By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Covenanters of Damascus; A Hitherto Unknown Jewish Sect
Author: Moore, George Foot
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Covenanters of Damascus; A Hitherto Unknown Jewish Sect" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                       The Covenanters of Damascus;

                      A Hitherto Unknown Jewish Sect

                            George Foot Moore

                            Harvard University

                        Harvard Theological Review

                              Vol. 4, No. 3

                                July, 1911


The Covenanters Of Damascus; A Hitherto Unknown Jewish Sect


Among the Hebrew manuscripts recovered in 1896 from the Genizah of an old
synagogue at Fostat, near Cairo, and now in the Cambridge University
Library, England, were found eight leaves of a Hebrew manuscript which
proved to be fragments of a book containing the teaching of a peculiar
Jewish sect; a single leaf of a second manuscript, in part parallel to the
first, in part supplementing it, was also discovered. These texts
Professor Schechter has now published, with a translation and commentary,
in the first volume of his _Documents of Jewish Sectaries_.(1) The longer
and older of the manuscripts (A) is, in the opinion of the editor,
probably of the tenth century; the other (B), of the eleventh or twelfth.

What remains of the book may be divided into two parts. Pages 1-8 of A,
and the single leaf of B, contain exhortations and warnings addressed to
members of the sect, for which a ground and motive are often sought in the
history of the Jewish people or of the sect itself, together with severe
strictures upon such as have lapsed from the sound teaching, and polemics
against the doctrine and practice of other bodies of Jews. The second
part, pages 9-16, sets forth the constitution and government of the
community, and its distinctive interpretation and application of the
law,—what may be called sectarian _halakah_.

Neither part is complete; the manuscript is mutilated and defective at the
end, there is apparently a gap between the first and second parts, and it
may be questioned whether the original beginning of the work is preserved.
The lack of methodical arrangement in the contents leads Dr. Schechter to
surmise that what we have in our hands is only a compilation of extracts
from a larger work, put together with little regard for completeness or
order. An orderly disposition, according to our notions of order, is not,
however, so constant a characteristic of Jewish literature as to make this
inference very convincing.

Manuscript A was evidently written by a negligent scribe, perhaps after a
poor or badly preserved copy; B, which represents a somewhat different
recension of the work, exhibits, so far as it goes, a superior text. When
it is added that both manuscripts are in many places defaced or torn, it
may be imagined that the decipherment and interpretation present serious
difficulties, and that, after all the pains which Dr. Schechter has spent
upon the task, many uncertainties remain. Facsimiles of a page of each
manuscript are given; but in view of the condition of the text a
photographic reproduction of the whole is indispensable.

The legal part of the book, so far as the text is fairly well preserved,
is not exceptionally difficult; the rules are in general clearly defined,
and if in the peculiar institutions of the sect there are many things we
do not fully understand, this is due more to the brevity with which its
organization is described and to the mutilation of the text than to lack
of clearness in the description itself. The attempt to make out something
of the history and relations of the sect from the first part of the book
is, on the other hand, beset by many difficulties. What history is found
there is not told for the sake of history, but used to point admonitions
or emphasize warnings; and, after the manner of the apocalyptic
literature, historical persons and events are referred to in roundabout
phrases which envelop them in an affected mystery. Even when such
references are to chapters of the national history with which we are
moderately well acquainted, as in the Assumption of Moses, c. 5, ff., for
example, they may be to us baffling enigmas; much more when they have to
do, as is in large part the case in our texts, with the wholly unknown
internal or external history of a sect. The obscurity is increased by the
fact that the allusions are often a tissue of fragmentary quotations or
reminiscences out of the Old Testament, chosen and combined, it seems, by
purely verbal association, or taken in an occult allegorical sense.(2) The
allegories of which an interpretation is given, as when Amos 5 26 f. is
applied to the emigration to Damascus and the institutions and laws of the
sect, and Ezekiel 44 15 to the classes of the community, do not encourage
us to think that we should be able to divine the meaning by our unaided
intelligence. It is a fortunate circumstance that the writer comes back
more than once to the salient events in the sect’s history, for these
repetitions of the same thing in different forms afford considerable help
to the interpreter, so that the main facts may be made out with at least a
considerable degree of probability.

The principal seat of the sect was in the region of Damascus, where its
adherents formed numerous communities. It was composed of Israelites who
had migrated thither from Judaea; thither also had come “the interpreter
of the law,” the founder of the sect; there it had been organized by a
covenant repeatedly referred to as “the new covenant in the land of
Damascus.” Many who entered into this new covenant at the beginning did
not long remain true to it; the writer inveighs vehemently against those
who fell away, accusing them not only of grave error, but of gross
violations of the law; but this crisis had been passed, and when the book
was written the community was apparently flourishing.

The most coherent account of the origin of the sect is found on pages

    At the end of the devastation of the land arose men who removed
    the boundary and led Israel astray; and the land was laid waste
    because they spoke rebelliously against the commandments of God by
    Moses and also against his holy Anointed,(4) and prophesied
    falsehood to turn Israel back from following God. But God
    remembered the covenant with the forefathers, and he raised up
    from Aaron discerning men and from Israel wise men, and he heard
    them, and they dug the well. “The well, princes dug it, nobles of
    the people delved it, with the legislator” (Numbers 21 18). The
    well is the law, and they who dug it are the captivity of
    Israel(5) who went forth from the land of Judah and sojourned in
    the land of Damascus, all of whom God called princes because they
    sought him.(6)... The legislator is the interpreter of the law, as
    Isaiah said, “Bringing forth a tool for his work” (Isa. 54 16),
    and the nobles of the people are those who came to delve the well
    with the statutes which the legislator decreed that men should
    walk in them in the complete end of wickedness; and besides these
    they shall not obtain any (statutes) until the teacher of
    righteousness shall arise in the last times.

The migration is referred to in several other places: “The captivity of
Israel, who migrated from the land of Judah” (4 2 f.);(7) “those who held
firm made their escape to the northern land,” by which the region of
Damascus is meant (7 13 f.; cf. 7 15, 18 f.). The time of the migration is
plainly indicated in the passage quoted above (5 20 ff.). The men who,
after the end of the devastation of the land, “removed the boundary,” and
led Israel astray, speaking rebelliously against the commandments of God
by Moses and against his holy Anointed, prophesying falsely to turn Israel
away from following God, in consequence of which the land was laid waste,
are most naturally taken for the hellenizing leaders of the Seleucid time.
In this period, it seems that a number of Jews, including priests and
levites, withdrew to the region of Damascus,(8) and there they
subsequently bound themselves by covenant to live strictly in accordance
with the law as defined by their legislator.

With this the other allusions agree. Thus in A, p. 8 (= B, p. 19), at the
end of a violent invective against the sinners, of whom it is said, “The
princes of Judah are like those who remove the boundary,” we read that
“they separated not from the people [and their sins, B], but
presumptuously broke through all restraints, walking in the way of the
wicked (heathen), of whom God said, ‘The venom of dragons is their wine,
and the head of asps is cruel’(9) (Deut. 32 33). The dragons are the kings
of the nations, and their wine means their ways, and the head of asps is
the head of the Greek kings who came to inflict vengeance upon them.” This
again is most naturally understood of Antiochus Epiphanes; the calamities
he brought on the Jews were a direct consequence of the course of the
hellenizing party.(10)

A definite date for these occurrences is given in 1 5 ff.: “When God’s
wrath was over, three hundred and ninety years after he gave them into the
power of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, he visited them, and caused to
spring up from Israel and Aaron a root of his planting to inherit his land
and to thrive on the good things of his earth. And they recognized their
wickedness and knew that they were guilty men, and they were like blind
men and like men groping their way for twenty years. And God took note of
their deeds, that with perfect heart they sought him, and he raised up for
them a teacher of righteousness to guide them in the way of his heart.”

