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Category Archives: science

With Evolution…

there is no point to anything. There is no purpose in life and no reason to be moral, upstanding contributing , constructive citizens.  Not only would everything in life be subjective there is no one to please and live for. There is no objective standards to meet and every one gets to do what is right in their own eyes which means you have no security whatsoever. So if they want to steal your money they can.

If evolution were true, there is no reason to get out of bed for there is no hope, no salvation, no reason to do anything and that makes life mean nothing. If you are wondering why people are acting weirder these days it is because they are adopting this notion of evolution and living by its principles– you can do whatever you want because life and yourself mean absolutely nothing  at all.

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A New Discovery 2

http://www.christianpost.com/news/new-archaeological-find-confirms-biblical-account-of-the-babylonian-conquest-of-jerusalem-194119/

A newly discovered archaeological find confirms the Old Testament’s account of the taking of Jerusalem by the Babylonian Empire in the sixth century BC.

Excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Jerusalem Walls National Park, as funded by the City of David Foundation, discovered strong evidence of fire damage from around the time when the city was conquered by the Babylonians.

The IAA explained in a YouTube video from late July that various findings recently unearthed included “charred wood, grape seeds, pottery, fish scales and bones, and unique, rare artifacts.”

“These findings depict the affluence and character of Jerusalem, capital of the Judean Kingdom, and are mesmerizing proof of the city’s demise at the hands of the Babylonians,” explained the YouTube video.

“Among the excavation’s salient findings were dozens of storage jars which served to store both grain and liquids, several of which had stamped handles. Several of the seals discovered depict a rosette — a petalled rose.”

IAA excavation directors Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel noted that this seal was typical for the end of the First Temple Period and were used by Judean royal administrators.

The findings came just before the national commemoration of the anniversary of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, which was observed on Tuesday.

“At the dig site, the rampant destruction caused by a fiery inferno is clearly seen. Burnt charcoal layers of destruction preserved flooring and utensils in situ, giving a stark picture of the immediacy of the blaze,” reported the Times of Israel.

 

Another Media Mistake

Again we are sure you have heard of this fiasco. We haven’t said anything because we have been a little busy lately.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/media-get-it-wrong-on-bible-account-of-canaanites-only-1-issues-correction-193983/

At least a dozen headlines declared that a recently released human genetics study disproves a biblical account found in the Old Testament. But Christians are pointing out that the media got it wrong and only one has issued a correction.

“The Bible got it wrong: Ancient Canaanites survived and their DNA lives in modern-day Lebanese,” says a Pulse headline published last week. Meanwhile, U.K.’s the Daily Mail wrote, “Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim that the Canaanites were wiped out.”

The Telegraph also declared that the study that was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics disproved the Bible but it was the only publication among the 12 examined that issued a correction and modified its headline. The correction reads: “The original version of this story erroneously said the Bible claimed the Canaanites were wiped. However, elsewhere in the Bible, it says the elimination was not successful.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/missing-canaanites-in-plain-sight-media-need-read-bibles-194637/

New archaeological discovery contradicts the Bible.” I’ll tell you why headlines like this are worth double-checking.

We’ve heard a lot about “fake news” this year, and last week we were treated to a flurry of fake news aimed at the reliability of the Bible. A study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics reported that DNA from 3,700-year-old Canaanite remains closely matches that of the modern Lebanese. In other words, a major biblical people are alive and well, still living in the region!

It was an exciting confirmation of the Bible’s history. But for a dozen or so major media outlets, it was precisely the opposite.

“Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out,” trumpeted the UK Telegraph.

The Independent declared, “The Bible says Canaanites were wiped out by Israelites but scientists just found their descendants living in Lebanon.”

And ABC Online reported: “Canaanites survived Biblical ‘slaughter,’ ancient DNA shows.”

Even the journal, Science, joined the debacle with the headline, “Ancient DNA counters biblical account of the mysterious Canaanites.” Science soon issued a casual correction, saying, “The story and its headline have been updated to reflect that in the Bible, God ordered the destruction of the Canaanites, but that some cities and people may have survived.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/new-dna-discoveries-prove-the-bible-accurate-despite-what-headlines-claim-193830/

There was a spate of headlines last week claiming that new scientific discoveries disproved the historical narrative of the Bible. Headlines included, “DNA vs the Bible: Israelites did not wipe out the Canaanites” and “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out.” The problem is that the reverse is actually true: The discoveries confirm what the Scriptures explicitly state.

Not surprisingly, these headlines didn’t come from obscure, Bible-bashing websites. Instead, they came from Cosmos Magazine, Yahoo.com, New Scientist (claiming that the discovery helped unravel the “true fate” of the Canaanites), and others. As stated in the New York Times, “There is a story in the Hebrew Bible that tells of God’s call for the annihilation of the Canaanites, a people who lived in what are now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories thousands of years ago.

“‘You shall not leave alive anything that breathes,’ God said in the passage. ‘But you shall utterly destroy them.’

“But a genetic analysis published on Thursday has found that the ancient population survived that divine call for their extinction, and their descendants live in modern Lebanon.”

 

A New Discovery

You may have heard about it but we will put it here anyways

http://www.christianpost.com/news/archaeological-discovery-home-of-3-of-jesus-disciples-possibly-found-194627/

A team of archaeologists may have located the home of three of Jesus’ disciples, found in a lost Roman imperial city off of the Sea of Galilee.

Researchers from Kinneret College believe they have found the Roman city of Julias, which was built as part of the town of Bethsaida, which is identified in John 1:44 as the hometown of Philip, Andrew, and Peter.

“A multi-layered site discovered on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve, is the spot, the team believes,” reported Haaretz on Sunday.

“The key discovery is of an advanced Roman-style bathhouse. That in and of itself indicates that there had been a city there, not just a fishing village …”

Haaretz cautioned that there are “three candidates for Julias.” There are two earlier discovered sites by Galilee in addition to the recently unearthed one, named el-Araj.

“What the archaeologists found at el-Araj is an older layer dating from the late Roman period, the 1st to 3rd centuries C.E., two meters below the Byzantine level. That Roman layer contained pottery sherds from the 1st to the 3rd centuries B.C.E., a mosaic, and the remains of the bathhouse,” continued Haaretz.

“And has a major missing church been found too? The excavators found walls with gilded glass tesserae for a mosaic, an indication of a wealthy and important church.”

Kinneret College said in a statement that it is widely believed that a church used to be on the former site of the Apostles’ home, thus adding evidence that the recent find is legitimate.

“The discovery of dozens of golden glass mosaics in the previous season and the present season attests to the fact that the church was an important and magnificent place,” stated the college, as reported by i24news.com.

 

Issues of the Day

#1. https://www.mail.com/int/news/world/5388504-lgbt-outrage-trump-ban-transgender-military-servic.html#.1272-stage-set2-6

Leaders of major advocacy groups depicted Trump’s Twitter pronouncement as an appeal to the portion of his conservative base that opposes the recent civil-rights gains by the LGBT community. “His administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government — even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the LGBT-rights group GLAAD.

The only thing stopping LGBTQ community members from serving in the military are their own demands and desire to force their preferences upon others. There are many believers serving in the military who accept the rules and adjust their behavior according. They do not usually make outrageous demands nor force other servicemen to adhere to their rules or even accept them s they are. They simply obey the rules set out by the military. This is the major problem with the LGBTQ community. They cannot accept the rules demanding that everyone one bow to their perversion or else.

The LGBTQ community is not going to make friends under their current modus operandi. In fact they should expect a backlash as their chosen preference is not accepted as good, normal, etc. by a vast majority of the people. We agree with Trump’s decision here as it is high time the LGBTQ community be told ‘no’ and it is about time they realize that they are not normal, but sinful and violating God’s rules.

#2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ken-ham-sells-ark-encounter-land-to-himself-for-10_us_596e9e95e4b05561da5a5ba9

Creationist Ken Ham, the notorious owner of The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, has once again found a new way to swindle the good people of Kentucky out of their money.

Knowing HuffPost’s great dislike for and bias against Christians so here is another link to the same story

http://www.christianpost.com/news/kentucky-suspends-ark-encounter-18-million-tax-break-deal-192930/

While there is a lot we agree with that Ken Ham does and says there are a lot of public statements and actions we do not agree with and this is one of them. There is nothing wrong with a church or Christian theme park in investing in the community they reside. They should be setting the example how to be involved correctly with the community they are trying to reach not setting the example of how to screw the community out of much-needed revenue. The latter sets up stumbling blocks to Jesus while the former would knock those stumbling blocks down before they got started. The church is to reach the community not to make it more difficult to reach that objective. Paying property tax is not a big deal if the church or theme parks etc., are assessed correctly.

We disagree with Ham’s move here and feel that he is taking advantage of the community’s good graces. His actions are not Christian and we could point to the lack of biblical instruction that says avoid paying taxes to bolster our argument but  Ham and others already know that those do not exist. Being Christian does not mean escaping one civil responsibilities even when they are a church or christian organization

#3. http://www.morethancake.org/archives/29412

Does history prove science and Christianity are incompatible?

We have written long on this in other articles so we won’t delve into a long discussion here. Suffice it to say that the only way for science and Christianity to be compatible is for the former to repent of its sins and get to the truth. Since most of the scientific world does not believe God nor in God it is not God who is in error and lacking the truth. You can’t have the truth if you kick the only one who possesses it out the door and ban him from entry.

#4. http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/8304/is-the-bible-fake-news

The point here is actually not that God has changed or that there really was a flood or that we have to figure out how Noah’s family repopulated the world without committing incest. The compilers of Genesis included the flood story to change our minds about God.

What is fake about the Bible are all those people who forget when different rules were implemented.Incest was not banned by God till long after the flood. What is also not fake news are the different historical accounts starting with creation, moving on to the flood, then Sodom and Gomorrah and so on. You cannot have fake news if you are holy

#5. http://www.christianpost.com/news/christians-wont-be-punished-as-long-as-they-do-what-we-say-rolling-stone-reporter-responds-lgbt-193200/

Kroll’s attitude seems to be, “if those conservative Christians just become like those liberal Christians, they have nothing to worry about; so what’s the problem?”

In other words “do as i say or else’. It seems absolute power has corrupted this guy absolutely, absolute power over his money that is.  He needs prayer.  But this is the way it is with the LGBTQ community. They have spent decades whining and complaining about abuse, intolerance, hate crimes and many more negative things BUT when they get an opportunity to be different, to set the example of how they want to be treated, they opt to do to others as has been done to them. They will abuse others, they will be intolerant, they will commit hate crimes and on it goes.

The LGBTQ has no sympathy nor argument because they cannot do unto others as they would like to be treated. You cannot win friends and influence people when you are sinning to achieve your demands. Nor can you expect people to accept you when you act like the bully or be hypocritical. We all know that this guy attacks Christians but he does not attack any other religious group who defy his agenda. His actions and words undermine everything he says and does and makes him a laughing-stock. So he has money, whoopee, all he demonstrates is hatred, intolerance, and acts like a bully. He is just one more rich guy in a long line of rich guys who do the exact same thing for their individual agendas. He isn’t new, unique or even smart.

When will the LGBTQ community grow up and realize that there are more people in the world than them, all of who have rights and freedoms along with free choice to exercise those rights and freedoms as they see fit.

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls 4

The Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. (2009). New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Introduction:

We are going to start at chapter 3 and spare our readers what we have had to endure almost every time we read a book or article on these Scrolls. That means that we will not be placing the story of their discovery on this page.

It has become beyond annoying over the years to pick up different works by many different authors, all who felt the need to repeat the story as if no one had ever heard about it in the past 70 years (approx.).

We will try to place the most pertinent information here and encourage you to purchase this book in order to get all the information that author provides.

III. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH SECT OF THE ESSENES:

The Jews who wrote or used the collection of documents known today as the Qumran Scrolls are not easy to identify. Their origin in pre-Christian times is certain, as the archaeological evidence from Khirbet Qumran, ‘Ain Feshkha, and the caves in which the texts were found makes clear.

