6. Gleanings from grapes and olives
*7 Fruits of the fourth year
*8 Measures and tithes
*9 Impurity of Idolators' metal, corpse impurity and sprinkling
*10. Wife suspected of adultery
*11 Integrity in commercial dealings and marriage
*12 Overseer of the camp
13. 15.1-15a: Oath to return to the law of Moses be taken by those entering the covenant.
14. 15.15b-20: Exclusion from the community on the basis of a physical defect.
15. 16.1-20: Oath to enter the community, as well as laws concerning the taking of other oaths and vows.
16. 9.1: Death to the one responsible for the death of a Jew using gentile courts of justice.
17. 9.2-8: Laws about reproof and vengeance.
18. 9.9-10.10a: Laws about oaths, lost articles and testimony and judges.
19. 10.10b-13 “Purification in water.”
20. 10.14-11.18 Regulations for keeping the Sabbath.
21. 11.19-12.2a Laws for maintaining the purity of the Temple.
22. 12.2b-6a Handling of transgressors
23. 12.6b-11a Relations with gentiles
24. 12.11b-15a Dietary laws
25. 12.15b-22a Two purity rules (This is where the “rule” (regulations) for the “cities” of Israel ends.)
26. 12.22b-14.19 Regulations) for those dwelling in the camps
27. 14.20-22 Fragment of a penal code dealing with infractions of communal discipline.
*28. Expulsion Ceremony
J. Baumgarten, “Sadducean Elements in Qumran Law,” The Community of the Renewed Covenant: The Notre Dame Symposium on the Dead Sea Scrolls (1994); O. Betz, “The Qumran Halakhah Text Miqsat Ma‘asê Ha-Tôrah (4QMMT) and Sadducean, Essene, and Early Pharisaic Tradition,” The Aramaic Bible. Targums in Their Historical Context (1994); J. Kampen and M. Bernstein, ed., Reading 4QMMT: New Perspectives on Qumran Law and History (1996); E. Qimron and J. Strugnell, Qumran Cave 4: V, Miqsat Ma‘Ase Ha-Tora (Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 10) (1994); L. Schiffman, “Miqsat Ma‘asê Ha-Tôrah (4QMMT) and the Temple Scroll,” RevQ 14 (1990) 435-57; id., “The New Halakhic Letter (4QMMT) and the Origins of the Dead Sea Sect,” BA 55 (1990) 64-73; id., “Pharisaic and Sadducean Halakhah in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” DSD 1 (1994) 285-99);
Portions of six fragmentary copies (4Q394–99) of what is known as Some of the Works of the Torah or the Halakhic Letter have been found in cave four. A composite text, consisting of comprised of three sections and 135 lines, can be produced from these fragments. The editors of 4QMMT estimate that the reconstructed text represents about two-thirds of the original document. The purpose of the letter is to convince its readers of the correctness of the senders’ views on certain legal issues (halaka); it is clear that these issues have divided the author and his community from the intended reader, so that acceptance of the positions stated in letter would effect a hoped-for reconciliation between the two. Several issues related to halaka are discussed in what remains of the letter. From the contents of the letter, there is a two-fold concern: gifts offered at the Temple and ritual purity, especially relating to the priesthood. Towards the end of the composite text, the community’s eschatological views come to expression.
There are some clues as to the conditions of the production of the Halakhic Letter in the text itself. The author writes on behalf of a community, as indicated by the fact that he uses the first person plural. When discussing halakic issues, he uses the second person plural in addressing his intended readers, who are probably the priestly authorities controlling the cultic functions of the Temple. In Part C, the so-called Exhortation, he uses the second person singular (see C. 7–11, 26–31); the addressee is said to have “a people” (C. 27), which implies that he occupies a position of authority. The author explains to this man, “We have written to you (sing.) concerning some of the works of the Law which we think are beneficial to you and your people” (C 26–27). This admonition implies that the intended reader has the authority to make the halakic changes recom-mended, so that this person could only be the High Priest, the leader of the Jews. The author also says that his intended reader already knows that the community that he represents has separated from “the majority of the people” (C. 7–10). It is probable that the intended reader is likewise one of the majority of the people and the leader of this group, so that “your people” (C. 27) is synonymous with “the majority of the people.” It is generally recognized that the halakic views that the author opposes in MMT B are Pharisaic (or proto-Pharisaic at least), so that “the majority of the people” are Pharisees or supporters of the Pharisees, as is the intended reader. The author contrasts the views of his community (“we”) with the views of the Pharisees (“they”). He hopes to win over the intended reader to his halakic views; the acceptance of these would effect a hoped-for reconciliation. Moreover, the fact that he writes at all, hoping to convince his intended reader of his error, implies that relations between him and the community represented by the author were at least mutually respectful at this time. Beyond this scant historical outline, however, nothing can be said with absolute certainty.
