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Re: Calendar, MMT & Enoch (long)
Ian Hutchesson & Greg Doudna both responded to my (Russ Gmirkin's) post on
I will reply to both here. The issues are pretty interesting, so I hope
you'll bear with me.
Greg originally proposed:
> MMT is not written by outsiders but by a group in power,
> in control of the temple, _in Jerusalem_, at its time of
> composition. Look at how the text begins--its authoritative
> voice and wording: "These are our rulings"... Throughout the
> text: "We say...", Then, "we have written to you some of the
> precepts of the law..." What is the evidence that the
> authors of MMT are sectarians or dispossessed from power?
Ian has taken up this proposal, suggesting that MMT was written in the
"comparatively tranquil period" prior to the Hellenistic Crisis of 175-170
Greg understands MMT to indicate the priests in power at Jerusalem
"separated" from the "multitude of the people" (the "rabble" as it were).
Ian rather suggests a conflict between priestly factions (perhaps the
supporters of Onias against the Hellenists in the days before Jason usurped
the high priesthood).
My apologies if I've inaccurately summarized your positions.
1. Were the MMT authors in control of the temple?
If so, then Greg must explain why priests engaged in fornications apparently
still served in the temple. This question still remains even if this
"fornication" consisted of marriages considered improper for priests (as
David Suter discussed in "Fallen Angels, Fallen Priests" in _Hebrew Union
College Annual_ (50 :115-135). Would not "a group in power, in control
of the temple" be able to enforce the disqualification of such priests from
service in the temple? If the authors of MMT controlled the temple, does
this imply the ruling in MMT represented those under which the temple
operated? But MMT indicates that the entirety of Jerusalem (not just the
temple) was the "camp," and as such subject to higher levels of purity. I
have never seen it suggested that this idea (also found in other writings at
Qumran generally regarded as sectarian) was ever historically implemented.
So I don't think MMT can be considered the "status quo" of the Jerusalem
temple cult at any historical period. Agreed?
However, Greg later writes:
> [MMT's criticism of inappropriate priestly marriages] could be read
> as outsiders critical of an establishment but
> it seems to me also can be read as conservatives in
> power condemning other priests who have acted wickedly.
Here Greg seems to allow for less than complete control of the temple cult by
the authors of MMT. So I will assume that Greg is agreeable to Ian's
modification of Greg's thesis, namely that more than one priestly faction
competed for control in the temple cult, and that MMT represents the position
of one of these groups.
2. The basic issue clarified.
It seems to me that we have a choice between two models.
Greg and Ian's model (if I have it correctly) is that there were more than
one faction of priests serving in the temple at Jerusalem, and that MMT
represents polemics from one of these groups. [In Greg's words, MMT is "some
priests talking about other priests" -- both groups serving in the temple, if
I understand correctly.] Ian specifically suggest the possibility that MMT
is polemics from the Onias faction against the Hellenists prior to 175 BCE.
This model says both groups coexisted in the temple, and were not
"sectarian" in the sense of powerless and dispossessed.
My model (not original to me, obviously) is that the authors of MMT were
critical of those currently in control of the temple, and were sectarians in
the sense of having separated themselves from the Jerusalem temple cult.
[Greg misunderstands my position to be that MMT is "non-priests talking
about all priests." MMT obviously reflects priestly concerns. Rather, my
position is that MMT is from the sectarian council, dominated by priests, all
of whom were boycotting the temple, against priests still serving in the
temple.] This model sees a relation between MMT and Qumran documents such as
CD that show a boycott of the temple, and are therefore of a definite
3. The calendar and MMT.
> After looking at the Brill photo on 4Q395 I am not persuaded
> by Strugnell (in Ulrich and Vanderkam, eds., _Community of the
> Renewed Covenant_ 1994) who cites a 1.75 mm uninscribed space to
> the right as indication that there was no preceding writing and
> therefore no calendar section in 4Q395 as in 4Q394. (My
> reason is that 1.75 mm is not enough to establish this point,
> particularly as the margin between columns in 4Q396 seems
> to be about 1.75mm as well.) Therefore the calendar remains
> a "maybe" as relevant to MMT. But I am troubled by this use
> of yours of the word "sectarian". Taking a meaning of "out
> of power and opposed to the establishment", I fail to see any
> evidence for a solar calendar in the 1st BCE implying this
> meaning and urge you to examine this semantic leap you have
I don't understand your exact point about the uninscribed section and whether
or not there was a calendar section. 4Q394 begins, "[...] a sabbath in it;
after the sab[...] is added. And the year is complete, three hundred and
si[xty-four] days." The year length is the issue here, and the restoration
of 364 days thus seems reasonable. The 364 day solar calendar is central to
the Dead Sea Scroll sect, so MMT consequently appears sectarian. [Here I use
sect in the same general sense as Josephus refers to three Jewish schools
(sects).] Certainly the solar calendar of the Dead Sea Scrolls sect
distinguished it from the lunar-solar calendar of the Pharisees. And MMT
does seem to polemicize against Pharisee positions, does it not?