Unfortunately, there is nothing in any of the documents that reveals who they were; the members of the sect do not reveal their name(s), except by indirect appellations, such as yaḥad, “community” (literally, “unit”), which occurs in the title of its rule book (DJD 1. 107; p1. XXII); bĕnê Ṣādôq, “sons of Zadoq” (1QS 5:2, 9); ’anšê hayyaḥad, “men of the community” (1QS 5:1); bĕnê ’ôr, “sons of light” (1QS 1:9; 1QM 1:1); bĕrît haḥădāšāh, “the new covenant” (1QpHab 2:3; CD 6:19 [name derived from Jer 31:31]); bā’ê habbĕrît, “those who enter the covenant” (1QS 2:18); ‘ēdāh, “congregation” (1QSa 1:6); ‘ădat hā-’ebyônîm, “congregation of the poor” (4QpPsa [4Q171] 2:10); šābê Yiśrā’ēl, “the returnees of Israel” (CD 4:2); ḥibbûr Yiśrā’ēl, “the company of Israel” (CD 12:8); or qāhāl, “assembly” (1QSa 1:25). None of these symbolic titles, however, tells us anything about their historical name.

Consequently, many attempts have been made by modern scholars to identify the inhabitants, using names derived from other historical documents that have revealed the different kinds of Jews who lived in ancient Palestine or Judea…

The historical name “Essene” is passed on in various spellings in Greek and Latin sources. One finds the Greek spelling Essēnoi in some manuscripts of Josephus’s writings, and Essaioi in others. Writers of the patristic period (e.g., Epiphanius) sometimes have the Greek spelling Ossēnoi or Ossaioi (a copyist’s confusion of Ɛ with O?). In Latin, the name is given as Esseni (so Pliny the Elder [Nat. Hist. 5.15.73]). Even though this name is used for Jews, no one has ever found such a name in Hebrew or Aramaic texts. Some scholars have tried to explain Essēnoi as an adjective (with the common Greek gentilic ending -ēnos) derived either from the Hebrew root ‘sy, “do, make” (hence “Doers” [i.e., those that do the will of God]), or “heal” (hence “Healers”), or ḥasayyā’, “pious ones” (Aramaic). None of these explanations is really convincing.

The reason why most scholars prefer to identify the Qumran sect as Essene is the testimony of the Latin writer Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus, A.D. 23–79)…

Two main explanations are current about the origin of the Jewish sect of the Essenes: one traces them to a Palestinian or Judean setting, and the other to a Babylonian background…

The Jews who belonged to the Essene movement were of four sorts: (1) the cenobitic Jews of the Qumran area; (2) those who lived in Jerusalem and other towns and villages of Judea; (3) those still in the camps of “the land of Damascus” (= Babylon); (4) the Therapeutae in Egypt, related to the Essenes of Judea. Here I shall concentrate mainly on the cenobites of the Qumran area.

From the archaeological evidence at Khirbet Qumran, it is clear that the Essenes began to occupy the community center in Phase Ib, about the time that John Hyrcanus I was king and high priest in Judea (134–104 B.C.). Prior to that time, when they withdrew to Qumran, they were a disorganized group, such as described in the Damascus Document, “In the period of wrath, three hundred and ninety years after He delivered them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, He visited them and made a shoot of planting sprout from Israel and Aaron to take possession of His land” (CD 1:5–8)…

IV THE LANGUAGES OF THE SCROLLS

Being documents of ancient Jews living in Judea in the last pre-Christian centuries and during the first century A.D., the Qumran Scrolls were written in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Each of these languages appears in forms that were little known prior to the discovery of the scrolls.

(1) Hebrew. The vast majority of the texts retrieved from the Qumran caves were written in Hebrew. The various biblical texts discovered there were copied in the consonantal form of Biblical Hebrew that was characteristic of the given book, either preexilic or postexilic Biblical Hebrew. At times, however, these copies display the fuller spelling found in many other Qumran Hebrew texts, for example, qwdš (= qôdeš) instead of merely qdš (pronounced in the same way). That fuller spelling is called scriptio plena, which means the use of certain consonants to indicate vowels (e.g., aleph or hē for a; waw for u or ô; yodh for i); such consonants were called matres lectionis (lit., “mothers of a reading”).

The nonbiblical Qumran texts, however, were written in a consonantal form of Hebrew that is later than the postexilic biblical form but not identical to what was used in the earliest of the rabbinical writings, known as Mishnaic Hebrew, which is a form of the language that appears about A.D. 200–220. Many of the sectarian and parabiblical literary writings used by the Essenes were composed in Qumran Hebrew.1 This is strange, because at that time most of the Jews in Judea would have been speaking Aramaic. It is often thought that the Essenes resuscitated the use of spoken Hebrew because it was regarded by them as lĕšôn haqqōdeš, “the language of the Sanctuary.”…

2) Aramaic. Aramaic is a sister language of Hebrew, using the very same consonants but vocalizing them differently. For instance, “the king” would be hammélek in Hebrew, but malkā́ in Aramaic, having the same three consonants, mlk, the root of the verb “to rule, reign.” Qumran Aramaic, however, is a form of the language later than Biblical Aramaic but not identical to the form that appears later in rabbinic writings of the fourth century A.D. Some fragments of Daniel and Ezra from the Qumran caves preserve the Biblical Aramaic form of those biblical books, but often with fuller spelling..

(3) Greek. Although most of the writings found in the Qumran caves were composed in a Semitic language, either Hebrew or Aramaic, some were discovered that were written in Greek These include texts of the Septuagint, that is, the translation of the Hebrew OT into Hellenistic Greek

V THE SCRIPTURES IN THE SCROLLS

The discovery of copies of the Hebrew Scriptures in the Qumran caves gives concrete evidence of what Josephus wrote about the Essenes’ esteem for Moses and his writings: “After God, they hold most in esteem the name of their lawgiver, any blasphemer of whom is put to death” (J.W. 2.8.9 §145). Moreover, the Qumran copies have revolutionized not only the critical study of those biblical writings (i.e., textual criticism), but also the study of the canon and ancient translations (in Aramaic, Greek, and Latin). They have proved to be so important because, before they were discovered, the oldest manuscript of a Hebrew biblical text, the Ben Asher Codex of the Prophets, was dated to A.D. 895.1 The manuscript of Isaiah from Qumran Cave 1 (1QIsaa) is dated 125–100 B.C. and is roughly a thousand years older than the Ben Asher Codex.

Most of the biblical texts have been inscribed on animal skin (of a lamb or a kid), which was prepared for writing in the basins of ‘Ain Feshkha. Some texts of Kings, Daniel, and Tobit are found on papyrus, which may have come from reeds grown locally or from Lake Huleh in Galilee. The skin was inscribed usually on the hair side…

The majority of the biblical books written in Hebrew were found in Qumran Cave 4, but Caves 1–3, 5–8, and 11 also yielded a goodly number of them. All told, they number about 202, a little less than a quarter of all the texts retrieved from the 11 Qumran caves. Almost 20 more come from other sites, such as Murabba‘at and Masada. Most of the documents are fragmentary, but a complete copy of all 66 chapters of the Book of Isaiah was among the seven big texts from Qumran Cave 1 (1QIsaa), from which another sizable, but not complete, copy was retrieved (1QIsab). The only books not represented among the fragments are Esther and Nehemiah. There is, however, a fragmentary text of Ezra (4QEzra [4Q117]), which may offset the loss of Nehemiah, because in antiquity Ezra and Nehemiah were considered at times as one writing…

Many of these biblical texts were copied by Essene scribes at Qumran, and often they can be detected by the distinctive mode of writing and spelling. Some texts are dated palaeographically to a time before the Essene community began to live at Qumran; they show that they were copied elsewhere and were brought to the desert retreat when the Essenes came there. Thus, the oldest text, 4QExodf is dated 250 B.C. …

The chapters of the Book of Daniel and of Ezra that are preserved in Aramaic in the Masoretic Text in use today are represented in fragmentary texts from Qumran…

A few fragments of the Greek translation of the Pentateuch, commonly known as the Old Greek or Septuagint version, have turned up in Qumran Cave 4…

Emanuel Tov has summarized the contribution that the Qumran texts have made to biblical research.9 For instance, he has emphasized readings previously unknown, which now enable one to understand better details in the traditional Masoretic Text that had been obscured by omissions…

Tov has also shown how some of the Qumran biblical texts reveal the reliability of ancient translations, such as the Old Greek (or Septuagint), because some copies of the Hebrew text agree more with the Septuagint than with the traditional Masoretic Text…

This is a difficult topic to discuss, because “canon” is a Greek word (kanōn) that came to be used of authoritative biblical writings in the early Christian church. In the later rabbinical tradition, the idea of such writings was expressed by the formula, “writings that render the hands unclean”: “The [Aramaic] version that is in Ezra and Daniel renders the hands unclean. If an [Aramaic] version [contained in the Scriptures] was written in Hebrew, or if [Scripture that is in] Hebrew was written in an [Aramaic] version, or in [paleo-] Hebrew script, it does not render the hands unclean” (m. Yadaim 4:5).

It is not known, however, whether there were such authoritative writings (or a canon of Scripture) in pre-Christian times or even how the Qumran Essenes then regarded such writings, which we call today apocryphal, deuterocanonical, or protocanonical writings…

VI THE USE AND INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE IN THE SECT

The Essenes differed from the Pharisees in that they did not have an oral tradition governing their understanding of the written Word of God. The Pharisaic oral tradition came to be called tôrāh šebĕ‘al peh, “the Law according to the mouth,” and differed from the tôrāh šebiktāb, “the Law that is in writing.” The oral tradition of the Pharisees was written down eventually in the rabbinic period, about A.D. 200–220, under R. Judah Han-Naśi’ (or Judah the Prince). That tradition thus began with the Mishnah and ended with the Talmuds, Palestinian and Babylonian. Lacking such an oral tradition, the Essenes resorted rather to a variety of ways of biblical exegesis or interpretation, among which the most important were written commentaries that they called pĕšārîm…

In most instances, the Essene interpretation of Scripture assumes the form of literal exegesis, which is unlike that of Philo and other Alexandrian interpreters, whose interpretation is often allegorical, figurative, or symbolic. The Essene interpretation was known as “the exact interpretation of the Law” (pĕrûš hattôrāh, CD 4:8) and “the study of the Law” (midraš hattôrāh). The passage in the Manual of Discipline that explains why the Essenes were in their desert retreat says, “When these have become a community in Israel … and walk to the desert to open there His path, as it stands written, ‘In the desert prepare the way of ••••, make straight a path for our God’ (Isa 40:3). This is the study of the Law, which He ordered through Moses” (1QS 8:12–15). The Essenes considered such study a way of discerning the will of God: what God had hidden from Israel of old, but was discovered by “the Interpreter of the Law” (dôrēš hattôrāh, 1QS 8:11–12), who may have been the Teacher of Righteousness…

VIII BELIEFS AND PRACTICES OF THE SECT:

In the eschatological writings that were discussed toward the end of the preceding chapter, it was found that the Essenes of Qumran believed that they were already living in the end-time. Such a belief not only called for a mode of conduct or behavior that was appropriate to it but also set them apart from other contemporary Jews such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The life and conduct of the Essenes relied very much on the data of the Scriptures, which they interpreted exactly and strictly, but they were governed also by their eschatological convictions.

