The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (ca. AD 37-ca. 100) describes three Jewish sects (i.e., the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes) that he states all came into existence ca. 146 BC.2 By the first century AD, the Pharisees and Sadducees had become members of the establishment supporting the Herodian family and making concessions with the Romans. The Essenes were not interested in politics, but simply accepted the authority of the ruling establishment without argument. Only the newly formed "fourth school of philosophy" in AD 6 was an anti-establishment sect.3
The Pharisees were mainly laymen who endeavored to practice the written words of Scripture as accurately as possible. In doing this, they had created a large body of oral tradition that they felt was just as binding as the written Word. However, they were not in agreement about the interpretation of Scripture. Each Pharisaic school offered its own exposition in this area.
The Sadducees comprised the priestly class (most importantly the high priestly families) and the lay nobility. They were the aristocracy of the country. In Jerusalem, they controlled the Temple and the Sanhedrin, which was the ruling body (with certain restrictions) under the Roman occupation. Not accepting the oral tradition of the Pharisees, they followed only the written words of Scripture.
The Essenes were an ascetic, communist, pacifist and celibate sect with many similarities to the Greek Pythagoreans.4 Living together in small groups
throughout the land, they practiced their own private rituals and kept to themselves. Each Essene was to "for ever keep faith with all men, especially with the powers that be, since no ruler attains his office save by the will of God."5 Not only does Josephus describe them,6 but also Philo of Alexandria (ca. 20 BC — ca. AD 50) in Quod omnis probus liber sit and Apologia pro Judaeis and Pliny the Elder (died AD 79) in Natural History.7
Most scholars have concluded that because of some correspondences with certain traits in the Dead Sea Scrolls,8 the Essenes wrote the scrolls. However, there are significant differences as well, which makes the identification unlikely.9 For example, the Dead Sea Scroll sect was not pacifist10 or celibate11 and did not reject slavery,12 as did the Essenes. Furthermore, when one studies the scrolls, one cannot help becoming aware of the pivotal role of priests and the importance of the 364-day solar calendar to the sect yet Josephus, Philo, and Pliny say nothing about these things.
The founder of the "fourth school of philosophy" was Judas the Galilaean. He "threw himself into the cause of rebellion" in opposition to the assessment of property that Quirinius, the governor of Syria, was ordered to take for the purpose of determining the tax that would be levied on the people.13 In the Antiquities, Josephus states that Judas received help from someone called Saddok, who was a Pharisee.14 As a result of his opposition to the tax assessment, he "perished, and all who followed him were scattered."15 This all occurred in AD 6.
7. All the relevant passages from these classical writers are quoted and commented on in A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, trans. by G. Vermes (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1973), 21-38.
8. The primary scroll in which correspondences are found is 1QS.
9. Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., & Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (San Francisco: Harper, 1996), 13-26.
11. E.g., 1QSa 1:4, 9-10; CD 7:6-7. Josephus does mention another order of Essenes that did practice marriage (War II, 160-1), but neither Philo nor Pliny mention it.
12. Rules for the treatment of slaves are found in the scrolls. See CD 11:12, 12:10-1; 4Q159, frags. 2-4, lines 1-2.
14. Ant. XVIII, 3-4, 9, 10, cf. 23-4. Josephus tells us nothing else about this person other than his name (Saddok) and his party affiliation (a Pharisee). As to his party affiliation, we will learn later in this chapter that he was an anti-establishment Pharisee. I take the view that he was the opponent of the high priest Simon, the son of Boethus, or perhaps his father in ca. 24 BC. Josephus was probably incorrect in placing him with Judas the Galilean in AD 6.
The sect that came into being at that time continued to exist and was led by Judas' descendants.16
Josephus identifies the "fourth school of philosophy" as the Sicarii, who were the first group to use violence against the Romans and the Jews who made concessions or even collaborated with them. In the end, some of them committed suicide on the fortress of Masada rather than surrendering to the Romans in AD 73.17 Others escaped to Egypt during the war, but were captured and tortured.18 They were called the "Sicarii," because they used a small curved dagger called a "sicae" to kill their enemies.19 From the "fourth school of philosophy" sprung up even more terrible revolutionary groups like the Zealots during the war period.20 Of crucial importance in endeavoring to answer the question "Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?" is the evidence that from 37 BC to AD 71 there appear to have been other groups claiming to be Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. The best explanation of their existence is that they were factions of the original sects that did not approve of how their erstwhile colleagues were behaving towards the ruling establishment. Either collaboration of some kind or silent assent were the methods being used to deal with the family of Herod and their Roman masters. Rejection of their authority should have been the appropriate response. Let me discuss the evidence below.
