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Re: Thanksgiving Hymns
In a message dated 96-11-27 13:42:24 EST, you write:
> I've just had a very quick reread of the Thanksgiving Hymns in the context
> of the debate on MMT and non-sectarianism. I naturally don't find them in
> any way sectarian, but I do find that a post-intervention date --
> between 175 -170 bce -- quite a valid context for them.
> If I specifically look at Hymn 7, we find (using Vermes):
> "They have banished me from my land
> like a bird from its nest;"
> which is consistent with an imprisonment in Antioch. We find later with
> opposition in control:
> "they walk in stubbornness of heart
> and seek Thee among idols"
> the first line taken up again in the Zadokite fragments regarding the
> Heavenly Watchers, but the second line could easily reflect a hellenistic
> approach in the temple, as may
> "They come to inquire of Thee
> from the mouth of lying prophets deceived by error
> who speak [with strange] lips to Thy people,
> and an alien tongue"
> The repeated talk of idols ("chastising them... because of their idols")
> doesn't seem possible after the period of the hellenizing high priests. In
> fact, later there is what seems like a brief description of the
> "When the wicked rose against thy Covenant
> and the damned against Thy word,
> I said in my sinfulness,
> 'I am forsaken by Thy Covenant'."
> If this is right then the worries that the writer shows are very real and
> should be able to appreciate all the more the signs of reconciliation to
> position of insecurity that are shown as the hymns continue.
> Can anyone see anything wrong with this reading?
> Ian Hutchesson
Thanks for the insightful post. I think you're on the right track. Your
argumentation of anti-Hellenist polemics here is much stronger than on MMT.
I've long considered the Thanksgiving Hymns passages to reflect the
Hellenist Crisis -- it seems to me the "strange lips and an alien tongue"
alludes to Greek -- despite the common sentiment one encounters that "the DSS
contain no trace of polemics against the Hellenists."
However, it seems to me that the context of the Thanksgiving Hymns could as
easily be 169-164 BCE as 175-170 BCE as you suggest. There were many
observant Jews living in exile, many in the wilderness, during 169-164 BCE
(before the restoration of the temple). I'm not convinced that any of the
Thanksgiving Hymns were written by the Teacher -- they could equally have
been written by a (the?) leader of the wilderness camps (cf. CD, CR, 1QM,
etc.) in the traumatic period after the Teacher's death. We must assume the
existence of a number of Jews in a position similar to the Teacher's, i.e.
forced into exile from Jerusalem. And it seems to me 1QH reflects conditions
somewhat harsher than those of Onias in Antioch, which is your suggested