DSS personalities & historical persons

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DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby DCHindley » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:19 am

This is a new thread, reposted from a thread in the Christian texts board, because DSS are Judean texts.

DCHindley wrote:
Lena Einhorn wrote:DCHindley: If you find your copy of Cecil Roth's book, could you specify some of the closer analogies between the DSS and Josephus? It sounds interesting, and online I can only find that Roth, and Driver, suggested that the Teacher of Righteousness would have been Menahem, or Eleazar ben Yair, but nothing about why they make that very interesting assessment (other than the fact that some parallel texts to those found at Qumran were also found on Masada)

I'll see if I can find it tonight. DCH


I did find Roth's The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Historical Approach (1958, reissued 1965), and because a copy of it does not appear to be available online, I also OCR scanned it into PDF format.

Roth thinks that the Teacher of Righteousness of the DSS best fits Menahem, master of Masada, or possibly his relative Eleazar, the son of Jairus (War 2.447), who after the death of Menahem escaped back to Masada with the remnants of their fighting men and remained there until 73 CE when they took their own lives rather than surrender to the besieging Romans. Menahem himself was son of Judah the Galilean (War 2.433), who was the "sophist" who had created the "4th philosophy". To Roth, these figures were all relatives of the robber chief Hezekiah, a captain of a band of robbers active in Galilee on the borders of Syria who was caught and killed by Herod when he was starting his military career (Ant 14.159).

The Absalom of the sectarian DSS was the Apsalom who shared Menahem's unhappy fate (War 4.448).

The Wicked Priest was Eleazar, the son of Ananias the high priest, who was at the time of Menahem's attempt to seize power the Captain of the Temple (War 2.409), and had persuaded his fellow priests not to accept any gift or sacrifice from foreigners to start the rebellion in 66 CE.

The Lion of Wrath may be John, son of Levi, of Gischala (War 2.585 etc.).

The Man of Lies may be same as the Wicked Priest (Eleazar ben Ananias), or may be Simon son of Gioras (War 2.652 etc.).

Roth, followed by S G F Brandon, Jesus and the Zealots (1967), called all followers of the 4th philosophy of Judas the Galilean "Zealots" despite the fact that Josephus does not give this name to a defined revolutionary group until the beginning of the rebellion in 66 CE.

Since the book is still under copyright, I will refrain from posting citations directly here, but if you or anyone else wants to use it for research, please send me a Private Mail (PM) with your e-mail address through the board interface and I'll forward you a copy.


For a quick orientation of the Chronology Roth proposes, here is a modified form of a table he provides in the front matter of the book:

46Hezekiah’s revolt suppressed by Herod, and Hezekiah is executed.
31Earthquake destroys Qumran.
4Judah ben Hezekiah’s revolt at Sepphoris, which is recaptured by the Romans and sacked; Judah and his followers find refuge in Damascus ?
4-6Judah introduces Zealot ideas into Judaea. Qumran reoccupied, i Revolt and death of Judah.
46-8Execution of Jacob and Simon ben Judah. Menahem ben Judah becomes head of the sect.
52-60Sicarii begin activity.
66Menahem seizes Masadah. Menahem takes command in Jerusalem and defeats Romans.
66 (Sept.)Menahem goes to the Temple and is assassinated by priestly party; his kinsman Eleazar leads his followers back to Dead Sea area.
67?Simon bar Giora joins Zealots at Masadah but sub* sequently leaves them.
67 (Passover)Zealots storm Engedi.
68 (June)Vespasian captures Jericho and visits Dead Sea.
70 (summer)Fall of Jerusalem.
?Fall of Herodium and Machaerus.
73Fall of Masadah and death of Eleazar ben Jair. Repression of Zealots in Egypt and Cyrene.
114/5-116/7Zealot revolts in Egypt, Cyrene, Mesopotamia, Cyprus.

Here is Hugh Schonfield's (not quite "orthodox") Chronology of NT times, which might help put the whole matter in better relative perspective.

"How can you follow the show without a program?" shouts the Usher.



The following is a summary of the characters mentioned in the Qumran literature, with what is stated about them. Sometimes the same person may be referred to under two slightly different characteri- sations (e.g. The Man of Lies and the Preacher of Lies) but no account is taken of this here. On the other hand, occasionally an epithet may be omitted when a person has just been referred to: e.g. the Wicked Priest seems to become The Priest immediately afterwards. Though this is assumed here, the differentiation is clearly indicated. No attention has been paid to hypothetical reconstructions however persuasive.


