The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

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archibald
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by archibald » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:57 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:31 pm
I see Jewish Christianity as being a faction of what Josephus calls the Fourth Philosophy ...
I believe there have been suggestions made linking scrolls found at Masada to the DSS.

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/dai ... to-masada/

http://cojs.org/masada_and_its_scrolls- ... hia-_1994/

John2
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by John2 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:02 pm

To Ben and archibald,

Exactly. Thanks for the links.
I'll tell you where the four winds dwell, in Franklin's tower there hangs a bell, it can ring, turn night to day, ring like fire when you lose your way.

John2
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by John2 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:24 pm

MrMacSon cited:
Robert Eisenman has proposed James, brother of Jesus as the Teacher against a "Wicked Priest" (Ananus ben Ananus), and a "Spouter of Lies" which Eisenman identifies as Paul of Tarsus.[13][14] However, the introduction of the Teacher of Righteousness in the Damascus Document (CD 1:5-11) places the ascendance of this figure just prior to the outbreak of the Maccabean revolt sometime in the first half of the second century BCE.[15]

That date is roughly two hundred years too early to be James, the brother of Jesus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teacher_o ... ainst_Paul

I addressed this on another thread and said:

There are various ideas about the meaning of the 390 years mentioned in the Damascus Document, which VanderKam discusses here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=FSnLk ... el&f=false

So there is some flexibility here, and Collins, for example, is in the symbolic camp:
This passage has been widely interpreted to mean that this movement arose from Israel and Aaron in the early second century B.C.E. It is doubtful, however, that the number of 390 years can be pressed in this way. It is a symbolic number, derived from Ezek 4:5, and in any case we do not know how the author of this text understood the chronology of the post-exilic period.
https://books.google.com/books?id=13ZxD ... ic&f=false
I'll tell you where the four winds dwell, in Franklin's tower there hangs a bell, it can ring, turn night to day, ring like fire when you lose your way.

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DCHindley
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by DCHindley » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:13 am

archibald wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:25 am
Of course, Eisenmann has me at a disadvantage. He is far more familiar with the DSS than I am. So I doubt I can come to any conclusions and have to be wary that he may be extracting a thesis from a larger picture that I don't appreciate and therefore can't say if the extraction (exegesis) is reliable.
Back when he published his book translating certain previously published, and a couple unpublished, DSS scroll fragments, I compared Eisenman's translations of certain scrolls, with the better known translations of the same passages, and it was pretty obvious just how differently Eisenman thinks than the consensus POV scholar.

The latter prefer to translate using cliché vocabulary based on modern (post-reformation) church liturgies, and have assumptions that are really just wild guesses yet presented as 100% fact. Unfortunately, not knowing Hebrew or Aramaic, I cannot really tell whether or not he is doing the same thing, or rendering things more neutrally than most others.

DCH

archibald
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by archibald » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:46 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:13 am
archibald wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:25 am
Of course, Eisenmann has me at a disadvantage. He is far more familiar with the DSS than I am. So I doubt I can come to any conclusions and have to be wary that he may be extracting a thesis from a larger picture that I don't appreciate and therefore can't say if the extraction (exegesis) is reliable.
Back when he published his book translating certain previously published, and a couple unpublished, DSS scroll fragments, I compared Eisenman's translations of certain scrolls, with the better known translations of the same passages, and it was pretty obvious just how differently Eisenman thinks than the consensus POV scholar.

The latter prefer to translate using cliché vocabulary based on modern (post-reformation) church liturgies, and have assumptions that are really just wild guesses yet presented as 100% fact. Unfortunately, not knowing Hebrew or Aramaic, I cannot really tell whether or not he is doing the same thing, or rendering things more neutrally than most others.

DCH
Much of that is above my pay grade. :)

I will say this though, he sounds (I mean reads, though I have seen him speak in videos).....rather convinced...at times...about stuff which to me does not necessarily warrant it (and it might not be much of a stretch to say that includes almost everything about the entire field of study) and I generally feel I should add more salt when I encounter certainty in these matters.

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DCHindley
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by DCHindley » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:18 pm

archibald wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:46 pm
I will say this though, he sounds (I mean reads, though I have seen him speak in videos).....rather convinced...at times...about stuff which to me does not necessarily warrant it (and it might not be much of a stretch to say that includes almost everything about the entire field of study) and I generally feel I should add more salt when I encounter certainty in these matters.
Well, that's how Eisenman works. On any given subject he explores just about every single angle that he can measure in the tangle, like how a passage is worded in the various eclectic texts of the NT (like W&H, NA, and the Received-Majority-Byzantine texts) and spins hundreds of possible scenarios.

