Minutes for Religious Studies 427, Seminar on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Fall 2004)


[NOTE that the minutes are given in reverse order, most recent set first]


Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 07 December 2004 (week #12)

(submitted by Caroline Kelly, with apologies for the delay)

We started class by looking at Vermes' English translation of the War Rule fragment, the "pieced Messiah" text. Translator choices are seen even in such details as the substitution of "branch" for "flower" in line 4 (Barry). The fragment begins with a quotation from Isaiah, perhaps indicating that it comes from a pesher. We noted that nothing in the fragment overlaps with what we have seen elsewhere in the War Scroll.

The War Scroll was examined
next, beginning with the copies found in cave 1, among the earliest published DSS texts. The scroll's military preoccupation is taken up first. The text contains the story of 7 wars, with the first 6 split evenly among the wicked and the righteous. The 7th ends with the victory of God on behalf of the righteous. The text is detailed with respect to military tactics and equipment. Scholars have argued whether the descriptions reflect a knowledge of the Roman or Seleucid military. Yigael Yadin,  archaeologist and former Israeli commander, dates the scroll to the turn of the century, give or take 50 years, based on its descriptions of military tactics. Another scholar, using the same criteria, argues for a late Seleucid date.

Though Essenes are usually portrayed as pacifists, Josephus mentions Essenes fighting Romans. Harry pointed out the real differences between what we think we know about the numerical make-up of the scroll community and the increasing numbers depicted in the scroll, especially the unity it presupposes with larger Israel. In reality, when it came to a confrontation with the ungodly, it seems that the Romans steam-rolled the Essenes, who perished alone, no other Jewish group coming to their aid. RAK pointed out, however, that we are dealing with a fantasy element here. The authors of the War Scroll presumably believed that in their hour of need God would create the ideal conditions for their victory.

Next, we discussed the dualism of the text,  clearly seen in the contrast between the "sons of light" and the "sons of darkness." This distinction is similar to the "2 ways" motif seen elsewhere in the DSS. Predestination, the covenant, the "kittim," and the desert, are all concepts seen elsewhere in the scrolls.

The genre of the text is not easy to determine. Formally, it is not an apocalypse because it is not relevatory. The best comparison lies with Roman and Hellenistic military manuals. Three different conceptual approaches are found in chapters 2-9; 10-14; and 15-19. Information on this can be found in the Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in an article by Davies.

Next we looked at the cave 4 copies. These do not correspond neatly with the cave 1 remains; the order is different and it may in fact be earlier than cave 1. Davies (EDSS) thinks that the War Scroll went through recensions, the earlier layers being less dualistic, like what we see in cave 4.

4QMMT has 6-7 fragments. It begins with a calendrical section which might indicate that it was also preceded by calendrical materials. This raises questions about grouping materials. Usually materials are grouped on paleological grounds, but at what point do we group texts based on content?

Our discussion of 4QMMT was followed by a digression on the spelling of Belial, where we addressed the possibility that the final l might originally have been an r, thus Beliar, which was transformed through scribal error. Etymologically, the -el suffix suggests a connection with God ("El").

We next turned our attention to the Cryptic Texts. Using the on-line "open book" DSS translation project, we were able to compare Allegro's translations with GM's later attempts. Allegro observed that the cryptic texts used transliterations of Greek, Proto-hebraic and cryptic alphabets. Many questions about the cryptic texts remain unanswered. Firstly, whey were these texts written in cryptic? Secondly, what are they meant to indicate? For example, were the contents of the horoscopes, 4Q186 for example, common knowledge? Comparative evidence can only take us so far. For instance, using 9 parts to describe a person, as occurs here, is a practice found outside the scrolls. But we don't know if Greeks or Romans also used code for horoscopes and under what circumstances such a thing might have occurred. Are the people in the horoscopes actual individuals, known to the community, or are they meant as types? RAK notes that frag 1 col 3 resembles descriptions of Paul in the Acts of Paul.  Parallel descriptions are also found in the Apocalypse of Elijah, where they describe the anti-Christ, and in the Testament of the Lord.
Is it possible that Paul's opponents had come up with this negative description (Paul as anti-Christ) and it was transmitted as though physically accurate?

Next we looked at  4Q320. In this text, names and days are divided up by priestly courses.  The text is also found in a different hand as part of the Community Rule.

We ended the semester with the Copper Scroll, 3Q15. It seems likely that the Copper Scroll was hung up as a plaque, although it was rolled up in two separate pieces when it was found. To get at the contents, it was necessary carefully to cut the scroll into strips, a process which was undertaken at Manchester University. Allegro, the editor of the scroll, raised money from various, sometimes unusual, sources to fund a search for the treasures listed inside, but nothing that corresponded was found. The scroll was found in cave 3, along with about 10 other texts -- biblical manuscripts, an Isaiah pesher, sectarian texts, and Jubilees. The Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls lists  major theories about the origins of the Copper Scroll, all of which exhibit various degrees of circular reasoning:

1) the scroll dates to before 70 CE and lists authentic treasures held by the Qumran community
2) the scroll dates to before 70 CE and lists authentic treasures held by the Temple in Jerusalem
3) the scroll was deposited after 70 CE and lists authentic  treasures of Jewish rebels of the Bar Kokba revolt
4) the scroll records undelivered temple contributions after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE and dates to sometime between 70 and 90 CE
5) the scroll is a legendary piece of folklore

6) the scroll is a legendary part of larger Jewish folklore, and dates to about 100 CE.

The paleographical features of the scroll also raise questions. It appears to have been written in an untrained hand, but this effect could be due to the difficulty of inscribing the copper material. The orthography is unique, it is not like other Jewish writings, nor anything found at Qumran, 4QMMT being the closest parallel. The language appears to be an early form of "Mishnaic" Hebrew. Greek loan-words are frequently found. It is somewhat formulaic and the Greek letters remain an enigma but may be the first letters of Greek names.

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 30 November 2004 (week #11)
(submitted by Dan Petrosky)

RAK returned to us from his previous week's absence to say that the conference in San Antonio was very successful and to bring us books for show and tell. We looked at a new book about scribal practices from Emanuel Tov and a book in honor of M.E. Stone, each of which is relevant for DSS studies..

We returned to the Psalms, and this time to continue the discussion on Psalm 151, RAK brought with him an English translation of the Greek version of Psalm 151 to compare with the DSS version. There are very many differences that can be addressed such as the heading line; in the Greek, it notes that the Psalm is autobiographical in nature, which is uncharacteristic of the Psalms, whereas the DSS version has a something more like the "Halleluia of David." The Greek lacks the first parallelism about the shepherd in line 4. Basically lines 5,6 and 7 are also lacking in the Greek version. Line 8 is condensed and instead of using the word "prophet," it uses the word "angel" (or "messenger"). Then the Greek is much more cryptic about Samuel actually being involved and picking David over the brothers and lines 9 and 10 are in a different order. Also after line 14 of the DSS version, the Greek has very briefly the David and Goliath episode, which is also mentioned in the header in some Greek copies. RAK speculates that the shorter Greek version, or its Hebrew source, could have been modified to remove apparent redundancies and to streamline the psalm. We did not have access to the Syriac version but unless it was made from the Greek, it is probably longer and structured differently (like the DSS manuscript).

We then began to look at some of the references found in other poetic fragments. A "hymn of Obadiah" is mentioned in a broken line of 4Q380, and it can be assumed that there was more to this otherwise unknown psalm. There are other fragments that make reference to "prayers" attributed to such people as a "King of Judah" and specifically "Manasseh" in 4Q381.We read a translation of the extant Greek version of the Manasseh psalm, but it does not have much resemblance to the very fragmentary DSS version. [See also the "Prayer for King Jonathan."] The fact that the DSS show awareness of such "extracanonical" psalms and preserve fragments of others, may shed light on the development of what later came to be the biblical collection of psalms and related literature.

Looking at fragment 69 of 4Q381 (GM 315), we noted that there is an addition made between lines 4 and 5. We then discussed the idea of who inserted it and why. RAK says that this would be a good case for those who think early Christian groups or any number of other Jewish groups touched up the scrolls for their own purposes by writing in the margins. Doug and Virginia want to know how to read the line in relation to the surrounding text and there is much debate as to where it should go, but we can only presume so much without seeing the original text (which is also fragmentary) and where exactly the addition was written. Also the fact that all of the fragments from 4Q381 seem to be about judgment and salvation may provide further evidence as to what the DSS community valued.

Now on to the Hodayoth. The older versions of the translated DSS started the Hodayoth on what is now considered to be col 9. Earlier editors may have done this because that section is less fragmentary and much easier to handle. Later on a German scholar (Stegemann) suggested the idea that material that had been placed later, as cols 13-17, actually should come before the old cols 1-4 (= new 9-12) along with other very fragmentary material. Puech verified the German scholar's idea and helped convince others of the validity of the reorganization. Someone asks how there could be new columns 1-3 with virtually nothing preserved and scholars still think there are columns there. RAK then explained that margins where nothing is written are still visible and evidence of the handle sheet is still partly there. To demonstrate what a handle sheet, is RAK pulls a piece of paper out of his stuff that shows that Dan still owes him 10 dollars for the DSS CD (he promises to pay it back right away). RAK shows that the handle sheet was used to protect the first actually written piece of leather from any sort of wear and tear that would happen to the scrolls and also how there could be evidence of three extra columns even without actual writing preserved.

The Hodayoth provide good evidence for the ideas and attitudes of the DSS community. Some suggest that these "hymns" come from the Teacher of Righteousness himself because of the personal touches that are evident in the Hodayoth, but recently this idea has been softened although very personal touches remain in these writings. Puech questions the unity of the hymns saying that they are not by one author. In fact, the "I" in the text stands for the community as a whole, and if it were to be one author, he would have to have many literary talents to be able to vary his style in many different ways as found in the different hymns. A unity of vocabulary choices can be seen in the text so we can say that it obviously came from the same mind set on how to pray and the ideas on other ritual things. In the present state of the text, it is believable that 1QHodayoth was written during the lifetime of the Teacher of Righteousness, unless the 4QHodayoth fragments present major complications. Also Puech dates them to about 150-100 BCE because that is the beginning of the community and the teacher of Righteousness was one of the founding fathers of the community. There are many hypotheses that can be constructed in the discussion of the identity of the Teacher of Righteousness and it is very tough to come to one conclusion.

