Here we have notes from a variety of classes on Judaism and Christianity: Leviticus, Judaism at the time of Jesus, the forty day ministry of Christ, Apostles and bishops and the loss of authority, and Qumran excavations.
Unraveling Leviticus—How the Ordinances, Teachings, and Practices of Leviticus Connect with and Testify to the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ: The Holiness Code Leviticus 17-27 (by Shon D Hopkin)
Prevalence of ordinances in Leviticus. Ours are connected and built upon them.
This gives us an opportunity to talk about temple ordinances too.
Other scholars see Leviticus as a separate author, but Hopkins doesn’t see it that way.
Resources for more reading on Leviticus:
--Covenant & Conversation: Leviticus, Rabbi Jonathon Sack
--Anchor Bible Commentary: Leviticus (3 vols), Jacob Milgrom (very technical, loves seeing it as unified and why, where it meets the people’s needs)
--Verse by verse Commentary, Kelly Ogden & Andrew Skinner
--Symbols & Shadows: Unlocking a deeper understanding of the atonement, Donald Parry.
--Deeper Understanding of the atonement
--Jewish Study Bible (Old Testament) (old Jewish commentaries, underpinning Jewish ideas)
--The Commentator’s Bible : Genesis- Deuteronomy
McConkie thought Leviticus has no especial application to us and need not give us permanent concern, except for a few passages. Hopkins spent a little time joking about how McConkie’s assessment kind of pulls the rug out from under him. (“Why even take this class?” “But look! You’re still here!”)
True, the ordinances in Leviticus aren’t our ordinances, they aren’t as central for us to understand, but they tell us the kind of things God may do in ordinances, and they are meant to draw us up through levels of ordinances.
They form a foundation of what we still do today.
Joseph Smith may have indicated that there might be return of blood sacrifices at the Jerusalem again. Others are not so sure.
Leviticus is the middle of the books of Moses. In the middle we often find the points of emphasis.
This is the first book studied by Jewish children.
Feast of Weeks, Pentecost, or Feast of Harvest, Lev 23:15-22
--50 days after Passover (May-June)
--Commemorates arrival at Sinai and law written on stone tablets
--All came to Jerusalem to be tithed, sacrifice, grain offerings.
--Commemorates the bounteous blessings after Egypt deliverance. Today Ruth is read & Torah read at nighttime.
--In NT, Pentecost is 50 days after crucifixion, time at which God wrote the law on their hearts by giving Holy Ghost (Christ was the planting, and first-fruits, Holy Ghost was the harvest of his sacrifice)
In Israel they have Sabbath elevators – The elevator stops at every floor so you don’t have to push the button.
Rosh Hashanah – Leviticus 23:23-25 (Sept- Oct)
--163 days after 1st Passover.
--Also known as festival of trumpets (100 blasts)
--This is the new year, commemorates the creation of Adam & Eve and naming of the animals
--Anticipates the opening of the heavens as Messiah comes and the beginning of Judgment (concluded Yom Kippur)
--A day of remembrance and goal setting
--Creation, law giving, time to anoint kings.
--Joyful wedding feast between God and Israel
--Tashlikh ritual, prayers said by flowing water and one’s sins are then symbolically cast in. Mikvahs and immersion in living, flowing waters.
--Part of the high holy days and followed by day of atonement 10 days later
Feast of Tabernacles Kukkot Lev 23:24-44
Booths commemorated their wandering in the wilderness. Lots of rules about materials and how they are made. Meals made there, some sleep there.
--Lasts 7 days
--Ecclesiastes is read because of its focus on the passing nature of life.
--Law to be read
--Judgment to be delivered this day.
--Tradition: Walking 7 times around synagogue with branch of citron tree, a palm frond, a branch of myrtle tree, willow branch.
--Tradition: On day eight the Torah is taken out and goes around the synagogue 7 days.
Book of Mormon delivered to Joseph Smith at a time that coincided with the Feast of Tabernacles. (Interesting! Things that make you go ‘hmmm’)
At the center of King Benjamin’s lecture is a discussion of atonement, repeating the words of an angel, speaking with the tongue of angels.