During the reign of Herod the Great (37-4 BC), Josephus mentions pharisees numbering six thousand21 who refused to take the oath of loyalty to him.22 Many of them were only fined for their disobedience,23 but some were executed.24 However, although the pharisaic leaders Pollion and Samaias and
16. James and Simon, who were sons ofJudas the Galilaean, were crucified by governor Tiberius Alexander (Ant. XX, 102). Menahem, who was a son or grandson of Judas, was a leader for a time before he was killed by Eleazar, the son of Ananius (War II, 433-48). Eleazar, the son of Jairus, who was a descendant of Judas, was the leader of the Sicarii on Masada (War VII, 253-4, 275, 297).
17. War VII, 253-8; 262; 325. It appears that in some places Josephus used the name "Sicarii" to refer to the descendants and followers of Judas the Galilaean (War IV, 400; 516; VII, 253; 254; 262; 275; 297; 311). In other places, he used the name generically for various groups (War II, 254; 425; VII, 410; 412; 415; 437; 444; Ant. XX, 186; 204; 208; 210). James and Simon, the sons ofJudas the Galilaean, and Menaham, a son or grandson of Judas, were certainly Sicarii, but Josephus does not call them by this designation (Ant. XX, 102; War VII, 433-48). Acts 21:38 uses it generically.
22. Ant. XV, 368-72; XVII, 41-5. Ant. XVII, 42 states that the oath was to Caesar as well as to Herod.
23. Ant. XVII, 42-3. The fine was actually paid by Pheroras' wife. Pheroras was Herod's younger brother (War I, 181, 308).
their disciples refused to take the oath, they were not fined or executed. Josephus states that they escaped punishment because of Herod's high opinion of Pollion25 and Samaias.26 This refusal of Pharisees to take the oath was probably the origin of the anti-establishment faction of the sect.
Josephus also states that the Essenes were excused from taking the oath, because Herod had such a high regard for them.27 The reason he gives is that when Herod was a boy Menaham the Essene predicted that he would be king.28 However, this statement about the Essenes not having to take the oath may be incorrect, because Josephus only mentions them in one of the relevant passages29 and seems to have confused the Pharisees and the Essenes in the other.30
The Hasmonaeans were the high priestly and kingly dynasty that ruled over the Jews in the second and first centuries BC. The supporters of the last Hasmonaean priest-king, Antigonus (40-37 BC), were most likely the same as those of his father, Aristobulus II (67-63 BC, died 49BC), and they were the same for his grandfather, Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BC). They were the Sadducees. Herod the Great endeavored to wipe out all of the Hasmonaeans and their Sadducean supporters when he came to power,31 as well as during his reign.32 It is unlikely that he got them all. Those who survived would not have approved of the pro-Herodian establishment. They would have become an antiestablishment faction of Sadducees.
In the Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan, it is stated that Antigonus of Sokho, who was a disciple of the late third century BC high priest, Simon the Just (ca. 215-ca. 185 BC), had two disciples named Zadok and Boethus. It goes on to say "they taught [Antigonus' words] to their disciples, and their disciples to their disciples. ... [who then] arose and broke away from the Torah and split into two sects, the Sadducees and the Boethusians: the Sadducees after the name of Zadok, the Boethusians after the name of Boethus."33 The Qara'ite author alQirqisani in his
30. Ant. XVII, 41-2. In other places, Josephus ascribes the gift of prophecy to the Essenes not the Pharisees (War II, 159, Ant. XIII, 311, XV, 373-9, XVII, 345-8).
32. Ant. XV, 259-66. See also the passage in the Slavonic version of the War (Josephus, Bk. III, Appendix, pp. 636-8), about some priests, who meet in secret in order to discuss the wickedness of Herod's rule, and who are executed by him after being denounced by one priest who had attended the meeting. A portion of this passage is quoted later in this chapter.