We read from an article by M. Knibb on the Teacher of Righteousness, the name given to the person who presumably was the main leader of the DSS community, assumed by many to be the Essenes. Though he is supposedly a huge influence on the community; he is very under represented in the DSS. According to Knibb, Teacher of Righteousness is a shadowy figure and he has been identified with figures that range from Onais III to John the Baptist, Jesus and James the Just. The Christian identifications are ruled out by carbon dating, but also none of the Jewish representations have enough evidence to be completely convincing. It is very unlikely that we will ever be able to identify him but he is probably from sometime after the Maccabean rebellion. The hymns definitely suggest that he is a leader of a controversial group and is persecuted but not much more than that.

Next we looked at some "typical" DSS themes that show up in the Hodayoth such as "spirit(s)." There is ample evidence in the DSS for the idea that God has installed into humans two or more contrasting spirits, at least one good and one evil. This is even alluded to in the horoscopes when it refers to a plurality of portions of each spirit. In the Hodayoth, there are many references to such spirits both in the human body and outside such as 1QHodayoth 4.7, 5.4, 19, and 25; and 6.3.

Another theme exalts poverty and similar "ascetic" qualities or conditions. Frank wondered where such ideas might have originated and RAK responded that it would be very hard to track since common experience throughout the world can cause them to flow through literature most everywhere. Predestination is another theme that is present alongside the "two spirits" teachings in the DSS. These are tough to reconcile since most groups also seem to assume "fee will" (ethical responsibility) as appears to be the case with the "two ways" teachings in several associated texts. The idea of "mystery" also relates to the themes of predestination and ethical instructions; 1QH 5.5-6 bring predestination, knowledge and spirits all together. Next Caroline, with reference to 1QH 16.11, asks if there is possibly a "hero cult" involved in this. RAK says that in this passage, "fruit" probably refers to the community and "heroes" (or "spirits of holiness"!) to the people/forces that protect the group as part of God's "mystery." Also the last major section of Sirach introduces the section in praise of the heroes ("fathers") of Israel, who are respected human agents, but in the DSS it is sometimes hard to tell whether reference is being made to humans or "angelic" beings because the line between the spirits and humans is not always well defined.

The Hodayoth are full of very "sectarian" language, such as in 12.18ff which seems to be a broad attack on multiple issues of concern to the community. Frank suggests that "I" in the Hodayoth may be in imitation of the practice found also in many biblical passages, and thus need not be ascribed to the Teacher of Righteousness. Barry and Doug seem to think that the Hodayoth could be by one author because the collection seems to reflect a very concentrated revelation of mystery showing the uniqueness of the author's experience. RAK says there is not much but biblical writings to compare it to, so comparisons tend to be very subjective. On that note we look to the idea of historical or figurative representation in the DSS. In 1QH 13.30, RAK postulates that the author may actually be accused by someone singing the accusations with the harp. Caroline thinks that maybe that is a figurative statement, and RAK says that such images are hard to interpret either way so we need to be careful. There is similar imagery about ships and water, but no one necessarily sailed them they just knew about them, so it could just be symbolism of how he was accused or how the people felt.

A strong sense of being a "remnant" is expressed in the DSS, where one group seems to maintain itself against the mainstream. The author (or authors) of the Hodayoth confronts the masses as a representative of the remnant. In 14.8 the author speaks to "you" -- assumed to be God, although the addressee does sound somewhat human at points. This underlines two things: the border between humans and the spirit world is very fuzzy, and because God said something must occur it will, because what God plans always happens. Frank brings up that God making the statement "for my own sake" [where?] is kind of strange coming from God. This is discussed, and RAK finally comes to the conclusion that it could be problematic but it is too hard to tell and it could potentially be because of the translation of that passage.

Just before class ends we take a quick look at the structure in the Hodayoth with reference to the use of blank spacing. We see that at almost every blank spot the next line seems to be the start of another verse or psalm; therefore, we could conclude that the blanks were possibly placed to separate the end of one hymn from the beginning of the other (see the Index of new lines for details).

Next week we wrap up with a look at miscellaneous scrolls such as the War Scroll (see also the "Pierced Messiah" text), the Copper Scroll(s) or Plaque(s) and the Horoscopes (e.g. 4Q186; see also the "Calendrical Documents").

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 23 November 2004 (week #10)

Four book reports were presented, in the absence of the professor:

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 16 November 2004 (week #9) (submitted by Dan Petrosky)

RAK began by mentioning that there will be a conference in San Antonio next week where he will be speaking. He will explore the presence of "para-literary" features in the early Greek fragments of Jewish scriptures (including some DSS). He explains that "paraliterary" (similar to "parabiblical" in function) is a term that calls attention to a body of writings that resemble high "literary" form, but are not exactly the same but not basically inferior either. Such terms hopefully make scholars think about the comparitive details. RAK will be giving his presentation on how better to understand what people were involved in the copying of these Greek texts -- what their training and intentions were and the extent to which early Christian scribes may have learned their techniques from their Jewish predecessors.

Next we decided the schedule for the last three classes. Next week, RAK will not be with us so we will have book reviews by Frank, Dan, Barry, and Caroline. These promise to be riveting and exciting presentations don't miss them! Harry will tape them for RAK, who will also get printed copies of our presentations so that he does not miss out on any of the fun. The first week of December we will continue with the hymnic (and related) texts and for our final class we will discuss the War Scroll, the Copper Scroll and other miscellaneous materials -- and of course, wrap everything up neatly!

Related to the previous week's class, RAK passed around pictures of the Habakkuk pesher, 4QTestimonia, and some others to show forms of the tetragramaton (including four dots -- "tetrapuncta") and the places where Garcia Martinez included the word "blank" in his translation to indicate blank spaces in some texts. Scholars are unclear as to the exact meaning of the blanks but plenty of theories exist such as that they are paragraph spaces or places to pause when reading the texts out loud. RAK mentioned that Emanuel Tov has studied these breaks in comparison with other later biblical texts to discover whether the same pattern of paragraphing may have been used as becomes standard in later Rabbinic tradition.

Doug asked how much these nice pictures cost because he would like to try and get his hands on some if he could. RAK responded that (as Doug should have realized) such things are fringe benefits for people with the right connections! We also looked at the supposed "Chinese" symbols and marginal crosses which have given rise to some unusual claims, although most scholars think they are consistent with normal scribal practice. Speculation by some people including Steve is that they might indicate paragraph breaks. With the crosses, some argue that they were written in later by an early Christian group to indicate passages that are of special Christian interest.

Next we turned to the poetic texts starting with the psalms. The biblical "Psalter" (for all of the high church people out there -- for the liturgically challenged it is simply the "Book of Psalms") contains a different number of psalms depending on which religious group is asked, such as Psalm 151, a psalm attributed to David, which is found in 11Q5 and the Greek and Latin versions, but is not in the Hebrew Book of Psalms. We discussed the psalms and went over their placement in the different DSS. One of the Psalm scrolls is very long and in GM it starts at column 18 (biblical psalms occupy the previous columns) with "Psalm 154," which is not found in most Jewish and Christian Bibles, but is attested in some Syriac versions. Then comes a previously unknown psalm (col. 19) followed by canonical Psalms 139 and 138 and 137 in that order in column 20. Column 21 is a "hymn to wisdom" that is not in the Psalter as we know it but is found at the end of the book of Ben Sira (also known as "Sirach"). A "hymn to Zion" is found in column 22, followed by biblical psalms in the sequence 93, 141, 133, and 144 extending through column 23. In column 24, we have Psalm 155 which is not a biblical psalm, but it is found in Syriac. Canonical Psalms 142, 143, 149 and 150 are in column 25. In column 26 (line 9) is a "hymn to the Creator" but the bottom of the scroll is missing. Column 27 starts with the last two lines of the Samuel 23.1-7, so it is presumed that the missing end of column 26 may have contained Samuel 23.1-6. After that last line of the Samuel psalm, there is a narrative section about the compositions of David. This is set off by three indented lines that introduce a short section on the 3,600 psalms David wrote, the 364 psalms for the days of the solar calendar, 52 psalms for each weekly sabbath, and 30 starts of months and the festivals, plus 4 exorcistic songs totalling 4,050 psalms allegedly written by David, although only a small selection survives in the canonical materials. The rest of column 27 contains canonical psalms 140 and 134. Column 28 contains Psalm 151 but it is longer that what has survived in today's bibles. The narrative section about how many psalms were written by David might have stood at the end of a psalm collection but there is no real proof of this since the manuscript continues with psalms after that section. We did not really concern ourselves with the columns from 11Q5 prior to column 18 because they are all canonical psalms. The order of the psalms in the DSS is problematic, and not all copies agree with each other or with the traditional biblical order.

Since RAK was making generous use of the Encyclopedia of the DSS, for which he is listed as an author of one article but hints that there is some inaccuracy involved, the class begs and pleads eagerly for RAK to digress, which he graciously does to appease the howling mob. It appears that years ago he was commissioned the write an article on the "apostolic fathers and the DSS" for the encyclopedia. He wrote the article but it was not what the editors wanted, so James VanderKam rewrote it, with RAK's approval and his name still attached. RAK objected mildly, and finally was listed as co-author of the article with VanderKam. The moral of the story is just because someone's name is attached to an article does not necessarily mean they wrote it and you might not even need to write an article to get an author's free copy of such a publication. So now back to the Psalms!

