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The Dead Sea Scrolls & the New Testament

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.

Re: John T

Postby StephenGoranson » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:58 am

It seems to me that the quality of the translation by Vermes and the proposal of identity of the Wicked Priest by Vermes are largely two different things.
(On a minor note: Vermes claimed to have done the first PhD on the scrolls--and probably thought so. But Samuel Iwry at johns Hopkins with Wm. Albright was earlier.)
His translation is good; his proposed Wicked Priest is too early, imo.
Proposals of identity of the WP and others by Driver, Roth, Eisenman, and Thiering are too late, imo.
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Re: John T

Postby John2 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:14 am

Regarding Vermes, I have often mentioned my issues with his translations, including in this thread when I wrote that "I must resort to [it] at the moment" and that his "'the Levites are' (in parenthesis) is not in the Hebrew, only nilvim, or joiners, which is a word play on Levites."

I used to have Wise, Abegg and Cook's translations (and their DSS Bible) but gave them away when I downsized my books when I stopped observing Judaism fifteen years ago. I tend to use Vermes because I'm used to him and he is available online and the Wise, Abegg, Cook translation is not viewable enough on Google books to be useful to me. In any event, I don't see what difference other translations or the Hebrew could have on the passage I cited from 4Q174 regarding the sons of Zadok, since this reference appears to be uncontested, and I cited Oegema earlier to support it:

The battle between the lawless sons of Zadok and the chosen righteous one is emphasized here.

https://books.google.com/books?id=-j4YA ... 74&f=false


Regarding the inconsistency of the use of sons of Zadok in 4Q174 and the other DSS, I don't see it as an issue since I don't take the meaning of sons of Zadok literally and cited Schofield to support this (who also has an interesting chart of all the references to sons of Zadok in the DSS):

But were there literal, lineal Zadokites left by the late Second Temple period, some of which formed part of the Yahad? ... In the Scrolls alone, the terms "Sons of Zadok" and "Sons of Aaron" do not appear to have been used interchangeably, but rather reflect two separate groups ...

https://books.google.com/books?id=7qVTO ... ok&f=false


And as Eisenman notes regarding the DSS in general, "The same ideology, nomenclature, and dramatis personae move from document to document regardless of style or authorship," and this is reflected in the appearance of the Interpreter of the Law (in tandem with the Messiah) in 4Q174 and the Damascus Document in interpretations of OT passages that are also applied to Jesus in Christianity.

4Q174: "This passage [2 Sam. 7:11-14] refers to the Shoot of David, who is to arise with the Interpreter of the Law, and who will [arise] in Zi[on in the Las]t Days, as it is written, 'And I shall raise up the booth of David that is fallen' (Amos 9:11). This passage describes the fallen booth of David, [w]hom He shall raise up to deliver Israel."

CD 7: "The star is the Interpreter of the Law who shall come to Damascus; as it is written, A star shall come forth out of Jacob and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel [Num. 24:17]. The sceptre is the Prince of the whole congregation, and when he comes he shall smite all the children of Seth."

So here we have the Interpreter of the Law being mentioned in tandem with the Messiah in both of these texts (and these are the only times this term is used in the DSS), and as I pointed out above, Charlesworth notes that, "Paleographically, the manuscript of 4Q174 is dated early in the first century C.E."

Regarding my impression that the OT is revered in the Damascus Document despite the use of apparently altered texts, this is based on what it says in an interpretation of Amos 9:11 (right before the reference to the Interpreter of the Law):

The Books of the Law are the tabernacle of the king; as God said, I will raise up the tabernacle of David which is fallen. The king is the congregation; and the bases of the statues are the Books of the Prophets whose sayings Israel despised.


This tells me that the DSS "sect" did not despise the Books of the Prophets, which is what we are talking about here (i.e., the arguably altered Ezek. 44:15 and Amos 5:27 -not 9:27 as I wrote earlier, my bad).

Regarding the reference to Amos 5:27 in the Damascus Document, Bar-Asher notes:

We are not dealing here with a corrupt text, but rather with a pesher that interprets the biblical מהלאה as מאהלי in accordance with the aims of the darshan, the interpretation being based on the shared letters he, aleph, and lamed: הלא (in the explained word מהלאה) and אהל (in the explanatory word מאהלי). In the present case, the formulation of the pesher is employed in the text in place of the original formulation of the verse.

https://books.google.com/books?id=-fmZA ... 27&f=false


I only had time to read the last comments on this thread last night and couldn't respond to them because I was leaving work, but I noticed Stephan's comment about this possibly being based on a variant text because I wasn't signed in at the time, so I wanted to address his comment. I'm unaware of anyone who thinks this could be the case, but as far as I can tell presently, Amos 5:27 is not in the DSS "bible" (nor is Ezekiel 44:15), so I suppose it's a possibility.

http://dssenglishbible.com/amos%205.htm

http://dssenglishbible.com/ezekiel.htm

However, my understanding is that, while there are variant DSS biblical texts, most of them are in agreement with the Masoretic text, as noted here:

Many biblical manuscripts closely resemble the Masoretic Text, the accepted text of the Hebrew Bible from the second half of the first millennium ce until today. This similarity is quite remarkable, considering that the Qumran Scrolls are over a thousand years older than previously identified biblical manuscripts.

http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/learn- ... cale=en_US
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Re: John T

Postby John2 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:52 am

Real quick. I just noticed the Martinez translation of 4Q174, and the reference to the sons of Zadok does look different there (I don't have time to put in all the brackets):

This (refers to) the sons of Zadok and (to) the men of their council, those who seek justice eagerly, who have come after them to the council of the community.

https://books.google.com/books?id=6RfYx ... 74&f=false


I'm going to take a look at the Hebrew later. But as I said, I don't take the references to the sons of Zadok literally, in any event.
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Re: John T

Postby spin » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:43 pm

StephenGoranson wrote:I meant that for any given Qumran ms usually many translations are available.

That is fair enough. I was trying to point John2 into safer reading with a more scholarly collection. But I do note that, though the Parry/Tov readers are anthologies, they feature the work of a host of wonderful scholars. Well worth pointing people to for translations of legal, calendrical and sapiential texts.
Last edited by spin on Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: John T

Postby spin » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:48 pm

John2 wrote:I used to have Wise, Abegg and Cook's translations (and their DSS Bible) but gave them away when I downsized my books when I stopped observing Judaism fifteen years ago.

I work with the principle that if you have good reference materials, you keep them. Both WAC and DSSBib are of that category.

John2 wrote:I tend to use Vermes because I'm used to him and he is available online and the Wise, Abegg, Cook translation is not viewable enough on Google books to be useful to me.

You can judge a reference work by who uses it. VanderKam and Flint (Meaning of the DSS, HarperSanFrancisco, 2002) cite WAC regularly. The Parry/Tov readers mentioned by Stephen Goranson use WAC. No scholar cites Vermes.

John2 wrote:In any event, I don't see what difference other translations or the Hebrew could have on the passage I cited from 4Q174 regarding the sons of Zadok, since this reference appears to be uncontested, and I cited Oegema earlier to support it:

The battle between the lawless sons of Zadok and the chosen righteous one is emphasized here.

https://books.google.com/books?id=-j4YA ... 74&f=false

It all depends on how you fill in the lacunae. You've now looked at another contrary translation. When you cite texts clearly giving column and line numbers people can see what you are talking about.

John2 wrote:Regarding the inconsistency of the use of sons of Zadok in 4Q174 and the other DSS, I don't see it as an issue since I don't take the meaning of sons of Zadok literally and cited Schofield to support this (who also has an interesting chart of all the references to sons of Zadok in the DSS):

But were there literal, lineal Zadokites left by the late Second Temple period, some of which formed part of the Yahad? ... In the Scrolls alone, the terms "Sons of Zadok" and "Sons of Aaron" do not appear to have been used interchangeably, but rather reflect two separate groups ...

https://books.google.com/books?id=7qVTO ... ok&f=false

Schofeld is correct that they are two different groups, but 1Q28a already makes that very clear. The fact is irrelevant to your view that references to the sons of Zadoq are not to be taken literally.

John2 wrote:And as Eisenman notes regarding the DSS in general, "The same ideology, nomenclature, and dramatis personae move from document to document regardless of style or authorship," and this is reflected in the appearance of the Interpreter of the Law (in tandem with the Messiah) in 4Q174 and the Damascus Document in interpretations of OT passages that are also applied to Jesus in Christianity.

He may or may not be correct, though I have found Eisenman tends to blur similar sounding references with gay abandon. He does not seem to have any quality control.

John2 wrote:4Q174: "This passage [2 Sam. 7:11-14] refers to the Shoot of David, who is to arise with the Interpreter of the Law, and who will [arise] in Zi[on in the Las]t Days, as it is written, 'And I shall raise up the booth of David that is fallen' (Amos 9:11). This passage describes the fallen booth of David, [w]hom He shall raise up to deliver Israel."

CD 7: "The star is the Interpreter of the Law who shall come to Damascus; as it is written, A star shall come forth out of Jacob and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel [Num. 24:17]. The sceptre is the Prince of the whole congregation, and when he comes he shall smite all the children of Seth."

So here we have the Interpreter of the Law being mentioned in tandem with the Messiah in both of these texts (and these are the only times this term is used in the DSS),

This earlier recension of CD features the dual messiahs, the star and the sceptre. CDb, the later recension, features a single messiah out of Aaron and Israel (XX, 1). Also in this recension, if the "unique teacher" is the teacher of righteousness, he is dead (XX, 13-15).

John2 wrote:and as I pointed out above, Charlesworth notes that, "Paleographically, the manuscript of 4Q174 is dated early in the first century C.E."

Palaeography only tells you when a text was copied in relation to other works.

John2 wrote:Regarding my impression that the OT is revered in the Damascus Document despite the use of apparently altered texts, this is based on what it says in an interpretation of Amos 9:11 (right before the reference to the Interpreter of the Law):

The Books of the Law are the tabernacle of the king; as God said, I will raise up the tabernacle of David which is fallen. The king is the congregation; and the bases of the statues are the Books of the Prophets whose sayings Israel despised.