People cleansed of their sins
People are given God’s name
Summary of chapters in Leviticus
17 laws regarding sacrifices and blood
18-20 laws governing sexual relations
Purpose of the Law of Moses – Ye shall be holy because I am holy (Leviticus 19:2)
--To make them holy as God is holy.
--Dimensions of altar, laver : These tell us we are operating in God’s realm and we perform ordinances to become as He is.
--To bring behaviors on earth from the common realm to the realm of God – eating, career, intimacy, social interactions, childbirth
--To protect Israelites spiritually from apostate, degraded influences of foreign religions and set them apart so they could be blessing to others.
--To protect Israelites physically (kosher laws)
--To constantly remind Israelites of their status and submission to God.
Main principle: We are not animals, we are children of Christ. We don’t launch into our lives like an animal, we keep God in mind and do things in holy ways.
Covenants create order out of chaos.
Coming to the highest level of holiness. Baptism, gift of the holy ghost, sacrament, temple covenants.
Eating what God tells us what we don’t eat or drink so we submit to God. Healthy or not doesn’t matter, we just submit to God.
Jesus lived the Law of Moses.
Earth (mankind)>>(upward)>>and (Israel & Ger)>> Priests
Modern Christian misconceptions about the Law of Moses?
How to understand additions in Jesus’s time
After Babylonian exile, Jews say “never sin in idolatry again” They build a fence around the law. They judge others not by the law, but by the fence.
New Testament view of the Jews: They are a law to themselves and so cannot recognize the lawgiver.
A more sympathetic view of the Jews: Rather than performing the law their own way, they want to perform it as God wants.
What about the Jews’ view of Christian Sabbath observance? (Christians seem to be doing whatever they want, rather than trying to find out what God wants)
Some examples of Pharisaic laws of the Sabbath:
--No soaking of things before Sabbath unless they can be completed the previous day.
--No making bread unless it is mostly done (picky definitions of what parts should be baked for a loaf to be “done”)
--A woman may not go out with a needle that has an eye (she might work or advertise her sewing skills, which is also work)
--If a man took out a loaf into the public domain he is guilty, if two men took it out, they are not guilty (because they can’t tell who of the two is carrying more of it.)
Orthodox Jews can’t drive on the Sabbath. Neighbors open their parking lot for them to park there.
Are there things we do as LDS that make obedience difficult like this?
Do we look for loopholes like this? (Waiting until midnight on the Sabbath?)
Teachings from the holiness Code Lev. 19:
--Offer sacrifice at your own will
--No making people stumble
--No avenging or grudges; love your neighbor
--Honor the old
--Don’t vex the foreigner
--Treat a foreigner as if he is a native and love him the same as yourself (Reminds us of the sealing of children that weren’t born in the covenant)
Confusing teachings from the code:
--Sacrifices should be burned after the third day of not eating. Why? They are sacred; they shouldn’t be disrespected.
--Don’t let cattle or seed mix with other types of cattle or seed. (This mixing was a heathen practice. ) Principle: Israel should not mingle sexually with non-Israel. This was something done in temple clothing and belongs in a divine realm.
--Don’t tattoo, don’t cut corners of hair. (Jews keep long locks on the front sides.) This avoids ancient pagan mourning rite.
--Every 7th day, 7th month, 7th year. Land rested, what grew naturally was for the poor, owner, family, servants, beasts. Debts cancelled. The idea is God will provide and create for us.
--Every 50 years, land reverts to original Israelite family. Israelite debt slaves set free.
Kosher Laws Lev 11 What to eat or not.
--Respect for life, only eat certain things.
--Second concern, holiness.
The animals that weren’t to be eaten were those that couldn’t be domesticated easily, could carry diseases, were worshipped by false religions..
Later prohibitions – no cooking or eating meat and milk together is the most prohibitive. Led to major separations between meats and milks, different utensils and spaces of time between eating them.
Lev 26 Blessings:
--Rain in due season
--Promise of chasing one’s enemies (Implies moral force, confidence in God, steadfastness)
--God will be among you
--We will be my people
Judiasm at the time of Jesus (by Matthew J. Grey)
The church has been developing a new college-level curriculum for institute. Course on Jesus.
