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Throughout the last century, many theories have risen about the Sect who stored the Dead

Sea Scrolls. After even elementary exposure to their writings, however, one must conclude that the Qumran Sect is a unique, private, and mysterious group completely removed from their contemporaries. That being said, under closer scrutiny, more specific inferences can be made about their ideology and influences. These more broad answers can be found in the Damascus Document, the guide to understanding the ancient Dead Sea Scroll librarians. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947, are the largest concentrated find of ancient biblical and secular religious manuscripts found in modern times. Approximately one third of the texts are biblical, that is direct copies of known and canonized scripture, another third are extra-biblical texts, primarily apocryphal and similarly known Jewish writings that are not commonly included in the Biblical Cannon. The final third are known as Sectarian Texts. These scrolls are particular in origin and content to the Qumran Sect that stored the Dead Sea library. Understanding who this sect was is crucial in understanding both the nature of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the state of Judaism in the end of the Second Temple period, particularly in accounting for the various sects and factions within the larger Jewish community. Perhaps the most important document in Sectarian category of scrolls is the Damascus Document or CD1. This scroll, although somewhat vague and coded, attempts to explain the history and purpose of the Qumran Sect, or an associated sect similar to the Qumran Sect, and outline the key characteristics of members of the sect through establishing history, ideology,

George W.E. Nickelsburg. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Pg. 122. CD refers to Cairo Damascus.

rules and customs2. The Damascus Document was found in the Qumran caves known as Caves Four, Five, and Six and is comprised of ten fragments which were discovered amongst a few hundred other Dead Sea Scroll fragments. For the purpose of referring to manuscript fragments that are the Damascus Document identification tags such as 4Q266 will be used, representing the cave and fragment numbers. The 4Q266-272 scroll fragments are of the same textual body of two other known manuscripts. The more commonly known and complete of the three is the medieval Geniza Scrolls (A & B)3 found by Solomon Schecter in a Cairo synagogue genizah (storeroom).4 Schecter published his Zadokite Fragments, in 1910 and concluded that the texts origin can be dated to the first century B.C.E. due to contextual clues, language and a strong antiHasmonean presence.5 Many scholars believe that the similarities of the Damascus Document and the other Dead Sea Scrolls confirms the origin of the Qumran sect as 2nd Century B.C.E., however, it is more likely that this is a bit early for the texts. Schiffman and VanderKam, in their Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, identify the hands in which the manuscripts were written as ranging from Hasmonean (first half of the first century B.C.E.) to Herodian (end of the first century B.C.E.) and even later Herodian (early first century C.E.). However, this still confirms Schecters theory that the texts are ancient and not medieval and allows for a period in which

George W.E. Nickelsburg. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Pg. 123. Nickelsburg asserts the possibility that the Damascus Document may be the product of a sister group. 3 Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective. Pg, 49. Fragment A is from the tenth century and Fragment B is from the twelfth century. 4 George W.E. Nickelsburg. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Pg. 122. Nickelsburg uses the transliterated genizah rather than the Anglicized geniza. 5 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.49. The name of the Zadokite Fragments stems from the contents of the Zadokite priestly line which reoccurs throughout the text. Some scholars prefer Zadokite Document to align the manuscript name more with the Damascus Document.

anti-Hasmonean sentiments could still be prominent. 6The third manuscript source is a Byzantine-era manuscript which found its way to Mount Athos, Greece, a millennium old Christian monastic community; although this text does not include any unique fragments unfound in the Geniza Fragments. The views of the Qumran sect found in the Damascus Document are similar to known views of other sects of the period, including the Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducees as contemporary sources confirm7. Scholars have generally agreed that the Qumran Sect was Essene, although this is disputed by leading Scroll Scholar Lawrence H. Schiffmann.8 The description of the various Jewish sects by Josephus is one of the most useful works in discerning the identity of the Qumran sect. Josephus, writing mostly about the Jewish Wars in 70 C.E. is a near contemporary source to the Qumran Sect, although he may have been writing shortly after the Sects disappearance. The Essenes and the Pharisee are thought to have been offshoots of the Hasideans, the pious ones who apposed the line of priest during the Maccabean revolt. There will inevitable similarities between the Qumran Sect and the other sects due to the simple fact that they are all active followers of the Jewish faith and Torah in a contemporary setting. The Sadducees, however, rejected non Mosaic laws and only observed early scripture according to Josephus; this may be enough to rule out the Qumran Sect as being Sadducean as they have a New Covenant mentality and additional laws found later in the Damascus Document9. Likewise the Sadducees submit to the formulas of the Pharisees10