The “root” which God, mindful of his covenant, caused to spring up from
Aaron and Israel is the men with whom the religious revival, or
reformation, began, the forefathers of the sect (see 6 2 f., and below, p.
375);(11) the “teacher of righteousness” is the “interpreter of the law
who came to Damascus” (6 7 f., 7 18 f.). The dates refer therefore to the
origin of the sect. Three hundred and ninety years from the taking of
Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (597 or 586 B.C.) would bring us, by our
chronology, to 207 or 196 B.C. The Jewish chronology of the Persian period
is, however, always too long by from forty to seventy years,(12) and
assuming, as it is fair to do, that our author made the same error, the
three hundred ninety years would run out in the middle of the third
century. Dr. Schechter suspects, with much probability, that the original
reading was “_four_ hundred and ninety years,” the common apocalyptic
cycle (Dan. 9 2, 24; Enoch 89-90; 93, etc.). Making the same allowance for
error, we should be brought again to a time not far removed from the
punishment inflicted on the people by Antiochus Epiphanes (see above, p.
333 f.).(13)

There is nothing in the texts which demands a later date for the origin of
the sect. The last event in the national history to which reference is
made is the vengeance inflicted on the heathenizing rulers of the people
by “the head of the Greek kings.” To the misfortunes of the people in the
following centuries, such as the taking of Jerusalem by Pompey or its
destruction by Titus, there is no allusion. It may perhaps be inferred not
only that the schism antedated these calamities, but that the book was
written before them. In the author’s frame of mind toward the religious
leaders of Palestinian Jewry, he would have been likely to record such
conspicuous judgments upon them. A comparison with the Assumption of Moses
is instructive on this point. There the sweeping denunciation of the
priesthood and the scribes, “their teachers in those times,” and of the
godless Asmonaean priest-kings, is followed by the well-deserved judgment
inflicted on them by Herod, and after him comes Varus, burning part of the
temple, crucifying, and carrying off into slavery. The second of the
Psalms of Solomon may also be compared.

The schismatic character of the sect would also be explained if it arose
in an age when the character of the political and religious heads of the
Jewish people was such as to move God-fearing and law-abiding men to
repudiate them with all their ways and works. For it is not merely with a
sect, differing from the mass of their fellows in certain opinions and
practices, that we have to do, but with a schism. The Covenanters of
Damascus are radical come-outers, seceders not only from the land of
Judaea, but from established Judaism, on which they look much as the
Puritan Separatists in the seventeenth century looked on the English
Church; they might have taken to themselves the prophetic word so often in
the mouth of the Puritan, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence,
touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, ye
that bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isa. 52 11), as they do apply to the
religious teachers of the Jewish church the most violent invectives of the
same prophet (50 11, 59 4 ff.; see below, p. 344 f.). They will not even
call themselves Jews, they are Israelites who went forth from the land of
Judaea; their Messiah is to spring from Aaron and Israel, not from Judah;
when the final judgment comes in its appointed time, it will no longer be
permitted to make compact with the house of Judah, but every man must
stand in his own stronghold;(14) when the glory of God shines out on
Israel, all the wicked of Judah shall be cut off, in the day of its trial
by fire. They reject the temple in Jerusalem, and will not offer on its
altar. If we consider that the Essenes, notwithstanding their wider
divergence from the common type of Judaism, seem to have regarded
themselves as within the pale of the church, and to have been so regarded
by others—enjoying, indeed, with the people the reputation of peculiar
sanctity—the schismatic character of our sect appears in a still stronger

The language of the book is not inconsistent with the age to which the
contents would seem to assign it. The vocabulary is in the main Biblical,
but there are a number of words which otherwise occur only in the writings
of the Mishnic age or later. Some of these belong to the technical
terminology of the law schools, some of them appear to be peculiar to the
sect. A few of the Biblical words also are used in later senses and
applications. It is proper to bear in mind, however, that the Hebrew
originals of the works with which it would be most natural to compare our
text, such as Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, the Testaments of the Twelve
Patriarchs, the Gospel, are not preserved; in fact, between the last books
of the Old Testament and the rabbinical literature of the second Christian
century there is a hiatus in the history of the Hebrew language, so that
words which appear for the first time in the Mishna and kindred works may
have been, and in many cases probably were, in use much earlier. It is
unnecessary therefore to suppose that such words were introduced into our
texts by later scribes, though the possibility of such changes must of
course be admitted. The particular instances in which Dr. Schechter thinks
that late and foreign influences are most clearly to be recognized—the
title of the “censor” and the peculiar name for a house of worship—are
discussed elsewhere.(15) More remarkable than the vocabulary of the book
is its syntax. The consecutive constructions of the perfect and the
imperfect are regularly employed, not only in imitation of Biblical models
in narrative and prophetic passages, but in the legal part of the book;
and in spite of some irregularities, which may in part at least be laid to
the charge of scribes, the use of these tenses is generally correct. In
this respect the Hebrew of the book differs entirely from that of the
Mishna and the contemporary and later Midrashim, in which the
characteristic features of classical tense-syntax have entirely
disappeared, under the influence, it is generally supposed, of the Aramaic
vernacular. In comparison with these writings the vocabulary also is
notably free from foreign admixture. There are no words borrowed from
Greek and Latin, and only one or two instances where an Aramaic term seems
to have been adopted. The orthography also, in its more sparing use of the
semivowels to indicate the vowels _u_ and _i_, resembles that of the


The founder of the sect is called the “teacher of righteousness” (1
11),(16) “the only, or beloved, teacher” (20 14);(17) “the only one” (20
32); he is “the legislator,” that is, “the interpreter of the law” (6 7);
and this interpreter of the law, who came to Damascus, is the star who,
according to Balaam’s prophecy, was to issue from Jacob (7 18 f.).(18) He
showed them how to walk in the way of God’s heart (1 11); as interpreter
of the law he ordained them statutes to walk in till the end of
wickedness—statutes which shall not be superseded by any others “until
there arise the teacher of righteousness in the last days” (6 11 f.). To
him, therefore, are attributed the distinctive principles and observances
of the sect as they are set forth in this book. “His anointed,” through
whom God made known to men his holy spirit, and who is true (2 12 f.), is
in all probability the same person with the teacher, the star, just as the
anointed from Aaron and Israel who is to arise in the future (20 1) is the
same as the teacher of righteousness to whose voice they will then listen
(20 32; see below, p. 343).