On the one hand, the belief of the Essenes did not differ from the teachings of other Jews, in that they too affirmed monotheism and the observance of the Mosaic Law and the writings of the Prophets. The Essenes likewise uttered, “Hear, O Israel, Yahweh, is our God, Yahweh alone” (Deut 6:4), and pledged “to seek God with all one’s heart and with all one’s soul and to do what is good and upright before Him, as He ordered through Moses and all His servants, the Prophets” (1QS 1:1–3). So they expressed their reverence and respect for “the God of Israel” (1QS 3:24), the God of their ancestors. In the Psalms Scroll of Qumran Cave 11, which was like a prayer book of the community, the Essenes sang to God with many of the psalms of the canonical psalter. Yet it contains also a “Hymn to the Creator” and uses phrases from Jer 10:12–13 and Ps 135:7…

These different ways of writing the name of God not only reveal the reverence the Essenes had for the Creator, but also show the way they tended to avoid pronouncing His sacred name as Yahweh. The common vocalization of the four consonants is known from Origen’s Hexapla, where he transcribed the pronunciation of the Hebrew in Greek as IAB€. The tetragrammaton, written in Hebrew characters, was employed even in Greek translations of OT books, when those translations were made by Jewish scribes. Christian scribes, however, translated the tetragrammaton in the Septuagint as ho Kyrios, “the Lord,” and that became the common practice for centuries….

Besides the main theological tenets that have been singled out in §§1–3 above, the Essenes cherished various other convictions about angels, the holy Spirit, justification by grace, the New Jerusalem, and astrology.

(a) Angels. The main word in Hebrew for “angels” is mal’ākîm (lit., “messengers,” who bring God’s word to human beings); but other names are used too: qĕdôšîm, “holy ones,” rûḥôt, “spirits,” ’ēlîm, “divinities,” and even ’ĕlôhîm, “gods.” In Aramaic, one finds mal’ākîn, “messengers,” ‘îrîn, “watchers,” and qaddîšîn, “holy ones.” Many of the Hebrew titles can be found in a text that is called sometimes “The Angelic Liturgy,” or more usually 11QShirShabb (11Q17), cols. 1–5.

Besides the angels mentioned in the OT, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (1QM 9:15–16; 4QEna 1 iv 6), the Essenes venerated also Sariel (1QM 9:16) and other angels, whose names are listed in 4QEna 1 iv 1–4: Shemiḥazah, Ḥermoni, Baraq’el, Kokab’el, Ziqi’el, Aratteqoph, Shimsṓḥi’el, Sahri’el, Asa’el. Another list of twenty angels is provided in 4QEna 1 iii 5–12.3 Not all the angels were good, however, since Belial also had his mal’ākîm, “angels” (1QM 1:15)…

The Holy Spirit. Borrowing from the OT, especially from the Book of Ezekiel, the idea of “the Spirit of the Lord” (37:1), the Essenes used it often to express their awareness of God’s presence among them: “You have spread over me Your holy Spirit so that I may not stumble” (1QHa 15 [old 7]:7); “You have delighted me with Your holy Spirit” (1QHa 17 [old 9]:32); “I have heeded faithfully Your wondrous secret through Your holy Spirit” (1QHa 20 [old 17]:12)…

IX THE SCROLLS AND CHRISTIANITY

In approaching this topic, I must issue a warning at the outset. This topic is not being discussed in any apologetic sense, as if it were more or less important than it really is. There is, first of all, a need to be aware of a Christian tendency, often subconscious, to color details in these thoroughly Jewish scrolls or magnify them unduly in a Christian sense. Second, some years ago, shortly after the publication of the first scrolls from Cave 1, the Jewish scholar Samuel Sandmel warned those who were studying them about “Parallelomania.”1 Parallels there are indeed; but perhaps the comment should be, “So what?” The parallels may be sheer coincidence. Third, one often sees quoted the dictum of E. R. Goodenough about parallels: A parallel by definition consists of straight lines in the same plane that never meet, however far they are extended in any direction. That definition, however, is derived from mathematics and is being applied to literature. To repeat the dictum as if it closes all discussion or absolves one from investigating the literary relationship of authors to some sources is only a form of obscurantism—something little better than parallelomania or pan-Qumranism. It also enables one to avoid asking the question, when a literary parallel might cease to be such and prove actually to be a contact…

John, the son of the priest Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5), is mentioned nowhere in any of Qumran Scrolls or in any of the Dead Sea Scrolls (in the broad sense), even though he is known to have been a contemporary of the Qumran Essenes. The Jewish historian Josephus knew of John and reported that some Jews claimed that God had destroyed the army of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, “because of the execution of John, called the Baptist” (Ant. 18.5.2 §§116–19; see Mark 6:16–29, the Gospel account of John’s death)…

There is no mention of Jesus of Nazareth anywhere in the QL. Since most of the scrolls date from the first century B.C., it is not surprising that he is not named in any of them. Those that are dated palaeographically to the first century A.D. come usually from such an early time in that century that there is little likelihood that they would say anything about him.

That Jesus knew of the Essenes of Qumran is not unlikely. That he taught some of the same things that they espoused is not impossible, but there is no way of being certain about either question, mainly because the Essenes are not mentioned in the NT…

One of the names found in the NT for the primitive Christian community is “the Way” (hē hodos), in Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 23. Commentators on Acts have said either that they could not find out where this name came from or that it was a shortening of “the way of the Lord/God,” as in Acts 18:25–26. Hadderek, “the Way,” however, occurs a number of times at the designation of the Essene community at Qumran: tikkûnê hadderek, “the regulations of the Way” (1QS 9:21); lĕbôḥôrê derek, “those who choose the Way” (1QS 9:17–18); sōrĕrê derek, “those who turn aside from the Way” (CD 2:6). This evidence might suggest that early Christians, in using “the Way” as a name for their members, were imitating the Essene designation of their community…

In Qumran Cave 7, nineteen fragments were found, all written in Greek; two were biblical texts (7Q1: Exod 28:4–7; 7Q2: Epistle of Jeremy [Baruch 6]:43–44) and the rest (7Q3–19) remained unidentified. In 1972, José O’Callaghan published an article in which he claimed to identify eight of the fragments (7Q4–10, 15) as quotations of NT verses. He considered 7Q4 to be part of 1 Tim 3:16; 4:1, 3; 7Q5 as Mark 6:52–53; 7Q6/l as Mark 4:28; 7Q6/2 as Acts 27:38; 7Q7 as Mark 12:17; 7Q8 as Jas 1:23–24; 7Q9 as Rom 5:11–12; 7Q10 as 2 Pet 1:15; and 7Q15 as Mark 6:48.3

If O’Callaghan had been right, one would have had to change the interpretation of many of the finds at Qumran and revise the dating of many NT writings: for example, Christians would have been among the people resident at Qumran; 2 Peter would have been written before the fall of Jerusalem.

Many scholars and students of the Qumran scrolls, however, remained quite skeptical about his identification, because most of the 7Q fragments are so small and contain so few letters that they almost defy identification. O’Callaghan continued to insist on the NT identification until his death…

X THE SCROLLS AND THE WRITINGS OF PAUL OF TARSUS

The chief difference between the QL and the NT lies in the Christian gospel, the good news of what Jesus of Nazareth achieved for humanity in his life, passion, death, and resurrection. There is nothing like that news in the QL. An important secondary difference, however, is the eschatology of the two groups. The Essenes, who seem to have been convinced that they were living already in the end-time, were looking forward predominantly to the end of that period, to the coming of a Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel and to the final battle of the sons of light against the sons of darkness. The early Christians, however, who also may be thought of as already living in the end-time, predominantly looked backward to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah who has already come.

The earliest NT writer who wrote about Jesus was not one of the evangelists, but Paul of Tarsus. Even before any of the Gospels, the narratives of what Jesus did and said, were composed, Paul was interpreting the meaning of what Jesus did and said. So the interpretation preceded the narrative. Paul is known to Christians of a later date from his letters and the account of his ministry that Luke later composed in the Acts of the Apostles…

Various features of Pauline theology have been detected as similar to that of the Essenes: justification by grace, interpretation of Hab 2:4, curse of the law, lists of vices and virtues, and dualism…

XI THE SCROLLS AND JOHANNINE WRITINGS

By “Johannine Writings” I mean the Gospel according to John and the three Johannine Epistles. Even though the Apocalypse (or Book of Revelation) is attributed to John, I shall treat that writing in the next chapter, along with other Christian writings of the NT.

The Gospel according to John, the fourth of the canonical Gospels, was hardly a second-century composition, as has been maintained at times. The Rylands Papyrus (P52), containing parts of John 18:31–33, 37–38, is dated palaeographically to A.D. 100–125, which shows that the Gospel was already in existence at the end of the first Christian century. It is dated commonly to the last decade, A.D. 90–95, and not earlier. The Fourth Gospel is not a reformulation of the Christian good news in philosophical terms, despite its emphasis in the prologue on the Logos and its allegedly Platonic view of the world (“above … below,” ideal vs. real). It contains rather a heavily Jewish Christian formulation that has embedded a primitive tradition about Jesus of Nazareth, along with a clear dependence on OT ideas, customs, and feasts. Hence, it is a late first-century meditative reminiscence of what Jesus once did and said…

As will be seen below, the Johannine Gospel and Epistles manifest contacts with Essene writings that are not just random parallels. It is not known, however, where or how such a contact took place. Ephesus has been regarded traditionally as the place of composition of the Fourth Gospel, and because the Acts of the Apostles speaks of disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus (Acts 18:25–19:5), it has been suggested that the contact was made through such disciples in Ephesus. A recent commentator on the Gospel, however, has proposed rather that its author “was more likely to have been an Essene,” who was converted…

XII THE SCROLLS AND OTHER CHRISTIAN WRITINGS

The Beatitudes. A beatitude or macarism is a saying that begins, “Blessed is/are.… The beatitude as a literary form is found often in the OT (e.g., Ps 1:1; Jer 17:7); sometimes beatitudes are paired (e.g., Ps 32:1–2). There are thirteen beatitudes in the Matthean Gospel, and fifteen in the Lucan. They appear on the lips of Jesus, scattered throughout his teaching. A collection of beatitudes is found in Matt 5:3–10 (eight of them) and in Luke 6:20–22 (four of them, parallel to four woes).

Beatitudes are scattered throughout QL, especially in its Wisdom texts. Thus, “Blessed is the man to whom she [Wisdom] has been given” (4QWisText [4Q185] 1–2 ii 8); “Blessed is the man who makes(?) her [Wisdom], does not deceive her, does not slander against her …” (ibid., 13)…

The NT writing that is so named is recognized today as neither a Pauline composition, nor an epistle, nor addressed to the Hebrews, despite the long tradition that so regarded it. It is an anonymous homily or word of exhortation (logos paraklēseōs, so named in Heb 13:22) with an epistolary conclusion, addressed to a Christian community and seeking to get it to renew its loyalty after considerable backsliding. It contains extensive exhortations, with elaborate interpretations of OT passages.

The Jewish scholar Y. Yadin, in an early article written in 1958, maintained that the Epistle to the Hebrews was addressed to a “group of Jews originally belonging to the DSS Sect who were converted to Christianity, carrying with them some of their previous beliefs.”2 His opinion was adopted by some Christian scholars…

This distinctive book of the NT is called properly by the Greek title, “The Apocalypse” (Apokalypsis), because it is the only complete book in the NT written in the literary genre called “apocalyptic.” This genre designates writings of a revelatory character that were born in ancient Judaism, especially in times when Israel was struggling with occupying powers that were persecuting the Israelites. The purpose of such a writing was to console the Israelites, assuring them that God was still in control of their destiny and history. Examples of such apocalyptic writing can be found in Isaiah 24–27, 56–66; Zechariah 9–14; Daniel 7–12; and in noncanonical Jewish literature such as Jubilees, 1 Enoch, and 4 Ezra…

XIII THE COPPER SCROLL

In Qumran Cave 3, the archaeologists who were scouring the cliffs that line the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in the spring of 1952 as they looked for further caves after the discovery of Cave 2 found a strange object. It turned out to be two copper rolls, each about 12 inches long, which had lain in the cave for about 2,000 years. The copper rolls could not be unrolled because the metal had become oxidized and brittle. They have often been called “the Copper Scroll,” the title used in this chapter. They are not really a scroll, but rather two parts of a plaque. It soon became clear that the plaque contained some writing, because some of the letters of the inscribed text showed through on the reverse. A German scholar, Karl Georg Kuhn, who studied the unrolled plaque, determined from the inverse letters that the text had something to do with “digging,” “cubits,” and “gold.” From this he concluded that it probably said something about hidden treasure…

Allegro made a facsimile of the Hebrew letters to accompany the photographs of the columns; the photographs were difficult to read because of the curvature of the strips, and so the facsimile became all important. Allegro finally brought the facsimile, the photographs, and unrolled plaque back to Jerusalem. Then J. T. Milik was assigned to make the official publication of it, which he finally did in 1962, seven years after it was opened…

When the text of 3Q15 was studied, it revealed that it was indeed a list of 64 places were treasure had been buried, as Kuhn had suggested from his study of it in its unopened state. For instance, the first entry of column 1 reads, “At Harubah, which is in the Vale of Achor, under the steps that face eastward, 40 cubits: a box of silver weighing 17 talents. KɛN.” In this entry, the details are somewhat clear, but in many of the 64 entries they are not. The Hebrew text of the first entry just quoted ends with three Greek letters, and nobody has been able to say what they (and a few other instances like them) really mean. What is evident, however, is that the whole text records the hiding places of many precious metals: gold, silver, and other items…

The opened plaque, however, has raised many questions. Does it record places where real treasure has been buried? Was it the treasure of the Qumran community? Or did the treasure belong to someone else? Possibly to the Temple in Jerusalem? Who stored the plaque in Cave 3? Or was it merely a fictional record of “buried treasure”? There are other ancient examples of imaginary buried treasure, but none on a copper plaque. But if it is a fictional record, why would anyone inscribe it on a copper plaque?