In regards to the solar calendar vs. the lunar calendar, there appears to
have been three distinguishable phases to this debate.
Pre-Polemical Phase: The Astronomical Book (1 Enoch 72-82) ca. 250 BCE
advocates a solar calendar of 364 days, but also discusses lunar cycles, and
contains no polemics on this issue.
Polemical Phase: Jubilees Recension A (ca. 175-169 BCE) advocates a 364 day
solar calendar and contains pointed polemics against the lunar calendar.
However, it also endorses the temple cult. The polemics appears to have
been between opposing factions in Jerusalem.
Sectarian Phase: the sectarian DSS advocate a 364 day calendar and cite
calendrical issues in connection with their boycott of the temple. In this
phase, the dispute is between sectarians outside of Jerusalem and the group
they consider apostates in Jerusalem. I would put CD and related documents
in the Maccabean Crisis of the 160s (when 1/2 Maccabees have many Jews
boycotting the Hellenized temple and living in the wilderness), but whenever
you want to date CD, the dispute by now is sectarian.
So it seems to me that if you interpret MMT as a dispute between factions
serving in the temple, this correlates with the Polemical Phase. Ian's model
dating MMT to a little earlier than 175 BCE is consistent with the above
analysis. I would say MMT is to be dated later in the Sectarian Phase.
4. Improper marriages.
> The priestly observances that they [the authors of MMT]
> were advocating and following were in themselves something that separated
> them from the others -- especially those of the priestly caste who were
> hellenizing. It is important to note that the Enochian Book of the
> was written -- if David Suter's analysis is correct -- against the
> fornications of members of the priestly caste who were probably "guilty"
> mixed marriages and therefore responsible for polluting the temple.
> I don't think you'd have trouble dating the Book of the Watchers to a
> pre-cataclysmic period. It does display a status quo that is that of MMT
> in doing so is just as "highly critical of the priestly establishment" as
> Let me quote from the version of MMT I'm using -- Eisenman & Wise:
> "(Mixing is forbidden) because (the people) is Holy, and the sons of Aaron
> are H[oly of Holy] -- [nevertheless, as y]ou know, some of the priests and
> the [people are mixing (intermarrying).] [They] are intermarrying and
> (thereby) polluting the [hol]y seed, [as well as] their own [see]d, with
> This translation should throw a different light on your previous thoughts
> and should supply some context for your next.
Ian also shows that priestly marriages are probably also the specific issue
at MMT 7+8 4-8
> The mingling here is mixing or intermarrying as shown in the previous
Ian makes a very interesting point here. The (non-sectarian) Book of
Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36) ca. 200 BCE criticizes the fallen angels cohabiting
with the daughters of men, and labels their gigantic offspring "mamzers"
(bastards), in language which David Suter has shown contains hidden polemics
against improper priestly marriages. He also points out that the Testament
of Levi (ca. 200-175 BCE, between Watchers and Jubilees?) contains similar
language in condemning (in the guise of prophecy) improper priestly marriages
of Levi's descendants. Hence Ian makes a completely valid and insightful
points that MMT appears to criticize the same sort of improper priestly
marriages, and that this is consistent with his idea of MMT being written
before 175 BCE. Nicely argued.
I've been studying these documents this fall, and I think I can advance David
Suter's arguments a little. It seems to me that Testament of Levi doesn't
merely argue against improper priestly marriages, but at several points very
specifically marriages with gentiles, and even more specifically against
marriages with Samaritans. The alleged rape of Dinah by Shemer figures
prominently here as in Jubilees, underscoring the point. The historical
context of these anti-Samaritan polemics is unclear, but in Josephus the
Jewish high priest Manasseh was evicted from the Jerusalem priesthood for
marrying the daughter of the Samaritan Sanballat (II) and subsequently served
in the temple at Mount Gerizim, along with other Jewish priests. And later
the Tobaids, who had Samaritan connections, intermarried with the Oniad high
priestly clan. So the polemics David points out may be against the
Samaritan-Jewish priests intermarriage (which was also strongly condemned in
My point in discussing this is that the polemics in Watchers may not
necessarily reflect criticism of one group of priests serving in the temple
by another, but a criticism of ex-priests or evicted priests. I'm not sure
how Jewish-Samaritan polemics bears on Ian's model, or whether MMT reflects
the same polemics as Watchers. Apples and oranges?