Those of the emigrants who accepted the guidance of the teacher of
righteousness, the interpreter of the law, entered into the “new covenant
in the land of Damascus” (6 19, 8 21, 19 33 f., 20 12). The idea of the
“new covenant” was doubtless suggested by Jer. 31 31 ff. (cf. 32 36 ff.;
Ezek. 37 26, etc.), where the establishment of the new covenant, in the
stead of the old covenant which their fathers broke, marks the restoration
of God’s favor, the beginning of a new and better time. The same use of
the passage in Jeremiah is made at length by the author of the Epistle to
the Hebrews (8 6 ff.), The substance of the covenant may be gathered from
6 11-7 5:

    All who were brought into the covenant are not to enter into the
    sanctuary to light its altar, but became closers of the door, as
    God said, “Who among you will close its door?” and “Thou shalt not
    light my altar in vain” (Mal. 1 10);(19) but shall observe to do
    according to the interpretation of the law for the end of
    wickedness, and to separate from the children of perdition, and to
    keep aloof from unrighteous gain, which is unclean by vow and
    ban,(20) and from the property of the sanctuary, and from robbing
    the poor of the people and making widows their spoil and murdering
    orphans; and to separate between the unclean and the clean, and to
    show the difference between the holy and the common; and to
    observe the Sabbath day as it is defined, and the season feasts,
    and the fast-day, in accordance with the commandments of those who
    entered into the new covenant in the land of Damascus; to set
    apart the sacred dues as they are defined; and that a man should
    love his neighbor as himself, and sustain the poor and needy and
    the proselyte, and to seek each the welfare of the other; and that
    no man transgress the prohibited degrees, but guard against
    fornication according to the rule; and that a man should reprove
    his brother according to the commandment, and not bear a grudge
    from day to day; and to separate from all forms of uncleanness
    according to their several prescriptions; and that a man should
    not defile his holy spirit, even as God separated for them (sc.
    unclean from clean). All who walk in these precepts in perfection
    of holiness, according to all the foundations of the covenant of
    God,(21) have the assurance that they shall live a thousand

Early in the history of the sect a serious defection occurred. Men who
entered among the first into the covenant incurred guilt, like their
forefathers, by following their sinful inclinations; they forsook the
covenant of God and preferred their own will, and went about after the
stubbornness of their heart, every man doing as he pleased (3 10 ff.); the
men who entered into the new covenant in the land of Damascus went back
and proved false, and turned aside from the well of living waters (19 33
f.). Their names were struck out of the registers of the sect, as were
those of such as fell away in later times.

We can readily imagine that many found the rule of the sect too strict and
the discipline by which it was enforced too severe. Our texts, however,
speak not of such occasional and individual lapses, but of the repudiation
of the covenant by numbers at one time. It seems that another leader had
arisen, of very different temper from the founder, who drew away many
after him. In the eyes of those who remained steadfast in the faith, the
new teacher was naturally a false prophet, a kind of antichrist. He is
called the liar (“the man of lies,” 20 15), the scoffer (1 14); his
adherents are scoffers,(22) who uttered error about the righteous
statutes, and spurned the covenant and plighted faith which they
established in the land of Damascus, that is to say, the new covenant.
They and their families shall have no portion in the house of the law (20
10 ff.). For their unfaithfulness they were delivered to the sword (3 10
ff.), until of all the men of war who went with the liar none was left (20
14 ff.).(23) This came to pass about forty years after the death of the
unique teacher (_l.c._). If the emigration to Damascus occurred under
Antiochus Epiphanes,(24) the end of the episode of the false prophet would
fall about the beginning of the first century B.C., and we should have at
least an upper limit for the writing of the book. The passion which every
mention of this defection arouses suggests that it was fresh in memory,
and would incline us to date the writing not very long after the time
indicated. It should be observed, however, that the sentence which counts
forty years from the death of the unrivalled teacher to the end of the
liar’s army sits loose in the context, and may be a gloss, in which case
the book might be some decades older.

With the remnant who remained faithful through the great defection “God
confirmed his covenant with Israel forever, revealing to them the secret
of things in which all Israel was in error, his holy Sabbaths and his
glorious festivals and his righteous testimonies and his true ways and the
pleasure of his will, things which if a man do he shall live by them. He
opened a way before them, and they dug a well for copious waters.” “In the
abundance of his wonderful grace he atoned for their guilt and forgave
their transgression, and built for them a sure house in Israel, the like
of which did not arise in times past nor until now” (3 12-20). The
prediction of the sure house (1 Sam. 2 35) seems to be fulfilled in the
stability of the sect itself, or perhaps, with closer adherence to the
prophecy, in that of its faithful priesthood.

So much may be gathered from the book about the origin and history of the
sect. We turn now to its expectation. As a teacher of righteousness, an
anointed one (priest), was the founder of the sect, so in the last times a
teacher of righteousness, an anointed one, shall appear (6 10 f.). Those
who proved faithless to the covenant are cut off from the community, “from
the time when the unique teacher was taken away until the anointed one
from Aaron and Israel shall arise” (19 35-20 1), that is, during the whole
of the present dispensation. Dr. Schechter regards the anointed one who is
to appear in the future as the founder of the sect _redivivus:_ the
present dispensation “seems to be the period intervening between the
_first_ appearance of the Teacher of Righteousness (p. 1, l. 11) (the
founder of the Sect), who was gathered in or died,(25) and the second
appearance of the Teacher of Righteousness who is to rise in ‘the end of
the days’ (p. 6, l. 11). Moreover, the Only Teacher, or Teacher of
Righteousness, is identical with the Messiah, or the Anointed one from
Aaron and Israel, whose advent is expected by the Sect.”(26) The texts,
however, say nothing of the disappearance, or a second appearance, or
reappearance, or return of the founder; nor do the words “until the
teacher of righteousness shall arise in the last days,” “until the
anointed shall arise from Aaron and Israel,” mean that he shall rise from
the dead, as Dr. Schechter interprets them.(27) The Messiah whose advent
the sect expects at the end of the present period of history is, as in the
older parts of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, a priest; and the
function of the priest-messiah is not, as in the Epistle to the Hebrews,
to mediate between man and God, but to instruct men in righteousness, to
guide them in the way of God’s heart. That the founder of the sect also
was both priest and teacher is by no means sufficient to establish the
identity of the two figures. It was the office of the priest to teach
Israel the law, “all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them
through Moses” (Lev. 10 11; cf. Deut. 33 10); “the priest’s lips should
keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth, for he is the
messenger of the Lord of Hosts” (Mal. 2 7). Ezra is the type of a priest
who had not only prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do
it, but to teach in Israel statutes and judgments (Ezra 7 10); he was,
according to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the restorer of Judaism. It
was a departure from the ideal of the law itself that, when the priesthood
showed itself unworthy of its calling, the teaching function was assumed
by lay scribes, and even in later times there were many priestly teachers
among the Scribes and among the Doctors. That our sect looks back to one
such as its founder, and forward to another as the great teacher of the
Messianic age, is in no way surprising. If the author had meant what Dr.
Schechter thinks, it is fair to assume that he would have said it
unmistakably; for the identity of the expected Messiah with the dead
founder, if it was part of the belief of the sect, would of necessity be a
singular and significant part of it.(28)

The coming judgment of God is represented rather as a judgment on the
faithless members of the sect, including those who have seceded from it or
been expelled, than in its more general aspects. The long eschatological
passage in B (20 15 to the end) is illegible in spots near the beginning,
but the general tenor is clear:

    In that consummation the anger of God will be inflamed against
    Israel, as he said, “There is no king and no prince, and no judge
    and none that reproves in righteousness” (cf. Hos. 3 4). Those who
    turn from the transgression [of Jacob](29) and keep the covenant
    of God will then confer with one another; their footsteps will be
    firm in the way of God (and the prophecy will be fulfilled which
    says), “And God hearkened to their words and heard, and a book of
    remembrance was written before him for those that fear God and
    think on his name” (Mal. 3 16), until deliverance and
    righteousness emerge for those that fear God, “and ye shall return
    and see the difference between righteous and wicked, and between a
    servant of God and one who serves him not” (Mal. 3 18). And he
    shows favor to those that love him and keep his commandments, for
    a thousand generations....(30)

    Each man according to his spirit, shall they be judged by his holy
    counsel, and all who have broken through the bounds of the law, of
    those who entered into the covenant, when the glory of God shines
    out on Israel, shall be cut off from the midst of the camp, and
    with them all the evil-doers of Judah, in the days when it is
    tried in the fire. But all who held firmly by these precepts,
    going out and coming in in conformity with the law, and listened
    to the voice of the teacher, will confess(31) before God.... “We
    have done evil, we, and our fathers also, when they went contrary
    to the statutes of the covenant, and faithful are thy judgments
    upon us.” And they will not act presumptuously against his holy
    statutes and his righteous judgment and his faithful testimonies.
    They will be instructed in the ancient judgments by which the
    followers of the unique one were judged, and will hearken to the
    words of the teacher of righteousness. And they will not
    controvert the righteous statutes when they hear them; they will
    rejoice and be glad, and their heart will be strong, and they will
    show themselves mighty against all the people of the world.(32)
    And God will atone for them, and they will see his salvation with
    joy, because they trusted in his holy name.

Here the fragment ends. The destruction of those who fall away from the
sect is threatened in other places; it will suffice to quote the most
important (19 5 ff.):

    Upon all those who reject the commandments and the statutes, the
    deserts of the wicked shall be requited when God visits the earth,
    when the word comes to pass which was written by Zechariah the
    prophet, “Sword, awake against my shepherd and against the man
    that is my fellow, saith God; smite the shepherd, and let the
    sheep be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little
    ones” (Zech. 13 7). But those who observe it (sc. the obligations
    of the covenant) are “the poor of the flock” (Zech. 11 7). These
    shall escape at the end of the visitation, but the former (sc.
    those who reject the commandments) shall be given over to the
    sword when the Anointed of Aaron and Israel comes, as it was at
    the end of the first visitation, of which God said by Ezekiel that
    a mark should be made on the foreheads of them that sigh and cry,
    and the rest were delivered to the sword that executes the
    judgment of the covenant. And so shall the judgment be of all who
    enter into his covenant and do not hold firmly by these statutes,
    they shall be visited even with extermination by the hand of
    Belial. This is the day in which God will visit, as he spoke, “The
    princes of Judah are become like men who remove the boundary; on
    them will I pour out my fury like water” (Hos. 5 10). For they
    entered into the covenant of repentance, but did not turn aside
    from the way of faithless men, and wallowed in ways of fornication
    and in unrighteous gain, and avenging themselves and bearing a
    grudge against one another.

It is possible, of course, that the judgment of the heathen world, which
looms so large in most of the apocalypses, may have had a place in parts
of the book now lost, but if it had been a very important feature in the
expectation of the sect we should hardly fail to find at least allusions
to it in the pages in our hands. The author is almost exclusively
interested in the sect itself, in the division which had rent it, and in
polemics against laxer interpretations of the law. This limitation of the
horizon is characteristically sectarian, and may suggest, moreover, as has
been said above, that the writer is not far removed in time from the split
in the new organization.

The polemic is especially pointed against certain opponents who are
described as “those who build a wall and plaster it with stucco” (4 19; 8
12).(33) They follow a commandment (_ṣau_); probably connoting, as in
Hosea 5 11, from which the phrase is taken, an arbitrary rule of their
own, a commandment of men.(34) God hates them, his anger is kindled
against them (8 18). These “builders” are false teachers; Biblical
denunciations of the false prophets are applied to them. (See especially 8
12 f.) Points in which their teaching is particularly assailed are that
they allow polygamy and the remarriage of divorced persons during the life
of the other party, and hold it lawful for a man to marry his niece; that
they defile the sanctuary by the laxity of some of their rules and
practice about sexual uncleanness; they presume blasphemously to impugn
the “statutes of the covenant of God” (the legislation of the sect),
declaring that they are not right, and saying abominable things about them
(4 20-5 14). The positions so hotly denounced, especially in the matter of
marriage and divorce, are those of the Palestinian rabbis as we know them
in the Mishna and kindred works, and in so far as the Pharisees had a
dominating influence in the schools of the law they may be regarded as in
a peculiar sense the object of this invective, which is, however, sweeping
enough to include all rabbinical Judaism. Such verses as Isaiah 50 11 and
59 4 ff. are hurled at them; they are compared to Johanneh and his
brother, whom Belial raised up against Moses (5 17 ff.).(35)

The sect prohibited polygamy, which they stigmatized as fornication,
arguing from the creation—“a male and a female created he them” (cf. Matt.
19 4), and from the story of the flood—“by pairs they went into the ark,”
and from the law which forbade the prince to multiply wives unto himself
(Deut. 17 17), that is, as they understood it, to take more than one wife.
To forestall an objection, it is added: “But David had not read in the
sealed book of the law which was in the ark, for it was not opened in
Israel from the time of the death of Eleazar and Joshua and the elders who
worshipped the Astartes, but was hidden and not brought to light until
Zadok arose” (5 2-5; see below, p. 359).

Marriage with another woman while a man had a divorced wife living was
apparently put in the same category with having two wives at the same time
(4 20 f.; cf. Matt. 5 31 f.). Marriage with a niece (brother’s or sister’s
daughter) they treated as incest, reasoning that marriage between a woman
and her uncle stood on all fours with marriage between a man and his aunt,
which was expressly forbidden as within the prohibited degrees of
kinship.(36) The three snares of Belial by which he ensnared Israel are
fornication (that is, plural or incestuous unions), wealth (that is,
unrighteous gain), and the pollution of the sanctuary (4 15 f.; cf. 5 6

The same rigorous tendency which appears in the attitude of the sect in
regard to marriage pervades the whole legal part of the work before us.
The rules for the observance of the Sabbath (10 14-11 21) will make this

    Concerning the Sabbath, to keep it as it is prescribed.

    1. On the sixth day no man shall do any work from the time when
    the disk of the sun is distant from the western portal(38) by its
    diameter (?); for this is what he said: Observe the Sabbath day to
    hallow it.

    2. On the Sabbath a man shall not engage in any foolish
    conversation; and he shall not exact repayment from his neighbor;
    nor shall he give judgment in matters of property; he shall not
    talk about matters of work and labor to be done on the next day.

    3. A man shall not walk in the country to do the work of his
    business on the Sabbath. He shall not walk outside of his town
    above one thousand(39) cubits.

    4. No man shall eat on the Sabbath anything except what was
    previously prepared or what is spoiling in the field. He shall not
    eat or drink anything but what was in the camp. If he be on the
    way and descend to bathe, he may drink as he stands, but must not
    draw water in any vessel.(40)

    5. He must not send a foreigner to do his business on the Sabbath

    6. A man must not put on soiled garments or such as are brought by
    a gentile, without washing them in water or rubbing them with

    7. A man shall not exchange pledges(42) of his own accord on the

    8. A man shall not follow his cattle, to pasture them outside his
    town, except within 2000 cubits. He shall not lift his arm to
    strike them with his fist; if the animal is breachy, let him not
    take her out of the house.