It is tempting to identify the author of the Halakhic Letter with the Teacher of Righteousness. From what is said in the Psalms Pesher, in an effort to in-struct him in “the statutes and the Law,” the Teacher of Righteousness sent a letter to the man who would eventually be referred to as the Wicked Priest, but the latter both rejected his interpretation of the Law, and even tried to have the Teacher killed (4Q171 4.8–9). The Halakhic Letter is probably this letter that the Teacher of Righteousness wrote to the man who would become known as the Wicked Priest. The Wicked Priest in all likelihood was the Hasmonean High Priest Jonathan. If so, this would place the composition of the letter to c. 150 BCE, after Jonathan had assumed the position of High Priest. (This is consis-tent with the orthographic evidence.) If this hypothesis is correct, then the Halakhic Letter (4QMMT) fills in some gaps in the understanding of the nature of the community’s quarrel with Jonathan and his supporters. The text lays bare the specific areas of disagreement between the Essenes and the pro-Pharisaic Hasmoneans.
If this hypothesis is correct, then 4QMMT fills in some gaps in the understanding of the nature of community’s quarrel with Jonathan and his supporters. It is known from Damascus Document that the Teacher dissented from the halakic views of the High Priest and that Jonathan refused to recognize the authority of the Teacher. Thus, 4QMMT may reveal those specific areas of disagreement. It also indicates that Jonathan supported the Pharisees and their halakic views, as did “the majority of the people,” which is consistent with Josephus’ account. At this early date in the history of the community, however, separation between Jonathan and the author and his community was not inevitable; rather the, former’s decision to withdraw from participation in the Temple came only after at least one attempt at reconciliation was thwarted. Moreover, it follows that 4Q448 (4QApocryphal Psalm and Prayer), if indeed it refers to this Jonathan, must have been composed before the falling out between the Teacher of Righteousness and Jonathan. In fact, the statement in 1QpHab 8.8–11 “Its interpretation concerns the Wicked Priest, who was called by the name of truth when he began his service, but when he ruled in Israel, he became arrogant, his heart became proud, he abandoned God and was unfaithful with respect to the statutes because of wealth” implies that initially the community and the Teacher of Righteousness supported this man, but then turned against him, presumably when he would not recognize the Teacher as a religious authority (see also 1QpHab 2.5–6). Thus, the letter reflects the earlier stages of the Essene movement. Probably, this group at the beginning did not see itself as the only true members of the covenant and did not hope for the destruction of all Jews outside of their ranks; these developments occurred after all hope of reconciliation had been abandoned and a sectarian mindset took hold.
On the assumption that most of the original letter has been reconstructed from the fragments of its six copies, the letter can be divided into three parts. The first part sets out the religious calendar that should be followed; the sabbath days and the festivals are set out for the entire year. The second part deals with legal or halakic disputes; the author aims to convince his reader of the rightness of the interpretation of the Torah presented in the letter. Fittingly, this section begins as follows, "These are some of our teachings." The final section contains the author's concluding exhortation to his reader; he warns that the curses of the Torah will come upon those who do not obey its precepts correctly.