Kityb al-Anw^r wal-Mar^qib mentions "the Sadducaeans, whose leaders were Zadok and Boethus, appeared after the Rabbanites [i.e., the Pharisees] ... Zadok was the first to expose the Rabbanites and to disagree with them, writing books ... and ... attacking them."34
There is a difficulty with the end of the third century BC as the time period when Zadok and Boethus lived. Only the Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan provides us with this information and there is no corroborating evidence to support it. However, Herod the Great did make an Alexandrian Jew named Simon, the son of Boethus, high priest in ca. 24 BC and he held this office until 5 BC. When his daughter (the second Mariamme) married Herod,35 he became his father-in-law. Simon, the high priest,36 or perhaps his father would then be identified with the Boethus of these sources and the founder of the Boethusian family of high priests.37 In these sources, the Boethusians represent a subgroup of establishment Sadducees based on bloodline, while those founded by Zadok represent an anti-establishment faction of the original sect.
This view would be in agreement with alQirqisani who stated that the Sadducees of Zadok and Boethus "appeared after the Rabbanites [i.e., the Pharisees] " As we have seen, the conventional Pharisees and Sadducees (excepting the Boethusian subgroup), originated much earlier than ca. 24 BC.
The Recognitions of Clement (Rec.1:54) contains the following important passage. At this point, I am only concerned with the portions in italics:
For when the rising of Christ was at hand for the abolition of sacrifices, and for the bestowal of the grace of baptism, the enemy, understanding from the predictions that the time was at hand, wrought various schisms among the people, that, if haply it might be possible to abolish the former sin, the latter
33. Emil Schurer, The History of theJewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, vols. I, II, III.1, III.2, rev. and ed. by Geza Vermes, et al. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1973/87), Vol. II, 406 note 16.
34. G. R. Driver, The Judaean Scrolls-The Problem and the Solution (New York: Schocken Books, 1965), 229, 260-1, 264.
36. In one place (Ant. XIX, 297-8), Josephus takes Simon, the son of Boethus, who was appointed high priest by Herod the Great in ca. 24 BC, and Simon Cantheras, the son of Boethus, who was appointed high priest by Herod Agrippa I in AD 41, to be the same person. Howver, this identification is doubtful, because of the length of time between them. Perhaps the latter was actually the son of the former. If so, then he was the grandson of Boethus not his son. Josephus would have taken the two Simons to be identical by confusing the grandfather with the father in one of his sources.
37. There were four high priests that were descendants of Boethus. They were Simon (ca. 24-5 BC), Joazar (4 BC and again before Ananus, the son of Seth, became the high priest in AD 6), Eleazar (4 BC-?), and Simon Cantheras (AD 41-?). Schurer, The History of theJewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, vol. II, 229-232.
fault might be incorrigible. The first schism, therefore, was that of those who were called Sadducees, which took their rise almost in the time of John [the Baptist]. These as more righteous than others, began to separate themselves from the assembly of the people, and to deny the resurrection of the dead, and to assert that by an argument of infidelity, saying that it was unworthy that God should be worshipped, as it were, under the promise of a reward. The first author of this opinion was Dositheus; the second was Simon. Another schism is THAT OF THE SAMARITANS; FOR THEY DENY THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, AND ASSERT THAT GOD IS NOT TO BE WORSHIPPED IN JERUSALEM, BUT ON MOUNT
Gerizim.They indeed rightly, from the predictions of Moses, expect the
ONE TRUE PROPHET; BUT BY THE WICKEDNESS OF DOSITHEUS THEY WERE HINDERED FROM BELIEVING THAT JESUS IS HE WHOM THEY WERE EXPECTING. The Scribes also, and Pharisees, are led away into another schism; but being baptized by John [the Baptist], and holding the word of truth received from the traditions of Moses as the key of the kingdom of heaven, have hid it from the hearing of the people. Yea, some even of the disciples of John, who seemed to be great ones, have separated themselves from the people, and proclaimed their own master as the Christ. But all these schisms have been prepared, that by means of them the faith of Christ and baptism might be hindered.38
The "Sadducees" who arose "almost in the time of John [the Baptist]" and "began to separate themselves from the assembly of the people" for being "more righteous than others" could not have been the establishment Sadducees. The latter originated in ca. 146 BC. However, they were confused with the establishment Sadducees, because it was actually the latter who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead not the former.39 Nor could the "Pharisees" who were "baptized by John [the Baptist]" have been the establishment Pharisees, because they along with the establishment Sadducees were opposed to John the Baptist. They would not have accepted baptism from him. These Sadducees and Pharisees are the same ones mentioned in the gospels who go to John to be baptized.40 They were anti-establishment factions of Sadducees and Pharisees. The "scribes" who were "baptized by John [the Baptist]" could have been in these same factions, because the Sadducees and Pharisees had their own scribes (i.e., Torah scholars).41
The very idea of "separating from the people" has been discovered in a text discovered in cave 4 (4QMMT). I quote the relevant portion: "... we have separated from the majority of the people ... and from all their uncleanness] [and] from being
38. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Ante-NiceneFathers, vol. VIII (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1951), 91 (italics and "small caps" mine).