    9. A man shall not take anything out of a house into the street,
    nor bring anything from the street into the house; and if he be in
    the entry, he shall not pass anything out of it or bring anything
    into it.

    10. He shall not open on the Sabbath a vessel the cover of which
    has been luted on.

    11. A man shall not carry on his person spices, going out or
    coming in on the Sabbath.

    12. Within a house he shall not lift stone nor earth on the
    Sabbath day.

    13. The nurse shall not carry an infant in arms, going out or
    coming in with it on the Sabbath.

    14. A man shall not deal harshly with his slave or his maid or his
    hired servant on the Sabbath.

    15. A man shall not deliver cattle of their young on the Sabbath

    16. If a beast fall into a cistern or trap, a man shall not lift
    it out on the Sabbath.

    17. A man shall not pass the Sabbath in a place near the gentiles.

    18. A man shall not profane the Sabbath for the sake of gain.

    19. If a human being fall into a tank of water or into a place of
    ... no man shall fetch him up by means of a ladder or a rope or
    any implement.

    20. No man shall bring upon the altar on the Sabbath anything
    except the Sabbath burnt-offerings, for so it is written, “aside
    from your Sabbaths.”

The dietary laws afford other examples of the strict rules of the
sect.(43) Fish may be eaten only if, while still alive, they have been
split open and drained of their blood; grasshoppers and locusts must be
put alive into the water or the fire (in which they are to be cooked);
honey in the comb is apparently prohibited. So, again, in a house in which
a death has occurred, fixtures, such as nails and pegs in the walls, are
unclean; and wood, stone, and dust are capable of contracting and
communicating various kinds of uncleanness (12 15-18). The sect sees in
these stricter distinctions between clean and unclean the superiority of
its ordinances over those of other Jews, whom they regard as sinfully lax.
The Pharisees are to them gross latitudinarians!

Oaths are to be taken only by the covenant and the curses of the covenant,
that is, the vows by which the members of the sect bind themselves, on
their admission to it, to live in conformity with its rule and submit to
the authority of those set over them, and the curses invoked on such as
violate these obligations.(44) Oaths by God, whether under the name _Aleph
Lamed_ (_El_ or _Elohim_) or _Aleph Daleth (Adonai)_ are prohibited;(45)
nor is it permissible to mention in the oath the law of Moses; the formula
of the oath is strictly sectarian (15 1 ff.).(46) But, though the name of
God is not used, “if a man swear and transgress the oath, he profanes the
name” (15 3). Obligations voluntarily assumed under oath (vows) are to be
fulfilled to the letter; neither redemption nor annulment seems to be
allowed, unless to carry out the vow would be a transgression of the

Another point in which the sect is at variance with the great body of the
Jews is the calendar. They represent the faithful remnant to whom God
revealed the mysteries about which all Israel went astray, his holy
sabbaths and his glorious festivals, and his righteous testimonies, and
his true ways (3 12 ff.). The point of this appears when it is compared
with Jubilees 1 14: “They will forget my law and all my commandments and
all my judgments, and will go astray as to new moons and sabbaths and
festivals and jubilees and ordinances” (cf. 6 34 ff., 23 19). The texts
before us do not explain what the peculiarities of the sectarian calendar
were, but inasmuch as the Book of Jubilees, under the title “The Book of
the Division of the Times by their Jubilees and their Sabbatical Years,”
is cited as an authority for the exact determination of “their ends” (the
coming crisis of history), it may be inferred with much probability that
our sect had a calendar constructed on principles similar to that of the
Jubilees,(47) in which the seasons and festivals were not determined by
lunar observations or astronomical tables, as among the Jews generally,
but had a fixed place in a solar year. Such upsetting of the calendar is
branded as heresy in Midrash Tehillim on Ps. 28 5: “They do not regard the
work of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands.... ‘The operation of his
hands’ means the new moons; as it is said, ‘God made the two great
lights,’ and it is written, ‘He made the moon for festival seasons.’(48)
These are the heretics who do not calculate (by the moon) the festival
seasons and the equinoxes. ‘He will tear them down and not build them up.’
He will tear them down, in this world, and not build them up, in the world
to come.” Perhaps the Boëthusians, who hired false witnesses to deceive
the authorities about the appearance of the new moon, were not merely
animated by a desire to harass the rabbis, but were partisans of some such
calendar reform.

The organization of the sect furnished it an effective means of enforcing
its rules by discipline. This organization is so peculiar that it must be
described in some detail. Like the normal Jewish community, it consists of
three classes, priests, levites, and Israelites, to whom as a fourth class
may be added proselytes. In this order they are mustered and inscribed in
the rolls of the camp. In some sense all the members of the sect are
priests. Ezekiel 44 15 is quoted and explained: “ ‘The priests and the
levites and the sons of Zadok who kept the charge of his sanctuary’
[_sic_]. The priests are the exiles of Israel who migrated from the land
of Judah and [the levites are](49) those who attached themselves to them;
and the sons of Zadok are the chosen ones of Israel, men designated by
name, who arose in the last days.” Allegory apart, it appears that the
priests were of the Zadokite line, but this legitimacy is assumed, not
emphasized. Priests and levites formed part of every court of ten judges
(see below, p. 351); and in every company of ten Israelites (the quorum of
a religious assembly), a priest, well versed in the Book of
Institutes,(50) must be present, to whose words all must conform. If the
priest does not possess the requisite qualifications, and a competent
levite is at hand, it shall be ordained that all who enter the camp shall
go out and come in at his orders. In a case of leprosy the priest shall
come and stand in the midst of the camp and the Supervisor shall instruct
him in the interpretation of the law; even if the priest be an ignoramus,
it is he who must shut up the leper, for the decision belongs to them (13
1 ff.). To a priest is assigned also the duty of taking the census of the
commonalty; he who fills this office must be between thirty and sixty
years old, versed in the Book of [Institutes and] in all the prescriptions
of the law, to pronounce them according to their prescriptions (14 3 ff.).

A much more important place in the organization is filled by an officer
whose title (_mebaḳḳer_) signifies “examiner,” “inspector,” and may
perhaps best be rendered “Supervisor.”(51) Every “camp,” or settlement, of
the sect had a Supervisor, and over these stood a “Supervisor of all the
camps,” who must be a man in the prime of life, between thirty and fifty
years of age. To the Supervisor of the individual camp it belonged to
instruct the community “in the works of God, and make them familiar with
his wonderful deeds of might, and recount before them the things that
happened long ago...; and he shall have compassion on them as a father
toward his children (13 7 ff.).”(52) We have seen that he has even to
instruct the priest in the rules for the diagnosis of leprosy.(53) The
admission of new members to the sect is also in his hands; no one is
permitted to introduce a man into the congregation without his consent. He
examines the candidates in regard to their character and intelligence,
their physical strength and courage, and their possessions, and enrolls
each in his proper place in the lot(54) of the camp (13 11 ff.). From the
following badly defaced lines so much at least can be made out, that the
Supervisor had extensive powers of control over the dealings of members of
the sect with outsiders in the way of trade. He evidently had also a
leading part in the administration of justice and the enforcement of the
discipline of the sect, but the state of the text here denies us insight
into the particulars.