Whatever the answers to such questions may be, the text inscribed on the plaque is important for the study of the Hebrew dialect in which it was composed. It is written in a form of Hebrew that is intermediate between the late postexilic Biblical Hebrew (and even Qumran Hebrew) and Mishnaic Hebrew. Milik dated the script palaeographically to A.D. 100. If he is correct, that would mean that the plaque was deposited in Cave 3 after the destruction of the Essene community center at Qumran in A.D. 68 and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It is far from certain that the plaque had anything to do with the Essene community, because its text contains no sectarian terminology and mentions no one or anything connected with the Essenes…

XIV THE END OF THE QUMRAN COMMUNITY

From the archaeological evidence at Khirbet Qumran, it is known that the site was destroyed by fire, and in the ashes created by it were found coins dated to the second and third year of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome, along with numerous arrowheads.1 This means that the buildings were destroyed by military action, that is, by the Roman troops that were in the Jordan Valley prior to their advance to the siege of Jerusalem. Hence, the site of Qumran became ruins (a khirbeh) in A.D. 68, and the Essenes had to move on from there. The Romans left a small squadron of soldiers at Qumran, who used part of the site as military post to guard the shore of the Dead Sea and the area around the mouth of the Jordan River.

Some of the Essenes from Qumran must have gone to Masada, a Herodian fortress situated about 25 miles to the south-southwest of Qumran, because copies of some of the same texts that were found in Qumran Cave 4 were also found there, written in the same script. The fortress of Masada fell to the Roman siege of it in A.D. 73–74, and what Essenes from Qumran were there must have either perished or fled elsewhere…

It is not impossible that some of the Qumran community became Christian monks, because from the Manual of Discipline and other sectarian writings we know that the Essenes lived a common life, pooled their earnings, and conducted themselves in obedience to an Overseer (mĕbaqqēr); and some of them lived as celibates. That form of life was thus a Jewish precedent of the life of poverty, chastity, and obedience that characterized monasticism in the Christian church of later days.

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls 3

#8. Jesus and the Gospels in the Light of the Scrolls by F.F. Bruce

In any comparison of the Qumran literature with the Gospels there is an initial difficulty to be

taken into account: the historical subject-matter of the Gospels is far more securely

established than that of the Qumran literature. For example, whatever doubt may be

entertained of other elements in the story of Jesus, the fact that he was crucified by sentence

of Pontius Pilate fixes his position in history within narrow limits, for Pilate was prefect of

Judaea from A.D. 26 to 36/37.

If it were possible to fix the death of the Qumran Teacher of Righteousness within ten or twelve years, we should count ourselves fortunate indeed. As it is, two of the most distinguished British scholars who have dealt with this subject assign to the death of the Teacher dates separated from each other by over 230 years: H. H. Rowley identifies him with the high priest Onias III, who was assassinated in 171 B.C., while G. R. Driver identifies him with the Zealot leader Menahem, who was killed in September, A.D. 66.

It must make a difference to a comparative study of Qumran and the Gospels whether we date

the Teacher of Righteousness before Christ or after Christ. But even G. R. Driver, while

maintaining the post-Christian dating of the Scrolls, insists that “they are documents of prime

importance for the understanding of the New Testament and present a challenge which

Christian scholars will neglect at their peril” (The Judaean Scrolls, 1965, p. 6). His words are

still more to be heeded if, as is assumed for purposes of this essay, both the Teacher of

Righteousness and the bulk of the Qumran texts thus far published are pre-Christian…

Let it be said here that the Jesus with whom this essay is concerned is the Jesus of the

Gospels. No attempt will be made to draw a distinction between the Jesus of history and the

kerygmatic Jesus of post-Easter faith, any more than one will (or could) be made to

distinguish the historical Teacher of Righteousness from the Teacher as he appears in the

Qumran texts.

In the Qumran texts and in the Gospels the Hebrew prophets are valued and interpreted in

their own right; they are not relegated (as so often in rabbinical Judaism) to the role of

providing comments or haphtaroth to the Torah. In the Qumran literature those covenantbreakers

are denounced “who will not believe when they hear all that is coming upon the last

generation, from the mouth of the priest [presumably the Teacher of Righteousness] into

whose heart God has put wisdom, to interpret all the words of his servants the prophets,

through whom God told all that was to come upon his people and upon his land” (1 QpHab. ii.

6-10); similarly Jesus chides his disciples, calling them “foolish men” because they were so

“slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24. 25). The time at which

the prophetic oracles would be fulfilled was not made known to the prophets themselves; it

was revealed to the Teacher of Righteousness, and communicated by him to his disciples,

who thus had reason to thank God for divulging to them his “wonderful mysteries” which

were concealed from others. So Jesus thanks God for revealing to babes things that had been hidden from the wise and understanding (Matt. 11. 25; Luke 10. 21) and congratulates his hearers because they see and hear things that prophets and righteous men longed in vain to see and hear (Matt. 13. 16f.; Luke 10. 23f.).

The distinctive theology of each of the two bodies of literature is based in great measure on the interpretation of prophecy characteristic of each.

In the Qumran literature, however, there is a note of hope deferred which is absent from the

Gospels. It may be that at one time the winding up of the old age was expected within the lifetime

of the Teacher of Righteousness, but its postponement beyond his death called for some

reinterpretation of prophecy: “the last time is prolonged, extending beyond all that the

prophets have spoken, for the mysteries of God are wonderful” (1 QpHab. vii. 7f.). This

reminds us of the New Testament problem of the postponement of the parousia, but while this

problem has left its mark here and there in the Gospels (cf. Luke 19. 1; John 21. 22f.) their

dominant theme is that the age of fulfilment is here. “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in

your hearing”, says Jesus in the Nazareth synagogue after reading Isa. 61. If. (Luke 4. 2 I); his

contemporaries should understand that his casting out demons is a sign that the kingdom of

God has arrived (Matt. 12. 28; Luke 11. 20), and if it has not yet arrived “with power”, it will

do so very soon (Mark 9. r); the limitations under which he labours at present will disappear

once he has undergone his coming baptism (Luke 12. 50)—a baptism which, in the light of

Mark 10. 38f., can readily be identified with his death. There is a difference here which is

bound up with the differing roles ascribed to Jesus and the Teacher of Righteousness by their

respective disciples….

As the Qumran community owes its character and outlook preeminently to the personality and

teaching of the Teacher of Righteousness, so primitive Christianity owes its being to Jesus.

A comparison of Jesus and the Teacher of Righteousness is difficult because of the

allusiveness of the Qumran references to the Teacher and the uncertainty of any

reconstruction of his career; even the most sceptical assessment of the historical element in

the Gospels among contemporary New Testament students leaves us with much more definite

information about the historical Jesus than the Qumran documents provide about the Teacher.

One thing must be said: in any such comparison apologetic motives have no place. It is

foolish to imagine that the significance of Jesus can be enhanced by depreciation of one of the

righteous men who went before him. Yet the words “who went before him” are appropriate in

more than a chronological sense. The formulation of Jesus’ indictment which was fastened to

his cross, “The King of the Jews”, indicates that he was held to have made some sort of

messianic claim for himself, and he was certainly proclaimed by his followers very soon

afterwards as the Messiah of Israel. There is no indication that any messianic claim was made

for the Teacher of Righteousness either by himself or by his followers: his role was rather that

of a forerunner of the messianic age, “to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (cf. Luke

1. 17). Of the manner of his death we have no information, nor yet about any significance that

was attached to it, save that with it a final probationary period of forty years was believed to

begin (CD xx. 14 f.; cf. the implied interpretation of the forty years of Ps. 95. 10 in Heb. 3.

7ff.).

It is quite uncertain whether his resurrection is implied in the reference to the “standing

up of one who will teach righteousness in the end of days” (CD vi. to f.); it is, indeed, quite

uncertain whether the Qumran community held the doctrine of resurrection or not. But it is

nowhere suggested that, if such an expectation was entertained with regard to the Teacher, he

ever did rise again or that anyone thought he did so. Apart from his qualities as an organizer and leader of men, his main service to his followers appears to have been his creative biblical

exegesis. Jesus too taught his followers the principles of a creative biblical exegesis, and

while they might not have regarded this as his main service to them, it provided them with the

framework for understanding and declaring the meaning of his person and work.

Another essay in this collection deals with the messianic doctrine of the Qumran community.

Here it may suffice to say that the messianic doctrine of Qumran, especially as it related to the

Messiah of Israel and his career of conquest, was repudiated by Jesus as decisively as other

current forms of messianic expectation. If analogies are sought in Old Testament prophecy for

Jesus’ understanding and fulfilment of his mission, they may be found more readily in a combination of the Servant of Yahweh of Isa. 42-53 and the “one like a son of man” of

Dan. 7. 13 than in the explicit messianic passages.

While the Servant of Yahweh and the Son of Man do not figure expressly in the Qumran

literature, the influence of the biblical passages where they are portrayed can be discerned in

the thought and language of the community. The speaker in some of the Hymns of

Thanksgiving—whether he is the Teacher of Righteousness in person or an anonymous

spokesman of the community—describes his experiences in terms of the obedient and

suffering Servant. More important still: the community as a whole seems to have regarded

itself as called upon corporately to fulfil the Servant’s role. As the Teacher and his followers

devoted themselves to the study and practice of the law of God, as they endured persecution

and privation for righteousness’ sake, they believed that they were accumulating a store of

merit which would be accepted as an atonement for the polluted land of Israel. But they also

believed that, when the “epoch of wickedness” came to an end, it would be their privilege to

be God’s instruments in the execution of judgement against the ungodly (cf. 1 QpHab. v. 3-6).

These two phases of corporate fulfilment of prophecy may be compared with Jesus’ words

about the Son of Man, on the one hand suffering rejection and giving his life a ransom for

many, on the other hand coming in glory to acknowledge faithful confessors and to disown

the faithless in the presence of God and the holy angels. The corporate aspect is not absent

from the Gospels: Jesus speaks of his followers as both sharing his cup of passion and sharing

his throne of glory with him.

#9. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Doctrine by Matthew Black D.D., F.B.A.

Principal of St. Mary’s College and Professor of Biblical Criticism in the University of St Andrews

The Ethel M. Wood Lecture delivered before the University of London on 8 February 1966

The Dead Sea scrolls ‘are documents of prime importance for the understanding of

the New Testament and present a challenge which Christian scholars will neglect at

their peril’.1 The relevance and importance of the scrolls for the study of Christian

beginnings, doctrinal as well as historical, is now widely recognized. The ‘battle’ of

the scrolls, moreover, seems largely to have moved away from questions of date and

history―though these are still fundamental and few of them yet resolved―to

doctrinal or theological issues where there is every indication that these will be as

hotly contested as the fundamental problems of history and dates.