It’s critical to understand the Judaism at the time of Jesus to understand his message and actions.
We use the phrase “the Jews” to refer to the large entity as a block.
Instead there were priests, sages, mystics, apocalyptic visionaries, ascetic holy men, Hellenized philosophers, Romanized aristocrats, itinerant preacher, village miracle workers, popular prophetic figures, nationalist zealots.
We can use “JudiasmS” instead.
(Jesus wasn’t the only one performing miracles)
Ask what type of group Jesus was interacting with.
Don’t forget Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, disciples of John, etc.
Teachings and actions of Jesus have to be understood by understanding which group he’s dealing with at the time.
We have to go back to Old Testament for a little here to define the core of common Judaism:
--Holiness (kadosh): set apart or different from everything around it. God called Israel as a holy people. Covenant people are different and set apart from the cultures around. It is the basis of the Law of Moses.
--Law of Moses makes Israel holy (set apart)
--God dwells in the Jerusalem temple.
--Hereditary priesthood that mediates between God and the people. Takes sacrifices to God on behalf of people, and takes message from God to people.
Zadokite priesthood, Zadok was first high priesthood of the temple of Solomon.
Conquest of Alexander the Great and the spread of Hellenism
Alexander empire 336-323 BC Conquers Persian empire
Brings in a foreign culture.
Hellenism blended Greek and local culture to add stability and longevity to his empire.
This poses a question for Jews. Will they become Hellenized or not? To what extent can Jews participate in it and still maintain their covenantal holiness?
It’s never as easy as outright rejecting the other culture. The question fractures Judaism to groups that respond differently.
Language. Question: Do you adopt the language? Elites speak Greek..
Most Jews weren’t ideologically opposed to speaking Greek.
Elites adopt it and only speak Greek. This led to the need for the Torah to be translated into Greek (Septuagint)
Septuagint becomes the Old Testament of the earliest Christians.
Entertainment. Question: Do you go to theaters? Do you go to Stadiums with athletic competition? Do you participate in athletic events?
Jews were more divided about this. The Greeks run naked, which was disturbing.
Conservatives were in effect asking “What’s it rated?”
Education and Lifestyle. Gymnasium and nudity. (gymnasium meant naked)
At the gymnasium, circumcision became obvious between Jews and Greeks.
This causes more fracturing.
Elite classes in urban settings were more open to it, interestingly. Maccabbees tells of Jewish priests badly who wanted to participated and surgically reversed their circumcision to fit in.
Philosophy and ethics – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. Question: Are you open to learning the philosophies of the Greeks?
Some thought it was okay, some thought it wasn’t. More fracturing occurred in Judaism because of this.
Jewish intellectuals were studying Greek philosophy and writing to show Moses was a philosopher.
Modernist progressives were wealthy and urban. They were okay with it because of their connection to government.
Traditionalists conservatives (lower-middle class, rural) reject Hellenization, and they intensified their differences to try to remain different.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164BC)
Until him, Hellenization has never been forced on the Jews. Antiochus insisted on forcing it at the point of the sword. (see 1, 2 Maccabees)
--Temple converted to temple of Zeus. Pig sacrifice. Some Jews were okay with that. (!?)
--Jerusalem converted into a Greek polis
--High priests replaced by political appointees.
--Jewish law was banned, replaced by Greek law. Circumcision punishable by death.
--Jewish priests adopt Hellenistic lifestyle
Traditionalists decide to revolt or their way of life will be obliterated.
Maccabean revolt 167-142BC raised Messianic hopes, which were dashed later.
Hasmonean dynasty 142-63BC They liked Hellenism and embraced it.
Assumption of high priesthood and revival of Hellenism among upper class
This is the formation and crystallization of Jewish sects with names
Sadducees were progressive.
Pharisees were traditionalist
They have in common that they both don’t like Jesus.
What debates are they having?
--Degree of Hellenization and Romanization
--Legitimacy of Jerusalem temple and priesthood (some people were really upset about this)
--Religious leadership (hereditary or lay Torah scholarship?) Alternative forms of leadership develop. Local village sages and lay Torah scholars begin to appear.
