Karaism and Qumran

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StephenGoranson
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by StephenGoranson » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:24 am

spin wrote:
"Tangentially, great scholar Louis Ginzberg argued till he was blue in the face that the DSS were medieval and connected with the Karaites. (That was well before the batteries of C14 testing.)"

Ginzberg, who died in 1953, did not argue that. Perhaps the scholar intended was Solomon Zeitlin, who died in 1976, who did argue that.

Louis Ginzberg did write about The Damascus Document/Zadokite Fragments and did help provide evidence pointing to Jannaeus as the Teacher of Righteousness, as explained on pages 19-20 (and endnotes) of this paper:
http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/jannaeus.pdf

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spin
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by spin » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:52 am

StephenGoranson wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:24 am
spin wrote:
"Tangentially, great scholar Louis Ginzberg argued till he was blue in the face that the DSS were medieval and connected with the Karaites. (That was well before the batteries of C14 testing.)"

Ginzberg, who died in 1953, did not argue that. Perhaps the scholar intended was Solomon Zeitlin, who died in 1976, who did argue that.

Louis Ginzberg did write about The Damascus Document/Zadokite Fragments and did help provide evidence pointing to Jannaeus as the Teacher of Righteousness, as explained on pages 19-20 (and endnotes) of this paper:
http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/jannaeus.pdf
Thanks. You're so right. It's a long time since I'd read the material.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:37 am

John2

There does not seem to be any reason to connect the story about Origen in Eusebius and the Karaites. With respect to discovered manuscripts transforming an existing religion - I find that highly implausible. Look at the effect of the Qumran discovery on Judaism ...

crickets

Jews are of course proud and interested in 'what their ancestors believed' or 'what their forefathers did' or having some link to the past ... which confirms that they are ancient, old and all that other good stuff. But very few people have a religious sensibility which 'forces' them to adapt to new discoveries. Faith is rarely like science. People don't approach belief in God as a 'work in progress.' You don't see religious believers adopt new positions as better more ancient evidence becomes available. Religious observance is ancestor worship. Behind the infallibility of religion is the greater idol, infallibility of mom and dad and grandparents.

I think people like Eisenman who (deliberately) misread and misinterpret the scrolls is a desire to found a new religion, a new movement, new understanding - whatever. It isn't 'science' strictly speaking because as you are standing their calculating the trajectory of the documents you realize at once 'hey I am saying things that aren't in the text(s).' I was sort of guilt of that when I (playfully) published my book on Marcus Agrippa being 'Mark.' Of course in my case it occurred when I was young and playful. I had no idea how reality functioned. I just thought if you send out a message in a bottle thousands of bottles would come to the shore.

But getting back to the main point, even if you look at a successful abuse of the evidence - Stephen Carlson's travesty against a dead scholar - these sorts of myth-making exercises have limited traction. In this case a generation of scholars living at the twilight of Christianity and where their own insecurities about 'the faith' lead them to buy into a mendacious personal attack. Or there is Dan Brown's novel which had a more explosive effect in the short term but whose only great productive consequence was the Jesus Wife fragment/forgery.

In fact I view Carlson's book with the same innocence as my own effort. We were both young, creative and likely under the spell of the success of Dan Brown's massive best seller. They were at best creative writing exercises. And Dan Brown's effort was relatively innocent too when compared with the Jesus Wife fragment. But my point simply is that it is very hard to go beyond 'idle myth-making' into social transformation. I think you have to aim your efforts at absolute ignoramuses like the founding myths of Mormonism or the Nation of Islam. I don't think that the discovery of a scroll cache would transform the opinions of educated elites. Even in the case of Carlson, a myth was fabricated to give voice to a lingering suspicion about Smith. To argue that the discovery of a bunch of scrolls from a now defunct religious tradition sent a group of rabbanites into a whole different direction is unlikely.
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:53 am

I wonder whether the name 'Karaite' comes from קריאת התורה - that they emphasized what the Torah said as opposed to oral tradition or anything beyond the plain meaning of the text. Sort of an echo of what was going on in the on going debates within the Jewish community.
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:05 am

Maybe it had something to do with the public reading of the Ten Commandments specifically. Maimonides strongly objected to the practice of the congregation standing for the reading of the Ten Commandments from the Torah scroll, on the grounds that the Karaites did so. Nevertheless, the practice of standing continues to this day, and rabbinic objections are still sometimes voiced.
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:31 am

The Samaritans still identify 'the Torah' especially in the context of its use in the actual Pentateuch as meaning 'ten commandments' rather than the absurd rabbanite claim that 'the Torah' in the narrative = 'the five books of Moses.' Look at Jacobs:

The Shulhan Arukh" also records that if it is seen that the shehitah has been carried out properly, it is valid if performed by a Sadducee. The difficulty is resolved when it is appreciated that, as we shall see, Maimonides identifies the Sadducees with the Karaites. The Shulhan Arukh, in all probability, is simply quoting Maimonides but it is also possible that the Shulhan Arukh uses the term Tzadduki not in its original meaning of "Sadducee" but of heretics like the Sadducees who deny the Oral Torah. Maimonides, when speaking of the epikorsin ("heretics") states explicitly "those who, like Tzaddok and Boethus, deny the teachings of the expounders of the Oral Torah."10 The "Sadducee" is no longer the member of a particular group but is a 'type.' He is a heretic who denies the Oral tradition. The term Min (plural Minim) is of uncertain etymology possibly from the word min, "species." In any event, the references to Minim in the Talmudic literature are to various sectarians who hold heretical views. Frequently, the reference is to Jews who entertain dual- istic theories or to Gnostics or Christians. Here, too, a number of rules have been introduced with the explicit aim of refuting the doctrines and practices of the sectarians. The best-known of these laws is the introduction of a special benediction into the Amidah in which the Minim were cursed, obviously with the intention of preventing the Minim from participating in Jewish worship." The Mishnah" states that in the Temple the priests would recite the Ten Commandments together with the Shema. The Talmud" reports that attempts were made at various times, both in Palestine and Babylon, to introduce the Temple practice into the daily recital, i.e., to make it a rule that together with the Shema the Ten Commandments should be recited daily by all. The sages, however, refused to allow this "because of the complaints of the Minimi" (taarumot ha-minim). The Jerusalem Talmud" uses the expression "the claims of the Minim" (taanot ha-minim) and explains this as "that they (the Minim) "that they (the Minim) should not say, these (the Ten Commandments) alone were given to Moses at Sinai." Although the Talmud only states that "they wished to introduce it" the strong term "they canceled it" or "abolished it" might suggest that in the much earlier