Courts were constituted of ten members,(55) chosen _ad hoc_ from the
congregation, four of the tribe of Levi and Aaron and six Israelites, all
well versed in the Book of Institutes and in the Foundations of the
Covenant, between twenty-five and sixty years of age. No man of more than
sixty shall be a judge, “for on account of the unfaithfulness of mankind
his days were shortened, and through the wrath of God on the inhabitants
of the earth he bade to remove their understanding before they completed
their days (10 4 ff.).” The rules relating to the competence of witnesses
are strict. No one may testify against the accused in a capital case who
is not a god-fearing man old enough to be included in the census (that is,
at least twenty years of age, Exod. 30 14); nor shall a man’s testimony be
credited against his neighbor who is himself a wilful transgressor of any
of the commandments, until he has come to repentance (9 23-10 3). A
peculiar provision is made for the case that a single witness (on whose
testimony therefore conviction could not be had) sees a capital offence
committed. He is to make known the facts to the Supervisor, who records
the testimony in writing. If subsequently the offence is committed again
in the presence of another witness, the same process is repeated; on a
second repetition, the testimony of the three single witnesses combined
suffices for conviction (9 16 ff.).(56)

Besides the penalties of the Mosaic law, the sect has a formidable means
of discipline in expulsion, or as it is called “separation from the
Purity,” which may in some cases be inflicted even on the testimony of one
witness (9 21 ff.). Josephus vividly depicts the desperate straits into
which those came who, for grave offences, were expelled from the Essene
order; being unable to eat food not prepared by members of the order, they
were exposed to starvation. This particular consequence would not follow
separation from our sect; but the lot of the excommunicated man was
evidently hard enough. “When his deeds come to light he is to be expelled
from the congregation, as though his lot had never fallen in the midst of
the disciples of God; according to his misdeeds men shall bear him in
remembrance ... until the day when he returns to take his place in the
station of the men of perfect holiness. No man shall have any dealings
with him in matters of property or work, for all the saints of the Most
High have cursed him” (20 3 ff.); such have no part in the “house of the
law”; their names are erased from the rolls of the congregation (20 10
f.). They are not only cut off from the communion of saints in this world,
but are doomed to extermination by the hand of Belial (8 1 f., 19 14 f.).
One who leads men astray and profanes the Sabbath and the festivals shall
not be put to death, but shall be committed to the custody of men;(57) if
he is cured of his error, they shall keep him for seven years, and
afterwards he may come into the assembly (12 3 ff.). A member of the sect
who seduces others to apostasy is more severely dealt with: “A man over
whom the spirits of Belial have rule,(58) and who advocates defection
(Deut. 13 6), shall be judged according to the law of the necromancer and
the wizard” (12 2 f.; cf. Deut. 18 9).(59)

The sect possessed the Jewish Scriptures. The books of the law are “the
hut of the King” (i.e. the congregation)—the fallen hut which God had
promised to raise up; “the pillar of your images” are the books of the
prophets, whose words Israel despised. The founder of the sect, the star
out of Jacob, is the interpreter of the law who came to Damascus (7 14
ff.). The authority of the Pentateuch is appealed to in support of the
position of the sect in the matter of marriage and divorce; their peculiar
statutes and ordinances are the true interpretation and application of the
law of God. The prophets are frequently cited, and allusions to passages
in the prophets or reminiscences of their phraseology are much more
numerous. There are similar reminiscences of the Psalms and of the
Proverbs, and perhaps of other books among the Hagiographa. As regards the
Old Testament scriptures, therefore, the sect stood on common ground with
Palestinian orthodoxy.(60) The formula of citation is peculiar; a
quotation is usually introduced by the words “as he said,” rarely “as God
said”; or with the name of the sacred author, “as Moses said.” Besides the
Biblical books, we have a quotation from Levi—probably the Testament of
that Patriarch—introduced by the same phrase as quotations from the Bible;
and the reader is referred to the Book of Jubilees by name for an exact
computation of the last times. There is nothing to indicate that the
authority attributed to these writings was inferior to that of the
Hagiographa. The canon of the “Scriptures” was not defined, even in the
rabbinical schools, until the second century of our era, and in the sects
many books enjoyed high esteem which the orthodox repudiated.(61)

To a different class belong, apparently, the Book of Institutes, and the
Foundations of the Covenant, in which the judges must be well versed. To
every religious gathering of ten men or more belongs a priest well versed
in the Book of Institutes. The title Foundations of the Covenant suggests
a writing (or a fixed tradition) dealing with the obligations and duties
of members of the sect. The name here rendered Book of Institutes, on the
other hand, is obscure,(62) but the fact that a knowledge of it is
demanded of the priest and of the judges makes it likely that it contained
the “statutes and ordinances” of the sect, its peculiar definitions and
interpretations of the law, often referred to as _perush_; in technical
phrase, a collection of sectarian _halakoth_, such as is preserved in the
second part of the texts before us, which seems to be derived from such a
legal manual. The objection to committing _halakah_ to writing which was
long maintained in the rabbinical schools was not shared by the sects, and
would be least likely to exist where the ordinances were not in theory a
traditional law handed down from remote antiquity, but were attributed to
an individual interpreter, the founder of the sect.

The sect had houses of worship, which a man in a state of uncleanness is
forbidden to enter (11 22),(63) but nothing more is said about them,
except that when the trumpets of the congregation are blown, the blowing
shall follow or precede the service, and not interrupt it. It is a natural
surmise that they answered to the synagogues both as places of worship and
of religious instruction, such, for example, as the Supervisor is required
to give. The name, _Beth hishtahawōth_, literally, “house of bowing down”
(in worship), is peculiar, and may have been chosen to distinguish these
sectarian conventicles from the synagogues of regular Judaism, as the
English nonconformists of various stripes would not call their
meeting-houses churches. It is possible that the prayers of the sect may
have been accompanied by genuflections and prostrations such as, though
unknown in the synagogue, have formed in all ages and religions a common
feature of Oriental worship; but it is also possible that “bowing down”
simply stands by metonymy for worship, as is often the case with the
corresponding Syriac verb, _segad_.(64)

Sacrificial worship was also maintained.(65) The City of the Sanctuary was
eminently holy; sexual intercourse within its limits is forbidden,
“defiling the City of the Sanctuary with their impurity”
(_beniddatham_).(66) To this city, probably, the sacrifices were brought
to which there is frequent reference. “No one shall send to the altar
burnt offerings or oblation, frankincense or wood, by a man who is unclean
with any of the forms of uncleanness; for it is written, the sacrifice of
the wicked is an abomination, but the prayer of the righteous is an
acceptable oblation” (11 18 ff.). On the Sabbath nothing is to be brought
upon the altar except the Sabbath burnt offerings—that is, we may suppose,
the stated daily burnt offerings with the supplementary Sabbath victims
(13 17 f.; see Num. 28 1-10). Votive sacrifices are also mentioned; it is
forbidden to vow to the altar anything that has been procured by
compulsion; the priest shall refuse to receive such offerings (16 13 f.).
There is nothing to indicate where this sanctuary was situated, further
than the natural presumption that it was in the region of Damascus, where
the sect had established itself. The priests have the precedence of all
others in the community; in its registers their names are enrolled in the
first rank. Their place in the courts and in the local religious
community, and their duties in the examination of lepers, have already
been mentioned. Those who officiated at the sanctuary had doubtless their
legal toll from private sacrifices of every kind. Lost property for which
no owner appears falls to the priests; a man who has appropriated such
property shall confess to the priest, and all that he pays in restitution
belongs to the priest, besides the ram of the trespass offering (9 13

A charitable fund is provided by monthly payment of certain dues by
members of the community to the Supervisor. From this fund relief is given
by the judges to the poor and needy, to the aged, to the wanderer (?), to
such as have fallen into captivity to foreigners, and others (14 12 ff.).