5. How intense was the MMT debate?
An interesting question I will pose to Greg and Ian: did the authors of MMT
consider the practices of their opponents intolerable or merely
objectionable? Did these incorrect practices defile the temple and its cult?
If merely objectionable, then maybe the two factions coexisted in the
temple. If intolerable, it seems to me this supports the proposition that
the authors of MMT boycotted the temple.
A related question: when did power-sharing among the Jewish sects active at
the temple begin? When Hyrkanus I switched allegiance from the Pharisees to
the Sadducees, it appears to have been a fairly radical decision. The
Pharisees and Sadducees appear to have been virtually and sometimes literally
at war from the time of Hyrkanus I through Alexander Jannaeus -- it was only
under Salome Alexandra that there was an accomodation for both groups. Is
there real evidence for cooperation between the sects in the temple prior to
this? Or was their antagonism after Hyrkanus I an aberration?
> How much weight one can put on the apocalyptic of the end times I'm not
> sure -- again some of 1 Enoch might be considered apocalyptic, but it was
> not produced in the time you are talking about. I would say though that
> Zadokite fragments were more likely written after the intervention of
> Antiochus IV and its aftermath.
I agree on the "Zadokite fragments" for what it's worth. On 1 Enoch, this
book is of course composite. The two earliest sections, the Astronomical
Book (1 En. 72-82, ca. 250 BCE) and the Book of Watchers (1 En. 1-36, ca. 200
BCE) contain apocalypse only in the sense of angelic revelations. The
Apocalypse of Weeks (1 En. 93:3-10; 91:12-17, ca. 170 BCE) is widely
considered the first historical apocalypse, while the Apocalypse of Animals
(1 En. 85-90, ca. 163 BCE) is approximately contemporary with Daniel. It is
fairly widely recognized that the genre of historical apocalypse came about
as a response to the Hellenistic crisis. Hence MMT's reference to the end of
days, etc., seem to indicate a date later than 170 BCE. It's use of "Belial"
language points in the same direction. Osten-Sacken's 1969 book "Gott und
Belial", though not always convincing, makes some decent arguments that the
term "Belial" came into prominent use in the extreme crisis of the Maccabean
War (though I would put it's rise a few years earlier in the Hellenistic
7. Pharisees in 175 BCE?
> MMT is a hopeful document, written to inform and to correct: "You also
> that] no rebellion or Lying or Evil [should be] found in His Temple. It is
> because of [these things w]e present [these words] [and (earlier) wrot]e
> you, so that you will understand the Book of Moses..." The spirit of the
> document makes it early: later there is not much hope for the scoffers and
> the liar etc.
> I don't think you have shown your case for making MMT a "sectarian"
> document. In fact I think you've shown a problem that a lot of supporters
> secarianism make and that is not consulting documents outside those
> considered sectarian. Mixing and fornication here have a reasonably clear
> context and wouldn't have had such an important role as indicated in MMT
> it been written after 175 bce when more ostensibly grave problems were
Well, I agree that during the Hellenistic/Maccabean Crises far more serious
issues were at stake than those raised in MMT. That is one reason I tend to
put MMT as one of the last of the DSS, as Greg also suggests. I find it
difficult to accept MMT predating the Hellenistic Crisis of 175 BCE, as MMT
appears to contain specific opposition to Pharisee positions. Agreed? Then
you would have to assume the Pharisees existed as far back as 175 BCE. I
realize you can find many books pushing the Pharisees back even further than
that, but on what evidence? The first real mention of Pharisees in Josephus
is under Hyrkanus I, ca. 130 BCE. To me, talking about Pharisees in 175 BCE
is like talking about Essenes in 175 BCE. 1/2 Maccabees mention Hasidim, but
no Pharisees -- why not? I think it best to put the rise of the Pharisees
between the Maccabean War and Hyrkanus I, unless someone has some really
compelling evidence otherwise. In that case, MMT is most likely later than
the Maccabean War.
> Incidentally, I might be a little blind, but where does the notion of the
> death of the righteous teacher appear in the CD?
I was referring to CD 20.13-15.
Whew! Your turn.