Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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Re: Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Post by John2 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:50 pm

I'm taking a fresh look at Alexander Janneaus, and I think I see the problem with the idea that he was the Wicked Priest. In the latter's case, there is a "they" who afflicted him with diseases (or perhaps pollutions or wounds) and arguably killed him, and it doesn't look like there is a "they" who afflicted Alexander with the illness that caused his death.

War 1.4.8:
And now he was kindly received of the nation, because of the good success he had. So when he was at rest from war, he fell into a distemper; for he was afflicted with a quartan ague, and supposed that, by exercising himself again in martial affairs, he should get rid of this distemper; but by making such expeditions at unseasonable times, and forcing his body to undergo greater hardships than it was able to bear, he brought himself to his end. He died, therefore, in the midst of his troubles, after he had reigned seven and twenty years.
Ant. 13.5.5:
After this, king Alexander ...fell into a distemper by hard drinking, and had a quartan ague, which held him three years ...
But 1QpHab cols. 8 and 9 say (this is Vermes):
Interpreted, this concerns the Priest who rebelled [and violated] the precepts [of God ... to command] his chastisement by means of the judgments of wickedness. And they inflicted horrors of evil diseases and took vengeance upon his body of flesh.

However you translate machalim (diseases, pollutions or wounds), I think the "they" who inflicted them on the Wicked Priest are more likely to be "his enemies" who are mentioned further down in col. 9 rather than angels as Goranson supposes ("But he more probably died of disease (angels “inflicted evil diseases,” 1QpHab 9:2").
Interpreted, this concerns the Wicked Priest whom God delivered into the hands of his enemies because of the iniquity committed against the Teacher of Righteousness and the men of his Council, that he might be humbled by means of a destroying scourge, in bitterness of soul, because he had done wickedly to His elect.

As the Psalms Pesher says:
And [God] will pay him [the Wicked Priest] his reward by delivering him into the hand of the violent of the nations, that they may execute upon him [the judgments of wickedness].

Stark has the Hebrew for this (which unfortunately is fragmentary) with this translation:
'But to him God will recompense his deeds to give him into the hand of the violent of the nations [עריץי גואים] to act against him.'

https://books.google.com/books?id=ImljA ... ns&f=false
I'm at work right now so I can't see Goranson's pdf, but I recall that he discusses this and I need to take another look at what he says, but in the meantime it looks to me like these "violent of the nations" are the "they" who "inflicted horrors of evil diseases [or pollutions or wounds] and took vengeance upon his body of flesh" in 1QpHab. In any event, it is a very thought provoking paper.
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Re: Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:09 pm

in favor of Ezra O'Connor notes Babylonianism in the founding documents of the community

https://books.google.com/books?id=NC6iA ... an&f=false
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Re: Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Post by John2 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:34 pm

Not to seem contrarian (I like investigating various Teacher ideas), but the first thing that comes to my mind after reading the above link is that the change of Amos 5:27 in the Damascus Document from "beyond Damascus" to "to Damascus" has implications that affect Murphy O'Connor's idea which Blanton discusses here:
It is on the basis of this change that much of the weight of Murphy-O'Connor's argument rests. Since [the Damascus Document] substitutes Amos' reference to Babylon (i.e., the region "beyond Damascus") with a reference simply to "Damascus," therefore Damascus must be equivalent to Babylon. Although this simple logic has appealed to many scholars, it suffers from a fatal flaw ...

Murphy-O'Connor's position involves in inherent contradiction. On the one hand, [he] argues that [the Damascus Document] is interested in presenting the sectarian Association as tracing its origins to Babylon at the time of the exile there. On the other hand, we are asked to believe, [it] alters its clear proof-text for this Babylonian origin, Amos 5:27 by removing the clear reference to Babylon ... and replacing it with a hidden code, whereby Babylon is referred to, not by a clear reference, but by the name of a city that ... had no obvious connection to Babylon ...

On Murphy-O'Connor's reading ... the text subverts its own narrative interest ... by effectively destroying the very proof text that would have supported [its] claims. To say the least, this seems to be a strange way ... to have supported its claim that the sect had its origins in Babylon. Murphy-O'Connor's argument is self-contradictory. Rather than altering the text of Amos 5:27 in order to assert Babylonian origins ... [the Damascus Document] altered its biblical proof text in order to make it prove exactly what the "literal sense" of the altered text of Amos stated: the Teacher and his followers resided in Damascus in Syria.

https://books.google.com/books?id=rdaTp ... nd&f=false
I disagree with his identification of Damascus as being the Syrian city, however. I think it refers to the region of Damascus mentioned in 1 Kings 19:15:
Then the LORD told him [Elijah], "Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram.
As a comment on the biblehub says:
The wilderness of Damascus - Probably the district north of the prophet's own country, between Bashan and Damascus itself, and which was known in later times as Iturea and Gaulanitis.

This would explain why the Damascus Document elsewhere calls it the "land" of Damascus and not just Damascus.
Last edited by John2 on Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:08 am

John2 wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:34 pm
Not to seem contrarian....
Too late! ;)

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Re: Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:39 am

If Judah the Essene is a good candidate for the Teacher of Righteousness, then the Wicked Priest must be Judah's contemporary. Also the House of Absalom. The way Vered Noam's HTR article interprets the Jannaeus dinner after he returned from Kohlit--a place name also used in the Qumran Copper Scroll--may reflect Sadducee, Pharisee and Essene participants.
IMO, Ezra is too early and James is too late.

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Re: Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Post by maryhelena » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:11 am

A Narrative Argument that the Teacher of Righteousness was Hyrcanus II

Greg Doudna

During the later years of Hyrcanus II’s high priesthood he was revered and influential throughout the eastern Mediterranean world and in the diaspora as the nation’s most highly respected religious leader or lawgiver. Throughout Hyrcanus II’s ups and downs as high priest during these turbulent decades he would have been the leading priest of the yachad groups, regarded as the moral authority, teacher, and lawgiver within the yachad groups scattered throughout the countryside, with all the respect and honor that the office of high priest meant. When Hyrcanus was deposed in 40 BCE he was taken from Judea in chains with the Parthians returning home, but there his situation improved.
  • “When Hyrcanus was brought there, the Parthian king Phraates treated him very leniently because he had learned of his distinguished and noble lineage. For this reason he released him from his bonds and permitted him to settle in Babylon, where there was a great number of Jews. These men honored Hyrcanus as their high priest and king, as did all of the Jewish nation occupying the region as far as the Euphrates.” (Ant. 15.14-15)

http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/201 ... 8018.shtml

Hyrcanus II, last Hasmonean High Priest, put to death by Herod in 30 b.c.e.
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John T
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Re: Who is 'the Teacher of Righteousness"?

Post by John T » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:49 am

"Groningen hypothesis postulates a whole series of six Wicked Priests, and identifies the Community not with the main Essene sect but with one of its splinter groups."...The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. pg 19

Hyrcannus II, may have been a wicked priest but not the first, therefore he was not the contemporary of the Teacher of Righteousness.

The Teacher of Righteousness was likely the displaced high priest under Jonathan Apphus, leader of the Hasmonean dynasty of Judea from 161 to 143 BCE.

John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

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