40. Mt. 3:7: "many of the Pharisees and Sadducees ," cf. Lk. 3:7: "the multitudes."
41. Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Vol. II, 323, 329.
party to or going along wi[th them] in these matters."42 Here is an important point of contact between 4QMMT and the Recognitions of Clement The Recognitions of Clement will be touched upon again in this chapter and in more detail in a later chapter. Dositheus and Simon will be discussed in later chapters as well.
In ca. AD 230 Hippolytus of Rome in his Refutation of all heresies stated that the original Essenes had divided into four classes, three of which he describes as Zealots and Sicarii ! I quote the passage below:
They are divided according to their age and do not follow the observances in the same manner, divided as they are into four classes. Indeed, some of them carry the observances to an extreme, going so far as to refuse to hold a piece of money in the hand, declaring it forbidden to carry, look at and fabricate effigies. Also, none of these dare enter a city for fear of passing through a gate surmounted by statues, esteeming it sacrilege to pass beneath an image. Certain others among them, when they hear an individual discoursing on God and his laws, make sure, if he is uncircumcised, that this individual is alone in a place, then threaten him with assassination unless he allows himself to be circumcised. If he does not wish to comply, far from sparing him, they cut his throat. It is on account of this that they have received the name of Zealots; or as some call them, Sicarii. Still others among them refuse to call any man master but God, even though they be maltreated or put to death. And those who have come later are so inferior with respect to the observances, that those who hold to the ancient customs do not even touch them. Should they do so, they wash themselves immediately, as though they have touched a stranger.43
These Essenes who resemble Zealots and Sicarii are not the conventional, peaceful Essenes, but an anti-establishment faction that probably would have resembled the Zealots and Sicarii in some ways.
Josephus describes the Essene view of an afterlife as similar to that of the Greeks in that "the body is corruptible ... but ... the soul is immortal." The "virtuous souls" go to a pleasant "abode beyond the ocean," while "base souls" go to "a murky and tempestuous dungeon." 44 However, Hippolytus states that, although the Essenes believe in an immortal soul, they also believe in the resurrection of the body, a final judgement, and a universal conflagration at the end of time.45 It is Hippolytus' description that is in agreement with the Dead
42. Wise, Abegg, Jr., and Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, 363 (Section C, 7) (italics mine). However, I disagree with the other possible translation that is suggested for "majority of the people," which is "council of the congregation." See also Florentino Garcia Martinez & Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1997), Vol. 2, 800-1.
43. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, 32-3.
45. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, 34.
Sea Scrolls.46 Josephus is probably describing the original Essenes and Hippolytus an anti-establishment faction.
Whereas Josephus states that the Essenes "will forever hate the unjust and fight the battle of the just," Hippolytus states that the Essene was "to hate no man, neither the wicked nor the enemy, but to pray for them and to fight together with the good."47 In this instance, Josephus' description agrees with the description in the Dead Sea Scrolls.48 Hippolytus is probably describing the original Essenes and Josephus an anti-establishment faction.
Philo of Alexandria says of the Essenes that "in vain would one look among them for ... makers of arms, or military machines, or instruments of war, or even of peaceful objects which might be turned to evil purpose."49 Although Josephus significantly softens philo's statement by saying that " they carry nothing whatever with them on their journeys, except arms as a protection against brigands,"50 he nevertheless mentions in another place "John the Essene." He was one of the Jewish generals in the revolt and was killed in battle.51One must wonder where John the Essene obtained sufficient qualifications to be appointed a general! Doubtless, the answer is that he obtained them from an antiestablishment faction of Essenes, certainly not from the conventional, peaceful
Josephus describes the terrible torture that the Romans inflicted on the supposedly conventional Essenes during the war in AD 66-70:
They make light of danger, and triumph over pain by their resolute will; death, if it come with honour, they consider better than immortality. The war with the Romans tried their souls through and through by every variety of test. Racked and twisted, burnt and broken, and made to pass through every instrument of torture, in order to induce them to blaspheme their lawgiver or to eat some forbidden thing, they refused to yield to either demand, nor ever once did they cringe to their persecutors or shed a tear. Smiling in their agonies and mildly deriding their tormentors, they cheerfully resigned their souls, confident that they would receive them back again.53
47. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, 30.