At the moment, however, the most urgent need is not for controversy, but for clarification; and my

main purpose in this lecture is to seek to clarify some of the debated theological

issues as well as to report several of my own conclusions. The scrolls are important

for Christian doctrine: but there is a very real danger that this importance may be

exaggerated, and a distorted, even false, picture given of their doctrines as well as

their dates. I may add that I am also acutely aware of the difficulties and

complexities of the subject; and these I do not think can be exaggerated.

I have two preliminary remarks to make. Firstly, I assume that the scrolls are to be

dated not later than the end of the first Christian century, or, at the latest, the early

decades of the second. Some of the scrolls, at any rate, must therefore be contemporary with New Testament writings, others are undoubtedly earlier. Secondly, the

favourite identification of the sect is with the Essenes, a large body of whom is located by

ancient historians near the Dead Sea. The theory has been challenged, most recently by

Professor Driver,2 and can no longer, it seems to me, be maintained without qualification. The

modification I would accept is that the Essene group who held the fort at Qumran at the

outbreak of the First Revolt (and thus the last custodians of the scrolls) had ceased, at least in their leadership and dominant elements, to be the pacific ascetics idealized by Josephus and

Philo; they had by then thrown in their lot with Zealot and Pharisaic groups…

It is now common knowledge that the Qumran sect believed in two Messiahs, a priestly

Messiah and a secular leader or royal Messiah, more in line with the orthodox conception of

traditional Judaism. In addition, a third individual has figured prominently in the discussion of

the scrolls, the so-called Teacher of Righteousness.

Apart from the fact that he was the founder of the sect and some kind of teacher of the Law (the term, which is ambiguous, really means ‘the Rightful Teacher [of the Law]’) his identity has baffled scholars, and there is still no general agreement as to who he was or when he flourished: the most recent solution of the problem is still sub judice.4

One school of interpreters claims that he too was a Messiah, or rather, it is claimed that the sect believed that he would arise or ‘return’ ‘at the end of the days’ as the priestly Messiah of the sect. Where so much is still. obscure it is not surprising to find even more extravagant claims being made:

indeed, a whole mythology has now grown up around the Teacher of Righteousness, based on

the slenderest of evidence, such as that he was crucified, appeared in a theophany to his

followers, rose again from the dead, and so on; and the portrait of Christ in the Gospels is then

made out to be a second-hand copy of a Qumran original…

The idea that the Qumran sect believed in some form of messianic atonement is one of the

most fiercely contested in scroll interpretation. That the scrolls do attest some kind of

atonement ‘for the nation’, that is, for Israel, through human suffering, in this case the

persecutions of the sect, is not in dispute and I take the homologoumena first before turning

to the antilegomena.

One must begin by recognizing that the concept of atonement is a large one, capable of

embracing a variety of not necessarily related ideas. In the Manual of Discipline, for

instance, the individual makes atonement for his own sins by renewed obedience to the Law;

elsewhere it is God who makes atonement (CD v.5). One disputed passage speaks of the Messiah as making atonement (CD xviii.8-9), and I shall return to this passage shortly.

The idea is also closely connected with the doctrine of grace; and in the Hymns of Thanksgiving

we encounter again and again a deep spiritual insight in this connection found elsewhere only

in the great prophets, or the Psalms, and the New Testament; it is a spirit of almost

evangelical piety―man has no righteousness of his own except what God confers on him.19

Evidence for the atoning efficacy of the sufferings of the spiritual leaders of the sect is

incontrovertible and specially noteworthy use is made of Second Isaiah. At fol: viii in the

Manual of Discipline special mention is made of fifteen men, twelve laymen and three

priests, who are said to be ‘perfect in all that is revealed from the whole Torah’…

It is a fairly general assumption among scroll interpreters that the Qumran doctrine

of the Last Things―its eschatology―is substantially that of the New Testament

writings. The Qumran Essenes shared, we are told, with the early Church the same

kind of beliefs in the imminence of the Last Judgement, the coming of the Kingdom

of God, the End of the world, in heaven and hell, in rewards and punishments in an

after-life, etc.

In general it may certainly be said that there is a larger area of common ground here

between Qumran Judaism and the New Testament than between the New Testament

and any other branch of Judaism: but the situation is more complicated than can be

conveyed in such general terms, for, as in the New Testament itself, there are diverse tendencies as well as development within Qumran eschatological doctrine. What

began as a political programme or goal, for instance, albeit a goal to be reached in

God’s own time and by His will ‘at the end of the days’, namely the national

recognition of the claims of the sect as the body representing the true Israel, tended

to find increasing expression in apocalyptic language and imagery so that the End

Time became, as in the New Testament, a cosmic drama of Judgement.

No sharp line of distinction, however, can be drawn between an other-worldly eschatology and the

political aspirations of the sect even in their wildest dreams of world dominion. The

birth-pangs of the new age, the Kingdom of God, were to be the death-throes of the

old age, the overthrow of the dominion of Satan represented by the kingdoms of this

world…

The Qumran doctrine of salvation, along with its closely related doctrine of man―again and

again we are reminded of the frailty and inherent sinfulness of man apart from Godis central

in Qumran belief. As in the Psalter and the great Prophets, man is always seen in his

difference and distance from God but by God’s mercy and by his sustaining and enabling

power man can transcend his own weakness to become like one of the angelic beings

themselves. The foundations are here for the Pauline doctrine of ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’ and

‘adoption’ as ‘children’ or ‘sons of God’. (Romans viii. 14 f.)

#10 Qumran and the Old Testament by F.F. Bruce Presidential Address, 2 June 1959

The Qumran documents include an abundance of material bearing on the Old

Testament―Hebrew texts, Greek texts, Targums and commentaries.

(1) Over 200 copies of Old Testament books in the Hebrew (or Aramaic) original have been

identified among the more than 500 books represented by the Qumran finds. Most of these

have survived only as fragments, but there are a few reasonably complete copies, such as

Isaiah A from Cave I and the copies of Leviticus and the Psalms from Cave XI. All twentyfour

books of the Hebrew Bible are represented with the exception of Esther; there are also

fragments of some books of the Apocrypha.

(2) Some Septuagint fragments of two manuscripts of Leviticus and one of Numbers have

been identified from Cave IV; Cave VII has yielded fragments of the Septuagint text of

Exodus and also of the Epistle of Jeremiah, which appears in most editions of the Apocrypha

as the last chapter of Baruch, although it is an independent composition.1

(3) Of all the Targumic material found, greatest interest attaches to the Targum of Job found

in Cave XI, because we have independent evidence for the existence of a written Targum of

this book in the period of the Second Temple, which Gamalel I ordered to be built into the

temple walls2 (presumably not later than A.D. 63, when Herod’s temple was finally completed). We remember, too, the note appended to the Septuagint text of Job which is said to have been ‘translated from the Syriac book’ (probably from an Aramaic Targum).

Fragments of a Leviticus Targum (xvi. 12-15, 18-21) have been found in Cave IV.

The Genesis Apocryphon from Cave I certainly contains Targumic sections, although J. T.

Milik says that it is ‘no true Targum’.3 Other scholars, however, disagree with him; M. Black,

working out a hint dropped by P. Kahle, says that it ‘is almost certainly our oldest written

Palestinian Pentateuch Targum’.4

(4) One of the most important groups of writings found at Qumran consists of commentaries

(pesharim) on various Old Testament books or parts of books. These not only tell us much about the biblical interpretation and religious outlook of the Qumran sectaries, but also have a

contribution of their own to snake to the history of the biblical text.

In the light of these different species of Qumran literature we now propose to consider what

can be learned about (a) the literary criticism of Old Testament books; (b) the text of the Old

Testament; (c) the canon of the Old Testament; (d) the interpretation of the Old Testament

current at Qumran…

To be sure, the Qumran evidence does appear to refute conclusively arguments to the effect

that the book of Isaiah did not receive its present form until after the Maccabaean revolt. We

may think, for instance, of R. H. Kennett’s suggestion5 that the portrayal of the Suffering

Servant in Isaiah Iii. 13-liii. 12 was inspired by the martyrdom of faithful Jews under

Antiochus Epiphanes (between 168 and 164 B.C.), or of B. Dulun’s dating6 of the ‘Isaiah

Apocalypse’ (Isa. xxiv-xxvii) in the reign of John Hyrcanus (135-104 B.C.). If we now have a

copy of the book of Isaiah, complete with Servant Songs and ‘Isaiah Apocalypse’, assignable

on palaeographical grounds to the general period of the Maccabaean rising, there is no further

need of argument. So, at least, one might have thought; but in a book actually dealing with the

Qumran discoveries one French scholar hazarded the suggestion that the portrayal of the

Suffering Servant could have been based on the historical experience of the Teacher of

Righteousness, the revered leader of the Qumran community, whose death he placed between

66 and 63 B.C.!7…

The text of the Old Testament has come down to us along three principal lines of

transmission.

There is, first of all, the Massoretic Hebrew text.9 This is the consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible which is commonly supposed to have been fixed by

Jewish scholars in the days of Rabbi Aqiba (c. A.D. 100), the text to which the Massoretes of

the sixth to ninth centuries A.D. affixed an elaborate apparatus of signs which standardised

the pronunciation, punctuation and (up to a point) interpretation of the text. Although the

earliest surviving manuscripts of this text belong, with fragmentary exceptions,10 to the ninth

century A.D., we have witnesses to its earlier stages in quotations in the Mishnah and

Talmud, in the Midrashim and Targumim, and in the Syriac (Peshitta) and Latin (Vulgate)

versions of the Old Testament.

There is, secondly, the Greek version of the Old Testament commonly called the Septuagint,

produced in Alexandria in Egypt in the last two or three centuries B.C., and reflecting a

Hebrew text which sometimes deviates from that of the Massoretes, and which may

reasonably be labelled as an Egyptian text-type.

Thirdly, so far as the Pentateuch is concerned, there is the Samaritan Bible, an edition of the

Hebrew text which has for at least 2,000 years been preserved along a lime of transmission

quite independent of the Massoretic text of the Jews. Before the discovery of the Qumran

texts, P. Kahle expressed the view that the Samaritan Bible, apart from certain adaptations in

the interest of Samaritan claims, is in the main a popular revision of an older text, in which

antiquated forms and constructions, not familiar to people of later times, were replaced by

forms and constructions easier to be understood, difficulties were removed, parallel passages

were inserted’.11

The discovery at Qumran of biblical texts a thousand years older than the earliest Hebrew

biblical manuscripts previously known naturally gave rise to considerable excitement and

speculation, especially as the possibility of our ever finding Hebrew biblical manuscripts

substantially earlier than the Massoretic period had been dismissed for all practical purposes

by the highest authorities.12 The general reader of the Bible asked if the new discoveries

involved much alteration in the traditional text of the Old Testament; the specialist asked to

which, if to any, of the known text-types the newly discovered texts could be assigned…

The best-preserved biblical manuscript from Cave IV is a copy of. Samuel in Hebrew (4Q

Sam. A). This scroll originally contained fifty-seven colunms, of which parts of forty-seven

survive. It is of particular interest, because not only does it exhibit very much the type of text

which the Septuagint translator of Samuel must have used, but a type of text closer to that

which the author of Chronicles appears to have used in the compilation of his work than to the

M.T. of Samuel. P. W. Skehan16 suggests that the M.T. of Samuel is a ‘scissored’ text, in

which certain material has been removed from an earlier ‘vulgar’ text of which 4Q Samuel A

and the Septuagint together give us information.

