In ca. AD 37, the schismatics led by Dositheus moved to the land of Damascus. The Mandaean tradition in the Haran Gawaita about 60,000 (!) Mandaeans fleeing from Judea to "Hauran" (i.e., Auranitis) may be referring to this movement to the land of Damascus.439 Also, "King Ardban" of the Haran Gawaita may be the Parthian king Artabanus III (ca. AD 12-38).440
434. 1QS 8:1-2, 6, 9:14, 17-8. Thiering identified the three priests and twelve men as the elect ones, as I do (Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 166-9).
435. I agree with Thiering's interpretation of 1QS 8:10-1 (Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righ-teousness, 167, 173).
437. Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 171, 173.
439. Hugh J. Schonfield, The Jesus Party (New York: Macmillan, 1974), 283.
The schismatics introduced above are the "princes"441 referred to in the following passage from CD:
And God remembered the Covenant of the first ones and raised out of Aaron men of understanding and out of Israel sages, and He caused them to hear (His voice) and they dug the well:
The well which the princes dug, which the nobles of the people delved with a rod.442
The well is the Torah, and those who dug it are the returnees of Israel who went out from the land of Judah and were exiled in the land of Damascus; all of whom God called princes, for they sought him and their (glory) is denied by the mouth of no man.
And the rod is the interpreter of the Torah;
as Isaiah said, He has made a tool for His work 443
And the nobles of the people are they that come to dig the well with the precepts that the rod decreed, that they may walk in them during all the period of wickedness, and without which they shall not succeed until the Teacher of Righteousness arises in the end of days.444
Because the schism was eventually healed, the princes are referred to with approval in the above passage, but any allusion to Dositheus' leadership is carefully avoided.
The "nobles,"445 who came after the princes, were all the loyal sectarians who were withdrawing to the land of Damascus when CD was written in AD 65-6 in order to escape the coming visitation. Symeon, the son of Clopas, led this mass exodus. He is called the "interpreter of the Torah,"446 the "rod,"447 and in other places in the same document, the "voice" of the Teacher.448 In a later chapter, it will be shown that Symeon was actually a brother of Jesus.
440. Edwin M. Yamauchi, Pre-Christian Gnosticism, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983), 132-5.
The beginning of the passage states that "God remembered the Covenant of the first ones."449 This means that the two withdrawals of the princes and the nobles to the land of Damascus had to have occurred after the time of the first ones (187-167 BC). Also, the withdrawal that occurred before 63 BC cannot be identified with those of the princes and the nobles either, because at that time, God "hid His face from Israel and its sanctuary and delivered them up to the sword."450 This line refers to the capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general Pompey. There is no allusion to an attack by a foreign power in the passage quoted above.
CD 7:18-21 belongs in AD 65-6 as well:451
And the star is the interpreter of the Torah who came to Damascus; as it is written,
A star has journeyed out of Jacob and a sceptre is risen out of Israel.452
The sceptre is the prince of all the Congregation, and at his coming he will break down all the sons of Seth 453
The "star" and the "interpreter of the Torah" again refer to Symeon, the son of Clopas. The "scepter" and the "prince of all the Congregation" will be identified in a later chapter.
4Q174 with 4Q177454 were probably written in this period as well. 4Q177 1:8-9 states that they "will flee [... like a b]ird from its spot and will be exiled from His [God's] land."455 The "interpreter of the Torah" is also mentioned.456
1QS 8:16b-9:11, the final section of 1QS that reveals changes in the organization of the sect, was written in ca. AD 40 after the schism led by Dositheus had been healed.457 From then on until the mass exodus in AD 65-6, the settlement in the land of Damascus remained a distant outpost of the sect.
451. These lines are inserted in a passage (CD 7:12-18, 7:21-8:1) that refers to the withdrawal of the first ones in the period before the first visitation (187-169 BC). Perhaps through carelessness, the scribe added CD 7:18-21, which refers to the withdrawal that was occurring in his own time (AD 656). It was to be followed by a terrible visitation to come.