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Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam. Pg. 166. George W.E. Nickelsburg. Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah. Pg. 122. 8 Lawrence H. Schiffmann. Problems in Interpreting the Dead Sea Scrolls. Wright State University. 15 September,2008. 9 Josephus. Antiquities. 13:297-98.

according to Josephus, this characteristic is not applicable to a strict group seeking isolation and intensely rebukes those who are seen as wicked. The Interpretation of Nahum, found in the Sects Cave 4 speaks of both the Sadducees and Pharisees, and one could induce that this mentioning sets the Qumran Sect apart from the groups being analyzed, therefore the Sect seems not to identify too closely with the Pharisees either11. Josephus describes the Essenes as disciplined and structured, noting their habits of hard work, refraining from speaking out of turn or speaking of mundane matters before sunrise and their devout system of purification; this extremely conservative outlook seems to be characteristic with a Sect who lives in a remote are and refers to themselves as Sons of the Light, a term of elite and pious standing12. An idea of the immortality of the soul is particularly stressed by Josephus. The Sects wait for the return of their Teacher of Righteousness can be seen in this view13. The most compelling similarity between the Qumran Sect and the Essenes of Josephus is his observation that they display an extraordinary interest in the writing of the ancients (Josephus, Jewish War, 2:134-136.)14 Due to the extraordinary storehouse of scripture, this can certainly be said of the Qumran Sect. Identifying the groups ideological classification among the known sects is key to understanding who the Qumran Sect group was and why they were living in Khirbet Qumran. Edward M. Cook, asserts that the Damascus Document was revised more than once and sites their disregard for coherence as supporting evidence for this conclusion.15 Even if new

10 11

Josephus, Antiquities. 18:16-17. G. Nickelsburg, M. Stone. Faith and Piety in Early Judaism. Pg. 27. 12 Josephus, Jewish War, 2:119-33. 13 Josephus, Jewish War, 2:154,155. 14 G. Nickelsburg, M. Stone. Faith and Piety in Early Judaism. Pg. 34; (Josephus, Jewish War, 2:134-136.) 15 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.49: [expanded several times] without care for the lucidity of the discourse.

material had been added after the original composition, it is reasonable to assume that the additions were used to reinforce already common beliefs or theories within the group and were not drastically different in message from the sects general existing philosophy. Despite the overwhelming possibility that the document has been revised, it is clear that the text is composed of two major writings, each having a distinct mood and message. The two major writings are called The Exhortation or The Admonition and Laws; parts of both sections are found in Schecters Geniza fragments. The Exhortation begins with a call to duty for the followers. The sectarians are referred to as Children of Light and are asked to avoid the ways of evil until God punishes the Boundary-Shifters (4Q266.1). The language already sets up a sectarian mindset, where the group is righteous and terms are used to simplify the calling. Children of Light is synonymous with group and the boundary shifters are the evil doers who will be punished. The more simplified and colorful the terms the harder it is to break from the sect or from their beliefs, just like in any exclusive modern cult that removes themselves from the mainstream community. It is unclear how literally to interpret boundary-shifters. They could be other Jews who literally or figuratively stray from the true Jewish doctrine, either by becoming too liberal in observing the laws or by moving into non-Jewish communities. The term may also refer to the foreign powers who historically and in the Sects own time threaten to dominate the land of Israel, be it the Romans, the Babylonians, or any non-Hebrew peoples. Also, the voice of the Exhortation is in first person, with an authoritative I, who, regardless of revisions, seems to always refer back to the Sects leader The Teacher of Righteousness, who is the subject of much of the Damascus Document. Again, these terms reinstate a clear right and