D Damascus Covenant
H Habakkuk Commentary
Ho. Hosea Commentary fragment
Ps. Psalms Commentary fragment
N Nahum Commentary fragment
M Micah Commentary fragment
T.S. Thanksgiving Psalms

TOR Teacher of Righteousness.
• Has communications from God which are not credited by the Treacherous with the Man of Lies (H. 2: 1-3):
• is in opposition to Man of Lies but not helped by the House of Absalom (H. 5:10-12):
• told by God all the secrets of the prophets (H. 7:4-5): belief in him will save those in the House of Judah who fulfil the Law (H. 8:1-3):
• for the sin committed against him and his counsel, the Wicked Priest will be punished (H. 9:4-7):
• is attacked by the Wicked Priest on the Day of Atonement &c. (H. 11:4-8):
• (Teaches?) those who voluntarily join the chosen (M).
• The Teacher is a Priest (?) who built a community . . . (Ps):
• is raised up by God 410 years after ‘Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon’ to teach those who know righteousness and to instruct the last generations what would happen in the last generation (D. 1:11-2):
• arises in the End of Days (D. 8:12-3):
• the men of the Brotherhood ( יחד ) will listen to him (D. 9:20-28).

TOTB Teacher of the Brotherhood ( מורה היח)י(ד ).
• Those who defect will not be included, between the time of his gathering in and the rise of the Messiah of Aaron and Israel (D. 8:35-20:1):
• it will be 40 years from his gathering in to the end of the warriors who went with the Man of Lies (D. 30:14-5).

WP Wicked Priest.
• Was originally called by name of truth (H. 8:8-9):
• after he ruled Israel he became proud, abandoned God, betrayed commandments for gain, stole, collected wealth of the men of violence who rebelled against God, took the wealth of Gentiles (H. 8:9-13).
• (The Priest) rebelled, and in retribution was tried by the wicked and tortured (H. 8:16-9:2):
• pursued the Teacher of Righteousness to swallow him up &c. (H. 11:4-8).
• (The Priest)’s shame greater than his glory:
• he drank the cup of anger and was disgraced (H. 11:12-5):
• was punished for his maltreatment of the poor and the simple ones of Judah who carry out the Torah (H. 12:2-6):
• performed abominations in Jerusalem, defiled the Sanctuary, stole from the poor (H. 12:8):
• sent (?) to kill . . . but was punished (Ps.).

MOL Man of Lies.
• With the treacherous (does not believe) the instruction of the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of God (H. 2:1-2):
• publicly rejects the Torah, and is not opposed by House of Absalom (5:11):
• leaves with Men of War (D. 20:14-5).

POL Preacher of Lies.
• Misleads many to build a city of vanity in blood and to establish a community in falsehood:
• their labour will be in vain as they will be judged in fire to punish their insults to God’s chosen (H. 10:9-13):
• preached falsely (D. 8:13).
• Mentioned (M).

MOS Man of Scoffing.
• Preached falsely to Israel (D. 1:14-5).

LOW Lion of Wrath,
• Smote with his great ones and counsellors (N.):
• hung men up alive (N.).
• Mentioned (Ho).

LP Last Priest.
• Put forth his hand to smite Ephraim (Ho).
• With his Counsel, the Priest will be attacked by the Wicked of Ephraim and Manasseh in the approaching time of trial, but will be redeemed by God (Ps.).

LPOJ Last Priests of Jerusalem.
• Gather wealth from booty of Gentiles, but it will ultimately be captured by the armies of the Kittim (H. 9:12).

EP Ephraim.
• Attacked by the Last Priest (Ho):
• became ruler above Judah (?) (D. 7:13)

E&M Ephraim and Manasseh.
• Their Wicked Ones will stretch forth their hand against the Priest and his counsellors at the time of testing (Ps.).

MOSI Makers of Smooth Interpretations.
• Invite . . . tros King of Greece to Jerusalem (N):
• persecuted by Lion of Wrath (N.):
• persecute writer of Thanksgiving Psalms (T.S.);
• the making of smooth interpretations will be punished (D. 1.18-19).

HOA Absalom, House of.
• With their counsellors did not help the Teacher of Righteousness against the Man of Lies (H. 5:9-13).

HOJ Judah, House of.
• Those in it who perform the Torah will be saved from the House of Judgement for their belief in the Teacher of Righteousness (H. 8:1-3):
• there will be no further admission to it (D. 4:11).