Among the prophetical books, Jeremiah shows the greatest divergence between the Septuagint

and M.T., the Septuagint attesting a shorter text. Thus shorter text is exhibited in a Hebrew

copy from Cave IV (4Q Jer. B), but the longer recension is also represented at Qumran

A fragmentary scroll of Exodus from Cave IV, written in palaeo-Hebrew script, shows a type

of text hitherto regarded as distinctively Samaritan. The Samaritan text is characterised by

expansions, only a few of which reflect a sectarian tendency. This scroll exhibits all the

Samaritan expansions for the area which it covers, except the supplement to the Tenth

Commandment at the end of Exodus xx. 17, which is one of the expansions where a sectarian

tendency is evident. There is thus nothing sectarian about this scroll, and its evidence

confirms Dr Kahle’s suggestion, quoted above, that the Samaritan Pentateuch in essence is a

popular recension of the traditional text.

The well-known document 4Q Testimonia, which brings together a number of ‘messianic’

proof-texts from the Old Testament, quotes as its first proof-text part of the expanded

Samaritan text of Exodus xx. 21, where the words ‘Moses drew near unto the thick darkness

where God was’ are followed by a conflation of Deuteronomy v. 28 £ and Deuteronomy xviii.

18 f…

The biblical manuscripts proper are not the only Qumran documents which provide us with

the information about the biblical text; indeed, reference has already been made in this respect

to 4Q Testimonia, which is not a biblical manuscript in the strict sense. The biblical

commentaries are also useful in this respect, the more so because the commentators make

skilful use of textual variants. Where one variant suits a commentator’s purpose better than

another, he will use it, although his exposition may show plainly that he is well aware of an

alternative reading. Out of several instances that might be given, let one suffice…

As between the three main text-types, that which developed in due course into the Massoretic

is superior to the other two. In a considerable number of places the new discoveries have

helped us to emend it, or have confirmed emendations previously conjectured; but in general

neither the Septuagint Vorlage nor the Samaritan text can approach the proto-Massoretec for accuracy.

It is evident that down to the end of the Second Commonwealth no one text-type was fixed as authoritative among Palestinian Jews, even in so strict a community as that of Qumran. But when, about the end of the first century A.D., a uniform consonantal text was fixed by Aqiba and his fellow-rabbis, it is clear that they proceeded with sound judgment. It is significant, by the way, that the biblical Hebrew manuscripts found in the Murabba‘at caves, whose presence there evidently dates from the years of the second Jewish revolt against Rome (A.D. 132-135), uniformly exhibit one texttype― the text―type recently standardised by Aqiba and others, the text-type which some

centuries later formed the basis on which the Massoretes worked…

It is difficult to make a definite pronouncement on the limits of the biblical canon recognised

by the Qumran community. It is clear that they recognised the Law and the Prophets as

divinely inspired. The commentaries which are written on those books, or on excerpts from

them, presuppose that they are to be treated as divine oracles, whose interpretation was a

closely-guarded mystery until it was made known in the latter days to the Teacher of

Righteousness. The Psalter was evidently accorded the same recognition as the Law and the

Prophets. But what about the other books in the third division of the Hebrew Bible―the

‘Writings’? We cannot simply infer that they were regarded as canonical from the fact that all

of them (except Esther) are represented in the Qumran literature, for many other books are

represented in the Qumran literature. The Qumran library evidently included many

apocalyptic and pseudepigraphic works which enjoyed considerable prestige in certain

sections of the population of Judaea in those days, such as Jubilees and I Enoch,18 which

appear to be closely related to the distinctive theology of Qumran. It also included fragments

of Tobit (in Aramaic and Hebrew), of Ecclesiasticus (in Hebrew) and, as we have already

mentioned, of the Epistle of Jeremiah (in Greek)…

What can be said about the fact that thus far no fragment of Esther has turned up at Qumran?

Obviously no sound inference can be built upon the argument from silence. Its nonappearance

among the Qumran texts may be accidental. On the other hand, we know that its

right to a place in the sacred canon was questioned in some Jewish quarters,20 as also later in

some Christian quarters,21 and it would not be surprising if it were not accepted at Qumran…

And these

criteria may, with due caution, be used to throw light on ambiguous references in other

Qumran texts. The Qumran commentaries plainly do not give us much help in understanding

the Old Testament. But the serious student of Scripture can never fail to be interested in what

was thought of its meaning by serious students of earlier days; and in this regard the Qumran

commentaries on the Old Testament have opened a new world for our exploration.

#11 Qumran and the New Testament by F.F. Bruce Presidential Address, 2 June 1958

The most varied answers are given when we ask students of the Qumran texts what affinities

exist between these texts and the New Testament. We are told that there are no affinities

whatsoever; we are told that the career and passion of Jesus represent an ‘astonishing

remcarnatiou’1―or, on the other hand, a pale reflection―of the activity and death of the

Teacher of Righteousness; we are told that Jesus Himself was the Teacher of Righteousness

of the Qumran texts, that the men of Qumran were Jewish Christians and that the Wicked

Priest was the Apostle Paul;2 we are told that the Qumran discoveries conclusively prove that

Jesus never existed at all.3

All these answers cannot be true. But the intelligent layman need not stand in bewilderment

before them, wondering which (if any) he is to believe. Much of the material on which these

divergent accounts are based is accessible to him in one or more translations,4 and while some

of these translations are defective in one way or another, he can see that some of the answers

which. are offered to him have little or no substantial foundation, while others deserve more

serious attention.

One difficulty, with which we cannot deal here in detail, concerns the dating not only of the

scrolls but of the original works which they reproduce, and not only of these works but of the

persons and events referred to in them. In particular, to which generation should we assign the

Teacher of Righteousness, the effective founder of the Qumran community? Did he meet his

death under Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.)? Did he flourish under one of the

Hasnnonean rulers; and if so, should we date his ministry in the second half of the second

century B.C. or in the first half of the first century? Or should we bring him down to the

Roman period, even to the point of identifying him with Menahem, son of Judas the

Galilaean, whose attempt to seize supreme power in Jerusalem in the autumn of A.D. 66 came to an end when he was captured and killed by Eleazar, captain of the temple, and his followers?5 It is clear that, to some extent at least, these chronological problems must affect the relevance of the Qumran literature for New Testament studies…

The men of Qumran went out to their wilderness retreat in order to organise themselves as a

new Israel, rather after the fashion of the tribes under the leadership of Moses. The nation as a

whole had proved unfaithful to the covenant with the God of their fathers, but these men

regarded themselves as the righteous remnant of the nation, the hope of the future, a miniature

Israel, whose faithfulness would be accepted by God as a propitiation for the unfaithfulness of

the nation at large. They attached special importance to the maintenance of the priestly and

levitical classes, in order that, when the new age dawned, a pure sacrificial worship might be

restored without delay and administered by those who had not gone astray as the majority of

the priests had done.

The believing community of New Testament times similarly regarded itself as a new Israel, ‘a

remnant, chosen by grace’ (Rom. xi. 5), ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,

God’s own people’ (1 Pet. ii. 9). The kingdom of God had been taken away from those who

had shown themselves unworthy of their trust, and given to ‘a nation producing the fruits of

it’ (Matt. xxi. 44). But instead of maintaining distinct priestly and levitical classes, as the

Qumran community did, the Christian community was taught to consider itself corporately as

‘a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet.

ii. 5). Both communities regarded themselves as the people of the new covenant, but the

Qumran community thought of the new covenant as a restoration of the old one.

The Qumran community, moreover, lived in the conviction that the end of the age then

present, the ‘epoch of wickedness’, was at hand. Its thought and life were dominated by this

eschatological conviction…

Here we find a striking parallel with something that is emphasised time and again in the New

Testament. The age of fulfilment has dawned. The prophets who foretold the blessing into

which Christians were to enter ‘searched and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what

person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the

sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory’ (1 Pet. i. 10 f.). Much had been revealed to

those prophets, but not everything. But those Christians to whom Peter wrote these words had

no need to search and inquire in order to ascertain what person or time was indicated by the

prophecies; they knew. The person was Jesus; the time was the time in which they were

living. Words spoken by Peter on another occasion sum up the early Christian attitude to the

Old Testament: ‘This is what was spoken by the prophet’ (Acts ii. 16). And again: ‘Moses…

and all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came afterwards, also proclaimed these days’ (Acts iii. 22, 24)…

Here, then, we have an important point of resemblance between the founder of the Qumran

community and the founder of the Christian community, in that each imparted to the

community which he founded its distinctive principles of Old Testament exegesis. But every

time that we observe a resemblance between the two founders or the two communities, we

observe a contrast within the resemblance; and such a contrast is apparent here. To the early

Christians Jesus was the central theme of Old Testament revelation, which indeed found its

fulfilment in Him. But to the Qumran sectaries the Teacher of Righteousness, while he was

certainly a subject of Old Testament prophecy, was not its central subject; Old Testament

prophecy reached out beyond him for its fulfilment. For Jesus appeared to His followers as

the Messiah, to whole all the prophets bore witness (John v. 39; Acts x. 43); the Teacher of

Righteousness, in spite of the great veneration with which his followers regarded him, was not

the Messiah―not even a Messiah. He was to them pre-eminently just what they called

him―the Teacher of Righteousness…

A number of Qumran documents show us the form which messianic expectation took at

Qumran; and it is reasonable to suppose that the community learned its messianic expectation,

as it learned so much besides, from the Teacher of Righteousness. This expectation was directed towards two distinct individuals who would arise in the end-time―a great priest and

a great king. The great priest, the ‘Messiah of Aaron’, would be the head of the state in the

new age.8 The great king, the ‘Messiah of Israel’, was the promised prince of the house of

David who would lead the people of God to victory over all their enemies in the

eschatological warfare which the prophets had predicted. In the new age he would be

subordinate to the ‘Messiah of Aaron’. With these two Messiahs was associated a third figure,

who did not, however, receive the messianic title; this was a great prophet, the second Moses

of Deuteronomy xviii. 15 ff.

While the Qumran community, to judge by the literature thus far published, never seems to

have reached the point at which they believed the Messiah (or Messiahs) to have come, the

New Testament is dominated by the announcement that the Messiah has come. And while the

Qumran community distinguished the prophet, the priest and the king who were to arise at the

end of the age as three individual personages, the New Testament presents Jesus as the

prophet of whom Moses spoke, the heir to David’s throne, and die perpetual priest of

Melchizedek’s order acclaimed in Psalm cx. 4. The traditional Christian doctrine of the

‘threefold office’ of Christ goes back to the earliest days. Jesus, of course, could not be

regarded as a ‘Messiah of Aaron’ because He did not belong to the tribe of Levi; the one New

Testament document which enlarges on the priestly aspect of His messianic work funds Old

Testament authority for ascribing to Him a greater priesthood than Aaron’s.10…

The Qumran community, too, attached great importance to the Old Testament figures of the

Servant of the Lord and the Son of man, but they do not appear to have interpreted them

messianically…

Considerable interest has been aroused by the discovery of certain affinities of thought and

language between the Qumran texts and St. John’s Gospel.14 However do these affinities may be evaluated, they provide additional

evidence in support of the basically Hebraic character of this Gospel. They must not be

exaggerated; and it might be good to bear in mind that practically every new discovery in

Near Eastern religious literature of the late B.C. and early A.D. epoch has been hailed by

someone as supplying the key to the problem of this Gospel. The Old Testament rather than

the Qumran literature is the sourcebook of the Fourth Evangelist, but it is the Old Testament

as fulfilled by Jesus. The Old Testament is also the source-book of the Qumran literature, but

it is the Old Testament as it had passed through the mind of the Teacher of Righteousness and

perhaps other interpreters of similar outlook. The opposition between light and darkness (to

take one instance of the dualistic phraseology which the Qumran literature and this Gospel

have in common) goes back ultimately to the first chapter of Genesis. Yet the way in which

light and darkness, truth and falsehood, and so forth are opposed in the Rule of the Community, for example, reminds us particularly of the language of the Johamnine Gospel

and Epistles…

Another New Testament document in which affinities have been traced with the Qumran sect

is the Epistle to the Hebrews. Dr. Yigael Yadin, in particular, has argued that the ‘Hebrews’

named in the traditional title of this epistle were Jews originally belonging to the Qumran

sect, who were converted to Christianity but carried with them into Christianity some of their

former beliefs and practices, with which the writer takes issue. Among these beliefs Dr. Yadin

makes special reference to the idea of the angels’ eschatological rôle (Heb. ii. 5), and to the

conceptions of a priestly Messiah and of the prophet to appear in the last days. ‘It is my

sincere hope,’ he says, ‘that more competent students in the field of NT studies will either

refute this suggestion or, if they agree to it―wholly or partially―will submit more data in its

support.’18

In the form in which Dr. Yadin defends his thesis, it probably cannot be sustained. But the

material which he has adduced must be added to the evidence already at our disposal for the

presence in the early Roman church of elements derived from sectarian Judaism. Such

elements are attested, for example, by the Apostolic Tradition ascribed to Hippolytus, early in

the third century A.D. And there is little doubt in my mind that the Epistle to the Hebrews was

written to a Jewish-Christian group in Rome in the sixties of the first century…

These are not the only parts of the New Testament which present parallels with the Qumran

literature. Resemblances between the Qumran community and the milieu in which the First

Gospel took shape have been traced by Krister Stendahl in The School of St. Matthew (1954).