Next, we looked at the encyclopedia article on Psalms by Peter Flint. He says that the Psalms are represented more frequently in the DSS than any other work of writing. The DSS contains 39 scrolls that incorporate the Psalms; 36 of these were found at Qumran and three were found elsewhere in the Judean desert such as Masada. Only five scrolls have material from both halves of the Psalms (actually the traditional Hebrew Psalter is divided into five parts, with one of the breaks at Psalm 89). 24 of the known canonical psalms are not present in the fragments that have survived. It is assumed that they were present but they were just lost over time; this theory is supported by the fact that the 24 missing psalms are scattered throughout the Psalter. Also there are 15 para-Biblical psalms included in the DSS. -- the Psalm of Joshua (which is also mentioned in 4QTestimonia), the Ben Sirah psalm, others from the Syriac Psalter, and finally nine that are previously unknown.

RAK then mentioned "stichometry," a format for poetry in which each poetic line or "stichos" is written separately. This is important both as a means of identifying poetic elements and as a clue to the intended meanings. The earliest DSS of psalms date back to 150 BCE and are similar in content to the current Psalter that we have today. The people of Masada tend to be more closely related to Rabbinic Judaism, so they are more likely to be closer to the current Psalter. Ulrich, the teacher of Flint, believes that the variations in the Pslater from place to place are caused by the fact that their definition of biblical "canon" is much broader or looser that the one that became classical. The class then tried to figure out why the canon would be broader when these people were much more ritualistically strict than many later Jews. It may be that "canon" (in the sense that it later developed) is inapplicable to the DSS situation and, even though they considered a lot of psalms to be part of their scriptural collection(s), they probably also had scriptural collections for everything such as purity, history, and others (perhaps even commentaries).

We then moved on to the psalms found in the Syriac collections, Psalms 151-155. Psalms 152 and 153 are about David's prowess as a shepherd, but they are not present in the surviving DSS. Psalms 154 and 155 are found in the DSS in 11Q5. Sirach is a wisdom book of how to stay on the right path and the psalm at the end of Sirach is a wisdom composition that calls the faithful to glorify God. Chapter 44 of Sirach begins a section in praise of the fathers and it lists many names, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and finally Simon. Simon is a revered high priest in the Temple, probably contemporary with the author of Sirach, and the psalm follows at the end of the book.

RAK felt it necessary that we understand what a "wisdom" text is. He explained that for some authors, "wisdom" is a catch-all word that is used for anything from poetry to philosophy to ethics. The term is very broad and when we use it we need to be sure to be more specific as to the nature of the writing. Frank asked if wisdom is related to the laws as well. RAK says that wisdom differs from law and chronicles or history but could include poetry, philosophy (rational wisdom), and ethics (practical wisdom). It is very tough to categorize it as can be seen from 4 Maccabees which is a retelling of history within the theme of philosophical wisdom ("right reason"), so the book is not exactly one or the other. Frank then noted that Kugel considers wisdom to be a teaching tool to get people to see the world as a pattern and divine manifestation. RAK does agree that there are often teaching elements in wisdom texts but it isn't the same thing as a text like the Habakkuk commentary, which teaches in a different format. RAK finally concludes that wisdom is a very useful term but if someone is going to use it they need to be clear why they are using it because wisdom can refer to anything from form or genre (e.g. poetry) to content (e.g. ethics).

The collecting of psalms apparently had been under development for many years and continued to change from the time of the DSS to its becoming "fixed" in canonical forms. Two weeks from now we will pick up with the Hodayot, which resemble canonical and paracanonical psalms but are an entirely new collection from our perspective. RAK wants us to pay attention to content when we are reading these and look back on some of the apocryphal psalms that we went over in today's class.

After the break, we watched the rest of the film from the Discovery Channel that Steve brought in. This film was about the excavation of Qumran and Fr. Roland DeVaux's notes that have never been released to the public, as well as other technical matters.

Next week, we will have the four book reports.

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 09 November 2004 (week #8)
(submitted by Barry Dolinger)

Class started with a brief discussion of who inhabited the buildings at Qumran.

Pliny identifies settlements along the Dead Sea starting on the northeastern side and going clockwise around, identifying the Essenes in the general area of where Qumran is found. Yizhar Herschfeld thinks the Essenes were a smaller, more wealthy group, and that the Qumran settlement is most likely a Roman manor house type of settlement. Ein Gedi, he argues, is more likely to be the Essene development that Pliny is talking about.

After this, we returned for the second of our discussions on parabiblical materials. We began by discussing the Book of Jubilees. VanderKam edited the version in Ge'ez, and dates its origin between 160 and 150 BCE. In 1992, he examined the Jubilees finds from Cave 4. See the Discoveries in the Judean Desert volumes and the bibliography given in the Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In cave 4, approximately 14 or 15 fragments of Jubilees were found. This is one of the most frequently found texts among the DSS. There is debate in scholarly circles over the language Jubilees was originally written in, Hebrew or Aramaic. Vanderkam argues that since no Aramaic has been found at the DSS site, Hebrew must be the original language. Portions in Greek and in Syriac have also survived. Then it was translated from Greek to Latin and from Latin to Ge'ez (even though Ge'ez is a semitic language and one might have thought that the Ge'ez translation would be straight from the Hebrew). Transliterations of proper names, especially ones that are not well known, are useful in identifying which languages were being translated.

There is a citation of Jubilees in the Damascus document from the Cairo Geniza, but the Hebrew text seems to have fallen out of use in antiquity. At the DSS site, 5 of the fragments are Hasmonean (150BCE - 30BCE) and the rest are Herodian (30 BCE to 70CE). A fragment of Jubilees was also found at Masada. The principal emphasis is on obedience to divine law. It discusses how Jews had always been ruled by divine laws, even before the giving of the Torah. The book derives its name from the chronology it gives. From the first day of creation until the time the Jews left slavery and entered the land of Israel there were 50 jubilee cycles, that is 2,450 years. The Jews, according to this view, would be freed from slavery 2,410 years after creation. In Jubilees, there are many teachings about the calendar. Some scholars even say that Genesis seems dependent on a calendar like that represented in Jubilees. Jubilees could predate Genesis, be an elaboration on it, or just reflect similar ideas.

A French scholar named Annie Jaubert argued that the synoptic gospel tradition reflects Jesus and his disciples using an Essene solar calendar in connection with the final passover meal (the "last supper"). RAK says that her solution is too simple, although there may indeed have been calendrical issues. In the Abyssinian (Ethiopic) Church, Jubilees (with "1 Enoch") has canonical status, and is sometimes referred to as "Little Genesis." Rabbi Moses or Narbon quotes Jubilees in the 11th century, seemingly without any connection to an ongoing tradition from which he would gain such knowledge.

RAK than compared this book to other parabiblical material. It seems to have less of a Christian footprint than some other materials, such as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. Early forms of the Testaments seem to be represented in the DSS (Testament of Levi, of Naphtali) as also in the Cairo Genizah materials, but the fuller form that circulated later in Greek and other versions is not attested.

Some of the DSS show awareness of both calendars and try to correlate them. (RAK asks if the window washers who have suddenly appeared outside the building are really the watchers?) Questions still remain about the lunar and solar calendars, and any form of intercalation they may or may not have used to keep things in harmony with the agricultural seasons. If RAK had to draw conclusions about Jubilees, he would say: Jubilees as we now have it is based on the Pentateuch, but may contain older traditions. Such judgments are difficult to make with any degree of confidence..

RAK then listed several different scholarly approaches to a text:

1) Textual criticism -- compares copies of the same text to expose differences and to try to recover the earliest forms of the material (focus on the words).

2) Recensional Criticism -- exploring how texts were intentionally edited into differing versions such as interpretive Targums for example ("rewritten bible" would fall into this category, broadly speaking; focus on perspectives).

3) Source Criticism -- asks where the materials used in the text came from (focus on content).

4) Literary Criticism -- how has the material been put together (style, organization), and with what aims?

5) Formal/Genre Criticism -- classifying materials (in part as well as overall) in terms of formal features such as poetry/prose, narrative/dialogue, letter/list, etc. Sometimes contents are also involved as with apocalyptic literature which is a sub-type of revealed information.

6) Historical Criticism -- what can we learn about what actually happened?

7) Philology -- what do we learn about the use of language in a given time period?

What does it mean to find so many copies of Jubilees among the DSS? RAK conjectured that perhaps the presumed community liked it because it is dealing with biblical, calendrical, apocalyptic, and demonic (the Nefilim and their progeny) issues all at once. These issues occur frequently in other DSS as well.

Regarding scribal techniques and related matters, we assume that if two parchment fragments are shown (by DNA testing, e.g.) to come from the same animal hide or even from the same herd they are likely to represent the same text. On the other hand, the presence of different scribal hands doesn't necessarily mean different texts, since we know from later periods (e.g. the large 4th century biblical codices) that more than one scribe can be involved in copying a single text. However, at the early period from which the DSS come, and with reference to such relatively short texts, it seems more likely that one scribe per text was involved. Emanuel Tov's detailed monograph on scribal practices in the DSS is about to appear (published by Brill).

Brief aside now for an interesting article about the "Writing of Divine Names In Sectarian Non Biblical texts." There is a special approach to divine names, like in Rabbinic literature, where circumlocutions and euphemisms are used as frequently as possible instead of the name itself. One technique used is the writing of the divine names in Paleo-Hebrew. This occurs in 29 biblical and non biblical texts such as Pesher Habakuk. A second technique used is Tetrapuncta, where 4 dots are used instead of the tetragrammaton, as in 4Q Testimonia. RAK thinks they may sometimes have pronounced the name as there is one Greek manuscript that represents the divine name as IAW, and this is also lent credence by the incorporation of syllables of the divine name into personal names in that culture (e.g. IONATHAN). There is one Greek text missing the divine names in the writing. RAK conjectured that in some instances, perhaps there was a divine name specialist who would later go in and write all of the divine names in an otherwise completed text copy.