SOOJ Judah, Simple Ones of.
• Sentenced to destruction by the Wicked Priest (H. 12:4).

WOJ Judah, Wicked of.
• Will be cut off from the Camp with others who broke the boundary of the Torah (D. 20:26-7).
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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby John2 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:01 am

I haven't read Roth but I'll put it on the to do list. From what you have written though, it appears that he is in the same ballpark as me, in that I view the DSS sect as being the Fourth Philosophy, and that would include people like Simon bar Giora, Menachem, et al. It's really more about situating them into the context of the DSS, such as the way and the new covenant in a place called Damascus.
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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby John2 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:06 am

Geez, this guy is hard to find. None of his books are viewable on Google books, and his articles are truncated, but I think I get the gist of it. ... ea-scrolls ... b_contents ... .html?_r=0
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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby John2 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:40 am

I found some complete articles and I'm checking them out now.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby John2 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:47 am

Bearing in mind that this was written in 1964 though:

We must start from the assumption that the documents belong to the period round about the beginning of the Christian era, an assumption generally conceded by all scholars but one and confirmed by the carbon-14 test.


Now, all these conditions were exactly fulfilled at one point in Jewish history, and one point alone - at the outset of the great revolt against Rome in the year 66 ... ... a-scrolls/

I'm starting to like this guy.
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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby John2 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:20 am

And so it all comes together.

Even as early as the 1960s there were major scholars who cast doubt on this interpretation of a pre-Christian date for the scrolls. Both Cecil Roth, the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia Judaica and a reader in Jewish Studies at Oxford University, and Godfrey Driver also a Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Philology at Oxford advocated the position that the Scrolls should be dated to the post-Christian era, more specifically at around the time of the Judean revolt between 66-74 AD.

They were quickly silenced by the official team at that time under the leadership of Father Roland de Vaux the director of the Dominican-sponsored Ecole Biblique. For some inexplicable reason he was placed in charge of a translation team that consisted of not one Israeli and in fact not one Jewish scholar to translate the Hebrew and Aramaic scrolls.

Such was the position until Professor Robert Eisenman came along in the mid-eighties. His credits were substantial. Professor of Middle Eastern Religions and Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University, Long Beach. He was National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and is a visiting senior Fellow at Oxford University. His Ph.D. was from Columbia University and he was a Senior Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Studies.

He was the primary mover for the release of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the grip of the cabal controlling them for so many years and was the consultant to the Huntington Library who finally released its photographic archive of all the scrolls thus allowing scholars around the world, free access to what had been a closely held monopoly.

No lightweight, a man not easily dismissed either for his tenacity or for his scholarship.

Having accomplished one of his goals, that of making the scrolls available for all scholars to study, he set about attacking the commonly held view that Qumran was a monastery inhabited by an Essene sect well before the time of Christianity.

His masterwork on the subject is 1,000 pages of academic argument which is too involved to go into at this point.

What he argues is that the internal evidence of the documents themselves just doesn't fit a pre-Christian Hasmonean setting. Part of his argument is that in that time frame it is impossible to identify all the players without stretching the arguments. If the time frame were correct he argues there would be no doubt as to the identification of "Righteous Teacher" and "The Wicked Priest". That is certainly not the case today when there are as many theories as to their identification as there are theorists.

He dismisses the date suggested by the Damascus document (as do many scholars who still maintain the Hasmonean date) as being a fiction. However I have suggested that if the Talmudic Chronology (as defined by Rabbi Yossi a disciple of the great Rabbi Akiva) was accepted when that document was written then the date suggested by the document would be approx. 225 years or so later in Herodian Times.

In meticulous detail Robert Eisenman shows that The Righteous Teacher was James the brother of Jesus, The Wicked Priest was the High Priest Ananas and the Spouter of Lies was none other than Paul. This of course seen from the perspective of the writer of the sectarian scrolls at Qumran.

All that would be controversial enough and it certainly was when the 1,000 page book came out and largely ignored by his fellow scholars in the field. It was just too complicated to argue against.

I, however, tried to pursue the matter because the origins and purpose of the Dead Sea Scrolls still remains one of the great mysteries.

My question was a simple one, which nobody else seemed to have asked. If The Righteous Teacher was James, the Brother of Jesus, and St. Paul was the liar, then who was Jesus in the sectarian documents. He must be there as a player at least as important as the others. I could see absolutely no mention of Jesus in any of Eisenman's works regarding this topic. Some other scholars had identified him as The Righteous Teacher, but that had been widely discounted.