--Scriptural authority and canon (written Torah or ancestral tradition? Which takes precedence?) Major debate with different responses. Sadducees only accept 5 books of Moses and nothing else. Others canonize prophetic writings.
--What kind of weight do you give to ancestral tradition? This impacts theology and doctrinal teachings. Issues of resurrection, angels, Messiah, end times, etc. No resurrection mentioned in 5 books of Moses so Sadducees don’t accept resurrection. Sadducees don’t believe in angels or end times or Messiah. (And why would you want a Messiah if you’re in charge of things? Messiahs are for marginalized groups)
Apocalyptic visionaries, nationalistic zealots, Jewish philosophers, popular prophetic figures, messianic claimants.
Essenes called themselves the sons of Zadok, believed they were the heirs of the Zadokites.
New Testament Christianity, Creedal Christianity, Mormon Christianity: Restoration Teachings and Early Christianity: The Forty Day Ministry: Prelude to preaching the gospel in the early church (by Stephen D. Ricks)
It was THE formative experience for the apostles and disciples of Jesus in the ancient church.
It is the transition from doubt to certainty and commitment.
It prepared the apostles for committed and energetic missionary labors despite violent opposition.
Peter didn’t think he would doubt and not be offended, but Jesus warned him he would be. All the other disciples said the same thing as Peter.
Peter denied Jesus three times. (Matt 26:74-75)
The disciples had weakness. (Matt 26:40-42) They could not watch with him one hour. Their eyes were heavy.
The doubt of all the disciples
Peter’s denial of Jesus and Thomas’s expression of doubt likely represent all the disciples doubt after the crucifixion. (John 20:24-25) Others had seen the Lord, but he said unless he saw and touched, he would not believe.
Jesus did reassure Thomas. (John 20:26-28)
Probably al the disciples doubted after the crucifixion.
Post forty-day ministry
Peter heals the infirm (acts 3:4-7) In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Peter speaks in tongues on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4)
From doubt to commitment: What event proved decisive in transforming the apostles from doubters to firmly committed believers? The 40-day ministry.
We now possess in the early apocryphal writings an impressive body of evidence that bears on the historicity of the 40-days. (Acts 1:2-3) showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs being seen forty days and speaking of the kingdom of God.
Examples: Pseudoclementiana, the Apocryphon of James, the letters of peter to Philip, the Gospel of Philip, the Acts of Thomas, Andrew, John, Peter, Philip, and Matthias, and the Martyrdom of Matthew.
They are found in the Apocrypha New Testament
Some are Gnostic writings in the Nag Hamadi materials.
A favorite theme of the apocrypha is the teachings of the Lord to the apostles during the forty days.
When Ignatius wants an unanswerable argument for the resurrection, he appeals to the forty days and a non-canonical witness.
It has always disturbed scholars so they don’t like to discuss it,
How do scholars view the 40-day ministry?
40-day periods of spiritual discipline and preparation.
40 has to do with observation, expectation, but especially with separation.
Some thing it is a mere example of condescension and friendship or a magnanimous recompense for a long farewell.
The most conspicuous teaching in the forty days is the picture of the future which is unrelieved pessimism and gloom: violent end to the disciples, they will be rejected by all men and there will be false shepherds within the church. The events are limited to a scope of two generations, the undoing of the Christian society by perverters and corrupters in its midst.
Nothing is reported about the forty-day ministry.
Luke tells about the ministry, but says nothing about it.
Ignatius mentions the handling of the Lord by peter
D&C 91 about the apocrypha of the Old Testament
Persistence of early Christian ritual
The rites all look to the temple and to the instructions of the forty days. There’s a definite residue of early Christian ritual that goes far beyond anything known to later Christianity.
Ritual is conservative, but interpretations are different.
Gnostics whose writings describe the forty-day ministry. They claim to have knowledge but insist adherents accept all of their teachings
Some are very interesting, but others are crazy
The oldest definition of gnosis is the knowledge from the forty day ministry.
Gnosticism left a mark upon the Christian church that persists today.