"Testaments" were discussed at this point. This word is a modern attempt to identify a literary genre, although in antiquity the title doesn't seem to be used consistently. "Testament of Solomon" is a magic book, and the "Testament of Moses" is apocalyptic in nature. In the ideal "Testament," there are death bed scenes, end time prophecies, blessings, curses, and admonitions. Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs is about Jacob and his sons, but is not represented as such in the DSS. The DSS do include testament-like materials in connection with Jacob, Judah and Joseph as well as Levi and Naftali, Qahat and Amram. Nothing in the DSS is clearly identifiable with the Greek Testaments of the Patriarchs, except maybe the Testament of Levi. According to RAK, a quick look at the Greek testaments shows interesting translation features that deserve further investigation..

The question of whether these Greek texts are of Jewish or of Christian origin has been much discussed. Much of their content is paralleled in certifiably Jewish sources. If Christians produced the complete text that survives (in various recensions!), they either built on an original semitic (Hebrew or Aramaic) tradition or were trying to write as they thought Jews might. Also, some of their oral traditions may have originally been from Jewish sources.

GM has a whole section on the Book of Giants, groups it with the Book of Enoch. Also the Books of Noah, Hur, Miriam, Qahat, and Amram. In these, heaven and earth are frequently called as witnesses. Document 1Q22 is also included as parabiblical and is called the Words of Moses. It uses the liturgy of three toungues of fire. Also, 4Q379, the Psalms of Joshua is an interesting text, quoted also in 4QTestimonia. For next week, we should read the section of GM on "Poetic Texts" (Psalms and Hymns)

[Class was dismissed early to attend a lecture in another building.]

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 02 November 2004 (week #7)
(submitted by Barry Dolinger)

RAK began with some concluding points from the prior week. "Kittim" in Daniel 11.30 is translated as "Romans" in the Old Greek version (we had been looking for this example of how "Kittim" was understood). Discussion then turned briefly to Demetrius I, a Seleucid from Antioch. He is taken to Rome as a "hostage" to be educated. He escapes, and as Seleucid king he fights against Judah the Maccabee. Demetrius II later fights Jonathan, the Hasmonean leader and "High Priest." Perhaps this is connected to the Prayer for or against (depending on interpretation) Jonathan found in the DSS (4Q448).

Next we moved on to the main discussion topic, "Parabiblical literature." First there is an attempt to define the term, which is first coined by H.L.Ginsberg in the Journal of Theological Studies 28 (1967) 574. For RAK, "para," Greek for "alongside of" is better than alternate terms like "rewritten bible" because it does not prejudge the relationship to biblical materials. The explanation by Garcia Martinez (p. 218) is somewhat ambivalent. GM starts his introduction by stating that parabiblical literature "begins with the Bible" and "retells the biblical text in its own way, intermingling it and expanding it with other, quite different traditions," in contrast to the "exegetical literature," which explicitly interprets scripture. In the next paragraph, however, GM acknowledges that some of the "parabiblical" materials are "parallel to, earlier than, or simultaneous with the biblical text, but with no direct connection to it." RAK says GM is caught between problems of textual-recensional modifications on the one hand, and independent accounts on the other. In the Genesis Apocyrphon or Jubilees, the biblical plot or setting largely remains the same. In other DSS texts, for example the Enoch materials, the bible is a much more remote thread throughout. In "Proto Esther," the connection is even more remote. RAK wants to leave all possibilities open -- "parabiblical texts" could have been written at the same time as, prior to, later than, or independent of biblical texts. RAK would prefer to have a super-category into which both "biblical" and "parabiblical" would fit neatly and equally, but since so many people already view bible as preeminent, RAK sadly gives up (for now).

Next, the discussion moved to three of the previously known parabiblical texts found among the DSS, the Enoch library, Jubilees, and the Testaments of the Patriarchs material. All of these are already found among the "pseudepigrypha" collections by Charles and Charlesworth, meaning falsely ascribed writings. However, not everything in the "pseudepigrapha" category actually is falsely ascribed, and not all false documents are thus categorized. Scholars use the term carelessly and do not agree on exactly what fits in this category. Most of the Enoch materials, along with Jubilees (sometimes referred to as "the little Genesis"), have survived in Ge'ez, an ancient language used in Ethiopia, and there are fragments of these texts in Latiin and Greek. Thes books are accepteded by the Ethiopian Christians as biblical. For more information on ancient writings that no longer survive see the old study by Alfred Resch on unidentified quotations and references to extracanonical literature -- for example, Matthew 2.23 cites "the prophets" as saying "he shall be called a Nazarene," which is found in no extant writings. Worth noting that Virginia is working on Ryle's collection of "The Quotations of Philo from the Books of the Old Testatment." This needs considerable updating since it was published just before the definitive new edition of Philo came out, and thus uses an outdated system for its references in Philo.

RAK asked for permission to digress. The class reluctantly agreed, and he introduced the subject of unidentified papyri. Information can be found in the 1976 study of Jewish and Christian papyri by Joseph Van Haelst. An example from the Freer manuscripts at the Smithsonian in Washington DC was presented, where an unidentified page was found among the Greek minor prophets materials from the third century.

Doug asked a question about designations within the Dead Sea Scrolls. For example, 4Q158 and 4QRP\a/ are alternate names for the same physical manuscript, and 4Q364-365 are now thought to be other copies of the same underlying text. While both documents 4Q365 and 4Q158 are included in the "4QRP (reworked Pentateuch)" classification, 4Q158 has a lower inventory number since it was identified earlier, probably because it had less holes, was a bigger piece, etc., and only later did they realize that the other pieces fit with the 4QRP series. Texts with similar contents but transcribed by different scribes are given different numbers, and/or different alphabetic superscripts in connection with the assigned "title" of the supposed original text (here "Reworked Pentateuch" abbreviated to RP and superscripted). Then, the issue of why different modern authors chose to include different sections of the text in their anthologies was discussed. For example, in 4Q365, GM includes Fragment 6, column 2, but not column 1, whereas WAC includes column 1, but not column 2. These seem to represent the author's choice, for any varying number of reasons (e.g. amount or type of difference from the biblical parallels).

Regarding 4Q158 there was a brief discussion on its nature. For example, in "Salvacion en la palabra," Strugnell calls it a paraphrase. This seems to be judging it based on preexisting assumptions about the bible. RAK thinks that this approach to thinking about things in relation to "the Bible" reflects a serious methodological problem, but again, there is little we can do to find a more appropriate point of reference. RAK outlines 3 ways of viewing such texts.

1) It is a selfconscious modification of the biblical text (thus "rewritten bible").

2) It is a different text from that found in the bible, independent of the biblical material (thus strictly "parabiblical")..

3) It represents a source that influenced the biblical material, which means the biblical text would itself be para parabiblical (try not to think about that too hard)!

4Q158 exactly parallels biblical texts with changes in spellings, for example the plene (full) spelling of the name of Moses which isn't in the biblical text, or changes of instructions to the nation from the singular to the plural. If there is a DSS sect most scholars seems to think, then how can they tolerate these differences in the text? RAK notes that if there was a group, it seemed they cared more about halachic differences than other textual differences.

We quickly examined 2Q22 "Apocryphon of David" and 4Q370 because of its reference to giants. RAK noted a strong personal interest in the giant traditions (see Genesis 6.1-4).

After our break, we discussed Thunder in Gemini, Wise's first publication of importance. A strange discussion about Wise's body-type leads to a digression on football players, whereat RAK disclosed that he briefly tried out for the College football team but broke his wrist in the process -- a "life changing experience" since as a result he "became a scholar"!

Then we moved on to the Book/Library of "1 Enoch," which claims to be written by Enoch the ancestor of Noah. Enoch is a book in the sense of an anthology. Even if one agrees with Josef Milik, one of the original DSS team,
that "1 Enoch" already had become a book among the DSS people, it is still basically an anthology. Milik sees the "book of the giants" section later replaced by "the similitudes." It is not difficult to recognize the "seams" between the sections. (RAK notes that he was sort of a seamstress before World War II, having learned to knit but never mastering how to pearl.)

There are three surviving books of "Enoch," first, second, and third. First Enoch is divided into at least the following five subsections:

1. "Book of the Watchers" -- Chapters 1-36
2. "Similitudes" or "Parables" -- 37-71
3. "Astrological Book" or "Book of Heavenly Luminaries" -- 72-82
4. "Animal Apocalypse" or "Dream Visions" -- 83-92 (90)
5. Additional Materials of Various Sorts ("Epistle of Enoch" etc.) -- (91) 93-108

Second Enoch is a rather lengthy work preserved only in "Slavonic" (Old Church Slavic) which has fewer obvious subsections. Third Enoch is a rabbinic writing which deals also with Enoch-Metatron. Neither 2nd nor 3rd Enoch have been found among the DSS. Also the second section of Enoch, the "Similitudes" (chapters 37-71) has not been found among the DSS, leading to questions about the origin of that section. Mani, who lived in the early 200s CE and tried to synthesize Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism, includes a "book of the giants" in his scriptural collection. Perhaps, as Milik suggests, the second subsection was changed from this "book of giants" to the "similitudes" by Christians so as not to appear associated with Mani. If this were the case, the "similitudes" could be a later Christian addition, as it uses terms like "son of man" and other possible references to the Jesus traditions. It is also possible that the "similitudes" section is a Jewish text later adapted by the Christians, which is the position RAK favors. Although the preserved DSS sections are not physically joined, Milik argues, based on evidence that the same copyist wrote several sections, that all of the sections (with the "book of the giants" in second position) were already together as a single book at Qumran. The fullest surviving version of "1 Enoch" is the Ethiopic text written in Ge'ez, the earliest copy of which dates back to around the 12th century or later. 4Q201 is a fragment which contains only material from the first subsection. 4Q204 contains material from three different subsections. There are many different and varying fragments of Enoch material in the DSS.