That is certainly a good question, and one I've been thinking about for twenty years. I think the short answer is that it's more or less a secret, as far the DSS sect is concerned (like Paul says his gospel about Jesus was a secret that was hidden in the OT and revealed to "those entrusted with the mysteries of God" in 1 Cor. 4:1).

The DSS sect kept their doctrines secret from outsiders and those who had not completed their initiation into the sect:

These are their ways in the world ... faithful concealment of the mysteries of God. (1QS col. 4)

And the Interpreter shall not conceal from them [those who have passed initiation into the sect], out of fear of the spirit of apostasy, any of those things hidden from Israel which have been discovered by him. (1QS col. 8)

He shall conceal the teaching of the Law from men of falsehood, but shall impart true knowledge and righteous judgment to those who have chosen the Way. (1QS col. 9)

[T]his concerns the Teacher of Righteousness, to whom God made known all the mysteries of the words of His servants the Prophets. (1QpHab col. 7)

[Interpreted, this concerns] those who were unfaithful together with the Liar, in that they [did] not [listen to the word received by] the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of God ... [in whose heart] God set [understanding] that he might interpret all the words of His servants the Prophets. (1QpHab col. 2)

Here we have the actual writings of this sect yet we still don't know exactly what their secrets were, and I think this practice of keeping secrets is also why there is relative "silence" about Jesus in the Letter of James too, because it was written to outsiders.

Though I tend to suspect things like the Self Glorification Hymn -Jesus is at least similar to the narrator- in the big picture I think it was a matter of expecting Jesus (or the Messiah, call him whatever name you like) to return (or to come) soon, and if you had any questions then you could ask him when he gets here. This is the impression I get from Hegesippus too.

The aforesaid Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple, and cried out to him and said: ‘Thou just one, in whom we ought all to have confidence, forasmuch as the people are led astray after Jesus, the crucified one, declare to us, what is the gate of Jesus.’ And he answered with a loud voice, ‘Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven.’
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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby DCHindley » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:14 pm

John2 wrote:Geez, this guy is hard to find. None of his books are viewable on Google books, and his articles are truncated, but I think I get the gist of it. ... ea-scrolls ... b_contents ... .html?_r=0

I had previously come up with this modern overview of the related theories of C Roth and G R Driver:

George J. Brooke "Dead Sea Scrolls Scholarship in the United Kingdom" (in The Dead Sea Scrolls in Scholarly Perspective: A History of Research, by Devorah Dimant, 2012)

[461] A second historical approach at Oxford was to be found in the work of Cecil Roth (1899-1970). He was Reader in Jewish Studies at Oxford from 1940 until 1965. In 1958 he published The Historical Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls.54 It was reprinted as a paperback for distribution in North America in 1965. Having first presented his ideas at seminars in Manchester and at Strasbourg in early 1957, he turned them into a short book in which he advocated that the circumstances of the First Jewish War best accounted for what was indicated in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Roth stated at the outset that “it must however be clearly realised that the thesis here presented does not depend on names but on the entire circumstances of the time. Whether Menahem ben Judah or his kinsman Eleazar ben Jair was the Teacher of Righteousness of the Qumran sect is of slight significance. What is important is that the sect was identical with the Zealots whom they led and inspired, and that the Qumran literature throws new light on the history of the Jewish Revolution of 66 and the great struggle against [462] Rome that ensued."55 In the introduction, Roth expresses his gratitude to Godfrey Driver for accepting his views, saving him from some blunders and encouraging him “to persevere in a field not wholly my own.”56 ...

Beyond his linguistic and lexicographical concerns. Driver developed his own historical theories about the sect behind the Scrolls in dialogue with his colleague Cecil Roth.59 These ideas were presented as the Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham in 1958 and were eventually published in a much-expanded form in a substantial book.60 He argued that the Qumran sect should be identified as Zealots and that the “Rightful Teacher” was none other than Menahem, a messianic pretender who had been killed by a certain Eleazar (who became Drivers Wicked Priest) in 66 CE (cf. Josephus, J.W. 2.433-440). In this theory, although some of the sectarian literature, such as the Community Rule, was to be dated to before the First Jewish War (66-70 CE), much of it could only have been composed after it, reflecting the circumstances of the time. He set the Damascus Document in the period shortly before the Second Jewish War (132-135 CE). [463] the caves served as a genizah and that the manuscripts were put in them to take them out of circulation in a time when scriptural texts were being standardized and heterodox ideas discouraged.