Irenaeus charged the Gnostics misrepresented true and familiar doctrines.
--They use genuine logia but give them a false twist,
--they look orthodox,
--they counterfeit ,
--they imitate the sacrament,
--they parody marriage rites,
--they counterfeit revelation with potions and drugs,
--they misinterpret scriptures,
--they are bad interpreters of the good word.
All 40-day teachings are described as secret and to a select group. (Did Jesus warn of this? “He is in the secret chambers”)
Considerable time is taken up with telling the disciples not to disclose what has been taught.
Coptic gospel of Thomas starts with “the secret words which the living Jesus spoke”
Apocryphon of John on war of heaven
Acts of Thomas on the “seal”: those baptized asked for the seal from the apostles.
The seal might be a name, mark,
Gospel of Philip on marriage-- to obtain the highest of the three heavens
Marriage ordinances caused shock to those who didn’t know what happened in them.
Female disciples in second Jeu “twelve female disciples”
The pearl: an allegory on the plan of salvation. Hymn of the pearl from the acts of Thomas
40-day ministry included a mount of transfiguration experience with the rest of the apostles. It was also the more sure word of prophecy.
Joseph Smith noted Peter , James, and John were sealed up to eternal life by revelation.. All the apostles were promised eternal life.
3 Ne. 28:1-3 Jesus spoke to his disciples asking them what they wanted and 9 wanted quick return to God, and 3 wanted to live to do missionary work.
Jesus teaches pre-mortal life, creation of the world, life as probationary state, foretells events of the last days, return of Elijah, primitive church perverted after one generation, prepare for tribulation..
He gives them hope for their own resurrection in glory: salvation of the dead is a major theme, ordinances, baptism, sacrament, ordination of apostles, initiation or endowment “mysteries” with emphasis on garments, marriage, prayer circles,
Discusses baptism, sacred meals, washings, anointings, garments, marriage as requirement for highest heaven, creation of the earth and subsequent events with a dramatic monologue between god, Satan, Adam, and Eve.
Detailed account of the fall and expulsion from Eden, heavenly counsel and expulsion of the rebellious offspring
All the apostles were endowed with power from on high. And as the Nephite disciples in the new worlds would be.
New Testament Christianity, Creedal Christianity, Mormon Christianity: Restoration Teachings and Early Christianity: Apostles, Bishops, and the Loss of Authority (by Stephen D. Ricks)
Stephen Ricks wrote some books on marking scriptures.
Eastern church was earlier than the western church.
Jesus created a religious community.
The highest authority was held by the Twelve and at their head was Peter. (Eduard Meyer)
At the present time, do not look for any other prophet or apostle except us. There is one true prophet and twelve apostles. (What Clementine heard Peter say, as in the Clementine Recognitions 4:35)
Clementine heard street preaching and visited with Peter who told him the above.
Clement claimed to be bishop of Rome after Peter.
Bishops were subordinate to apostles.
“They were apostles; I am but a man” (Ignatius of Antioch,) He also said it would be presumption to issue orders as if he were an apostle.
Iganatius never appeals to his title of bishop of Antioch to give more authority to his instructions. Nor does he use Episcopal (bishop) power to give justification.
Polycarp admitted he couldn’t come up to the wisdom of Paul who accurately and steadfastly taught the word of truth.
The man who tried to settle the Easter controversy was the surest claim that the church had no apostolic guidance any more. (Hugh Nibley, Apostles and Bishops)
Christ came from God, and the apostles came from Christ. (Clement, Epistle to the Corinthians 42:2)
Was Peter bishop of Rome?
The claim had its origin in the second century and was dogmatically motivated.
Peter was in Rome and was martyred there, but we know nothing about his activities and role in the Christian community in Rome. It is out of the question that he was its first bishop. (Norbert Brox, Kirchengeschichte des Atertums, 106)
The Gospel of the Twelve Apostles has Christ ordain Peter an archbishop, though such an office did not exist before the fourth century.