In 4Q203, the "Book of Giants," Semihaza and other Nephilim (fallen angels from the story of Noah) are mentioned. RAK comments that grouping the Book of Giants with the Book of Enoch in terms of the inventory numbers for DSS fragments (4Q203 is placed inbetween 4Q202 and 4Q204, both of which are sections of Enoch) shows how the original team members (Milik?) already viewed the text.

Topic of the number of scribes represented in the DSS came up -- 800 different manuscripts and nearly 800 different scribes. RAK theorizes that perhaps in order to gain entrance to the community, one needed to copy a text and show some level of scribal proficiency. Most of the fragments of Enoch and the Book of Giants are in Aramaic. Devora Dimant (among others) thinks that such materials have come from outside the community. In column 2, line 2 of 4Q530, Gilgamesh is mentioned. RAK notes that some early traditions identify Enoch with Zoroaster. Perhaps Jews became familiar with Gilgamesh traditions during the exile and related him to Noah.

Boccacini, in discussing Antideluvians (pre-flood peoples) notes tension between Enoch and Moses. Enoch receives heavenly tablets, which may have had great importance in DSS community. Were these more basic than Mosaic Law? In this discussion several things are noted, including William Adler's dissertation on cronographers use of pre-flood traditions. There were Christian chronographies based on the bible, going back at least to Julius Africanus in the 3rd century. Special interests helped preserve these kinds of extra-biblical traditions, such as hagiography and chronography. Was Enoch identified as a saint? Were (some of) the books of Enoch indeed prebiblical? These are questions that remain unsolved.

For next time, we should be prepared to continue the parabiblical section, and especially to look at Jubilees; after that we will turn to the Hodayot.

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 19 October 2004 (week #6)
(submitted by Francisco Lameiro)

(See old minutes for corrections on Zadok section).


Also, there is a new, unfinished section in the index on the Pesharim (Pesher formulas).


From what we can tell, Josephus’ first major written work was the Jewish War (not “Wars”!), written in the 70s CE in Aramaic for Jews in the Parthian area (around the Persian Gulf).  It was revised, updated, and translated into Greek around 80 CE.  About 20 years pass before he publishes Antiquities, which covers some of the same material as the Jewish War.  The changes that occurred politically and in Josephus’ learning affect his treatment of certain things, such as Tiberius Julius Alexander (Philo’s nephew, a Roman military and political figure) and the Jewish sects.


The “Pesharim” made a big hit when the first ones were found in Cave 1; pHab., being pretty complete, set the tone, and people were hopeful that other Pesharim would reveal as much or more about how scripture was read in terms of exchatology.  In the Pesharim, the passage is given and some form of the root term (“PShR”) follows  -- this is usually something like “its interpretation concerns.”  Finally, the interpretation of the given passage is provided.  In the DSS, the Pesharim relate the passages to the current circumstances of the author’s community.  This kind of explicit interpretation of quoted scriptural passages is often contrasted to what has been termed “Rewritten Bible,” where scripture seems to have been modified without any distinction between “original” and interpretation to reflect the interpreters’ concerns.  RAK does not like this term, as it is not beyond question that texts such as Jubilees or the Temple Scroll are developed from a “scriptural” basis – they might sometimes reflect “pre-scriptural” traditions (thus “parabiblical” is the preferred designation).  The Pesharim provide clues to their historical context(s), and probably to the DSS community’s viewpoint of that context.  Doug asks why one would leave the language vague (such as “Teacher of Righteousness” or “Kittim”).  There are a number of reasons to do so, including avoiding persecution by outsiders who might disagree and making the texts applicable (less time bound) over the history of the community.  The terms used in the Pesharim may have been created by the DSS community authors, or they may reflect a previously existing tradition (or both).


In pHab, “Kittim” is a term that RAK believes refers to sea-faring opponents that come in from the outside.  This would refer to whomever the reader sees as the outside enemy.  The term in Gen 10.4 and 1Chr 1.7 is used to refer to the sons of Javan.  Javan in the scrolls (and in Hebrew) refers to the “Greeks,” and Kittim may refer variously to the Greeks (e.g. Seleucid threats) and later to the Romans.  In Daniel 11.30, the Old Greek translation renders the Hebrew “ships of Kittim” as “Romans,” which shows that such an identification was sometimes made in antiquity. The book of Daniel was written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic, and the Old Greek translation almost did not survive since it was replaced in most Christian codices by the translation of “Theodotion,” which has “Kittim” in 11.30.  If the pHab scroll is dated as early 105 BCE (with some scholars), this could conflict with the idea that the “Kittim” in pHab are Romans, who do not enter Palestine in strength until about 63 BCE (Pompey’s arrival).


Column 5 in pHab refers to the “House of Absalom” as not helping the “Teacher of Righteousness” when the “Man of Lies” reproached him and rejected the Law.  In the biblical accounts, Absalom revolted against David, so perhaps the “House of Absalom” refers to those who revolt against the right.  Barry suggests that this might be a claim to the pure Davidic bloodline by the DSS community.  Column 7 has a prediction about the surety of the end-times, but states that it does not know when they will come.  The Teacher of Righteousness knows when they will occur, and you must wait for this, even if the end-time is delayed.  Column 8 has God freeing the “House of Judah” because they are loyal to the Teacher of Righteousness.  The Wicked Priest ruled over Israel and at some point turned bad (maybe this refers to the rule of a Maccabee?).  Column 12 raises the question as to whether the DSS community referred to itself as “the Poor.” This could be important for early Christian studies, since Jesus in Matthew and Luke (“Q material”) uses this kind of language (“blessed are the/you poor”), as does Paul in Galatians 2.10 (“remember the poor”).  Also, the Ebionites (Hebrew for “poor”) was a name used by Jewish Christians later on; such a designation might be economic in origin, or could have roots in sectarian circles such as the DSS community.  Column 13 finishes by getting rid of all the wicked, including the “Wicked Priest,” at the Day of Judgment. 


In 4QpNahum, column 1, Demetrius of Yavan and those he connects with are disallowed from entering and defiling Jerusalem by God, and it traces them from Antiochus to the Kittim (Demetrius and Antiochus would be Greek, but perhaps the Romans are the threat here?).  For questions on pNahum, see Greg Doudna’s 800-page dissertation (1999) on 4QpNahum.  In column 2, Ephraim is mentioned while column 4 refers to Manasseh, both of them children of the patriarch Joseph and names of tribal areas/groups in the history of ancient Israel.  This is interesting, since other Pesharim don’t refer as much to Israel and Judah as nations.

Caroline wants to know which Demetrius is associated with the “Angry Lion” Maccabee in pNahum. Josephus’ Antiquities 12.[10.1]389 describes conflict between Demetrius I and Judas Maccabeus, who dies ca. 160 BCE.  This Demetrius (Seleucid general and candidate for the throne) sends troops to do battle in Judea.  Demetrius I took the kingship for himself from his uncle Antiochus IV.  Antiquities13.[5.1ff]131ff describes cooperation and battles between Jonathan the Maccabee “High Priest” and  Demetrius II, which may reflect  the background of 4QpNahum.

RAK suggests that we move on to the “Parabiblical literature” section of Garcia Martinez for next week.


In the last hour of class, Doug presented his report on The Archaeology of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Jodi Magness (published 2002 by Eerdmans).  He handed out a very useful outline to which I refer the readers.

Then we watched the 2nd part of the video from last week (1998 Discovery Channel presentation on technological aspects of the DSS). 


A study of the clay jars within which the scrolls were found is done by taking a chemical fingerprint of the materials for making jars within the Qumran site and comparing the results to the jars in the caves to see if the jars could have been made at Qumran.  9 of 15 analyzed jars were made at Qumran, and the scroll jars don’t analyze the same as other clay.


S. Pfann identified a sun-dial at Qumran as the only one in antiquity that correctly identified the 5th hour of the day at any time of year.  Important because one must align earthly with heavenly time.


The Essenes at Qumran maybe saw the Roman War as the apocalyptic war.  Entered with confidence that God was with them, and they were annihilated.


Lastly, the possibility that there are more texts in crumbled caves was suggested by Magen Broshi.

//end of #6//

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 12 October 2004 (week #5)
(submitted by Francisco Lameiro)


Starting off class by returning to last week's ideas about some materials possibly being buried under the scaling and debris found below some of the caves, RAK showed a picture of the Cave 4 area and pointed out the large mass of sedimentary rock and dust that has fallen from the level of the cave.  It is possible that some written or otherwise useful stuff might be embedded in that covering, but the process to discover and preserve it would require a lot of funding and time, as it would necessarily be a painstaking process.  It might still, however, be worthwhile.

RAK stated that although some of deVaux's notes have been published (around 1994), there is still much of this material that await publication and analysis (although he was not sure exactly how much has yet to be published; see Jodi Magnes on this topic).  This is by no means an unusual situation with reference to these kinds of materials: they are often not published until much after their original deciphering or discoveries.  RAK mentioned the publication lapse for some archaeological materials in our own Museum, as well as the treatment of the Cairo Genizah texts, as good examples of this kind of a delay, and segways into how forgery of ancient materials (and associated publication) has become a major topic of debate; whether  there is a connection between such publication delays, public demands for information, and the alleged  forgeries (which can be very profitable) is unclear.

Another relevant example of this kind of an issue is the Shapira Affair.  Shapira was a dealer in ancient materials over 100 years ago who purchased fragments of texts from the Bedouin.  These contained sections of the biblical book of Deuteronomy.  These texts were allegedly from the area on the northeast of the Dead Sea, whereas the DSS were found in caves on the northwest. After display at the British Museum, authorities claimed that they were forgeries, and Shapira later killed himself, with this affair probably a significant contributor to his action. (The texts were sold afterwards, and their whereabouts -- if  they survived --  is unknown.) Allegro claimed that since the DSS were later on found to be legitimately ancient texts, the Shapira manuscripts deserve further attention to determine whether they were indeed forgeries.

