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Introduction and Key


Josephus: Henry Leeming: Josephus' Jewish War and Its Slavonic Version: A Synoptic Comparison (2003) "This volume presents in English translation the Slavonic version of Josephus Flavius' "Jewish War, long inaccessible to Anglophone readers, according to N.A. Materskej's scholarly edition, together with his erudite and wide-ranging study of literary, historical and philological aspects of the work, a textological apparatus and commentary. The synoptic layout of the Slavonic and Greek versions in parallel columns enables the reader to compare their content in detail. It will be seen that the divergences are far more extensive than those indicated hitherto."

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Jewish Apocalyptic Writings:
The "Dead Sea Scrolls"

Damascus Document
Cairo Damascus (CD) & Dead Sea Scroll 4Q266-273
(4Q266) C14 Age: 1) AD5-80 2) 45 BC-AD120 (Subrange) / Paleo. Age 100-50 BC
(4Q267) C14 Age: 1) 168-51 BCE (Stuiver et al. 1998); 2) 172-98 BCE (Subrange)

11 DSS Fragments: 9 in Cave 4 (shown); 1 in Cave 5; 1 in Cave 6

...under construction...

"And in the period of wrath, three hundred ninety years after He had handed it (the Temple) over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylonia, He remembered them (Israel) and caused to grow from Israel and Aaron the root of a plant (i.e., the sect). Then they understood their transgression and knew that they were guilty. They were like blind (men) groping on the road for twenty years. Then God paid attention to their deeds for they sought Him whole-heartedly, and He set up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to direct them in the way of his (the teacher's) heart."  (Geniza manuscript A 1.4-10)

Column B19: "Forty Years" From Teacher to Desolation

From the day of the gathering in of the Teacher of the Community until the end of all the men of war who deserted to the Liar, there shall pass about forty years.

Column B20: "New Covenant" ; "Fountain of Living Waters"

None of the men who enter the New Covenant in the land of Damascus and who again betray it and depart from the fountain of living waters, shall be reckoned with the Council of the people or inscribed in its Book, from the day of gathering in of the Teacher of the Community until the comings of the Messiah out of Aaron and Israel.

He visited them and He caused a plant root to spring from Israel and Aaron to inherit His Land and to prosper on the good things of His earth. And they perceived their iniquity and recognized that they were guilty men, yet for twenty years they were like blind men groping for the way. And God observed their deeds, that they sought Him with a whole heart, and He raised up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of His heart.



G.A. Rodley
"The documents called 4QpPsa (4Q171) and 1QpHab are examples of a genre of which a number of instances were found in the caves. Each is a pesher (plural, pesharim), that is, a commentary on a book of the Old Testament, claiming that its wording predicts events in the life of the Teacher and his opponents. Significantly, only one copy of each pesher was found in the caves, whereas multiple copies of other documents were found. The pesharim are an ephemeral genre of literature, referring to events in the author's own immediate circumstances, with the claim that they fulfilled prophecies. Once events changed, and the prophecies were seen to fit subsequent events better, the earlier document would be regarded as invalid. This would mean that no copies were made, each of the pesharim being an original.

4Q171 is a pesher on some Psalms. At the time it was composed, the Teacher of Righteousness was still alive, and under threat from his opponents. The pesharist, his supporter, turned to Psalm 37 and found there the teaching that even though the righteous person may suffer now, he will soon be vindicated and his enemies punished. He applied this, using his technique of turning universals into particulars, to the Teacher, who, he said, would soon be vindicated, while the opponents would be destroyed.

The principles of hypothetical document C apply to this work, the Teacher being person X. He was still alive at the time it was recorded, and the document we have, being a pesher, is an original, not a copy. These exceptional circumstances mean that the earlier date of the 14C range (Table 1) for the manufacture of the writing material gives us a probable date after which the Teacher was alive.

Both sets of 14C ranges, that based on the 1986 curve, and that derived from the 1998 curve (Table 1), give a date in the 1st century CE for this document: respectively, 22-78 CE and 29-81 CE. If it is the case that the 14C dating is a reliable indicator, this result gives good evidence that the document was composed and recorded after the twenties CE, and, since the Teacher was alive and active at the time of composition, he lived in the first Christian century, being contemporary with the early Christians. It would be clear evidence against the view held by the first generation of Scrolls scholars, that the Teacher lived in the second century BCE.

The handwriting of this piece is a Herodian semiformal (Cross 1961, note 134; Strugnell 1970, p 211), a fact that is omitted in the Tucson report. The handwriting of all the pesharim is Herodian, that is, a class of handwriting used from 30 BCE to 70 CE.

This finding agrees with one possible interpretation of the indirect datings given for the Teacher in the Damascus Document (CD). They are not overt, and their interpretation has been disputed, but when the usages of the Scrolls are applied consistently, they may be seen to mean that the Teacher began his work in 26 CE and died about 30 CE. The reasons in brief summary are as follows:

  1. The wording of CD 1:5-11, concerning "the Period of Wrath, 390 years for his giving them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon" is more correctly and consistently seen as a prediction of the length of the Roman occupation of Judea, the figure of 390 years being drawn from Ezekiel 4:5, treated as a prophecy in the habitual Qumran manner. In the pesharim it is asserted that "Babylon" of the Old Testament is an equivalent for Rome, a view found also in the New Testament, where "Babylon" is used as code for Rome (1 Pet 5:13, Rev 18). On this understanding, the ruler of Rome is being referred to by the writer of CD in a disguised way through a pseudonym, for political reasons. The usual translation of the phrase following "390 years" is "after his giving them", but it should be "for his giving them", consistently with the normal meaning of the preposition. The Roman occupation of Judea, an event that could well be called "the Period of Wrath", took place in 6 CE (see further below). Since, according to the text, the Teacher came 20 years after the Period of Wrath, he began working in 26 CE.
  2. The writer of CD 20:13-15 calculates that the death of the Teacher occurred about 40 years before a certain destruction of enemies. The destruction would result from a Visitation, an event expected in the near future. The Visitation is described in CD 19:10-16 using the language of the first fall of Jerusalem (Ezek 9:4). The passage may be understood as referring to another fall of Jerusalem, very shortly expected at the time of the writer. Jerusalem did fall in 70 CE; hence, on this interpretation, the Teacher died about 30 CE. (See Thiering 1979).  (Use of Radiocarbon Dating)

James Tabor
"We can definitely document the appearance of the Prophet or Teacher of Righteousness; however, I find no evidence anywhere in the entire DSS corpus of the appearance of his two messiahs. The Damascus Document (CD) is absolutely crucial in this regard. Two manuscripts (A & B) found in the Cairo Geniza by S. Schechter in 1897 were also found in extensive fragments in Caves 4, 5, and 6 at Qumran. The introductory lines of Col I clearly refer to the appearance of the Teacher 390 years after the Babylonian Exile (586 BCE) and twenty years after the origin of the New Covenant movement." (Dead Messiahs)

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