The religious conceptions and beliefs of the sect present little that is
peculiar. For God the name _El_ is consistently used, without any
epithets. _Adonai_ is mentioned only to forbid its use in oaths. The only
other name which occurs is the Most High (once, in the phrase “the saints
of the Most High,” that is, the members of the sect). There is repeated
reference to the holy spirit: God, through his Anointed, made men know his
holy spirit (2 12); the opponents of the sect, by blasphemous speech
against the statutes of God’s covenant, defiled their holy spirit (5
11);(67) its members are warned not to defile his holy spirit by failing
to observe the distinctions of clean and unclean which God has ordained (7
3 f.).

The “Prince of Lights (_Urim_),” through whom Moses and Aaron arise, is
perhaps, as the contrast to Belial suggests, one of the highest
angels.(68) The destroying angels execute God’s inescapable judgment on
those who turned out of the way and despised the statute (2 6). The fall
of the Watchers, which is a favorite subject in the apocalyptic
literature, is referred to in 2 18. The chief of the evil spirits is
Belial: he is “let loose” during the whole of the present dispensation; he
lays snares for men and entraps them, especially in the three sins of
fornication, unrighteous gain, and the defilement of the sanctuary (4 15
ff.); his spirits rule over men and lead them to apostasy (12 2 f.); he
also exterminates the faithless in the day of God’s visitation (8 1 f.).
Another name for the devil is Mastema (the commoner name in Jubilees),
equivalent to Satan, “the adversary.” The angel of Mastema ceases to
follow a man who resolves to return to the law of Moses (16 4 f.).
According to Jubilees 10 8 f., 11 5, Mastema had permission from God to
employ some of his evil spirits to corrupt men and lead them astray.

Concerning the future life we read only that those who hold firmly to the
law are “for eternal life,”(69) or, as it is elsewhere expressed, “have
the assurance that they shall live a thousand generations.” To a
punishment of the wicked after death(70) or to a resurrection of the dead
there is no allusion whatever.

The moral teachings of the sect have been frequently touched upon above in
speaking of their rules of life. Man is led into sin not only by the
snares of Belial, but by his own sinful inclination and adulterous eyes (2
16; seemingly the _yeṣer hara’_ of the rabbis). It was through these that
the Watchers fell; by them the generation of the flood sinned, and the
sons of Jacob, and their descendants in Egypt and in Canaan, and brought
judgment upon themselves (2 14 ff.). We have seen that the sect insisted
upon monogamy, and perhaps rejected divorce altogether. Particular
emphasis is laid in several places on the commandments, “thou shalt not
take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people,”
“thou shalt reprove thy neighbor and not bear sin because of him” (Lev. 19
17, 18).(71) Thus, at the beginning of the legal part of the book, the
delivery of a fellow Israelite to the gentiles so that he is condemned by
their law is said to fall under this prohibition, and further, “any man of
those who enter into the covenant who brings up against his neighbor a
matter not in the nature of a reproof before witnesses, but which he
brings up in anger, or tells it to his elders to bring the man into
disrepute, he is one that takes vengeance and bears a grudge.” It is
forbidden also to exact of another an oath except in the presence of the
judges; he who does so transgresses the law which forbids a man to take
justice into his own hands. Every one who enters into the covenant pledges
himself not only not to rob the poor and make widows his spoil, but to
love his neighbor as himself, to seek the welfare of his fellow, and to
sustain the poor and needy. As regards the relations of the members of the
sect to gentiles, it is forbidden to shed the blood of a gentile or to
take aught of their property, “in order to give them no occasion to
blaspheme” (12 6 f.), that is, to prevent the profaning of God’s name (15
3), a motive frequently urged in similar connection in the rabbinical
writings. On the other hand, no man may sell to gentiles clean animals or
birds, lest they offer them in sacrifice, nor grain, nor wine—naught of
his possessions; nor shall he sell to them his slave or maid servant who
have come with him into the covenant of Abraham (12 9 ff.), He may not
pass the Sabbath in the neighborhood of gentiles. They are unclean, and
garments they may have handled require purification.


No record of a schismatic body such as reveals itself in our texts is
preserved in the early catalogues of Jewish heresies, nor have references
to it been discovered in rabbinical sources. Like many sects, it exhibits
the separatist inclination to outdo the orthodox in zeal for the letter
and in strenuousness of practice, and it is not surprising that its
interpretations of the law frequently agree with those of other
strict-constructionists, such as Samaritans, Sadducees, Karaites; but
these coincidences illustrate a common tendency rather than prove
historical connection. The relation to the Book of Jubilees is, however,
such as to show that there was some affinity between our sect and the
circles in which that work originated. Jubilees is cited as authority on
the last times; its calendar probably contains the secrets of God’s holy
sabbaths and glorious festivals about which all Israel was in error; the
rules for the observance of the Sabbath in our book accord in many
particulars with the injunctions in Jubilees 50 6 ff. (see also 2 26 ff.);
and various other resemblances might be pointed out, such as the
preference for the unornamented word God (in Jubilees, God, or the Lord),
in contrast with the many mouth-filling periphrases in Enoch; the holy
spirit in men; the name Mastema for the adversary instead of Satan; Belial
who ensnares men, and the spirits of Belial which rule over sinners,
besides others to which Dr. Schechter directs attention in his notes. The
relation to the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is less clear. The
saying attributed to Levi (4 15) is not found in the Testament, and the
other resemblances Dr. Schechter has noted are vague or belong to the
commonplaces. The place of honor given to Judah in the Testaments, as we
have them, is strikingly at variance with the attitude of our sect toward
that tribe and its princes. The Levite Messiah of the Testaments is not
precisely the same as the “Anointed from Aaron and Israel” in our book. In
Jubilees also there are salient features, such as the more developed
angelology and the form of the Messianic expectation, which hardly permit
us to suppose that the book was a product of our sect, however highly it
may have been esteemed by it.

The sect gives especial honor to the sons of Zadok, the ancient priesthood
of the temple in Jerusalem (Ezek. 44 15, 2 Chron. 31 10, Sirach 51 12
Heb.); they are the chosen ones of Israel, men designated by name, who
arose in the latter times (4 3); it was Zadok who brought to light the
Book of the Law which no one had seen since the death of Eleazar and
Joshua (5 5). The context of the latter passage would suggest that Zadok
the contemporary of David is meant, who after the deposition of Abiathar
became Solomon’s chief priest.(72) The precedence given to the sons of
Zadok may possibly have a side reference to the illegitimate high priests
of Seleucid creation, such as Menelaus, though, if this were the
intention, we should expect it to be emphasized.