48. War II, 139-40. Cf. 1QS 1:3-5, 1:9-10, 4:23-5, 9:14-6, 9:21-2.
49. In Quod omnis probus liber sit from Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, 22.
50. War II, 125-6. Is Josephus confusing the conventional Essenes with the anti-establishment Essenes here?
52. one must also wonder if Josephus is confusing the conventional Essenes with the antiestablishment Essenes, when he mentions the marrying order of the sect (War II, 160-1).
This description of torture is very similar to that of the persecutions of the Sicarii, who had escaped to Egypt at that time as well:
Six hundred of them [the Sicarii] were caught on the spot ... were ere long arrested and brought back. Nor was there a person who was not amazed at the endurance and-call it which you will-desperation or strength of purpose, displayed by these victims. For under every form of torture and laceration of body, devised for the sole object of making them acknowledge Caesar as lord, not one submitted nor was brought to the verge of utterance; but all kept their resolve, triumphant over constraint, meeting the tortures and the fire with bodies that seemed insensible of pain and souls that wellnigh exulted in it. But most of all were spectators struck by the children of tender age, not one of whom could be prevailed upon to call Caesar lord. So far did the strength of courage rise superior to the weakness of their frames.54
Again, Essenes that are being tortured like Sicarii are not the conventional, peaceful Essenes, but an anti-establishment faction.
Herod the Great (37-4 BC) was hated by his subjects, because of his friendship with the Romans, his un-Jewish (i.e., Hellenistic) ways, his cruelty, and his non-Jewish ancestry.55 According to the Torah, the king must be Jewish.56 The Slavonic version of the War describes a secret discussion between some priests in Jerusalem as early as 32 BC in which they deny that Herod could be the Messiah expected in the Scriptures because of his cruelty. One of the participants denounced the other priests to Herod and the latter had them all executed.57 In ca. 25 BC, ten "citizens" conspired together to kill the king, but they were caught and put to death. Josephus notes that their motivation was that they believed Herod was destroying the "customs" of their nation.58 Before Herod's death from a serious illness in 4 BC the golden eagle attached to the Temple was pulled down, because the Torah forbids the setting up of images of
55. In 39 BC, when Herod surrounded Jerusalem and offered the inhabitants amnesty, Anti-gonus, the last Hasmonean king, called Herod a "half-Jew" in his response to him (Ant. XIV, 403). The determination of Jewish ancestry was based on the descent of the mother. Herod was called a "half-Jew," because, even though his father, Antipater I, was probably forcibly converted to Judaism by John Hyrcanus I, his mother was Cypros of a noble Nabataean (i.e., Arabian) family. There is no evidence that she converted to the faith. See Lawrence H. Schiffman, Who Was aJew? (Hoboken: KTAV Publishing House, 1985), 12-3.
57. Josephus, Bk. III, Appendix, pp.636-8. A portion of this passage is quoted later in this chapter.
any living creature.59 Two rabbis named Judas, the son of Sepphoraeus, and Matthias, the son of Margalus, instigated the whole affair. Josephus states that they had "a reputation as profound experts in the laws of their country, who consequently enjoyed the highest esteem of the whole nation."60 Herod executed the rabbis and their followers.61 It goes without saying that none of the priests in 32 BC, the ten conspirators in ca. 25 BC, nor the two rabbis and their devotees in 4 BC, could be considered pro-establishment Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes and the "fourth school of philosophy" was not yet in existence.