wrong dichotomy and view the world as a simple black and white concept with no room for reinterpretation or reform. Such titles or codes are common within the Sectarian writings, including Man of the Lie, Flattery-Seekers, Wicked Priests, Lion of Wrath and others. The opening section continues by establishing authority by mentioning the disobedience of the others who did not obey the voice of Moses and went about spreading lies about his laws and from Gods covenant they strayed.16 This section is closely tied to the description of the sins of Israel which resulted in exile, found in Text A, Col. 1 of the Geniza Zadokite Document. The Document describes a character only known as The Man of Mockery, another coded term used to ensure the evil classification of an enemy. The author of the Exhortation lays great blame on this Man of Mockery. Although the man is likely a figure in the Israelites recent past whose name is intentionally not used, the author is also using him as a stock character of all who oppose the Children of Righteousness and it reinforces the greater message of the text, that they should continue in the cautious and conservative ways of the sect lest they should also be victims of deceit and evil ways. The text reads When the man of mockery appeared, who sprayed on Israel lying waters, he led them to wander in the trackless wasteland. He brought down the lofty heights of old, turned aside from paths of righteousness, and shifted the boundary marks that he forefathers had set up to mark their inheritance, so that the curses of His covenant took hold on them. Because of this they were handed over to the sword that avenges the breach of His covenant.17

16 17

Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.51. Translation of fragments by Edward M. Cook. Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.52. Translation of fragments by Edward M. Cook.

Later in Col. 3, 4 we are given an account of Belials traps of Israel, this inclusion seems to outline specific beliefs held by the sect that would differentiate themselves from other contemporary Jewish sects. Included in this section, along with other guidelines for sexual practices, is a quotation of the account in Deuteronomy 17:17 concerning the Leader saying He shall not multiply wives unto himself, a direct decree against polygamy. Also an account of Leviticus 18:13 admonishing against marriages between aunts and nephews as well as uncles and nieces is characteristic of the Sects regular pattern of reinforcing Mosaic Law. The general view of the Sect can be seen in their self-association to earlier Jews who retained the Torah in the face of annihilation. Geniza text B Col. 19 reads So it is with all the men who entered the new covenant in the land of Damascus, but then turned back and traitorously turned away from the fountain of living water. They see themselves as carrying out the mission that others turned away from. Damascus, the city whose prominence in the CD texts lends its name to the Document, is mentioned again in the same fragment, They will be condemned along with the Men of Mockery, because they have uttered lies against the correct laws and rejected the sure covenant they made in the land of Damascus. 18 Early Scrolls author A. Powell Davies agrees that the city Damascus should be taken literally, saying it is clear that the Essenic movement had joined in a New Covenant, apparently at Damascus if the entire party was not included in this the sect that wrote the Damascus Document certainly was.19 Perhaps Davies idea to separate the party at Damascus from the Qumran sect, is support for Nickelsburgs suggestion that the Document may have originated in a sister

18 19

Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.60-61. Translation of fragments by Edward M. Cook. A. Powell Davies. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, pg 72.

group, perhaps the Qumran Sect is an off-shoot of them.20 However, Schiffman believes that Damscus is a code for their home in Qumran, in the same manner as the other codes found in the text. One Zadokite Fragment reads: The well is the Torah and those who dig it are the returners of Israel who leave the land of Judea and who live in the land of Damascus.
21