It may well be that some of Luke’s special material was derived from Christian circles sharing

in certain respects the outlook of Qumran. And Paul’s use of the Old Testament occasionally

reminds one of the methods of the Qumran commentators. But these and related fields of

study cannot be surveyed here.

There is some reason to believe that, when the Qumran community was broken up towards

A.D. 70 (as archaeological evidence indicates), some of its members (together perhaps with

members of other Essene groups) made common cause with another body of refugees―the

fugitive Church of Jerusalem which left its doomed metropolis and settled east of the Jordan.

Some of the distinctive features o£ those Ebionites, as they are described by Christian writers

of later generations, could be accounted for in terms of influences exercised by such a body as

the Qumran community.20…

Finally, we should be restrained from premature dogmatism when we consider how

fragmentary is our knowledge of the Qumran community as yet. Indeed, when everything that

has been discovered is published―and this will be the work of years―the realisation that

even that is but a fragment of what the library originally contained will continue to impose

counsels of caution. But one thing is sure: the real differentia of Christianity is the person and

achievement of Jesus (not, as is popularly supposed, His teaching by itself); and the

appreciation of His essential uniqueness which the new knowledge has underscored is likely to be enhanced, not diminished, as further additions are made to this knowledge.

#12 NEW TESTAMENT FRAGMENTS AT QUMRAN? By C. J. HEMER

The recent publication by J. O’Callaghan of suggested identifications

of New Testament texts among the Greek fragments

from Cave 7 at Qumran1. and the early dates assigned to them

on palaeographical grounds will doubtless be rigorously sifted

in every facet.

The purpose of the present note is limited to raising one

question of method. Some of the fragments are very tiny. Would

it be possible to offer alternative identifications of any of them?

I acknowledge the meticulous skill as well as the ingenuity of

the restorations, and allow that when one larger fragment has

been plausibly attributed to Mark the possibility is raised in

other cases. The whole argument will indeed be strengthened

if several associated items, each securely and exclusively identified,

corroborate each other.

It may however be that when one unexpected and attractive

identification has been made it becomes easier in more doubtful

cases to find what one is now looking for. But what sort of

mathematical chances are there against finding suitable letter

sequences in other, even chronologically impossible, texts, and

of producing hypothetical ‘restorations’ to fit them?…

So the essence of the experiment is to evaluate the chances

of finding in any text, irrespective of date, provenance or

content, the sequence EIT followed at a distance of about 20

letters by ΛH, subject only to a plausible manipulation of the

lineation to fit the incidence of word and syllable divisions and

punctuation spaces.

We may note the natural frequency of these groupings,

particularly the first, which is liable to occur freely both within

and between words. (a) The sequence EIT has several contexts,

e.g. (i) in the second person plural contracted –εῖτε; (ii) in the

third person ending -ει-τ- (often an accusative article preceding

the object); (iii) in various conjunctions and adverbs

like εἴτε, εἶτε, ἔπειτα, or in εἰ, ἐπεί + τόν etc.; (iv) in such

formations as πολ(ε)ίτης, ὁπλ(ε)ίτης, and numerous ethnics like

Ἰεροσολυμ(ε)ίτης. The interchange of ι and ει is habitual in

first-century orthography and no special justification of this

case is necessary…

It could

doubtless be shown that the doubtful traces of other letters in

the fragment would exclude the viability of either of these

readings. But the experiment will still serve to make a broader

point. The possibility of two such identically arranged reconstructions

within so short a passage poses a question. The chances

of coincidence are too great. May not any identifications of

such brief fragments be open to the objection that alternatives

are too easy to come by? It may be too easy to find the answer

in Mark if one is seeking it there.

The point may be pressed a little further. If the fragment had

indeed been of 2 Thessalonians, the preservation of the whole

word ἐπιστολῆς would have added nothing to the prospects of

choosing between the two possibilities…

This doubt may however throw into stronger relief the more

impressive case for the assignment of fragments where clearly

legible letters extend over three or four lines. The latitude we

have allowed in line length at once becomes restricted: all must

fit the same norm. And the mathematical chances against

coincidence are multiplied for each additional line. It would be

far harder to locate in a text five lines of two clear letters each,

but if a place is found it is more likely to be correct.

#13 The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Formation of the Canon by Francis I. Andersen

It is now twelve months since Dr. J. Philip Hyatt, in his Presidential address to the Society of

Biblical Literature and Exegesis reviewed the progress of the study of the Dead Sea

materials.1 He expressed one of his challenges in these words: “The whole question of

canonicity, and the date of fixing the canon, will have to be restudied.” The aim of this paper

is to indicate, in a tentative way, some of the matters that might be involved in such a line of

study. The time has scarcely come for aiming at final conclusions, and they will be avoided

here. For one thing, the dust of misleading controversy has scarcely subsided, and further, all

the relevant materials are not yet fully published. Textual criticism is an exacting discipline,

and it will be some time before its results are certain. And even now the literature has become

so extensive that only a specialist could hope to do it justice.2

The situation may be clarified and the difficulty of the task indicated by stating simply that

the Qumran discoveries and related finds have not thrown any direct light on the history of the

formation of the canon of the Old Testament. That is, there is no explicit discussion of the

formal concept of canonicity, and certainly no lists of canonical books. The light that they

throw is indirect, but none the less valuable and significant for that―the danger is that being

less tangible, more elusive, it is more open to misconstruction and misinterpretation, as we

shall see.

It has been fully recognized that these sources help to fill in the background of New

Testament times, supplying needed information about pre-Christian and pre-rabbinic Judaism.

As such their importance cannot be exaggerated. In relation to the canon they show us what

scriptures existed, and in what tests, and, more appositely, how they were regarded and used

by a community of Jewish sectaries of those days. Not much attention seems to have been

paid to the problem of what (tacit) doctrine of scripture was held by the covenanters of

Qumran. The importance of this for the study of New Testament backgrounds is obvious, yet

most writers who have treated this subject have been content to list numerous parallels

between the N. T. and the DSS, and to evaluate the evidence for a closer or remoter

connection between them. While it is important that these small details be clarified early in

our research, the broader and deeper theological issue of revelation and authority within the

two movements needs to be examined. Gaster, for instance, does not include such a point in

his list of similarities between the N. T. and the DSS.3 The same must be said of Murphy’s

recent and admirable review of “The New Testament in the light of the Scrolls and the

Fragments”.4…

All this is a little too theological for our immediate aim of investigation, but it needs to be

said to avoid the danger of seeing too much in outward similarities, and to avoid surprise that

two movements contiguous in space and time, and with so much in common, could yet be two

totally distinct worlds. It was Christ who made the difference, and he transformed everything.

There is nothing like him to be found at Qumran, not even as an extravagant hope. And for us

he has transformed the doctrine of Scripture, even as his gift of his Spirit to the Church has

transformed the role of Scripture in the world.

1. The Qumran covenanters were clearly a Bible-centered, Bible-revering, Bible-studying

sect. There is nothing remarkable about this for Judaism. It is not surprising that there is no

explicit discussion of the extent or nature of their sacred scriptures, since it was probably

taken for granted. Sectaries tend to emphasize their peculiar beliefs to justify their separation,

and the men of Qumran did that too; but scripture was common ground with other Jewish

groups. But is there any indirect way of telling what their Bible was? They owned and used

not only books of the (later) Palestinian Canon, but also many that later found their way into

the so-called Alexandrian Canon, I.e., books recognized by the Roman Church as

deuterocanonical, designated Apocrypha by the Reformed churches. In addition, they had

works of the kind usually called pseudepigraphical, some known from elsewhere, some not

otherwise attested. Besides these they had a literature of their own which was probably the

product of the movement. This last group covers a remarkably wide range of literary

genres―commentary, psalm, handbooks of discipline and of war (?). The movement clearly

attached the greatest importance to the written word, and the archaeological recovery of their

scriptorium in what was evidently the headquarters of this group, discloses the prominence of

copying as an activity of the members.

We do not 2 know how individual members studied the scriptures.6 There is no evidence that they

enjoyed liberty of interpretation or that the sect prized mystical insight or used it as a key to

the meaning of Scripture.7 This shows that they had no notion of the sufficiency of Scripture.

To them study was the inculcation of the esoteric wisdom peculiar to the sect; they were

instructed in the orthodox sectarian interpretations which, while they were imparted to lay

initiants, could not be discussed in public.8…

There is no point in enumerating the evidence here, except in so far as it provides a valuable

introduction to the same issue in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is the way Jesus and his followers

used and quoted scripture that shows what was their Bible. The Law certainly. The Law and

the Prophets are mentioned together very often as if they composed the whole of Scripture. In

one place only in the N.T. are the so-called three divisions referred to (Lk. 24:44), and even

here it is not certain that “the psalms” meant the full set of Writings. Indeed, in the New

Testament, there is no precise name for Holy Scripture. The terms “Law” (given even to a

Psalm), “Prophets” (so that Moses and David are called “prophets”) or both together, seem to

refer at times to the whole body of Scripture, as well as being used more exactly, and the

same formulae of quotation are used indiscriminately for passages from all parts of the Old

Testament.

What makes this New Testament practice so interesting to us is its remarkable similarity to

the references to Scripture in the writings of the Qumran Covenanters.17 The Manual of

Discipline begins with the aims of the movement: “To live in the order of the Community; to

seek God… to do what is good and upright in His sight, in accordance with what He has

commanded through Moses and through His servants the prophets…” There are other places

where the Torah and the Nebi’im are referred to thus in conjunction…

But here, no more than in the New Testament, can we assume that “Prophets” means

precisely the eight books of the later Jewish Canon. It is true that the interest of the group was

focussed particularly on the great prophets, Isaiah being their favourite;23 and in relation to

these two major interests of the Covenanters, the non-prophetic writings of the Old Testament

had less to offer directly, so that their smaller use is understandable. But we cannot conclude

from this that for them the so-called writings were uncanonical, even in whatever sense they would have given to that term.

We shall look at some more tangible evidence for this point in a moment, but before doing so we

must observe in general that the non-biblical writings among the Dead Sea Scrolls abound

with quotations from the length and breadth of Scripture.24 In view of their abundant use of

works later called “Writings”, it is remarkable that they have no term to apply to this group,

unless it be the term “prophets”. This may be considered probable, and if it is true, it means

that the later three-fold distinction did not exist for the Qumranites, and that the term

“Prophets” meant all the Scripture except the Law.25 This is very similar to the New

Testament. We may note, too, that although Josephus mentions three groups, he places

everything outside the Law in the era of prophecy.26…

No trace of Esther has been found among the scrolls.

Another line of investigation will aim at discovering what the Covenanters thought of the text

as such. A clearer notion of a canonical work, and its use as a court of appeal in argument, a

guide to life, a source of proof-texts for dogma, brings naturally an increased concern for its

literal form. There can be no final appeal to a text if there is no agreement as to what the text

is. This enquiry in relation to the people of Qumran must wait until present studies have

permitted us to rewrite the entire history of the transmission of the Hebrew Text. There are

indications that the variations shown by the Dead Sea Scrolls point not to liberty or

carelessness on their part, but to the existence of important text-types which they, for their

part, copied with the utmost fidelity, striving to preserve the purity of the text even in minute

particulars of pronunciation.