A . Calendar (4QMMT A 1.1-5.11)
1. The second month
2. The third month
3. The fourth month
4. The fifth month
5. The sixth month
6. The twelfth month
B . Teachings (4QMMT B 1.1-1.82)
Questioning the purity of gentiles’ offerings (4QMMT B 1.1-1.9a)
2. Peace offerings to be eaten on the day offered (4QMMT B 1.9b-1.13a)
3. Questioning the purity
of the heifer sin offering (4QMMT B 1.13b-1.17)
4. Uncleanness resulting
from animal bones or skins (4QMMT B1.18-1.27a)
5. Guidelines for sacrifices
(4QMMT B 1.27b-1.38)
6. List of those not allowed in Sanctuary (4QMMT B 1.39-1.49a)
7. The blind and deaf not allowed in Sanctuary (4QMMT B 1.49b-1.54)
8. Impurity of poured liquids (4QMMT B 1.55-1.58a)
9. Dogs not allowed in camp (4QMMT B 1.58b-1.62a)
10. First fruits and tithe of cattle for priests (4QMMT B 1.62b-1.64a)
11. Impurity of Leprosy (4QMMT B 1.64b-1.68)
12. Intentional sins (4QMMT B 1.69-1.72a)
13. Contact with the dead (4QMMT B 1.72b-1.74)
14. Keeping Israel pure (4QMMT
C . Encouragement to Return to the Right Way (4QMMT C 1.1-1.32)
1. Warning that sin brings destruction (4QMMT C 1.1-1.7a)
2. Reason why writers have separated (4QMMT C 1.7b-1.9)
3. The Scriptures demonstrate
blessings and curses (4QMMT C 1.10-1.26a)
4. Warning to Repent (4QMMT
G. J. Brooke, ed., Temple Scroll Studies (1989); J. Maier, The Temple Scroll (1985); E. Qimron, The Temple Scroll: A Critical Edition (1996); L. Schiffman, "Temple Scroll," ABD 6.348-50; D. D. Swanson, The Temple Scroll and the Bible. The Methodology of 11QT (1995); Y. Yadin. ed., The Temple Scroll, 3 vols (1977-83); id., Y. Yadin, The Temple Scroll: The Hidden Law of the Dead Sea Sect (1985); M. O. Wise, A Critical Study of the Temple Scroll from Qumran Cave 11 (1990).
The text known as the Temple Scroll is one of the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It measures 28.5 feet or 8.75 meters in length and consists of nineteen leather sheets ten inches high and about eighteen inches wide. There are sixty-seven columns of text, with most columns having twenty-two lines. Although the text was was discovered in 1956 in Cave 11 at Qumran, the Temple Scroll was not made public until after the "Six Day War" in 1967, when Yigael Yadin confiscated it from an antiquities dealer. Yadin published the text in 1977 and in an English translation in 1983. The text is a rewriting of the Torah beginning at Exod 34 (Actually the first column of the scroll is missing); the sequence of topics covered roughly follows the order in the Torah, but the material has been re-organized, systematized and augmented; in addition, all of the narrative elements from Exodus 34 onward have been omitted, leaving only legal material. The method followed in the Temple Scroll is that, when a topic is first introduced, material from elsewhere in the Torah related to that topic is assimilated to it. In other words, the author gathers together what in the Torah is disparate material. Significantly, the first person is used to give the impression that the entire text is directly revealed by God; passages from the Torah in which Moses addresses the Israelites are rewritten so that now what is said becomes a direct revelation from God rather than from Moses. This literary device should be taken as an implicit claim to the divine inspiration of the Temple Scroll.
The manuscript has been dated to the middle and late Herodian periods (The scroll contains the work of two different scribes) based on paleographical evidence. There are fragments of other copies the Temple Scroll found in caves 4 and 11 that paleographically are older than the Herodian period, from the mid-first century BCE. Scholars have attempted to find evidence from the text itself of its date of composition, but none is fully convincing. The text may date from the second century BCE, in which case it would have served as a foundational document of the community. Although some have argued for a pre-Qumran or a non-Qumran origin for the Temple Scroll, on the whole, the evidence points in favor of its sectarian origin.
As indicated, the Temple Scroll is a revision of the Torah beginning at Exodus 34. The following is a description of the contents of the text.