To me it seemed to be like throwing plates of spaghetti against the kitchen wall to see if anything sticks. You get a strand to stick here and there, usually the ones with more sauce, and if you are lucky, a bit of meatball or something as well. Hmmm, yum. To him, though, I think he hoped that by breaking down the data into the smallest possible bytes, he will be better able to use them to construct a really useful historical explanation. So far, that has eluded him.

As a person (we've conversed a few times, although I have not been on his boat like Mr. Alias has), he seemed to be a nice guy. I do think in his first book on JtB he came up with a few good ideas. I think he gets most traction not so much in the arena of John the Baptist, but on Paul and his social world. He is fairly sure on the basis of name dropping that Paul was connected to a Herodian household, and may have been promoting the royal claims of the head of that household. There were dozens of Herodian Princes, all of whom had control of the gift estates that fell their way, while others were bona-fide tetrarchs of various city-kingdoms along the border with the Parthians, mainly near lower Syria and Damascus (Chalcis, Commegene, etc).

Any of them, if lucky enough to fall into favor with the ruling Roman dynast, could one day be appointed king of a revived Judean kingdom like Herod used to rule (worked for Agrippa I). Many didn't want any part of the intrigues of building a kingdom, since it didn't work very well for some of Herod's sons while he was alive, but there were others who were not doing so bad and may have wanted to take on such a challenge.

I toyed with the idea that some of the references to Christ in Paul's letters may have referred to one of the Herodian princes. There was a "play" thread in the Lounge not too long ago where I suggested Paul was associated with the household of Herod Antipas in Galilee with the antichrist being Herod Agrippa (or was that the other way around?), making this explanatory nexus datable to around the mid to late 30's CE, but I came to the conclusion that the dogmatic statements were far too developed to be made to work in such a setting.

My "play" thread above was an attempt to poke fun at how many of the explanations that happen in this forum are easy to spin but hard to justify. However, long ago (early 1990's), I had concluded that all the Christology and related dogma was actually not part of Paul's world (most likely a retainer in a lesser known Herodian household), but that it was added to the letters many years later, after the Judean rebellion of 66-73 CE, by a group that had once followed a "pretender" pursuing the royal anointment (yes, Jesus) but who became disillusioned with the anointment of a human ruler and transformed their view of the pretender, Jesus, into the role of a divine actor in a cosmic mystery play.

My wife calls me to grocery shop ... and I must obey. :banghead:

DCH

John2
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by John2 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:31 am

DC wrote:
Well, that's how Eisenman works. On any given subject he explores just about every single angle that he can measure in the tangle, like how a passage is worded in the various eclectic texts of the NT (like W&H, NA, and the Received-Majority-Byzantine texts) and spins hundreds of possible scenarios.
Right. I consequently haven't read Eisenman with any passion in over fifteen years (and only did previously for about five years). I like how Price describes his style in his review of JBJ:
Eisenman's James the Brother of Jesus often seems too circuitous and redundant, but this is the result of his having to keep a number of balls in the air at once. He has to begin explaining something here, put it on hold, go to something else that you'll need to plug into the first explanation, then return to it, go on to another, and another, then come back to the earlier items, remind you of them, and then finally assemble the whole complex device.
I'm too old to sort through his writing style anymore. I just take (or took, rather) what I need from him, what I call the "distilled essence" of Eisenman, like I essentially do with anyone else I've read. I honestly have never understood all the fuss about him. My introduction to Christianity (about twenty five years ago) was through Neusner and Maccoby, and my more recent influences have been Nehemia Gordon and Boyarin, and no one has ever questioned my sanity or given me any grief over them. I've actually been afraid at times to say the "E" word around here, and that's not cool and I shouldn't have to live like that.
Last edited by John2 on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
I'll tell you where the four winds dwell, in Franklin's tower there hangs a bell, it can ring, turn night to day, ring like fire when you lose your way.

John2
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by John2 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:57 am

Like I suppose other Fourth Philosophic factions could have been interested in Daniel and used 1 Enoch (like the DSS sect and Jewish Christians), I think it's possible that they could have likewise had their particular version of "the new covenant" (again, like the DSS sect and Jewish Christians did). Eisenman points out that Josephus frequently calls Fourth Philosophers "innovators" and he describes the Fourth Philosophy as a "system of philosophy, which we were before unacquainted withal" and that "the customs of our fathers were altered" by it in Ant. 18.1.1.