Although there is no clear relationship to Damascus for the Qumran sect, this is inconsistent

for their code style. The other codes, such as Teacher of Righteuosness are intentionally vague and leave no room for error in understanding that this is a pseudonym, whereas Damascus is ambiguous. The Qumran code system is intentionally designed to be understood as a code, Damascus would not fit this rubric as a code. It is more likely that the original sect left Judea and was in Damascus at a pivotal point in there development. Perhaps after the group became more organized and defined they sought a land to call their own in which to live the New Covenant. Another possibility is that this is a pescher text, one that looks for modern parallels from older Biblical passages. This would suggest they are borrowing Damascus from an earlier biblical to text to represent their own home. Amos 5:26-27 describes such a moment and you shall carry the star of your God which you have made for yourselves, and I will exile you beyond Damascus. The word star is also found in Zadokite Fragment 7:18-19, as Schiffman points out.22 The overall mood of the laws is very Mosaic. The author wants unquestioned authority and he patterns the Qumran laws after those of the Torah, with his own

20

George W.E. Nickelsburg. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Pg. 123. Nickelsburg asserts the possibility that the Damascus Document may be the product of a sister group. 21 Lawrence H. Schiffmann, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, pg. 92. Zadokite Fragment 6:4-5. 22 Lawrence H. Schiffmann, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, pg. 93. Zadokite Fragment 7:18-19.

interpretations and editions.23 This section about laws includes general information for all Jews and accompanying laws specifically for the members of the Qumran sect24. The laws, in general, survive in a more fragmented, less complete state than the Exhortation. Early fragments outline a manual for severe punishment. Among the sins that one could face such punishment as exile is idolatry, shown in the text as sacrifices to satyrs or asks guidance of a necromancer or medium. Also one who profanes the holy name, a girl who is sexually liberal in her fathers home, a man who lies with a virgin in her fathers home, and a man who approaches his wife in the time of her impurity are all subject to sever discipline according to this fragment.25 Subsequent fragments deal with rules regarding the treatment of leprosy26, and other diseases27, menstral cycles28, childbirth29, crops,30 tithing31, offerings and sacrifices32, attire33, business34, promiscuity35, taking vows and oaths36, legal accusations37, property38, purification39, associations with other Israelites and gentiles40, and foods41. The final section

23

George W.E. Nickelsburg. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Pg. 123. Nickelsburg, in addition to the Torah, concludes explicit appeal to other biblical passages. 24 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.62. Edward M. Cook distinguishes between laws for those living in the cities of Israel and those living in camps. 25 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.62-63. Translation of 4Q270, fragment 2, Col. 1 by Edward M. Cook 26 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.64. 4Q272, Fragment 1, Col. 1. 27 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.64. 4Q266, Fragment 6, Col. 1. 28 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.65, 4Q266, Fragment 6, Col. 2. 29 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.65, 4Q266, Fragment 6, Col. 2. 30 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.65, 4Q266, Fragment 6, Col. 3. 31 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P.65, 4Q270, Fragment 3, Col. 3. 32 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 66, 4Q271, Fragment 2 , P.72 Geniza A, Col, 11,12 33 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 67, 4Q271, Fragment 3, Col. 1 34 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 67, 4Q271, Fragment 3, Col. 1 35 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 67, 4Q271, Fragment 3, Col. 1 36 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 69, 70, Geniza A, Col. 15 37 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 70, 71, Geniza A, Col. 15 38 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 70, Geniza A, Col. 15 39 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 71, Geniza A, Col. 15 40 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 73, Geniza A, Col. 15 41 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 73, Geniza A, Col. 15

about laws for the Sectarians outlines rules for becoming a leader, such as acting like a father taking care of children and recording membership to his share of the allotment of Light42. The section closes with a conclusion that these are the regulations that they should follow during the era of wickedness43; the concept of time in this passage and the punishment in the opening paragraph of the Damascus Document portray an eschatological outlook and reinforce the view that they are the last true followers of God and portend that a reckoning is coming soon. The sect believes this is when the Teacher of Righteousness shall return, having been killed by the High Priest.44 This conclusion is in-line with the assertion by Hartmut Stegemann that the original title by the Sectarians for the document was Final Interpretation of the Law and reinforces the new covenant ideals45. More conclusive interpretation about who the sect was may be drawn by decoding the terms for people and groups found in the Damascus Document. For instance, the anti-Hasmonean tone points towards a prominent Hasmonean being the Man of Mockery or Man of the Lie. The relationship between the Damascus Document and certain biblical books is evident when analyzed contextually and otherwise. Most of the Dead Sea fragments of the Book of Daniel were also found in Cave 4 and are also, according to Schiffman and VanderKam, written in a hand from the late Hasmonean period or the transition into the Herodian period 46 (around mid to late first century B.C.E.). Contextually there is an emphasis in Daniel to continue