1. Cols. 1?-2: Description of Covenant Made between God and Israel
2. Col. 3: General Outline of Temple and its Furniture
3. Cols. 4-7: More Detailed Description of the Temple: Sanctuary, Holy of Holies, Upper Chamber, Porticos
4. Cols. 11-12: Laws relating to the Sacrifices and Description of the Altar
5. Cols. 13-18: Tamid Sacrifices, Sabbath Sacrifices, Passover, Festival of Unleavened Bread, and Festival of the Sheaf
6. Cols. 18-23: Festival of First Fruits of Wheat, Festival of Wine and Festival of Oil
7. Cols. 23-25: Festival of Wood Offering and its Sacrifices
8. Cols 25-29: Day of Memorial, Day of Atonement and Festival of Tabernacles
9. Cols. 29-30: Sacrifices to be Offered until the Eschatological Temple
10. Cols. 30-35: Description of Buildings of the Temple Court: House of Winding Staircase, House of Laver, House of the Vessels, House of Slaughter and Procedure for Slaughtering the Whole Offerings, Need to Maintain Sanctity of Temple Court and portico for keeping priests' sin-offerings and guilt-offerings
11. Cols. 35-46: Description of the Three Courts of the Temple
12. Cols. 46-47: Means to Protect Sanctuary of Temple and List of Clean and Unclean Animals
13. Cols. 48-51: Numerous Purity Laws
14. Cols. 51-52: Judicial System
15. Cols. 52-53: Laws Relating to Animals and their Slaughter
16. Cols. 54-55: Vows and Pledges
17. Cols. 56-59: Priest, Levites and Judges; Regulations for the King
18. Cols. 60-61: Priestly and Levitical Dues, Ban on Idolatry, Witnesses
19. Cols. 62-63: War
20. Cols. 64: Rebellious Son
21. Cols. 65: Bird's Nest, Roof Parapet
22. Cols. 65-66: Adultery and Rape
23. Cols. 66: Sexual Regulations
B. The Temple
Inspired by the descriptions of the tabernacle and of the Israelite camp in the Torah, the author of the Temple Scroll produced a plan for the pre-eschatological Temple (29:2-10 = eschatological Temple). The Temple should consist of three courts, one within the other and each with a degree of holiness increasing as one moves to the inner court (see m. Kelim 1.6-9). In Col. 12, the altar is described, which then leads to a consideration of the sacrifices and the festivals during which these sacrifices are to be offered. Seven cubits to the northwest of the sanctuary, is located a square building housing a winding staircase that leads to the upper story or roof of the sanctuary; the entire structure is to be overlaid with gold (Cols. 30-31). To the southeast of the sanctuary, fifty cubits from the altar is situated the House of the Laver, overlaid with gold and having gates on the north, east and west. On the inside there are to be recesses where priestly garments are to be deposited; along the inside of the wall is a trench to drain off underground water that is mixed with blood (Cols. 31-33). Seven cubits to the east of the House of the Laver is located the House of the Vessels, the purpose of which is to store the vessels used in sacrifice. It is to have two gates, one to the east and one to the west (Col 33). To the north of the altar is situated the place where animals were slaughtered; there are to be twelve columns supporting beams, which were used to slaughter animals (34-35). There are devices there for the slaughtering of animals: apparently the heads of the animals were placed in rings and the hind legs were elevated. To the west of the sanctuary (i.e., behind it) is situated a colonnade of pillars used to separate the sin-offerings and guilt-offerings of the priests and the laity. A stoa around the inner court is mentioned also (Cols. 34-35, 37). The inner court is to be surrounded by walls, through which one enters by four gates, one one each side (Cols. 36-37). In the four corners of the inner are to be found facilities for the cooking of sacrificial offerings (Col. 37). Only ritually-pure priests who are properly attired are allowed admittance into the inner court (Col. 35).