For examples, in War 2.17.2-4 he mentions the religious nature of these innovations:
And at this time it was that some of those that principally excited the people to go to war made an assault upon a certain fortress called Masada. They took it by treachery, and slew the Romans that were there, and put others of their own party to keep it. At the same time Eleazar, the son of Ananias the high priest, a very bold youth, who was at that time governor of the temple, persuaded those that officiated in the Divine service to receive no gift or sacrifice for any foreigner. And this was the true beginning of our war with the Romans; for they rejected the sacrifice of Caesar on this account; and when many of the high priests and principal men besought them not to omit the sacrifice, which it was customary for them to offer for their princes, they would not be prevailed upon. These relied much upon their multitude, for the most flourishing part of the innovators assisted them; but they had the chief regard to Eleazar, the governor of the temple ... priests that were skillful in the customs of their country ... made the report that all their forefathers had received the sacrifices from foreign nations. But still not one of the innovators would hearken to what was said; nay, those that ministered about the temple would not attend their Divine service, but were preparing matters for beginning the war.
And in War 2.13.4 he mentions the innovations of other Fourth Philosophic Jesus-types:
These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of Divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty.

Even though, as Lim notes, the DSS sect and Jewish Christians are the only groups we know practiced a "new covenant," I'm just as okay with thinking that the "new covenant" mentioned in the DSS reflects (or inspired) the "innovations" of other Fourth Philosophic factions as I am thinking that it could have something to do with Christianity.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
I'll tell you where the four winds dwell, in Franklin's tower there hangs a bell, it can ring, turn night to day, ring like fire when you lose your way.

John2
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by John2 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:38 am

In light of what Josephus says about the rejection of Gentile sacrifices above (and which he says had been previously unheard of), it is worth noting that the DSS possibly refer to this issue in 4QMMT.

Vermes:
[And concerning the offering of the wh]eat of the [Gentiles which they ...] and they touch it ... and de[file it ... One should not accept anything] from the wheat [of the Gen]tiles [and none of it] is to enter the Sanctuary ... And concerning the sacrifice of the gentiles ... [we consider that] they {sacrifice} to [an idol and] that is [like a woman fornicating with him].

https://books.google.com/books?id=hDuyz ... ls&f=false
Eisenman:
Now, [concerning the offering of gr]ain by the [Gentiles, who...] and they tou[c]h it... and render it im[pure... One is not to eat] any Gentile grain, nor is it permissible to bring it to the Tem[p]le ... Concerning sacrifices by Gentiles, [we say that (in reality) they] sacrifice to the i[dol that seduces them] ((therefore it is illicit).

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/scrol ... d06.htm#35
Martinez:
These are some of our regulations [concerning the law of G]od, which are pa[rt of] the precepts we [are examining and] they [a]ll relate to … and the purity of […] … [Concerning the offering of the] wheat of the Gen[tiles which they…] and they touch it […] and they defi[le it- you shall not eat it.] [None] of the wheat of the Gentiles shall be brought into the temple…. And concerning the sacrifice] which they cook in vessels [of
bronze…] the flesh of their sacrifices and […] in the courtyard the […] with the broth of their sacrifices. And concerning the sacrifice of the Gentiles- [we say that they sacrifice] ...

http://cojs.org/miqzat_ma-ase_ha-torah- ... -martinez/
And Paul discusses the issue of eating "food sacrificed to idols" (and is okay with it) in 1 Cor. 8:4-8:
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that 'An idol is nothing at all in the world' and that 'There is no God but one.' For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords'), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
And James is presented as forbidding eating "food sacrificed to idols" in Acts 15:19-20 and 28-29:
It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols ... It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols ...
It is also prohibited in chapter 6 of the Didache (which arguably has Jewish Christian connections and knows only one gospel, of a Matthew-type, which Jewish Christians were said to have used):
See that no one causes you to err from this way of the Teaching, since apart from God it teaches you. For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able. And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods.
Last edited by John2 on Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
I'll tell you where the four winds dwell, in Franklin's tower there hangs a bell, it can ring, turn night to day, ring like fire when you lose your way.

John2
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

Post by John2 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:09 am

The NT itself likens Christians to other Fourth Philosophers in Acts 5:34-40 (even if it mixes up the chronology):
But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
To me Jesus looks like a less (or non-) violent type of Fourth Philosopher. His thing appears to have been to suffer, die and be resurrected ("according to the Scriptures") and rely on God (via the coming of the heavenly "Son of Man" and his angels) to defeat Rome and bring on the End Time, which is just a different way of accomplishing the same thing that other Fourth Philosophers were trying to do. And Jesus seems to have been well aware of the Fourth Philosophic context of his times. As he says in Mk. 13:5-6:
Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
And in Mt. 11:12:
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
I'll tell you where the four winds dwell, in Franklin's tower there hangs a bell, it can ring, turn night to day, ring like fire when you lose your way.

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