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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by John2 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:48 pm

Stephan wrote:
There does not seem to be any reason to connect the story about Origen in Eusebius and the Karaites. With respect to discovered manuscripts transforming an existing religion - I find that highly implausible. Look at the effect of the Qumran discovery on Judaism ...
I don't lean towards that idea, but it's a possibility if you think Karaism could be that old. At the very least it could explain how the Damascus Document got to Egypt. And since Origen had published what he found, maybe CD could have come to the attention of Egyptian Karaites at some point that way.

As I look into the subject of Karaism and Qumran more I still like the idea that the former came to possess the Damascus Document via the DSS discovery mentioned by Timotheos. While there may have been "Karaites" before the eighth or ninth centuries CE, as Kizilov notes, "The term 'Karaites' itself, in its earlier form -benei Miqra' ('champions/followers of the Scripture') - appeared for the first time in the ninth century [CE] in the works of Benjamin ben Moses Nahawendi (Nihawandi)," which is not long after the discovery mentioned by Timotheos.

https://books.google.com/books?id=hGILH ... ls&f=false

And this Karaite blogger has a post on this subject.
For most Karaites, whether (and to what extent) our movement is supported by documents found in a cave is not important. It matters only that our theology is rooted in the Tanach. But many scholars – to say nothing of the Karaite community itself – have been fascinated by the connection between the Dead Sea Scrolls and Karaism.

Professor Daniel J. Lasker, who organized the Karaite Studies: The State of The Field workshop we’ve written about here and here, suggested that “two basic possibilities [exist] for explaining the similarity between the Scrolls and medieval Karaite writings.” Lasker wrote:

One view maintains that the Karaites are the direct biological or spiritual descendants of the Dead Sea sect, whose writing were preserved (underground as it were) from the first until the eighth or ninth centuries until the flowering of what is known today as Karaism . . . . The other possibility is that some Scrolls were discovered in the ninth century, as is recorded by the Catholicus Timothy, and their contents influenced the newly formed [Karaite] movement.

(D. Lasker, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Historiography and the Self Image of Contemporary Karaites, Dead Sea Discoveries, Vol. 9, No. 3 (2002), pp. 281-294).

According to Dr. Lasker, the bulletins of the Karaite Jewish community of Israel contained several articles about the connection between Karaite Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Id.) One of those articles was entitled “We and the Hidden Scrolls;” another, “Karaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

http://abluethread.com/2012/12/20/dead- ... /#more-563
Again, in any event, this is a great subject.
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by John2 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:43 pm

And Lasker notes here that:
For our purposes here, it is sufficient to note that the Karaite movement as we know it crystallized in the late ninth through eleventh centuries, mostly in the Land of Israel. It is there that Karaite practices became clearly delineated, to be followed in greater or lesser measure by later Karaite communities.

https://books.google.com/books?id=LTgbo ... er&f=false
This early Karaite presence in Israel is another element of what makes me suspect that their origin could have something to do with the discovery of DSS mentioned by Timotheos, since he says:
The hunter went to Jerusalem and informed the Jews. They came en masse and found the books of the old (Testament) and others in Hebraic writing.
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:53 pm

I think this is worst dichotomy EVER:
One view maintains that the Karaites are the direct biological or spiritual descendants of the Dead Sea sect, whose writing were preserved (underground as it were) from the first until the eighth or ninth centuries until the flowering of what is known today as Karaism . . . . The other possibility is that some Scrolls were discovered in the ninth century, as is recorded by the Catholicus Timothy, and their contents influenced the newly formed [Karaite] movement.
I think what Baumgarten is suggesting is more or less exactly paralleled by the situation among the Samaritans where 'normative' (for lack of a better word) and 'Dosithean' believers existed side by side. I don't know why it is so hard for you to get around the absolutely ignored thesis of Eisenman and toward a fuller acceptance of the likely possibilities here.

I think most people accept that the circle of R Ishmael were likely Sadducees. The Karaites shared many of the features of the circle of R Ishmael and some of the documents at Qumran. I don't see why the idea of the Sadducees or at least a neo-Sadducean tradition continuing into the seventh century is so hard for you to see.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:03 pm

The odd thing about 'normative Judaism' is that it has so many ridiculous beliefs and traditions. The reason for this is that they stray from the plain meaning of the text of the Torah. For instance it is unreasonable that God could have dictated the entire Pentateuch to Moses while Moses was still alive. It's stupid and not even worth considering. As such 'torah' means ten commandments throughout the Pentateuch. The significance of this is seen insofar as a deliberate attempt to move Israel away from the divine torah. The early Karaites went so far as to understand Moses as the 'narrator' of the Pentateuch (which of course means that the Pentateuch itself can't have been given by God). But the triumph of the rabbanites is in every way a triumph of irrationality over the plain meaning of the text. Consistently.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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