RAK suggested that one should go through the Gaster Index to search for paper topics, as it lists the occurrences of certain words, phrases, and people in the DSS materials, along with the locations of those occurrences.  Also, when one has a topic, one can use an index of where those words occur in the Hebrew Bible to go a step further for comparative purposes, and also use the seven volume collection entitled "Legends of the Jews" (Ginsberg), which contains Rabbinic materials for many topics [this excellent reference work is now available from the library on CD-ROM].

RAK turned to consider a certain interesting ambiguity in the Damascus Document manuscript A, page 5.  It states that David the hero had not read the Books of the Law because the Ark of the Covenant was sealed and had not been viewed in Israel since the death of Eleazar and Joshua and the elders that worshipped Ashtareth [see 1 Sam 7.4].  The law remained hidden and undiscovered until the rise of the line of Zadok to the high priesthood.  The Hebrew manuscript has the names of Eleazar, Jehoshua, and Joshua, and Garcia-Martinez translates it as such while Schechter considers Jehoshua and Joshua to refer to the same person.  Interestingly, Moses calls Joshua "Jehoshua" in Numbers 13.16.  Even more interestingly (and a bit confusingly), there are two Eleazars mentioned in the HB who may have some connection with the scrolls of Law.  The first is a son of Aaron who was originally in charge of the Levites and succeeded Aaron as high priest in Joshua's time -- this Eleazar was also father of Phineas.  The other is in 1 Sam 7.1, during the time of David, and he was put in charge of the Ark after the Philistines released it [and it was brought to the field of a certain Joshua!].  RAK thinks that the DSS text refers to the first one, as it is in the same temporal ballpark as Joshua, who is also mentioned [but the presence of a "Joshua" and an "Eleazar" along with those turning from worship of the Ashtarot in 1 Sam 6-7 is suggestive (use the Bible Gateway to track down such things)].

RAK moved on to the oft-mentioned Zadok in the context of the concern in the DSS with maintaining the legitimate priestly line.  The Maccabean rebellion was at least partially a result of a conflict over the office of high priest.  When Onias III the high priest dies, his brother Jesus/Jason takes over the high priesthood and connects with the Seleucid overlords. Conflict with another pro-Seleucid relative who next gains the high priestly office, Onias/Menelaus arises (see Josephus Antiq 12.[5.1].237-241 and parallel accounts in 1-2 Maccabees, and the commentators' notes; all very confusing!). When Menelaus is executed, he is succeeded by a non-Oniad, anti-Maccabean Alcimus, instead of the legitimate surviving son of Onias III, who flees with his entourage to Heliopolis/Leontopolis in Egypt and founds a "temple in exile" there under Ptolemaic auspices (Josephus Antiq 12.385-388). The Hasmonean (Maccabean) line eventually takes over the priesthood along with the military and political lead.  Apparently they do not invite the legitimate successor back from Heliopolis.  There may have been somewhat of a vacuum in the office until about 150 BCE [although in Antiq 12.414, 419, and 434, Josephus calls Judas Maccabee "high priest," but not in Antiq 20.237] after which Jonathan mints coins referring to himself as high priest and king [this evidence requires review: the two titles are not attested together until after John Hyrcanus, ca 104 bce].  Some scholars posit that the ancient figure of Melchizedek (as king-priest) was used as a Maccabean hero-model, since Abram is said to have offered him tithes in Genesis 14.  His high priesthood is mentioned in Psalm 110, which may have come into existence in the early Maccabean period to help justify their non-Zadokite high priestly roles.  Interestingly, although the scrolls community is thought to be anti-Hasmonean, there is at least one DSS text that is clearly pro-Melchizedek (11Q13). 


Another possibly pro-Hasmonean DSS text is thought by many to be a prayer FOR "king Johanathan" (4Q448; the early Hasmonean brother, Jonathan, ruled from 152-143 bce but was not called "king"; the first Hasmonean called Johanathan to use the title "king" was Alexander Jannaeus, 103-76 bce).  It raises some interesting questions about the actual relationship between the DSS community and the Maccabees, such as whether there were multiple camps represented within the community, some pro and others anti-Maccabean.  A Nag Hammadi text actually mentions Melchizedek as well, as it plays on the name in Hebrew to invoke "king of righteousness" vs. "king of wickedness" imagery.  This is an interesting similarity with the DSS Teacher of Righteousness terminology.

We looked more closely at the DSS Melchizedek document (11Q13).  Melchizedek is possibly seen as the princely redeemer of "his lot."  He seems to be thought of as some kind of a judge.  Jubilee periods (7 groups of 7 years each; see Leviticus 25) are mentioned in the text, and these point to a great jubilee after either 49 or 50 years, depending on which text is consulted.  The laws concerning jubilees are attempts to maintain the status quo in the face of change, as they often mention the return of property at the end of a jubilee, etc.  The mention of holy ones in the text is problematic, as it can pertain to either the watchers (bad) or the heavenly host of angelic beings (good).  Elohim, in any case, will stand up in the midst of all of the gods to exact judgment.  Melchizedek in the text will be given power to judge even heavenly beings (the lot of Belial), and it is possible that he was thought of in Messianic terms by the DSS community.  The text uses "pesher" technique and language in interpreting various psalms, and RAK sees this as sectarian due to its eschatological similarities to such pesher commentaries as pesher Habbakhuk.  An interesting question is how the multiple generations that copied this text saw the embedded eschatology differently as time went on.  The community's eschatological adjustments to differing historical contexts is a large part of the historical context in which we must attempt to understand and place the scrolls (Barry says "Living Sea Scrolls").

The Temple Scroll was considered briefly at this point, and Caroline raised the question as to how we are to understand who is doing the mentioned sacrifices in the scroll.  RAK suspects that individuals (or at least outside-Temple priests) are doing some of the sacrifices, since the Pentateuch is apparently a bit ambiguous as to its directives concerning the Passover sacrifice.  The "Temple Scroll" is another example of an adjustment of Temple laws relative  to what is preserved in biblical texts.

After the break, we returned to watch a 1998 Discovery Channel presentation on technological approaches to the study of the DSS.

The video introduces the DSS community as the Sons of Light, whose time on Earth ended ca. 68 C.E. in the era of the Roman War against the Jewish revolt.  It considers it to be clear that the scrolls were hidden by this community in jars in caves.

Stephen Pfann thinks we need to understand the DSS in their historical and geographical contexts, so he is doing excavation at Qumran.  Broshi says that 5 caves are natural, whereas 6 are manmade, dug out of the soft marl. 

Tov states that in the '50's everyone was curious if the scrolls would reveal more info on early Christianity. 

Narrator breaks it up into 3 main literature types in DSS: Sectarian, Biblical, and extra-Biblical (?).  The earliest of these texts are probably from about 250-150 BCE, and the bulk were written between 100 BCE and 70 CE, when the texts were hidden.

Bearman used multi-spectral imaging on the texts to reveal text that was previously hidden.  Zuckerman calls for full disclosure about such digital computer imaging techniques, since the restorer can become invisible behind such a technique and present the interpretation as if it were the original form. 

Schiffman sees the DSS texts as throwing light on certain elements in Christianity, certain ones in Rabbinic Judaism.  What seems certain is that the community left Jerusalem because the Temple had been defiled (4QMMT).

Lony and Arnold used a small SAR strapped to the bottom of a plane to get images  of how the Qumran community might have lived.  Woodward hopes to gain insight to the question of whether the DSS were actually written at Qum'ran by doing DNA testing of various scrolls to see if the DNA matches with animals that would be found in that region.  One resulting problem is that given the climate, and its non-hospitality for cow-grazing, the scrolls written on cow skins probably didn't come from the Qumran area.

For next class, RAK requests that we read the "pesharim" section of Garcia-Martinez (185-207; see also 4QTestimonia/175 [GM 137]). A sample of pHoshea (4Q166) is online, and pHabakkuk (1QpHab entire), pIsaiah (4Q164), pMicah (4Q168), pZephaniah (4Q170), pNahum (4Q169), and probably others!


//end of #5//

Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 5 October 2004 (week #4)
(submitted by Caroline Kelly)

Professor Kraft opened class by demonstrating his online indices for the CD-ROM, the Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed. The Library of Congress DSS site was also referenced briefly with its extensive outline of materials and topics.

Returning to last week's question, we consulted Charlesworth's map of the Qumran site (also found on the internet; byubroadcasting.org/deadsea/maps.asp). With the exception of caves 1 and 11, which are located significantly to the north of the settlement, the remainder of the caves lie almost within sight of the Qumran ruins. Switching to Professor Kraft's homepage, we next concentrated on the view of cave 4 and its environs. Beneath the cave lies an enormous deposit of sediment, which has yet to be sifted. Such a project would be well worth undertaking as the sediment is likely to contain the remains of fragments from the cave, dropped not only by those who hid the scrolls but perhaps also the Roman soldiers who are conjectured to have found and damaged some of the scrolls, and subsequent visitors who tried to remove materials from the caves..

Next we turned our attention to cave discoveries ancient, medieval, and modern, starting with the letter of the bishop of Seleucia, Timotheus I, from around the year 800. Consulting Professor Kraft's online translation, we examined his account of the discovery of ancient Hebrew manuscripts found in a cave near Jericho. Timotheus' interest in the writings was shaped by his need to explain what appeared to be a tradition of textual variants in the scriptures. Timotheus had compiled a list of passages from the New Testament which seemed to quote from the Jewish scriptures, but were not found in his Old Testament. His attitude toward the writings was quite open-minded, as he came to the conclusion that the cave writings are just as reliable as his own scriptures.

The discussion of the cave find recorded by Timotheus led into a discussion of the Jewish group known as the Karaites. There are a number of parallels between Karaite literature and the DSS, but also significant differences. It would be hard to prove continuity from the DSS group up through medieval times, but on the other hand, it is quite possible that the Karaites had access to either the DSS or some similar writings which in turn influenced their development. But a second group mentioned by medieval scholars may also be linked to the DSS community. The 10th-century Karaite Yaqub Qirqisani describes a pre-Christian Jewish sect which he calls the Magharians, or "peoples of the cave." He clearly understands the name to mean that their books were found in a cave, but it could just as easily mean that they themselves found books in a cave.  The Magharians share two distinguishing features of the DSS community. According to the Muslim scholar al-Biruni (973-1048) they used a lunar calendar and observed Rosh ha-Shanah and Passover only on a Wednesday; this sounds like a jumbled version of the 364 day solar calendar known from the DSS.. They also embraced the idea of an angel mediator (according to another Muslim scholar, al-Shahrastani, d. 1153).