Each of the Catholic church priesthood offices—bishop, priest, deacon-- are in fact Aaronic priesthood offices. The others – archbishop, cardinal, pope—are post-biblical innovations)
Peter suggests ordaining a bishop in the presence of all the apostles, including Paul and James, bishop of Jerusalem, then doing homage to him. (Apostolic Constitutions)
Neither New Testament nor early Christian history offer support for a notion of apostolic succession as “an unbroken line of Episcopal ordination from Christ through the apostles down through the centuries to the bishops of today. (Sullivan, From Apostles to bishops: The development of the episcopacy in the early church, 15-16)
Thus, if apostles can’t pass on authority, the authority is lost.
Some fellow named Stephen in second century boasted of his episcopate and contends he holds the succession from Peter. (Firmilian, cited by Cyprian of Carthage, Epistles 74:17)
No bishop sets himself as a bishop of bishops, since every bishop, according to his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment and can’t be judged by others, nor can he judge another. (Cyprian, Concerning the baptism of heretics.)
Through the changes of time and successions, the ording flow onwards so that the church is founded upon the bishops and ever act is controlled by them, (Cyprian, Epistle 26.1) People are writing in the name of the church.
“no bishop should annoy another bishop” (Council of Arles, 4th century)
James as an anomaly
By the end of the first century, prophecy was not being poured out as expected in the last times. (W.H.C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity, 140)
“The apostles died out” (Norbert Brox)
Apostolic period closed by the year 67 when peter, Paul and James had disappeared from the scene. The sub-apostolic period had the last third of the first century during which most of the New Testament was written with the exception of the undisputed letters of Paul.
When the apostles became extinct, and those who heard them passed away, then fraud and delusions of false teachers arose. So they attempted without shame to preach their false doctrine against the gospel of truth.(Hegesippus, in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 3.32.8)
James the Lord’s brother received a calling to join the twelve. (Gal 1:19)
The quandary of the post-apostolic Christian church
Unspiritual, institutionalized, compromised by worldliness in the second century.
The gift of prophecy was the strongest recommendation to divinity, and eventually the main church no long possessed it.
Tertullian left the church when he saw that. He became a Montanist. They preached that prophecy must be found in the church if it is the true church. (Nibley)
Eventually he realized the Montanists didn’t have it either, so he left them too.
Tertullian challenged churches to show him the gift of prophecy and he would acknowledge their divinity.
He insisted the church was not bishops; it was the spirit working through an inspired man.
Miraculous powers conferred upon the apostles are their credentials to prove they were bearers of new revelation from God to man. So those gifts could be withdrawn. (John Kaye, Bishop of Lincoln, The Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries illustrated from the writings of Tertullian)
Many were reluctant to believe that the powers were withdrawn. Combined prejudice and policy made them anxious to conceal the truth.
In second century, they had a suspicion that the power of working miracles was withdrawing. They affirmed miracles, but couldn’t point to particular instances. They tried to keep up belief in its continuity. Some invented miracles.
The return of apostles and prophets?
The second century is like a tunnel we emerge from to find an unexpected situation.
The Dead Sea Scrols and the Archeology of Qumran: The Excavations at Qumran (Matthew J. Grey)
Found 11 caves total containing scrolls
Pattern: Caves in the immediate vicinity of a clump of ruins.
The ruins were assumed to be a Roman fort, and they were ignored.
Rising interest in those ruins.
Ruins of a settlement on the north side of a dry wadi
On the cliffs overlooking the wadi are the ruins.
1951-1956: Roand De Vaux and G. Landkester Harding start excavating the site, hoping for light on the context of the scrolls and caves.
De Vaux was a French Catholic priest. Harding was inspector of antiquities with Jordan government.
Found cylindrical jars with bowl-shaped lids. This is a very unique pottery style, found no-where else in Judea.
This linked the cave scrolls with the Qumran site.
Interpretations: 1) site is associated with the scrolls. 2) sectarian settlement of Essenes. (Josephus spoke of them, but they were not mentioned in the New Testament)
Philo had a geographic reference to the Essenes.
De Vaux came up with a chronology of Qumran.
Iron age : cistern, rectangular building
Period 130-100BC : sectarian settlement. Essenes move in.
100-31 BC, Earthquake in 31BC: They returned and repaired it.