After Herod the Great's death in 4 BC, the people whom he had oppressed for so long revolted against his son Archelaus. They demanded (among other things) a reduction in taxes, amnesty to political prisoners, the removal of the high priest chosen by Herod (i.e., Joazar, the son of Boethus)62 in order to select a "high priest more in accordance with the law and ritual purity."63 Archelaus was able to put down the rebellion, but only after much bloodshed. Then he went to Rome where emperor Augustus was in the process of deciding whether or not to confirm Herod's will. While the sons of Herod (Archelaus and Herod Antipas) were scheming against each other in Rome for the throne, trouble broke out again in Judea. Varus, the governor of Syria, was able to suppress it for the time being and he left a legion there to keep the peace. However, as soon as he left trouble broke out again, but on a much wider scale. Eventually, three persons came forward as the leaders of the revolt. They were Judas, the son of Ezekias;64 Simon of Perea, a former slave of Herod; and Athronges, a former shepherd. Varus returned and eventually put down the revolt, which had spread throughout the country (i.e., in Judea, Galilee, Idumea, and Perea). He crucified two thousand individuals who were the most responsible for the revolt before he returned to Syria. Simon was beheaded;65 Athronges was probably killed along with his four brothers;66 and Judas, the son of Ezekias, who was probably the
59. Ex. 20:4; Lev. 19:4; 26:1; Dt. 4:15-8; 5:8; 27:15.
62. Joazar, the son of Boethus, was the high priest twice — once in 4 BC, and again before Ananus, the son of Seth, became high priest in AD 6 (Ant. XVII, 164-7; XVIII, 2-4; 26).
64. Ezekias was a "bandit leader," whom Herod the Great captured and killed, along with many of his followers in 47 BC (Ant. XIV, 159; War I, 204-5).
66. Ant. XVII, 278-84; War II, 60-5. In the War, the fate of the four brothers is mentioned; whereas in the Antiquities, the fate of only three of the brothers is mentioned. The texts are clearly defective. Perhaps there were only four brothers including Athronges, and they were all crucified by Varus.
same person as Judas the Galilaean in AD 6,67 survived the revolt and probably went into hiding.
Within ten years after Emperor Augustus had confirmed Herod's will by giving the territory of Judea, Samaria, and Idumaea to Archelaus (though not with the title of king, but ethnarch instead),68 it was taken away from him in AD 6 as a result of his corrupt rule. He was banished to Vienna.69 A Roman governor named Coponius was sent to rule the territory taken away from Archelaus.70 From AD 6 until the beginning of the Jewish revolt against Rome in AD 66, several governors ruled the territory. For a brief period from AD 41-4, Herod Agrippa I ruled as king also. He was Herod the Great's grandson.
According to Robert Eisler's restored Slavonic version of Josephus' War, John the Baptist made his first public appearance in 4 BC during the reign of Archelaus, the son of Herod the Great (4 BC-AD 6). This source records the following information:
[John] came to the Jews and allured them to freedom, saying: "God hath sent me to show you the way of the law, by which ye shall be freed from many tyrants. And no mortal shall rule over you, but only the Highest who hath sent me." And when the people heard that, they were excited.
But he did nothing else to them, save that he dipped them into the stream of the Jordan and let them go, warning them that they should renounce evil deeds. So would they be given a king who would free them and subject all who are insubordinate, but he himself would be subjected to none. At his words some mocked, but others put faith in him.71
The passage in the Antiquities about John is significant here as well. It records that John "incited the Jews to liberty and bade them cultivate valour, practice justice toward each other and piety toward God, and to band together through baptism."72 Robert Eisler has shown that in 4 BC the Galilaean followers ofJudas, the Perean followers of Simon, and the followers of Athronges
67. Hengel states that Judas, the son of Ezekias, and Judas the Galilaean "can probably be identified." However, the scholarly opinion is roughly divided. See Martin Hengel, The Zealots, trans. by David Smith (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1989), 331-3.
71. Robert Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, ed. by A. H. Krappe (London: Methuen & Co., 1931), 224-5. For the unrestored version, see Josephus, Bk. III, Appendix, p. 644-5. See also the chapter titled John the Baptist.
72. This is Robert Eisler's restoration of this verse (see the chapter titled John the Baptist).
were baptized by John the Baptist and accepted him as the true high priest in opposition to the establishment high priest Joazar, the son of Boethus.73
A good case can be made that around the turn of the first century AD, John the Baptist established a new sect that united all of the various antiestablishment factions and groups. The anti-establishment factions of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes and the Galilaean followers of Judas, the son of Ezekias, joined it. Some Samaritans must have joined it, since there are several traits in the Dead Sea Scrolls that resemble Samaritan beliefs.74 Also, in the Recognitions of Clement (the lines quoted in "small caps" above) a faction of Samaritans appear as another schism along with the anti-establishment factions of Sadducees and Pharisees. Others probably joined it as well. This new sect was the Dead Sea Scroll sect.
