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The Qumran Essenes Essay

1512 words - 7 pages

Until 1946 there was little assumption that additional knowledge could be uncovered regarding the Holy Scriptures however through the discovery of ancient scrolls excavated in a settlement located near the Dead Sea, more details have become available to historians regarding both the first century Jewish and Christian communities. Uncovered were several hundred scrolls that have now become known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The settlement, known as Qumran, located along the West Bank, South of Jericho, from which the discoveries were made, existed during the Hellenistic Period under the reign of John Hyrcanus from 134 -104 B.C.E., up until its destruction by the Roman Empire ...view middle of the document...

It is here that we begin to see the construction of mandates each person within the community were to abide to; it stipulates that “…all those who embrace the Community Rule shall enter into the Covenant before to obey all His commandments so that they may not abandon Him during the dominion of Belial because of fear or terror or affliction.” In its evaluation, the Community Rule is divided into three main components: 1) requirements for Covenant entry (I – IV), statutes related daily living, (V –IX); and directives addressed for the Master, along with the Master’s Hymn. Upon entry into the community, it was the responsibility of the priests and Levites to bless those who committed themselves to the sect through holy living, yet denouncing all known personal sin, and that of ancestral sins likewise. The second section (ii.) also mandates the order and structure for which the community established; it stipulates the following: “…No man shall move down from his place nor move up from his allotted position.” The third component, speaks of the spiritual assessment of those within the community, particularly of an individuals need for atonement. Section iv addresses the relational themes of good and evil with that of good and righteousness particularly in regards its impact upon the nature of man. This is evident in the teaching of the Prince of Light and the Angel of Darkness.
Damascus Document
Significant of the Damascus Document is that not until the appearance of the Dead Sea scrolls it was the only known work giving insight into the Qumran sect. Found in two manuscripts later published by S. Schechter in 1910, Manuscripts A and B suggested conflicting themes; upon later examination Mr. Schechter concluded that the were not written separately but rather in continuance of each other. The Documents contain two key parts: the first —Exhortation—begins with this admonition, “ Listen now all you who know righteousness, and consider the works of God, for He has a dispute with all flesh and will condemn all those who despise Him” (covenant made in Damascus); it is a reflection on history about the sect, and its faithful adherence to the covenant. The history shows how God raised up a “Teacher of Righteousness” to lead them in the way of His heart as they departed from the land of Judah into Damascus. The Prescriptions or Statutes (ix-xvi), addresses community consecration (vows, ritual cleanliness, water purification, Sabbath laws, witnesses and judges, and tribunal practices).
In its entirety, the Document is a continuous admonition to the consequences of walking in a manner of darkness and sin. The nature/purpose of the writing holds a twofold intent: first, for the person subscribing to community way of life, there was an intentional restructuring of an individual’s way of thought, and secondly keeping closely to the charge given in Deuteronomy 30— to live holy/righteously and closely with the Lord God. Throughout this section...

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