Sunday, November 07, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (7) - A Rejoinder to Martinez that The Scrolls Were of Jerusalem Origin

Shiffman (Qumran and Jerusalem, 2010, p121) writes: “The notion that the collection of Scrolls at Qumran in no way is representative of a sect, but must be seen as representing the Judaism of the time, must also be rejected. (31) There is no question that the community that collected these scrolls originated in sectarian conflict..”  Then in Note 31 also on p.121 he writes: “A polemical treatment in book-length form is Golb’s Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1995.  This theory has been shown to be impossible in a detailed examination of its underpinnings by F. Garcia Martinez and A. S. van de Woude (A ‘Groningen Hypothesis of Qumran Origins and Early History).”

Golb – Schiffman fails to inform his readers that in the same book (Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls), Golb had already provided a rejoinder to what Martinez and Woude “apparently hoped would be a decisive rejoinder” (Schiffman calls it a detailed examination)  to Golb’s theory of Jerusalem origin of the Scrolls (see pp 288 to 293 of Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls).  Why didn’t Schiffman refer to Golb's very detailed rejoinder?

Schiffman wrote: “There is no question that the community that collected these scrolls originated in sectarian conflict..” 

The people who took these scrolls into Judea were the priests of Jerusalem. There was no “sectarian” conflict, but at the time there was a conflict between between the two priestly orders of the priests and the prophets. There are a few places in Josephus where the word “order” has crept past the editors who would have substituted “sect”. Thus I believe that Josephus spoke of two priestly “orders”, priests and prophets, not three sects. Josephus originally wrote about these two orders to explain Judaism to Nero and his court. (I have used curly brackets for what I believe to be original text, and square brackets for dissembled text):

Ant. 18.1.2. - The Jews {have} had for a great while [three] {two} [sects of philosophy] {priestly orders} peculiar to themselves; the [sect] {order} of the [Essens] {prophets}, and the [sect] {order} of the [Sadducees] {priests}. 

War 2.8.2. - For there are [three] {two} [philosophical] {priestly} [sects] {orders} among the Jews, the followers of the first of which are the [Pharisees; the second the Sadducees] {priests} and the [third] {second} [sect] {order}, which pretends to a severer discipline, are called [Essens] {prophets}.  

Thus Josephus was originally writing about the system of priesthood which we all know about from the OT, priests and prophets.  Now for the places where "order" ACTUALLY occurs:

The priests and prophets functioned together peaceably for “a great while” tracing their origins to Moses (and in the case of the prophets before Moses). The evidence for “orders” as distinct from “sects” occurs in at least the following two passages:

War 2.8.3. "These men are despisers of riches, and so very communicative as raises our admiration. Nor is there any one to be found among them who hath more than another; for it is a law among them, that those who come to them must let what they have be common to the whole ORDER, - insomuch that among them all there is no appearance of poverty, or excess of riches, but every one's possessions are intermingled with every other's possessions; and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the brethren."  

War 2.8.13. "Moreover, there is another ORDER of [Essens] {prophets}, who agree with the rest as to their way of living, and customs, and laws, but differ from them in the point of marriage, as thinking that by not marrying they cut off the principal part of human life,"  In this second passage “order” is used correctly to distinguish two groups of Essenes (prophets). “Order” should also be used to distinguish the two groups, the priests and the prophets, who are all Jews.  Another example of the use of "order": 

War 2.8.14.  "But then as to the other [two] ORDER[s] at first mentioned, the [Pharisees] {priests} are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their laws."  In reality, this was the order of the priests.

We can now begin to understand why there is considerable agreement between the practices of the priests in the Manual of Discipline, and Essene (prophetic) practices according to Josephus (see VanderKam’s The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, Chap. 3). The two priestly orders, the priests and prophets, were organized on similar lines.  But I doubt that the Essenes (prophets) would have twisted the meaning of the Prophets with pesher as the priests did.  Philo, Hypothetica, 11.1 has:  "But our lawgiver trained an innumerable body of his pupils to partake in those things, who are called [Essenes] {prophets}, being, as I imagine, honoured with this appellation because of their exceeding holiness."   The lawgiver Moses started with 70 holy men who prophesied and were called prophets. (Numbers 11.24-29). "as I imagine" is a tell-tale sign of an editor who knows the truth. Philo has been got at too.  

The Romans made Josephus a prophet because they knew prophets were involved in their story.  They had hunted down most of them and taken them to Rome for their Triumph.  The prophecies attributed to him by Flavian editors included for example:

1. His prediction that Vespasian would be emperor (War 3:400-402)

2. His speech to the Jews in Jerusalem regarding their impending fate (War 5:375-419)

The Flavian editors knew that their prisoners were prophets. They included these supposed predictions of Josephus, to justify Roman history of the time.  They even had Josephus as an apocalyptic prophet with nightly dreams giving the ability to interprete scripture (as Per Bilde also has in Understanding Josephus, p.46).