Period 4BC-68 AD: destruction by fire in 68AD. Romans came in and destroyed and burned it, toppled it. Some Essenes fled down to Masada afterwards, taking some of their scrolls there too.
Period 68AD to 73AD: Roman garrison of tenth fretensis
Big round cistern survives today.
At time of Jesus, there was western complex and eastern complex. All fed by the same water system.
Channels all around the site taking water about the settlement.
The site is alienated from civilization. No natural springs.
They got water from flash floods from the wadi to the west that happened once or twice a year.
Use aqueducts and water channels to direct the rain. Used to fill up ritual baths and mikvaot.
Ritual purity was a prime priority for them. They have more ritual baths than water cisterns for drinking.
Qumran lacks personal private living space.
Who lived here? Where did they sleep?
They think 100-150 people living there at most at any given time.
This seems to be a sectarian community center people come to for a time and then eventually go back home. This is like a periodic temple service period because they thought the temple priesthood was in apostasy.
They perhaps lived in tents outside the settlement or in the caves themselves.
Qumran’s western complex seems to have been an industrial area. Eastern buildings have the interesting things.
A large watch tower guarded northern flank of the site. Guarded people from the north or south. They probably saw the Roman legions coming from it.
Scriptorium – rectangular room. The place where the scrolls were written, copied, preserved, produced.
Found ink wells, benches/tables that spread over a whole room. Ink wells are very rare. An indicator of scribe activity. 3-4 ink wells found there, only two inkwells found elsewhere in Israel.
Potsherds found that were written as scribal exercises. (Potsherds were the sticky-notes of the ancient world, since pottery is breaking all the time.)
Probably scroll storage as well.
De Vaux thought people sat at tables to copy scrolls, but no, they sit on the floor with writing materials on their laps. What are tables used for? Unrolling the scrolls and sewing them together.
Plastered benches all along the walls facing each other, west of scriptorium.
Reading, praying, hymn-singing. At all times they had at least 10 men there who read Torah and say prayers, then they are relieved.
They believed they were communing with angels if they were saying certain words at certain times of day.
Assembly and dining hall.
Large rectangular room fitting 100-150 men. Adjacent to it is a pantry with 1000 stacked table dishes. (plates, cups, bowls)
This is interesting because usually the Jews would have a communal dish and eat out of it. But in Qumran each had their own dishes to avoid contaminating each other ritually.
Found a bunch of animal bones (kosher) that had been put in pottery, buried about the site. This suggest the community treated their meat like sacrificial animals. This is like eating sacrificial meat from the temple.
They are treating their community like a temple.
In the dining room, all sit on the floor with individual cup and bowl, one would say blessings. Noted and described by Josephus.
Food: Bread, wine, and limited thin stews.
They would use these meals to look forward to the Messianic banquet at the end times.
Mikvots and toilets.
Toilets still smelled like human feces even now. He found their latrine, which was exciting. ;-) Latrine in a covered room, had to go by a mikva bath.
At the time of Jesus, latrines were not a thing. Usually people went in the streets. So Essene toilet was very unusual for its time. They cared about toilet privacy, for purity reasons. Must wash yourself ritually after you go.
Manure merchants would come clean out cesspits, then sell it to farmers for fertilizer.
Their own kiln for distinctive pottery. Tall jars, plates, cups, bowls for their dining.
Final feature—Qumran cemetery.
Graves identified by piled-up stones. For anyone residing in Qumran at the time and died while there. Only two graves were women, none were children. Most of them were men.
Shaft graves. Put body in shaft, cover body, then fill in the shaft with rubble.
Challenges to De Vaux’s interpretation in recent years.
--No scrolls found at the site. How strong is the connection then?
--No final excavation report. He never published a final report. We have to go off his notes.
Six excavations of Qumran since him.
Alternative theories presented 1980s to present:
--fortified manor house
All alternative theories must dissociate site from the scrolls (but not a problem because the site burned to the ground so the scrolls would have burned), and all are selective with the evidence.
The only theory that accounts for the full evidence and acknowledges the scrolls is the sectarian Essene theory of De Vaux.