Karaism and Qumran

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
John2
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by John2 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:43 pm

Stephan wrote;
I think this is worst dichotomy EVER
I thought it was oddly worded, but it may be due to the blogger's editing and not Lasker. It would make better sense with a simple emendation:
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) . . . . 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.
In any event, it looks like the second option (the one that appeals to me) goes back to Paul Kahle and I want to check out this article regarding him.

Forgotten Legacy: A Reassessment of Paul Kahle’s views on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Corrado Martone

http://www.academia.edu/12068292/Forgot ... ea_Scrolls
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.

I'm open to the idea and seeing you flesh it out.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:23 am

OK if I had all the time in the world I guess I could work on a thesis. But beyond that, if you have to choose between option (a) or option (b) there is no proof that Timotheos found the 'Zaddokite document.' That's the difference. Maybe he might have. But we have no proof he did.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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John2
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by John2 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:26 pm

I've been thinking about post-70 CE Sadducees more and came across this interesting paper by Martin Goodman (2007):
... almost all scholars seem to agree that the great variety known to have existed in Judaean Judaism before 70 came to an end in the next few generations, and, specifically, that self-aware religious groups like the Sadducees and Essenes were within a few years no longer to be found. It is this latter view that I shall question in this paper, not by presenting new evidence, but by challenging the way that the evidence is usually interpreted ... The first explicit statement in the extant evidence that groups such as the Sadducees and Essenes are no longer to be found is in the fourth century heresiologist Epiphanius, but even he did not state when he believed this new situation to have begun ...

https://books.google.com/books?id=YVI2a ... ce&f=false
And there are two scholars frequently cited regarding Karaites and the DSS I haven't been able to find online, so if anyone can find Wieder's The Judean Scrolls and Karaism (1962) or anything by Golb on this subject, that would be great.

https://books.google.com/books?id=aorXA ... 0Q6AEIJjAA

https://books.google.com/books?id=CcQyA ... ES&f=false
Last edited by John2 on Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John2
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by John2 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:46 pm

Goodman more or less sums up the situation and his hypothesis this way on pages 161-162:
It is obvious that the existence of Essenes and Sadducees in late-Roman Judaea must remain an unproven hypothesis unless and until more evidence is unearthed. For the present, I simply want to stress -not for the first time- the extraordinary selectivity of the survival of evidence about Judaism in the land of Israel after 70. Only texts approved by the rabbinic tradition survived, because after about 100 CE Christians lost interest in the preservation of Jewish writings which they saw as alien. Since most of what Jews did and thought after 70 is thus irretrievably lost to us, I suggest that a plausible explanation of the scarcity of references in rabbinic texts to Jewish groups like the Sadducees and the Essenes after 70 is not that the rabbis repressed such groups, nor that they included them in a wider coalition, but that they simply ignored their continued existence.
So his idea is in the same boat as the idea that the Damascus Document was one of the DSS that were found c. 800 CE, i.e., it can't be proven due to the paucity of evidence. But what the latter idea has going for it is that it resembles exactly what happened later, i.e., multiple Hebrew writings were found in caves near Jericho and among them were copies of the Damascus Document. So I don't see any reason why the same thing couldn't have happened c. 800 CE. And the Damascus Document is just the kind of writing among the DSS that would have appealed to non-rabbinic Jews since it is anti-Pharisaic and seeks converts (e.g., "Hear now, all you who enter the Covenant").

And Timotheos doesn't say that he found any of these writings, but rather that:
We have learned from trustworthy Jews who had been instructed as catechumens into Christianity that 10 years ago in the region of Jericho books had been found in a cave. It happened that the dog of a hunting Arab that was following an animal entered a cave and did not come out. Its owner followed it and found in the cliff a little house containing many books. 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. And since the narrator was knowledgeable about writing and was learned, I asked him about the many passages in our New Testament that seem to be derived from the Old, but nothing is found there either by us Christians nor by the Jews. He said, they exist and are up there.
And Jerusalem was the center of Karaism. As the Wikipedia page on Karaite Judaism notes about the proto-Karaite Anan ben David:
Ultimately he [Anan] and his followers were permitted to migrate to Palestine. They erected a synagogue in Jerusalem that continued to be maintained until the time of the Crusades. From this center, the sect diffused thinly over Syria, spread into Egypt, and ultimately reached S.E. Europe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaite_Judaism