453. Num. 24:17. The designation "sons of Seth" is interpreted as the "sons of pride." See Theodor H. Gaster, The Dead Sea Scriptures (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1976), 3rd ed., 110, note 33.
454. Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 180.
455. Florentino Garcia Martinez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, eds., 2 vols., The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (Leiden: Brill, 1997), Vol. I, 363 (4Q177 1:8-9).
456. Martinez and Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, Vol. I, 353 (4Q174 1:11), 365 (4Q177 2:5).
The property is now under the control of the priests only458 and was not to be mingled with the property of the "men of deceit who have not purified their way to be separated from perversity and walk in perfection of way."459
Although the sectarians resided predominantly in Jerusalem, they were not to enter the Temple, which they considered to be polluted. Their prayer and right conduct would take the place of sacrifices.460 Actually, this rule, which was put into writing in this section of 1QS, had been the unwritten policy since the sect began.
Since the organization was so similar to the one originally created by John the Baptist, the scribe could state that "they shall be governed by the first ordinances in which the members of the Community began their instruction."461 The "Messiah of Aaron"462 was James the Righteous, who became the unrivaled leader and high priest of the sect, and the "Messiah of Israel"463 was still to come. In some other early sources, Dositheus is identified with the prophet, who was predicted by Moses in Deut. 18:15-8.464 This confirms that he became the "prophet" referred to in 1QS 9:11 when the schism was healed.
At this time, I think it is likely that the twelve perfectly holy men actually became levites, i.e., they were reborn into the tribe of Levi and lost their original tribal genealogy based on their father's descent. This action may have been a part of the agreement that healed the schism. A special rite at some point after the completion of the training was probably required to make this official. Although there is no clear evidence for this metamorphosis in the scrolls, it does seem to be the direction that their training was headed. Starting out as tribal heads or chiefs of laymen, they then became with two additional years of training twelve perfectly holy men (i.e., acting levites) Finally, they became after a special rite, if my suggestion is correct, twelve levites. The process probably became a continuous one and did not end with the first twelve.
I also think it is likely that the twelve head levites became priests after a period of training. They would now be considered sons of Aaron, as well as sons of Levi. This probably occurred after a special rite also. As with the twelve
457. It should be mentioned that Thiering places 4QTest and 1QM 1, 15-9 in the same time period (not specified by her) as 1QS 8:16b-9:11 (Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 171-2). I place the former documents later in AD 65-6.
464. S. J. Isser, The Dositheans: A Samaritan Sect in Late Antiquity (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1976), 127-31.
perfectly holy men becoming levites, the process probably became a continuous one and did not end with the first twelve.
Early in the history of Israel all levites (i.e., sons of Levi) were priests-the terms were synonymous. At some point during the period of the monarchy, only levites, who were also sons of Aaron, were allowed to officiate as priests. The other levites became only secondary ministers in the Temple.465 The result was that, as Schurer states, "the 'priests' stood to them [the levites] in the relation of a privileged family vis-a-vis the tribe in general. For Aaron, the patriarch of the priests, was a great-grandson of Levi."466
The trend from ca. 20 BC to AD 64 was to give the levites a higher status. In 11QT (written ca. 20 BC), along with a higher status, they were allowed to perform certain priestly duties.467 Herod Agrippa II, during the time of Albinus' governorship (AD 62-4), gave permission to the levite hymn singers in the Temple to wear linen robes like the priests. He also gave permission to the levite gate-keepers, whose status was lower than that of the levite hymn singers, to learn the hymns like the latter.468 If my suggestion is correct, at long last, the levites in the New Covenant received their due.
The hypothetical special rites, which would officially make the perfectly holy men levites and the head levites priests are not without support. We know that an establishment priest of this time, who "had been examined and accepted by the Sanhedrin in regard to his fitness, was sanctified for office by a special act
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