With the death of John the Baptist in AD 35, James the Righteous, the brother of Jesus, became the new leader and high priest of the New Covenant. The sect continued to use 1QS 1:1-4:26, 5:20b-7:25, 5:1-20a, 1QSa, and 1QSb, as it did under John's leadership, but Jerusalem became its place of residence instead of the settlement of Khirbet Qumran.
Unfortunately, very soon after James assumed the leadership, a schism occurred in the sect. Its leader was someone named Dositheus. 1QS 8:1-15a and 9:12-26 were written by the schismatics in order to form a new organization and they decided to make Khirbet Qumran their residence again. 1QS 8:12-4430 states that they moved back to the desert settlement:
And when these things come to pass for the Community in Israel at these appointed times, they shall be separated from the midst of the habitation of perverse men to go into the desert to prepare the way of Him: as it is written, In the wilderness prepare the way of Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.431
In their organization document, the individual called the "interpreter,"432 who was probably a levite,433 was Dositheus. Ranked below him were three priests (only three became schismatics) and twelve men, who were called the fifteen "elect ones."434 The shortage of levites (Dositheus was probably the only
433. B. E. Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness (Sydney: Theological Explorations, 1979), 134-5, 169, 176. Thiering identified the interpreter of 1QS 8:11-2 with the prophet of 1QS 9:11, as I do.
one) appears to have been remedied in a unique way. Twelve men, who had reached the highest lay governing ranks, received two more years of specialized training.435 With the additional training, they were "set apart (as) holy,"436 i.e., they acted the part of levites, and they became the elect ones along with the three priests. In 1QS 8:20-9:2, which is part of a later organization document, they are called perfectly holy men (1QS 8:20) and rules are recorded for them.437 The laity were probably the main participants in the schism. In order to fill the offices that were vacated by the twelve men (elect ones) and left empty by other laymen who did not go over to Dositheus, additional promotions had to be made (perhaps prematurely in some cases) to fill the lay ranks of government.
If we accept a continuity with the previous organization, the leadership structure of the schismatics is as follows (the higher up the table, the greater the authority):438
The Community Leadership Structure
Was this article helpful?