42 43

Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 74, Geniza A, Col. 13 Wise, Abegg, & Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls. P. 74 44 A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings From Qumran. Pg. 114. 45 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam. Pg. 167. Stegeman published this suggestion in 1993. 46 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam. Pg. 171.

in observing the laws while a Jew estranged from the larger community. Daniel refused the kings food for legumes that were more proper, likewise the sect has a primary focus on the observation of Jewish laws.47 The Book of Daniel also has an overtone of survival throughout Daniels, and his companions, many trials such as the fiery furnace and the den of lions; the sectarians must have seen this as an inspiration to fight the wicked and await their teachers return. Also found in concentration among the fragment of the Damascus Document in Cave 4, were Sectarian accounts of Enoch. The figure Enoch is only mentioned briefly, although extraordinarily, in Genesis 5 and again briefly in the Christian New Testament book of Jude. However, the sectarian account of the post-earth life of Enoch is quite intense and odyssey-like. Interesting parallels can be spotted between the adventures of Enoch in the sectarian text and the beliefs of the Qumran Sect themselves. Both are focused on eschatological events and like the literature obsessed sect, Enoch is described as a scribe and author48. Also, much of the Enoch literature deals with astronomical functions and the celestial calendar (I Enoch 72:1).49The Qumran Sect too, was concerned with calendars as is seen by their use of noting events with their chronological description, solar and lunar. The Dead Sea texts of Jubilees are also calendar oriented and include a reference to the astronomy of Enoch (Jubilees 4:15-26).50 What is more interesting is the direct mentioning of

47 48

Daniel 1:8. Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam. Pg. 249 49 George W.E. Nickelsburg. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Pg. 45. This is mostly found in the Ethiopic manuscript, however evidence exists that supports that the Qumran sect would have been familiar, at least orally, with the third century B.C.E. literature of I Enoch. 50 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam. Pg. 434.

the Book of Jubilees in the Damascus Document.51The use of Jubilees as an authority tells us two things about Jubilees. The First, Jubilees had to have been written before even the oldest Damascus Document fragments52 and that the Qumran Sect considered the book to be just as of legitimate authority as Genesis, Proverbs, or the other earlier and more common texts. It is clear that the Qumran Sect cannot be easily identified as a known movement in the ancient world rather they are a unique occurrence who left us vague clues to their purpose and identity. The Damascus Document, however, makes it clear that they are an Essene off-shoot or a post-Essene group who migrated to the Dead Sea area to await their teacher and to live a pious life.

51

Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam. Pg. 434, sited as (CD xvi.2-4) 52 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam. Pg. 434

Bibliography

Burrows, Millar. Burrows on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids, MI. 1995. Burrows, Millar. More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Viking Press. New York, NY. 1958. Davies, A. Powell. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The New American Library. New York, NY. 1956. Dupony-Sommer, A. The Essene Writings From Qumran. World Publishing. Glaucester, MA. 1973. Encyclopedia Judaica. Second Edition. Fred Skolnik, editor. Thomson Gale; Keter Publishing House. 2007. Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Vol. 1. Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam, editors. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 2000. Nickelsburg, George W.E. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. Second Edition. Fortress Press. Minneapolis. 2005. Schiffman, Lawrence H. Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Jewish Publication Society. Philadelphia and Jerusalem. 1994. Vermes, Geza. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective. Fortress Press. Philadelphia. 1977. Wise, Michael; Martin Abegg, Jr.; and Edward Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation. Harper. San Francisco. 2005.