A middle court is to encompass the inner court (Cols. 38-40); this court is to be 480 cubits square, and have twelve gates with gate houses, four on each side, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Only ritually-pure Israelite men over twenty years old could enter the middle court. Enclosing the middle and inner courts is the outer court 1,600 cubits square; this court also has twelve gates with gate houses named for the twelve tribes of Israel. Along the inner walls of the outer court is to be built a three-storied stoa on all sides; access to the upper two stories and the roof will be by winding staircases situated near each gate house. Along the inner walls of the outer court between the gates and on all three stories are to be built rooms to be assigned to the twelve tribes and to the priestly and Levitical groups. On the roof of the stoa, there will be columns and beams that are to be used for the setting up of tabernacle on the Festival of Tabernacles. The sanctuary of the whole Temple complex will be preserved by building a terrace of twelve steps around each of the gates and a ditch around the outer court to prevent people from unthinkingly entering into the Temple in a state of ritual impurity. In addition spikes will be placed on the top of the outer to prevent birds from defiling the Temple. Beyond the Temple complex there are to be located latrines, roofed structures with pits; this will be prevent the defilement of the Temple (Cols. 40-46).
F. F. Bruce, The Teacher of Righteousness in the Qumran Texts (1957); M. Delcor, Les Hymnes de Qumran (Hodayot) (1962); S. Holm-Nielson, Hodayot, Psalms from Qumran (1960); B. Kittel, The Hymns of Qumran (1981); M. Mansoor, The Thanksgiving Hymns (1961); B. Nitzan, Qumran Prayer and Religious Poetry (1994).
A copy of what has been called the Thanksgiving Hymns (or Hodayot) (1QH-a) was discovered in cave one at Qumran in a state of relatively good preservation as compared to copies of the text from cave four, for example; what has survived of this text consists of eighteen columns of text. Unfortunately, the fragmentary state of the work makes it difficult at times to know where one composition ends and the next begins. Most of the hymns begin with “I thank you, O Lord” or “Blessed are you, O Lord,” so that one can say with certainty that there are at least thirteen hymns. But the many lacunae in 1QH-a make it certain that the beginnings of other hymns have been lost. Seven more, very fragmentary copies of the Thanksgiving Hymnsturned up in cave four (4Q427-33). The oldest surviving manuscript is 4QH-b (4Q428), which paleographically is to be dated at the beginning of the first century BCE. The Thanksgiving Hymns are heavily influenced by biblical terminology. The purpose or Stiz-im-Leben has been debated, but probably the Thanksgiving Hymns did not have a cultic or liturgical function, but were the expressions of personal experience and didactic compositions intended to set forth the community’s particular religious self-understanding. It is generally accepted that the founder of the community, probably the Teacher of Righteousness, composed some of the hymns in this collection; these tend to be intensely personal, theological reflections on his experiences at the time of the inception of the community. G. Jeremias claims that the following derive from the founder, whom he identifies as the Teacher of Righteous: 1QH-a 10.1–19; 10.31–39; 11.1–18; 12.5–13.4; 13.5–19; 13.20–15.5; 15.6–25; 16.4–40 (Der Lehrer der Gerechtigkeit (1963) 168–267, esp. 171). This must be taken into consideration when interpreting the Hodayot. Yet, it must be stressed that, in many cases, the community would have adopted the views of its founder, so that it matters little whether these hymns derive from the Teacher or not, since, surely, the community would have identified with the confessions of its founder. Thus, in many instances, the “I” in the Teacher’s Hodayot probably became gnomic as the community identified with its founder’s experience. Because of the large number of hymns, the many untimely lacunae and the similarity of content from one hymn to another, rather than considering each hymn individually, it is preferable to organize the material in the Hodayot thematically. There is remarkable theological homogeneity found within these hymns, even though some derive from the founder whereas others are community hymns.
O. Betz, Offenbarung und Schriftforschung in der Qumransekte (1960); G. J. Brooke, "The Pesharim and the Origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls," Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet Qumran Site: Present Realities and Future Prospects (ed. Michael O. Wise, et al.) (1994) 339-53; W. H. Brownlee, The Midrash Pesher of Habakkuk; K. Elliger, Studien zum Habakuk-Kommentar vom Toten Meer; M. P. Horgan, Pesharim: Qumran Interpretations of Biblical Books (1979)
The text known as the Habakkuk Pesher (1QpHab) consists of twelve and a half columns of text in a state of good preservation compared to other texts. The Habakkuk pesher is an interpretation of Book of Habakkuk in light of events contemporary with the interpreter. What remains of this Essene commentary begins with Hab. 1:16 and ends with Hab 2:20. Since the Essene community viewed itself as the object of God's eschatological mercy, this hermeneutical method, known as pesher, means that a prophetic text is interpreted as predicting events relating to the history of the community, especially in relation to the Teacher of Righteousness and his opponents. Little of the commentary on this minor prophet is what could be described as literal and historical. As already indicated, it was believed that God had given the Teacher of Righteousness insight into the second or eschatological meaning of the Hebrew prophetic texts (see 1QpHab 2.6-10; 7.1-5). This ability seems to have been passed on to other sages of the community after the death of the Teacher. There are other pesher-type texts found at Qumran.