According to a passage in the Slavonic version of the War (mentioned above), some priests meeting in secret in 32 BC were trying to determine when the last messianic high priest was expected to come.75 The priests, Ananus and Jonathan, made the following statements:
But Ananus the priest answered and spake to them: "I know all the books [i.e., the Scriptures]. When Herod fought beneath the city wall,76 I had never a thought that God would permit him to rule over us. But now I understand that our desolation is nigh. And bethink you of the prophecy of Daniel; for he writes77 that after the return [of the exiles from Babylon] the city of Jerusalem shall stand for seventy weeks of years [70x7], which are 490 years, and after these years shall it be desolate." And when they had counted the years, they were thirty years and four [remaining]. But Jonathan answered and spake: "The number of the years are even as we have said. But the Holy of Holies, where is he? For this Herod [we] cannot call the Holy One — (him) the bloodthirsty and impure."78
According to Ananus' calculation, there were 34 more years to run from 32 BC. This takes us to AD 3.79 It was probably in this year the new sect, which called itself the "New Covenant,"80 was established by John the Baptist. He was thought to be the last messianic high priest (i.e., the Holy of Holies, the Holy
73. Ant. XVIII, 2-3. Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, 252-67.
74. J. Massingberd Ford, Revue de Qumran, "Can we exclude Samaritan influence in Qumran?" Vol. 6, #21, 1967, pp. 109-29.
75. To these priests, the "Holy of Holies" and the "Holy One" was the last messianic high priest (see Dan. 9:24, I Chron. 23:13, Ps. 106:16). See Robert Eisler, "The Sadoqite Book of the New Covenant — Its Date and Origin," Occident and Orient (Gaster Anniversary Volume), ed. B. Schindler (London: Taylor's Foreign Press, 1936), 119-20.
One) who would appear before the Visitation (i.e., the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple).81
In AD 6, Judas the Galilaean left the sect and founded the "fourth school of philosophy" (i.e., the Sicarii), because of some differences over policy. One of these differences was that the Sicarii approved of immediate resistance against abuses. Guerrilla warfare, political assassinations, and outright terrorism were their primary methods of achieving their goal perhaps as a prelude to a final conflict. On the other hand, the New Covenant chose to prepare and wait patiently (if need be) for the one final war ordained by God and led by the Messiah of Israel. There was no doubt in their minds that in due time they would be the certain victors against all the wicked on the earth.
As we have seen, Judas and the Sicarii revolted against the Roman tax assessment, but it would appear that the New Covenant did not. The revolt was a complete failure. Josephus does not mention the Sicarii again until AD 44-8 when Governor Tiberius Alexander crucified James and Simon, two sons of Judas the Galilaean, doubtless for rebellion.82
The above hypothesis will explain why both the New Covenant and the Sicarii used some of the same writings. This is proved by the fact that fragments of scrolls left by the Sicarii on Masada were also found in the caves at Qumran and were discovered by archeologists when Masada was excavated in 1963-5.83 It would also explain why both sects had similar beliefs. Their members had been affiliated with each other before AD 6 and later in the first century some of them probably changed their loyalties on occasion.
The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes have some of the same beliefs as those found in the Dead Sea Scrolls also. The reason is that the antiestablishment factions of the three sects brought their beliefs into the New Covenant when it was established.
It is now understandable why theories have been advanced identifying the Dead Sea Scroll sect with the Pharisees (Ginzberg84 and Rabin85), the Sadducees
79. Since there are 34 years remaining from 32 BC and since there is no "0" year between BC and AD, the calculation would be as follows: 34 — 31 (not 32, since the priests are in 32 BC) = AD 3. See Eisler, "The Sadoqite Book of the New Covenant — Its Date and Origin," 119-20.
80. CD 6:19, 8:21, 19:33-4, 20:12, 1QpHab 2:3. The CD passages mention those who "entered" (CD 6:19, 8:21, 19:33-4) or "made" (CD 20:12) the New Covenant (and the Pact, CD 20:12) in the land of Damascus. These words do not mean that the New Covenant first came into existence in the land of Damascus. They probably mean that the members reaffirmed their original oaths there.
81. This early view that the Visitation to come would be the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple agrees with the scheme of CD.