Scholars expound conflicting theories to account for all these groups. The author of the relevant DSS Encyclopedia articles (the source for much of this information) appears to believe the Magharians were contemporaries of the Karaites but had earlier roots. Others have conjectured that both the Karaites and the Magharians had their origins in the Essenes but eventually formed splinter groups. Finally, the presence of dualism and the mediator figure have sparked speculation on medieval Jewish Gnostic groups. The Mandean sect, an example of one such group ("manda" = "knower, gnostic"), was said to trace its beginnings to 1st century CE Palestine (baptism in the "Jordan," etc.).

Origen, as recorded in Eusebius (HE 6.16.1-3), tells of a manuscript of an otherwise unknown Greek translation of part of Jewish scriptures discovered in a jar near Jericho. He used this material in his Hexapla of Psalms, as an additional Greek source beyond the usual four, thus now called "quinta" (or "sexta" or "septima").

In modern times, in addition to the Qumran area scrolls, several other cave finds have been uncovered, including writings of the Minor Prophets (in 1955 at Wadi Murabba'at in Hebrew, and in 1952 at Nahal Hever in Greek).

Next we looked briefly at the Damascus Document, comparing the first 10 lines of Schecter's 1910 version with more recent translations. Here, we get a rare reference to actual dates, which (if reliable) can aid in the dating of the community's foundation. Scholars date the fall of the first Jerusalem Temple to around 587/86, which would put the foundations of the community at about 175 BCE, around the time of the Maccabean rebellion. We do not, however, know how the ancients themselves would have counted the time span between these events, which means that even with this seemingly firm date, we have to be content with some ambiguity.

The first third of the last hour was devoted  to the conclusion of the Horizon video on the DSS. Michael Wise and Robert Eisenman, though in different ways, argued for an apocalyptically oriented, militaristic DSS community. Eisenman bases his theory on the camp ideology revealed in the scrolls, while Wise finds it significant that several of the texts found at Qumran were also found at Masada. Next, the theories of the second archaeological team to examine the Qumran site and the notes taken by de Vaux were taken up. This husband and wife team of Belgian scholars were convinced that de Vaux was mistaken in the nature of the community. They reconstructed his "scrollery" to form dining tables and saw in the water system not purification baths, but equipment for a perfume industry, borne out by the evidence of balsam they discovered in some of the jars.

While waiting for the CD, the Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed, to upload, we discussed the archaeology of the site more fully. A fresh look at the archaeological issues has been undertaken by Jodi Magnes, a UPenn graduate, now teaching at UNC  Chapel Hill. Further, it was suggested that the texts found at Qumran may not each be equally reflective of the group's ideology and doctrine. We have mostly copies not new works. Professor Kraft suggests that the presence of so many different hands at Qumran may be a reflection of required scribal training in the community. Diversity within  the "Essene" group as claimed by Philo and Josephus was pointed out, Professor Kraft looking to forthcoming DNA analysis of the scroll leather to help answer some of the questions of DSS unity or diversity (how many of the scrolls were written on hides from the same flocks?).

Turning to the Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed, we listened to Schiffman expound his theory of Sadducean origin for the Qumran group. Class ended with an acknowledgement of the propensity of scholars to choose their evidence based on their own theories as to the original identity of the DSS community, Essene, Zealot, Sadducean, or Christian. Professor Kraft suggests thinking of the origins in terms of the shifting political and religious alliances affected by  the Maccabean revolt.

Assignment for next time: sectarian materials and law, the halakhaic texts (including the Temple Scroll).


//end of #4//


Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 28 September 2004 (week #3)
(submitted by Caroline Kelly)


After fiddling around futilely with the keyboard and mouse, with the help of Todd Krulak (is the system turned on?) Dr. Kraft once again successfully subdued the recalcitrant new computer system and led us through a discussion of  4QMMT. Before moving to the text, we briefly addressed the archaeology of the site, namely the relation of the caves to the settlement at Qumran and to the adjacent Dead Sea area itself. Since cave 4 is actually within sight of the Qumran settlement/ruins it is harder to imagine it being unconnected to the settlement. The fact that the remaining caves, however, are further away, and that there are other settlements in the general area (from Jericho to the north down to Ein Gedi to the south), forces one to leave open the possibility that the scrolls could have been deposited by persons other than those living at Qumran -- or at a time when Qumran was unoccupied.

Next we turned to the 6 fragmentary manuscripts of 4QMMT, reconstructed to form a continuous whole, translated by Garcia Martinez, and J. Strugnell and E. Qimron, with adaptations by RAK. We began with 7 lines from 4Q398frg2col1. [Martinez does not integrate these in his translation, but RAK suggests they may correspond to lines 98-101.]

We next discussed the contents of the reconstructed text, beginning with the question of authorship. The identity of the author is unknown. It seems to be a letter from a priest, discontented with the current administration of the Jerusalem temple, to one or more of the temple authorities. The author has only just separated from the temple establishment and still hopes to reform that institution. His letter is an attempt to persuade the temple authorities to embrace his understanding of appropriate for righteous living. The tone of the letter supports this impression as it is only mildly adversarial and shows reverence for the temple. Some scholars have thus identified the author of the scroll with the "Teacher of Righteousness," who they assume was a founding figure for the DSS "sect." But the remaining portions of the text do not identify its author.


We next discussed the issue of authoritative texts for the DSS community (assuming that the scrolls adequately represent such an assumed group). In the past, scholars like Frank M. Cross worked on the assumption that there were three recognizable biblical textual traditions for Second Temple Judaism, Palestinian (represented best by the Samaritan Pentateuch), Babylonian (represented by the "Masoretic text"), and Egyptian (represented by the Septuagintal materials). But the scrolls complicate this theory insofar as they contain representatives of all three presumed text types among the numerous biblical fragments and texts. We noted further the relevance of 4QMMT for theories about the early existence of a tripartite canon -- line{95}: to you we have wr[itten] that you must understand the book of Moses [. . .  pro]phets and of David [ . . . ]. Such a line is certainly suggestive, but ultimately the question of "canon" (an exclusive list of biblical books) remains unanswerable at this point. For example, the unidentified "Book of Hagu/Hagi"  (Damascus Document) is also mentioned as an important text in the scrolls and the status of  the "Temple Scroll" raises questions.


The Hebrew phrase{113} "some of the precepts of the torah"  has been used as the title of the entire composition "MMT." It appears that there may have been some conscious sectioning by the scribes at certain points where they left blanks, such as in lines 3-4 which in the 4Q394 fragment has a blank after a calendric discussion and right before the words "These are some of our regulations . . . ." This led into a brief discussion of the symmetrical solar calendar of 364 days in a year, reflected in several of the scrolls; some regular adjustment to solar realities (365.25 days per year) must have been made to keep the calendar in synchronization with the seasons. As it stands in the texts, the calendar would be off by about a month every 24 years, which is approximately half of a "jubilee" period of 49 or 50 years (perhaps there was a half-jubilee intercalation?).


Halakhic concerns are seen in lines 55-65, similar to rabbinic texts. In particular, the discussion of flowing liquids in lines 58-60  was compared to rabbinic discussions of the purification properties  of standing versus running water. It was suggested that the lines here may represent a disagreement with a rival group over the purification properties of flowing water. Baptismal regulations in the early Christian Didache (chs 7-8) also address the issue of standing versus flowing ("living") water.


Eschatological language is seen in lines 107, 115-116 in phrases such as "the end of days," "the end of time," and the satanic figure "Belial."


Next we discussed the arguments in favor of an early date. The fragments are said to have been copied in the late first century BCE to early first century CE on the basis of both paleography and textual matters. As mentioned before, the fact that the tone is not yet strident but still mild, suggests that the author believes there is hope for reconciliation between the rival groups and/or interpretations. Such a hope seems more probable if the break were of recent date. Admittedly, this is conjectural. L. Schiffman [see now his article on "Miqtsat Ma'asei ha-Torah" in the Encyclopedia of the DSS] adduces an early date on the basis of similarities to Sadducean halakha (as it is depicted in rabbininc literature), and Josephus presents the rift between Sadducees and Pharisees as occurring in the 2nd century BCE.

We ended our discussion of 4QMMT by addressing its relationship to the "Damascus Document" (CD) and the fact that although CD was originally known from two late copies in the Cairo Geniza, it has now appeared in many fragments from Cave 4 as well. RAK provided a brief introduction to the Cairo Geniza materials [see the article by Stefan Reif in the Encyclopedia of the DSS] and raised the intriguing possibility that the discovery of the ancient documents in medieval times was foundational for the "Karaite" Jewish critics of their contemporary "Rabbinites"  [see the article on "Karaites" by Fred Astren in the Encyclopedia of the DSS for the pros and cons].

The last hour was devoted to watching the last segment of  the 1991 NOVA video on the DSS, followed by a Horizon video "Resurrecting the DSS" from 1993 which sort of picked up where NOVA left off. We followed the efforts of Wacholder and Abegg to reconstruct the texts with the help of computers, of the Huntington Library in Los Angelos and of Robert Eisenman (later with Michael Wise) to publish the first photographs, transcriptions and translations.  Eisenman and Schiffman presented competing theories on the dating and origins of the scrolls. Eisenman argued that  the scrolls reflect intra-Christian conflict where Paul is "the Liar" and James "the Teacher of Righteousness." Schiffman points out that the dating of the texts obviates this theory. Radio-carbon dating was performed on a limited number of scrolls which were chosen because they had already been dated on the basis of handwriting to within a fairly narrow range of dates. In this way, the reliability of handwriting analysis could be checked against the technological approach. Schiffman accepted the results as proof of the reliability of dating the scrolls on the basis of handwriting. Eisenman considers the margin of error too high. Schiffman, however, maintains that regardless of the results of handwriting analysis, which after all, may only prove when a particular copy was written out, the content of the scrolls point toward a pre-Christian compositional date. [The end of this video is carried over to next week.]