This tells me that the DSS "sect" did not despise the Books of the Prophets, which is what we are talking about here (i.e., the arguably altered Ezek. 44:15 and Amos 5:27 -not 9:27 as I wrote earlier, my bad).

If you had kept the DSSBib, you'd be able to see some of the range of textual variation in Hebrew texts. You cannot assume that a group involved in the DSS was responsible for purposefully changing texts. Text variation was the norm.

If the people related to the texts that interest you showed no apparent deviation from the torah and other texts, why assume they are not literal regarding the sons of Zadoq, who are after all at the head of the community?

John2 wrote:Regarding the reference to Amos 5:27 in the Damascus Document, Bar-Asher notes:

We are not dealing here with a corrupt text, but rather with a pesher that interprets the biblical מהלאה as מאהלי in accordance with the aims of the darshan, the interpretation being based on the shared letters he, aleph, and lamed: הלא (in the explained word מהלאה) and אהל (in the explanatory word מאהלי). In the present case, the formulation of the pesher is employed in the text in place of the original formulation of the verse.

https://books.google.com/books?id=-fmZA ... 27&f=false

The pesher on Amos 5:27 may simply be an example of text variations at play. I haven't got a reference for this but I do remember finding an example of pesher material citing one version of a text then writing the pesher using another known version. Remember the three well-known text types, "proto-Massoretic", Samaritan and LXX-Vorlage (plus further variations) were all found among the Hebrew DSS.
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Re: John T

Postby John T » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:11 am

spin wrote:Three excellent scrolls scholars without an axe to grind. The standard translation is still Brill/Eerdmans The Dead Sea Scrolls: Study Edition, Florentino Garcia Martinez and Eibert JC Tigchelaar, which comes with the Hebrew text.


DSS scholars are few in number and most have an axe to grind; Martinez is no exception.

Translations are based on what the interpreter thinks is the original intent and dishonest translators insert what they want the receiver to believe rather than what originator intended. Hence why we have so many different translations of the Bible. The DSS are no different.

Which DSS translation most closely follows original intent?
I know of none (DSS scholars) that acknowledges the original intent of the community is based on the Book of Enoch.

Vermes had his view of who wrote the DSS and translated the scrolls to fit his theory. So did Martinez, Charlesworth, Schiffman etc.

Eisenman has a plausible theory that Christianity started as an off-shoot of the Essene sect and interprets the scrolls accordingly. Yet, since Eisenman falls outside of the parameters of the closed minded 'group-think' scholars, he is ridiculed by Vermes, Schiffman and others.

Since none of them can prove who the Teacher of Righteousness is, the origin/intent of the Qumran community is still open for debate and Eisenman should be treated with respect.

This reminds me of that commercial where a cow wearing a sign with the last word of the slogan is partially obscured by a park-bench. Construction workers take turns guessing what the last word is and hence the message. All of them feel they are right but all of them are wrong. Only when the cow walks from behind the bench do they clearly see the original intent of the ad: "Eat more chicken". Just like arrogant scholars who fill in the missing words of the DSS and claim it best fits original intent, some new evidence will come along and show they were only guessing based on their own personal bias and/or limited knowledge.

John 2 makes some good arguments and asks some very good questions, so does Spin...Huller not so much.

My (John T) interpretation of the DSS is that the Book of Enoch is the prism for a bulk of sectarian writings by the Essenes.

*Bold type was added after posting to clarify my view.
Last edited by John T on Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:13 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: John T

Postby robert j » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:48 am

John T wrote:My (John T) interpretation of the DSS is that the Book of Enoch is the prism for a bulk of sectarian writings by the Essenes.


This sounds a lot like the theory proposed by Gabriele Boccaccini in his book, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis --- The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judasim. It’s been a while since I read this book, and I’m not promoting or trying to support Boccaccini’s theory here, but IIRC, he argues, among other things, that ---

--- the Book of Enoch represents an important early core of the DSS sectarian belief system

--- the DSS sectarians were a radical off-shoot of a much wider Enochic/Essenic movement

--- most especially the last portion of the Book of Enoch, the Similitudes (aka Parables) --- and also portions of the Epistle of Enoch --- which were not found among the DSS materials --- reverse some of the earlier concepts of the Book of Enoch that were important to the DSS sectarians, and are evidence for the “Parting of the Ways” between Qumran and a wider Enochic/Essenic Judasim.

Again, I’m providing this from memory, and I’m not promoting these ideas, but only adding grist for the mill.
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Re: John T

Postby MrMacSon » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:06 am

spin wrote:
... several important Qumran texts date to the first century BCE. There is no projecting these texts onto 1st c. CE scenarios. They are too late.

    Don't you mean these texts are too early?
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Re: John T

Postby spin » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:14 am

MrMacSon wrote:
spin wrote:
... several important Qumran texts date to the first century BCE. There is no projecting these texts onto 1st c. CE scenarios. They are too late.

    Don't you mean these texts are too early?

Interesting. I intended the scenarios to be too late, but you've just brought out a nice ambiguity as to what "they" refers to.
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Re: John T

Postby MrMacSon » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:52 am

spin wrote:
I intended the scenarios to be too late

    aha.
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