83. Norman Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? (New York: Scribner, 1995), 131-3.
(North86 and Schiffman87), the Essenes (Dupont-Sommer88 and Vermes89), and the "fourth school of philosophy" (Driver90 and Roth).91
The members of New Covenant did not have to write all the scrolls in their possession. Some of them were probably brought into the sect when it was set up. Some examples are as follows:
1. The pro-Hasmonaean text discovered in cave 4 (4Q448) that praises "Jonathan the king" (i.e., Alexander Jannaeus, 103-76 BC).92
2. A very fragmentary text (4Q322-324c) that mentions three persons who lived in the period from 76-63 BC — Queen Salome Alexandra (76-67 BC), the wife of Alexander Jannaeus; Hyrcanus II (63-40 BC), a son of Jannaeus and Salome; and the Roman general M. Aemilius Scaurus.93 The pro-Hasmonaean faction of Sadducees mentioned above probably brought these two texts into the new sect.
3. 4Q540-1 (a portion of an Aramaic or Hebrew Testament of Levi) and 4Q534-6 that prophesy the coming of a great priest who is described as an exceptional teacher and a revealer of many mysteries.94 It is likely that John the Baptist was believed to be this very personage!
4. The books of Enoch and Jubilees. They are Jewish apocalyptic books that are not included in the Hebrew canon or the Apocrypha but in the Pseudepigrapha. Fragments of both books were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.95
On first reflection, it would appear that Josephus does not explicitly mention the New Covenant. However, there is one interesting possibility that
84. Louis Ginzberg, An UnknownJewish Sect (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1976). This book is a revised and updated translation of the author's 1922 German edition. Ginzberg only had the Cairo geniza copies of the Damascus Document (CD) available to him to do his research.
85. C. Rabin, QumranStudies (New York: Schocken Books, 1957).
86. Robert North, "The Qumran 'Sadducees,'" Catholic Biblical Quarterly 17 (1955): 164-88.
87. Lawrence Schiffman, "The Significance of the Scrolls," Bible Review 6, no. 5 (October 1990): 18-27, 52.
88. A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, trans. by G. Vermes (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1973).
89. Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 3rd ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1987).
90. G. R. Driver, The Judaean Scrolls-The Problem and a Solution (New York: Schocken Books, 1965).
91. Cecil Roth, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Historical Approach (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1965).
92. Martinez & Tigchelaar, eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, Vol. 2, 928-9.
93. Martinez & Tigchelaar, eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, Vol. 2, 692-9. If 4Q322, frag. 2, line 6 is completed correctly as "Hyrcanus rebelled [against Aristobulus]," then Hyrcanus' brother Aristobulus II (67-63 BC) is mentioned in the text also.
94. Wise, Abegg, Jr., & Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, 259-60, 427-9.
95. Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Vol. III.1, 250-68, 308-18.
needs to be considered. A well-known tendency of Josephus was to lay the blame on the "fourth school of philosophy" for inciting the people to revolt against Rome in AD 66 and, as a consequence of this, for the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Jewish homeland in AD 70.96 Furthermore, as has been stated above, he identified the "fourth school of philosophy" with the Sicarii97 and he described them as "the first" of the revolutionary groups to use violence against the Romans and the Jews who made concessions with them.98
What Josephus may have done in order to convincingly lay the blame on the "fourth school of philosophy" for the catastrophe of AD 70 was to portray it in the worst possible light that could be imagined. He could have done this successfully by describing it solely as the Sicarii — the prime instigators of the disaster of AD 70, although he was well aware that there were other factions of the opposition who did not use the violent methods of the Sicarii.99 Thus, the possibility does exist that Josephus' "fourth school of philosophy" was actually more inclusive and referred to all opposition factions and groups including the New Covenant. However, Josephus had diplomatic reasons for identifying it solely with the fanatical Sicarii.
99. E.g., see the non-violent protest of the Jews under Governor Pilate regarding the Roman standards and the aqueduct (Ant. XVIII, 55-62, War II, 169-77, see pp. 126-7), as well as the shields (Philo, The Embassy to Gaius, 299-305, see pp. 127-8). Also, although Tacitus states that the Jews "chose ... to resort to arms" (Histories V.9) when Emperor Gaius (Caligula) tried to have a statue of himself set up in the Temple of Jerusalem in AD 39-41, there were doubtless non-violent protests as well (War II, 196-7, Ant. XVIII, 264).
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