Michael Wise introduced us to the "Pierced Messiah" fragments (4Q285) which we will look at next class, along with the Damascus Document, Manual of Discipline, and other possible "foundation texts."


//end of #3//


Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt427) 21 September 2004 (week #2)
(submitted by Doug Finkbeiner)


The focus of the second seminar was upon the larger historical context of the first century.   Although the period of 300 years from 200 BCE till 100 CE offers a plethora of historical data within which to place the activities at and around  Qumran, we attempted a more modest analysis -- a look at some of the groups associated with Jewish Palestine in that period.  Thus, our first two hours focused primarily upon what is reported (mainly by Josephus) about the Essenes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees.  

             When the scrolls were discovered, the most common view among scholars was to identify “the DSS community” as Essenes, based on the information in Josephus, Philo, and Pliny.  While the DSS nowhere identify themselves or their authors as Essene,  this identification is claimed largely on the basis of characteristics found in the “sectarian” material.  

             This Essene identification has been questioned or modified by scholars more and more in the last decade or two.  Some believe it better to call the Dead Sea Scroll community Essene-like.  Scholars question the Essene identification for several reasons.  Some are troubled with limiting our possible categories to those identified by Josephus (the Pharisees, the Essenes, the Sadducees, and the “fourth philosophy”).  For instance, Boccaccini attempts to identify an "Enochic" strand of “middle” Judaism, with which he would identify the origins of the Dead Sea Scroll community.  Although no ancient writer refers to an Enochic strand of Judaism, Boccaccini bases his theory an inductive analysis of the extant Jewish literature. One of the characteristics he identifies is that evil comes not from human disobedience in a garden of Eden but from fallen angels.  Although his proposed term for early Judaism – “middle Judaism” -- has not (yet) found many adherents, his Enochic strand has proved more stimulating.  

            Other scholars try to associate the Dead Sea community with other known groups such as the Sadducees.  Larry Schiffman argues that the Qumran community had Sadducean roots based upon the argumentation of 4QMMT, viewed as a “foundational document.”  He has also done extensive study into the continuities between the scroll material and later rabbinic materials dealing with “halakha” (community law).  

            We also discussed the other two groups mentioned by Josephus, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  The Pharisees are identified and described by Josephus, Jesus traditions, Paul, and rabbinic material (including "Pairs," "Tannaim," and "Amoraim"). We learn about the Sadducees from outsiders.  Some scholars think that “the Wisdom of Ben Sirah” (Sirach, Ecclesiaticus) may be a Sadducean document.  The Sadducees are depicted as not being interested in oral tradition or eschatological issues, but as centering authority in the Torah (Pentateuch) and in the Jerusalem Temple leadership.

            Another relevant group is described by Philo (On the Contemplative Life ) as the “Therapeutae.”  Philo describes them as being more theoretical and liturgical than the “practical” Essenes.  They are located by Philo at the Mareotic Lake, west of Alexandria.  Interestingly, Eusebius identifies these Therapeutae as early Christian monastics! (His claim led scholars up to  the end of the 19th century to consider Philo's work on the Therapeutae to be a forgery).

            In addition to discussing the different Jewish groups of the first century, we discussed some of the history of this period found in Josephus.  Since he was a priest, one would suspect that he was a Sadducee. Actually, after exploring for himself the Jewish “sects,” including some time with an ascetic by the name of Banus, Josephus chose to identify with the Pharisees.  He does not portray the Saduccees in a very favorable light.  He lived from 37 CE to after 100 CE.  He wrote extensively about the Jewish War (not 'Wars') of 66-73 CE.  He also mentions the Jewish “temple in exile” at Leontopolis or Heliopolis in Egypt.  This temple was apparently begun by either Onias III or Onias IV after the priesthood was taken away from the Oniads by the Seleucid ruler, Antiochos Epiphanes.  Onias sought refuge in the Ptolemaic kingdom (the Seleucids' rival in Egypt).  The Jews were part of the balance of power between the kingdoms, and played a role in Egypt itself during inner-dynastic squabbles.  

            In the last hour of the seminar we viewed a PBS Nova special from around 1992 on the DSS.  The history of the DSS has been marked by tension and disagreement.  The special began with the finds in Cave 1 in 1946.  The narrator explained the political tensions associated with the creation of Israel and the initial partition of Jerusalem.  After the 1967 war, the DSS were all under Israeli control, but were left with the original team for publication.  John Strugnell was involved with scroll research almost from the outset, and especially in the editing of the manuscripts and fragments found in Cave 4.  Later he was appointed head of the publication team. Because of limited access to the finds,  other scholars became upset with the process.  Jewish scholars were also concerned that the scrolls should not be studied mainly by those with primary interest in early Christianity but also for a better understanding of early Judaism.

            The video also described deVaux's archeological discoveries and interpretations at Qumran.  He believed there was clear evidence for scribal activity at Qumran (e.g. writing tables and ink wells).  Some of his interpretations have been questioned by later archeologists -- e.g. were the tables used for scribal activity or for meals?  His conclusions about the identification of the people who lived at Qumran as Essenes has also been questioned by scholars.  [The video was too long for available class time, so the remainder will be viewed next week.]

            Dr. Kraft asked the class to read through 4QMMT and the main “sectarian” texts (Manual of Discipline = Rule of the Community; Damascus Document] for the class next week.  The discussion should prove to be stimulating.


//end of week #2 minutes//


Minutes for DSS Seminar (RelSt 427) on 14 September 2004 (week #1)
(submitted by Doug Finkbeiner)

After making a few technological adjustments, Dr. Kraft led us through some introductory matters concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Our first hour was largely devoted to an overview of the online syllabus (which is still under construction). We discussed the three requirements for those taking the course for credit -- taking minutes for two of the weekly classes, leading the class in a 10 minute book review or topic overview (e.g. magic in the DSS), and writing a research paper of about 16 pages (a prospectus should be handed in by the mid-October break).

After this, we explored resources for the study of the DSS. English translations prior to 1992 are incomplete because only then did all the material become available to the translators. Dr. Kraft recommended three translations -- one by Garcia Martinez, one by Vermes, one a third by Wise, Abegg and Cook {WAC]. While the translations by Garcia Martinez and Vermes are organized topically, WAC follows sequentially the numbers assigned to the finds in each cave, starting with the Damascus Document (pre-DSS) and cave 1. Dr. Kraft prefers Garcia Martinez' work because it tries to preserve various original features such as the breaks indicated in the text, and because of the appendices that identify each fragment, cave by cave, and further bibliography. Gaster's older translation (1976) is incomplete but often offers less literal renderings than the more recent editions, by a person widely familiar with similar materials and Jewish traditions.

There were a few brief asides in which Dr. Kraft mentioned the value of Schiffman's volume, Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls, the theory of Eisenmann about a Jewish-Christian identity at Qumran which has found few adherents, and the highly recommended forthcoming work by Tov on the physical features and scribal practices reflected in the DSS (e.g. dimensions, columns, etc.). One of the values of Tov's work is its contribution to the identification of a subgroup of "sectarian" texts. While we should note the value of archeology and technical analysis (e.g. DNA analysis of leather used, which could possibly help to group certain writings), the bulk of the course will consist of an analysis of the literary documents.

The second hour was largely devoted to overviewing the web page resources. Dr. Kraft and previous students in his DSS courses have been developing an index of terms and concepts based on the older index of Gaster. After locating Qumran within the larger geographical context of the Ancient Near East and more specifically, ancient Palestine, he mentioned the theory of Golb, who contends that the ruins of Qumran were actually a Roman military fortress. Even though asphalt and balsam were known to be found in the area and would have been important for commerce, this does not prove Golb's position. Then Dr. Kraft reminded us that "the DSS" were not limited to Qumran, but would include other locales such as Masada. He also noted that the history of the discoveries was marked by a variety of challenges in light of the political and military disruptions in the area since 1947.

We then discussed potential paper topics (see the online list), such as the identity of cryptic names (e.g. Kittim, teacher of Righteousness) and the formula for introducing quotes from Moses in the Torah in contrast to later rabbinic practices. Continuing on the web page, we were introduced to several primary text files (e.g. CD, 4QMMT, pesherim, and the Timotheus' letter which dates to about 800 C.E.). [See also the "Open Scrolls Project" efforts.]

In the final hour, we viewed and discussed The Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed CD-ROM (1994). This resource proved to be filled with valuable information in both audio and graphic format. We looked both at the historical background to the Qumran community (e.g. Hasmonean, Roman periods) and at the history of the discovery of the DSS around 1946. Along with finding scrolls in 11 caves in the Qumran area, pottery, coins, lamps, and a few ink holders were discovered by archeologists in the Qumran ruins. Leather was the writing material for most of the manuscripts, although some papyri fragments were also found. Although the manuscripts are largely in Hebrew, there are some in Aramaic and even a few in Greek. The biggest biblical find in Cave 1 was the Isaiah scroll. As we looked at some of these manuscripts, we noticed the square and paleo-Hebrew script. In addition, we noticed corrections, divisions, destructive patterns and holes in the manuscripts. We also viewed copies of the Psalms (which apparently existed in different versions), several peshers, the Damascus Document (which was already known from two medieval codices in the Cairo geniza), the War Scroll, the Temple scroll (a description of liturgy and laws), the Copper scroll/plaque (which is largely a "treasure map" that has not of yet led to any lucrative discoveries), 4QMMT, Ben Sirah (or Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus), and the Genesis Apocryphon (which is a good example of "parabilical material").

//end of session #1//