The indications of a text of Isaiah with a Babylonian background, the enhancement of the value of many readings hitherto attested only in the versions, and especially the evidence that the Septuagint is a faithful translation of a Hebrew text with Egyptian elements, may enable us not only to push the history of textual transmission back by several centuries, but to infer also that scrupulous copying (and the notion of scripture which demand it) is much older than has been commonly believed Meanwhile, in summary, we may tentatively conclude that while the men of Qumran

recognized the authority of all the main books of the Old Testament, we do not know what

they thought of some of the smaller ones, nor how they compared in their estimation with the

more popular extra-canonical books, some of which they valued highly. All must be placed in

the light of the fact that what mattered to the Covenanters was not the Law and the Prophets

as such, but their own esoteric interpretations of them; these were largely due to the Teacher of Righteousness, and the (Zadokite) priests, and were closely guarded secrets of the order.

They may not have had a rigidly defined canon, but they certainly did not enjoy any liberty in

the matter of belief.

#14 The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewishness of the Gospels by Craig A. Evans Acadia Divinity College

The Jewishness of the Gospels is seen at many points. Jesus is addressed as “Rabbi” (e.g.,

Mk 9:5; 11:21; 14:45 and parallels) or “Rabbouni” (Mk 10:51; Jn 20:16); he has

followers called “disciples” (e.g., Mk 2:15; 3:7; 4:34 and parallels), some of whom he

appoints as “apostles” (e.g., Mk 3:14; 6:30 and parallels), which is a designation in

rabbinic literature of Moses and various prophets “sent” by God (e.g., Exod. Rab. 3.4 [on

Ex 3:12]; 3.14 [on Ex 4:10]);1 and he engages in debates with scribes, Pharisees,

Sadducees, and priests regarding Jewish law and the meaning of Jewish scripture (e.g.,

Mk 2:23–3:6; 7:1–13; 11:27–12:34 and parallels).

Moreover, Jesus proclaims the rule of God and speaks of Israel’s redemption (e.g., Mk 1:14–15 and parallels). Israel’s priority over the nations is assumed (Mk 7:24–30), and is sometimes explicitly asserted (e.g., Mt 10:5–6; 15:24). The geography, topography, and demography of the Jesus story are thoroughly Jewish. Jesus is from Nazareth, is headquartered in Capernaum, teaches by

and frequently crosses the Sea of Galilee, and travels south to Jericho, Judea, and

Jerusalem. Jesus frequents the synagogue, prays, teaches his disciples to pray,2 and

upholds the Jewish law3 (even if his understanding differs from that of his contemporaries4). In short, the Jesus of the Gospels is as Jewish as any figure we know of

from this period.5 The parallels between his teachings and activities and contemporary

Judaism are so numerous that they fill more than 1500 pages in Paul Billerbeck’s

commentary on the Gospels, a commentary based on comparisons with Talmudic and

midrashic literature.6

Not only is Jesus, the central figure of the Gospels, thoroughly Jewish, the Gospels

themselves are Jewish to the core. We see this in the way the Gospel of Matthew begins:

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Mt

1:1; cf. Gen 5:1, “This is the book of the generations of Adam . . .”), followed by a

genealogy patterned after those found in scripture (Mt 1:2, “Abraham was the father of

Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob . . .” etc.; cf. Gen 5:3, “Adam . . . became the father of

. . . Seth” etc.). Matthew’s infancy narrative goes on to tell of Joseph and dreams,

reminiscent of another well-known Joseph, to whom God communicated through dreams

(cf. Gen 37:5–11; 40:1–19; 41:1–36). Punctuating his narrative with a series of fulfilled

prophecies, the Matthean evangelist tells the story of Jesus Messiah’s infancy in terms of

Moses typology, just as the Lukan evangelist punctuates his version of the infancy with

several canticles, whose contents consist mostly of words and phrases drawn from scripture…

The Dead Sea Scrolls have greatly added to our understanding and appreciation of the

Gospels as Jewish literature. The Scrolls are Palestinian, early, written in Hebrew and

Aramaic, and are unquestionably Jewish. Significant parallels between them and the

Christian Gospels should go a long way in confirming the contention here that the

Gospels are thoroughly Jewish, even if at points they are at variance with aspects of

temple and scribal Judaism as it existed prior to 70 C.E. Relevant examples will be cited

for all four Gospels.

Given its overtly Jewish character we should expect the largest number of important

parallels to be found in Matthew, and this appears to be the case. We may consider four:

the first concerns an interpretive approach to scripture, the second a Semitic genre, the

third an ethical theme, and the fourth a common understanding of a specific collocation

of words and phrases from the prophet Isaiah.

(1) Pesher interpretation in the Scrolls and in Matthew. One of the first intriguing

features of the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls to gain the attention of scholars was

pesher interpretation. Happily, one well-preserved pesher (“interpretation” or

“commentary”) scroll was found in the first cave, discovered in 1947. Line after line of

the first two chapters of Habakkuk are quoted and then explained: “Its interpretation

concerns” some recent event or some event believed to occur soon. The author of the

Habakkuk Pesher systematically equates various events and personages in Habakkuk

with various events and personages in the era of the Qumran community…

(2) Beatitudes in the Scrolls and in Matthew. One of the best-known features in Jesus’

teaching was his stringing together of several beatitudes (Mt 5:3–12 = Lk 6:20–26).

Couplets of beatitudes are attested in Israel’s scriptures and in other Jewish writings from

late antiquity (e.g., Pss 32:1–2; 84:4–5; 119:1–2; Sir 14:1–2; 25:8–9; Tob 13:13–14), but

it was not until the discovery of 4Q525 that we actually had a Jewish text, apart from the

Gospels themselves, that preserves a string of beatitudes…

Scholars debate how many beatitudes originally made up this list. Obviously, there

were at least five (one more than we find in the Lukan collection). It is speculated that

there may have been seven. The structural similarity is interesting, to be sure, but what is

more interesting are the differences between Jesus’ beatitudes and those of 4Q525. The

beatitudes of this Scroll fit the typical wisdom pattern, whereas Jesus’ beatitudes promise

eschatological justice…

(3) Righteousness in the Scrolls and in Matthew. The various forms of “righteous” and

“righteousness” (including “just” and “justice”) occur hundreds of times in the Scrolls.

These words also appear frequently in the Gospel of Matthew. Especially interesting are

the references to the “teacher of righteousness” who comes in the “last days” (e.g., CD

6:10–11, “the one who teaches righteousness in the last days”; cf. 1QpHab 1:13; 7:4).

This authoritative teacher will instruct the faith faithful? in the true understanding of the

law of God. The parallel with the Matthean presentation of Jesus, especially as we see it

in the Sermon on the Mount, is striking….

(4) Works of the Messiah in the Scrolls and in the Gospels. One of the most startling

parallels between the Scrolls and the Gospels is found in 4Q521. This particular Scroll

fragment lends important support to the contention that Jesus did indeed understand

himself in messianic terms.11 In a passage whose authenticity can scarcely be doubted, an

imprisoned and discouraged John the Baptizer sends to Jesus, asking, “Are you he who is

to come, or do we look for another?” To this question Jesus replies: “Go and tell John

what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed

and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to

them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Mt 11:2–6 = Lk 7:18–23). Jesus’

message for John contains allusions to several words and phrases from the book of Isaiah

(e.g., Isa 35:5–6 [blind and lame]; 26:19 [dead]; 61:1–2 [good news]). This material

appears in 4Q521…

There are important points of contact between the Jesus story of Mark and the Dead Sea

Scrolls. Both involve similar understandings of passages of scripture.

(5) Isaiah 40 in the Scrolls and in Mark. Isaiah 40 advances a bold typology whereby

the original exodus serves as a model for a new era of salvation. Just as a way was

prepared in the wilderness long ago, that God’s people could travel from Egypt to the

promised land, so it will happen again – only even better, for there will be no wilderness

wanderings, but a highway leading directly from oppression to redemption. The men of

Qumran understood Isaiah 40:3 in a similar manner. They too cited this passage and

organized a community of covenant renewal in the wilderness of the Dead Sea region…

(6) The Vineyard Parable of Isaiah in the Scrolls and in Jesus. Jesus’ Parable of the

Vineyard (Mk 12:1–9 and parallels) is based on Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard Speaking for the Lord, the prophet Isaiah complained that despite loving care, the

vineyard planted and nurtured on the hill produced worthless grapes. The parable is an

allegory and it is a juridical parable, that is, a parable that induces the hearers to pass

judgment on themselves. The vineyard is Israel, its owner is God, the fruit is the behavior

of Israel. Israel has no excuse: “What more could God do for his people?” Therefore, the

nation may expect judgment. Jesus’ parable presupposes these allegorical features, but

adds tenant farmers to the story and reassigns the guilt: Israel is not at fault, her religious

leaders are; and redirects the judgment: the religious leaders will lose their stewardship…

One might not expect distinctly Lukan contacts with Judaism, given the high probability

that the Lukan evangelist was a gentile. However, perusal of Luke–Acts indicates that

this person was familiar with the synagogue (and he gives us an early description of a

synagogue service in 4:16–30), and evidently knew well significant portions of the Greek

version of scripture. There are two important points of contact with the Dead Sea Scrolls

that can be mentioned briefly.

(7) The announcement of the coming Son of God. The angel announces to Mary: “He

will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give

Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever;

and His kingdom will have no end . . . the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God”

(Lk 1:32–35). These words echo the promise given David: “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever . . . I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me . . . your

house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established

forever” (2 Sam 7:13-16). They also find a remarkable parallel in an Aramaic text from

Qumran: “He shall be called son of the great God, and by his name shall he be named. He

shall be called the Son of God, and they shall call him Son of the Most High . . . their

kingdom will be an eternal kingdom” (4Q246 1:9–2:5). This parallel, which is probably

speaking of the expected Jewish Messiah, demonstrates that in Judaism, in the land of

Israel, and in the Aramaic language, before the time of Jesus and Christian proclamation,

the Messiah was sometimes called the “Son of God…

(8) Fulfilling the Law and inheriting Eternal Life. On one occasion a legal expert

approaches Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life (Lk 10:25–28). When

the man affirms the commandments to love God and to love one’s neighbor, Jesus

assures him, “Do this and you will live” (v. 28). Most interpreters recognize the allusion

to Leviticus 18:5, where the Law of Moses assures Israelites that if a man does the law,

he will live. The problem is that Moses was speaking of life in the land of Israel, not

eternal life. So how does Jesus’ allusion to Leviticus 18:5 provide assurance to the legal

expert that he will inherit eternal life? The answer is found in observing that Leviticus

18:5 was understood in late antiquity as referring both to prosperous life in the promised

land and to life in the world to come…

(9) Dualism in the Scrolls and in John. The dualism found in the Rule of the

Community has especially drawn scholarly attention. Contrasts between light/darkness,

good deeds/evil deeds, and truth/falsehood are found in 1QS 3:13–4:26. A sample of the

passage reads as follows: “[God] allotted unto humanity two spirits that he should walk in

them until the time of His visitation; they are the spirits of truth and perversity. The

origin of truth is in a fountain of light, and the origin of perversity is from a fountain of

darkness. Dominion over all the sons of righteousness is in the hand of the Prince of

light; they walk in the ways of light. All dominion over the sons of perversity is in the

hand of the Angel of darkness; they walk in the ways of darkness” (1QS 3:18–21).

Although Johannine and Qumranian dualism is not identical, there is significant

similarity….

The Judaic character of the New Testament Gospels is illustrated by the nine important

parallels that have been briefly considered. There are many more parallels and points of

contact, some linguistic and technical, that could be added to our discussion. But the

examples that have been considered should be sufficient for the purposes at hand.

 
 
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