54) Cecil Roth, The Historical Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 1958; New York: Philosophical Library, 1959); reprinted with a new introduction and three additional appendixes as The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Historical Approach (New York: W. W. Norton, 1965).
55) Roth, The Historical Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls, viii.
56) Roth, The Historical Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls, vii.
59) The initial plan was for a joint publication, but Drivers contribution was delayed and so Roth published his historical perspective independently.
60) Godfrey R. Driver, The Judaean Scrolls: The Problem and a Solution (Oxford: Blackwell, 1965).

The book which I OCRd is in fact the 1965 expansion of Roth's 1958/59 The Historical Background of the Dead Sea Scrolls, sold in the USA as The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Historical Approach. I have gone ahead and attached the OCR with the understanding that it's use must be for research purposes, and not for for-profit distribution, subject to Peter's approval.

Roth was also a frequent contributor to Commentary Magazine, which in that day was fairly liberal, but which is today dedicated to neo-conservative Judaism. Nonetheless, the articles can be found here:

A Solution to the Mystery of the Scrolls - Adding a Chapter to 1st-Century Jewish History
10.01.57 - 12:00 AM | by Cecil Roth ... h-history/

The Jewish Revolt Against Rome: The War of 66-70 C.E.
By Cecil Roth / Jun 1, 1959. Long familiar to COMMENTARY readers for his special historical investigations, Cecil Roth here offers a fresh analysis of the Jewish revolt of 66-70 C.E. ... 66-70-c-e/

Simon bar Giora, Ancient Jewish Hero: A Historical Reinterpretation
by Cecil Roth / Jan. 1, 1960. In his article last June, Cecil Roth, the eminent Oxford historian of the Jews, described “The Jewish Revolt Against Rome.” He now reinterprets one of the heroes of that revolt. ... pretation/

New Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls
06.01.64 - 12:00 AM | by Cecil Roth ... h-history/

Digest, enjoy.

What I would like to see from this is a little idea tossing, and an examination of the problem of the DSS C-14 analysis, and what the results do and do not tell us about the dates of their initial composition.

I do not think that Driver's book, The Judaean Scrolls: The Problem and a Solution (1965), is available online.

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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby John2 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:33 am

Thanks, DC. I beat you to the punch on Commentary Magazine though.
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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby DCHindley » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:32 am

Looking into G R Driver's The Judaean Scrolls: The Problem and a Solution (1965), I could not find an online version, but similar to Roth, few academic libraries to which I have somewhat ready access to here in Ohio USA seem to have a copy.

Then I realized that there was a second edition published 1966 which is held by a local university, so I'll see if I can persuade my wife and/or son to drive me there (26 miles away), renew my library membership that has lain dormant for over 5 years now, and check out the book. They also have a copy of the 2nd (1978) edition of his Canaanite Myths & Legends, which I might also try to snap up.

FWIW, Roth was well regarded in his time for his books on the history of Judaism in England, some work on biblical interpretation and a translation of the Haggadah. He was one of the first accredited historians to turn his eyes towards the DSS interpretive environment.

Roth was of the opinion that
Until a very short while ago [he writes this about 1957 or 1958], the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls seemed destined to remain one of the insoluble mysteries of history — at least so far as a small minority of skeptics was concerned, for majority opinion aligned itself very early and never saw any reason why its comfortable conclusions should be disturbed. ... My own conclusions, diametrically opposed to [an example of a theory arising among the majority opinion] and based on purely historical reasoning, will be found in the following pages. The only thing that mystified me was why something so obvious had not been realized before, and by scholars far better qualified than I am to work upon this period. When, however, I published the preliminary results of my investigation, my views were greeted not merely with disagreement but with almost universal derision. To my amazement, I found that in the circles dealing with this period and this subject there obtained a standard of language and conduct, as well as of research, the like of which I had never experienced in my career as a historian.(1965: xii)

Unfortunately, the standards of language, conduct & research on DSS of his day, "the like of which I had never experienced in my career as a historian," still remains the norm. Pffpffp!

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Re: DSS personalities & historical persons

Postby spin » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:35 am

DCHindley wrote:Unfortunately, the standards of language, conduct & research on DSS of his day, "the like of which I had never experienced in my career as a historian," still remains the norm

I'd say a lot has changed since Roth's day. The scrolls were "liberated" in the 90s through efforts from many scholars. There is no longer the climate of private party there once was.
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