The theological and hermeneutical outlook of this commentary on Habakkuk is encapsulated by three seminal assumptions concerning divine revelation. The first assumption is that the biblical prophets prophesied of the eschaton, but they themselves understood little of what they wrote down. Second, it is assumed that the time of the appearance of the Teacher and the formation of the community coincides with the beginning of the eschaton. The third assumption is that the Teacher and other sages of the community have been granted insight into the meaning of eschatological prophecies of past centuries. These inspired interpretations are most often atomistic: a given passage is broken up into smaller units and interpreted with little regard for the original context. This understanding of the two stages of divine revelation is most explicit in Habakkuk Pesher. The interpreter explains that God instructed the prophet to write down what was to happen to the last generation, which means the generation that will witness eschatological judgment (1QpHab 2.6-10). God did not reveal to Habakkuk, however, the full meaning of what he wrote down. What he and all the other prophets recorded about the eschaton was to remain "mysteries of the words of his servants, the prophets," until the appearance of the Teacher of Righteousness, to whom these mysteries were much later revealed (7.4–5; see also 2.6–10).
On internal and historical grounds, Habakkuk Pesher should be date to just prior to the Roman conquest of Palestine, c. 84-63 BCE, for the interpreter refers to the imminent conquest of the Hasmoneans, descendents of the Wicked Priest, by the Romans (kittim) as God's judgment on them.
G. J. Brooke, “Body Parts in Barkhi Nafshi and the Qualifications for Membership of the Worshipping Community,” Sapiential, Liturgical and Poetical Texts from Qumran (ed. D. Falk, F. Garcia Martinez and E. Schuller (2000) 79-94; D. Seely, “4Q437: A First Look at an Unpublished Barki Nafshi Text,” The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls (1999) 146-60; D. Seely, “The Barkhi Nafshi Texts (4Q434-439),” Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. D. Parry and S. Ricks) (1996) 194-214; id., “Implanting Pious Qualities as a Theme in the Barki Nafshi Hymns,” The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years after Their Discovery (ed. L. Schiffman, E. Tov, J. VanderKam) (2000) 322-31; M. Weinfeld and D. Seely, “Barkhi Nafshi,” Qumran Cave 4.XX: Poetic and Liturgical Texts, Part 2 (ed. E. Chazon et. al.; Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 29) (1999) 255-334
Five collections of fragments of a work that has been given the name Barkhi Nafshi (Bless, Oh My Soul) (4Q434-438) were discovered in cave four at Qumran. This name was chosen because the opening line of 4Q434, which probably represents the beginning of the text, begins “Bless, O my soul, the Lord." The author was probably imitating Pss 103, 104, which also begin in this manner, but use the tetragrammaton rather than “my Lord.” The five collections are each from a different scribal hand, but each of the five copies contains text that is parallel to text in at least one other copy, indicating that each collection of fragments is of the same document. Fragments of 4Q434 contain text found in 4Q435 and 4Q437, and 4Q435 has textual parallels to 4Q435, 4Q436 and 4Q437. The fragments of 4Q436 contain text that is also found in 4Q435, and 4Q437 has parallels to 4Q434, 4Q435 and 4Q438. Finally, 4Q438 has text in common with 4Q437. It is probable that each of the five collections represents only a small portion of a much larger document, which may explain why what remains of it has such little literary unity. The earliest of the five texts is 4Q438, which has been dated to the late Hasmonean or early Herodian period. The other four copies derive from a later period. Although the five copies of it are very fragmentary, the Barkhi Nafshi document could be described generally as hymns of thanksgiving for deliverance and benefits received from God.