This not only coincides with the discovery mentioned by Timotheos, the expansion of Karaism from Jerusalem to Egypt would explain how the Damascus Document ended up there.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:17 pm

But again, life never works like this. If I find a tennis racket in a garbage can I don't end up winning Wimbledon. That's the problem with Eisenman's entire approach. We know the Qumran writings we know James the Just so therefore James the Just is the Teacher of Righteousness. That's the problem with Atwill's thesis - we know Josephus we know the gospels therefore Josephus wrote the New Testament and all things Josephus writes about are related to the gospel and vice versa. Life isn't this straightforward and lurking beneath the surface of these stupid theories is the childish notion that (a) there is a God or some order to the universe laid out for us and (b) just enough information survived down to us over the 2000 years that separate us from the gospel and destruction of Jerusalem that we can 'piece together' a secret code established from the beginning.

Can we start with the notion of geworfenheit - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrownness. As such there are times I lose my wallet and I never recover it, people make bad investments and end up broke, people go to a Las Vegas country and western concert and end up getting shot by a maniac in a hotel window. There is no God, no cosmic order which is just waiting for Eisenman or Atwill or Brown to 'unlock.' Paul's claim of a 'mystery established from before creation that came to just him' is no different. Paul made up his mysteries, Eisenman's solution to the Qumran texts was disproved by C-14. Time to move on and accept our status as thrown into a universe with no order, no cosmic plan, no hidden mysteries to solve.

To that end the Karaites weren't founded after a discovery. Judaism is more or less impervious to radical shifts in doctrines and beliefs. The reason why Karaism was so influential in the early period is because there were people living within the Jewish community who had misgivings about the oral traditions of the rabbanites. Were they called minim? Did they grudgingly accept the authority of the Jewish leadership. As with much of antiquity there is just so much we don't know. But the idea that a tradition was started from a discovery in a jar is simply laughable.
“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

John2
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Re: Karaism and Qumran

Post by John2 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:55 pm

I don't see how there could have been very many Sadducees after 70 CE, or how influential they could have been to Karaism (whenever you think it may have started), given that their teachings before 70 CE are said to have been "received but by a few" and that "they are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates ... they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them" (Ant. 18.1.4) and "have not the populace obsequious to them" (Ant. 13.10.6).

And since this was the situation before 70 CE, how many Sadducees could there have been, and how much influence could they have had, after 70 CE?

And while some Karaites do not believe in the resurrection, most do, and this is in keeping with the DSS but not with the teachings of the Sadducees. And the Karaites and the DSS were champions of the poor, unlike the Sadducees, who are said to have been "able to persuade none but the rich" (Ant. 13.10.6).

As Malamat notes about the early Karaite Daniel al-Kumisi:
Daniel expressed bitterness at the material poverty of his fellow Karaites. They hear 'the shame with which they are reproached and the saying that whoever abandons the words of the Rabbanites and their festivals and ordinances will perish in poverty and distress.' Yet, from his point of view, penury 'is the sign of those who fear the Lord in Exile' ... The failure of Karaism in the tenth century was not due to R. Saadiah's keen polemics but to the [ascetic] lifestyle it offered.

https://books.google.com/books?id=2kSov ... ty&f=false
So it's hard for me to see the Karaites as emerging from or being directly related to the Sadducees, given that the latter did not believe in the resurrection, only appealed to the rich, and didn't have much influence on Jews even before 70 CE.

I suppose they were similar in that they were non-rabbinic and revered only the written Torah and in that sense Sadducees and Karaites have been around "since God gave his laws to the Jewish people," as the modern Karaite Nehemia Gordon puts it on his website, but for the above reasons Karaites otherwise don't appear to be related to the Sadducees to me.
Karaism has been around since God gave his laws to the Jewish people. At first those who followed YHWH's laws were merely called "Righteous" and it was only in the 9th century CE that they came to be called Karaites. The question of why God's followers are today called Karaites is really a question of the origin of the other sects. At first there was no reason to label the righteous as a separate sect because there was only the one sect which consisted of the whole Jewish people. Throughout history a variety of sects appeared and it was only to distinguish the righteous from these other groups which caused them in different periods to take on such names as Sadducees, Boethusians, Ananites, and Karaites.

http://karaite-korner.org/history.shtml
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