The Barkhi Nafshi document is probably of sectarian origin. The paleography indicates that these texts are from the late Hasmonean or early Herodian and the late Herodian periods, which is consistent with their being sectarian texts. The orthography of 4Q436 and 4Q437 has been classified as consistent with the distinct scribal school at Qumran. Finally, although none of the uniquely sectarian terminology occurs, the terminology and ideas found in the Barkhi Nafshi document point to a sectarian origin. Key terminology such as “heart,” “soul,” “way,” “spirit,” “bless,” “nations,” “to deliver,” and “light and darkness” (4Q434 frg. 1, col. 1.9) are consistent with Qumran sectarian texts, especially the Thanksgiving Hymns. Another indicator of a sectarian origin is that 4Q434 refers to group delivered by God as the “poor” and the “meek” (frg. 1. col. 1.1). The term “poor” is a self-designation of members of the Qumran community, being used in the singular (see 1QHa 10.32; 11.35; 13.18) and the plural (1QHa 13.22; 1QM 11.9, 13; 13.14; 1QpHab 12.3, 6, 10). In the clearly sectarian text 4Q171 (Psalms Pesher), the technical term “community of the poor” occurs as a collective self-designation (4Q171 col. 2.9; col. 3.10). The term “meek” also occurs as a self-designation for members of the Qumran community in the Thanksgiving Hymns (1QHa 9.36; 10.34; 13.13, 14). Although not definitive, the evidence supports the hypothesis of the sectarian origin of the Barkhi Nafshi document.
Fragments of two copies of a text called The Ages of Creation have been found in cave four; this text seems to describe human history comprehensively from the creation until the eschaton. Naturally, the focus of this text is on the biblical narrative. It is affirmed in what appears to be the opening line of the composition that the entire course of human affairs is predetermined according to God’s sovereign design; this is engraved on heavenly tablets (4Q180 frg. 1.1–3; see also frgs. 2-4, col. 10). The reference to “seventy weeks” (4Q181 frg. 2.3) and ten (generations?) suggest that history is divided into eras, perhaps each with some salvation-historical significance (see 1 Enoch 10.11–12; 93.9–10; 91.11–17 (Apocalypse of Weeks); 83–90 (Dream Visions) Dan 9:24–27; Book of Jubilees). Since it is so fragmentary, it is difficult to say for sure that The Ages of Creation is of sectarian origin. Although, in general, it mirrors the conceptual world of the Qumran community, what remains of the text lacks the telltale sectarian terminology. Nevertheless, since its genre is a type of pesher (“Pesher on…”) (4Q180 frg. 1.1), the composition is probably sectarian since this genre seems to be unique to the Qumran community. Moreover, since 4Q181 frg. 1.2 seems to be a description of the founding of the community, similar to descriptions in other clearly sectarian texts, it is probable that this text is sectarian in origin.
frg. 1.2 describes how in compassion God chose from sinful humanity
a remnant of mercy. Presumably, parallel to the Damascus Document and
1QS, this event is appended to a summary of biblical history, following
immediately upon the Babylonian exile. In other words, what is described
is the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore
eschatologically the nation after its chastisement for disobedience.
In this case, however, the nation is reduced to a remnant within it,
the community. God’s act in bringing the community into existence
was independent of all merit and initiative on the part its members.
Unlike Lev 26, which specifies that only on the condition of repentance
would God restore the exiles to the land, it is affirmed “Corresponding
to the compassions of God according to his goodness and the wonder of
his glory, he brought near some of the sons of the world” (4Q181
frg. 1, col. 2.3). Consistent with deterministic thrust of the text,
God alone is responsible for the existence of this community; it is
a manifestation of his mercy. From the massa perdita of Israel,
God chose a remnant to be reckoned with the community of angels, to
be a holy community appointed for eternal life (4Q181 1.2.4, 6). It
seems that each individual is chosen to eternal life according to his
lot, which seems to mean according to God’s foreordination.
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