The passages quoted are the only places in the book in which the name
Zadok or the sons of Zadok appear, and they are certainly a very slender
reason for describing the body which produced the book as a “Zadokite”
sect, whatever meaning may be attached to the term. On the contrary, one
of the outstanding things in the constitution of the sect is the
predominance of the lay element. The Supervisor is a layman; laymen form
the majority in every court; the Messiah is the “Anointed from Aaron _and
Israel_.” Whether the external testimony upon which Dr. Schechter relies
for justification of the name is more adequate will be considered below.

Zadok and the sons of Zadok suggest the Sadducees,(73) whose name,
according to the most probable explanation, designates them as descendants
(or followers and partisans) of Zadok. Here again it is a question whether
Zadok of David’s time is meant, so that the Sadducees were the Zadokite
aristocracy of the priesthood, as most modern scholars think, or whether
the name of the Sadducee sect is derived from a heresiarch of much later
times, as the Jewish legend represents which makes Zadok, from whom the
sect descends, a recalcitrant disciple of Antigonus of Socho, about the
middle of the second century B.C., contemporary, if we rightly interpret
our texts, with the origin of the sect we are studying.

With the Sadducees, as we know them from the New Testament, Josephus, and
rabbinical sources, our sect cannot well be identified. There is, however,
a sect sometimes associated with the Sadducees, namely, the Dositheans, in
whose teachings and customs Dr. Schechter finds such resemblances as lead
him to surmise that the Dositheans were an offshoot of our sect. The
accounts of the Dositheans in writers of different ages and religious
connections, from Origen and Epiphanius down to the Samaritan Chronicler
Abul-Fath and the Moslem heresiographer Shahrastani, are notoriously
confused and contradictory,(74) so that many scholars have felt
constrained to conclude that there was more than one sect of the name. The
Fathers generally agree in describing the Dositheans as a Samaritan
heresy, though Epiphanius and Philaster have it that the author of the
heresy was by extraction a Jew. They frequently bring him into connection
with Simon Magus, in the time of the Apostles. According to Origen, he
gave himself out for the Messiah foretold by Moses; his followers had
books of his, and legends pretending that he had not died, but was still
alive somewhere. Other Fathers give no date for the rise of the heresy,
but by coupling it with the Sadducees seem to imply that it was older than
Christianity; thus (Pseudo)Tertullian (probably after Hippolytus)(75) says
that Dositheus the Samaritan was the first to reject the prophets as not
inspired; the Sadducees, springing from this root of error, ventured to
deny the resurrection also. From this Philaster probably drew the
inference that Zadok, the founder of the Sadducees, was a disciple of
Dositheus. The Samaritan and Moslem authors agree with the Fathers in
treating the Dositheans as a Samaritan sect. Abul-Fath, a Samaritan writer
of the fourteenth century, puts the beginnings of the sect in the first
century B.C., at the time when the yoke of the Jews had been broken by the
kings of the gentiles, and the Samaritans were able to return and restore
their sanctuary, which had been destroyed by Simon and John Hyrcanus.(76)
The Moslem writer Shahrastani, in his learned work on Religious Sects and
Philosophical Schools (first half of the twelfth century), gives
substantially the same date: the founder of the Dositheans, who professed
to be the prophet foretold by Moses, the star spoken of in the law,
appeared about a century before Christ.

In this state of the evidence it is obvious that no argument can be based
on the coincidence in time between the origin of the Dositheans and that
of our sect. When the Fathers bring the names of Dositheus and Zadok into
conjunction, it means no more than that they attributed certain errors to
both Dositheans and Sadducees; just as the Talmudic legend which makes
Zadok and Boëthus apostate disciples of Antigonus of Socho is but a
mythological way of saying that Sadducees and Boëthusians were addicted to
the same heresies concerning retribution, or as the coupling of Dositheus
and Simon Magus means that both passed for Samaritan arch-heretics.

The first point of agreement between the Dositheans and our sect which Dr.
Schechter notes is in the calendar. Abul-Fath says that the Dositheans did
away with the computation of the almanac (tables of lunar conjunctions),
making all their months exactly thirty days long, and (thus) annulled the
correct festivals and the ordinance of the fasts and the affliction (Day
of Atonement).(77) The circle of thirty disciples, who, with a woman
called Helena (Moon), formed the train of Dositheus, according to the
Clementine Recognitions (ii, 8) symbolized the days of the month. If our
sect employed the calendar of the Book of Jubilees, as seems highly
probable, they also had thirty-day months; but it would not follow that
the system was original with them, nor that the Dositheans must have
adopted it from them. There were, in fact, from very remote times, two
years in use within the area of the ancient civilizations, a lunar-solar
year, consisting of twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days
each, with a thirteenth month added every two or three years to maintain
approximate agreement with the solar year and make the months fall in the
same seasons, and a solar year of three hundred and sixty-five days,
divided into twelve months of thirty days each without regard to the
lunations, and five extra days (_epagomenae_). The former was the system
of the Babylonians and the Greeks, as well as the Jews; the latter was in
use in Egypt from immemorial times until the Roman reforms. From the
Egyptians it was borrowed by the Abyssinians; it was employed also for
some centuries before and after the Christian era in the calendars of Gaza
and Ashkelon. The Persians had the same system; the Yashts contain a
liturgy for the thirty regents of the days of the month, the five extra
days being assigned to the divine Gathas. Probably under Persian
influences, this calendar was established in Armenia, Cappadocia, and
other parts of Asia Minor.(78)

Jews and Samaritans not only lived in many of the lands of their
dispersion among peoples who used the thirty-day month, but encountered
this calendar in commercial centres on the very borders of Palestine with
which they had close relations. The advantages of a system in which the
festivals came on fixed dates, instead of shifting within wide limits, as
they must in the lunar-solar year with its irregular intercalation, are
obvious,(79) and an attempt to reform the Jewish calendar accordingly may
have been made more than once and in more than one region. The peculiarity
of the system of the Book of Jubilees is not the uniform length of the
months, but the admission of only _four_ extra days, thus making an even
fifty-two weeks (364 days), which was of more concern to the author than
the increased error of a whole day in the solar year.(80) We do not know
whether the Dositheans of Abul-Fath and the Sadducees of Kirkisani (of
whom later) agreed in this point with Jubilees, or counted _five_ extra
days like the rest of the world. The former may be thought probable, but
it cannot be assumed as certain. The year of 365 days is also found in the
Greek Apocalypse of Baruch, c. 6.

Dr. Schechter quotes Epiphanius(81) on the Dositheans as saying, “some of
them abstain from a second marriage, but others never marry”; and,
although “the text is not quite certain on this point,”(82) is inclined to
perceive in the statement “at least an echo of the law of our sect
prohibiting a second marriage as long as the first wife is alive.” The
passage in Epiphanius is more than obscure, and the text is for that
reason suspected. The passage runs: Ἐμψύχων ἀπέχονται, ἀλλὰ καί τινες
αὐτῶν ἐγκρατεύονται ἀπὸ γάμων μετὰ τοῦ βιῶσαι, ἄλλοι δὲ καὶ παρθενεύουσιν.
Whatever this may mean, it certainly is not, “some of them abstain from
marriage after the death of their first wives,” nor does anything in the
context justify the large changes in the text which would be required to
force this sense upon it. Casaubon’s conjecture υἱῶσαι has nothing to
commend it. The simplest solution of the difficulty would be to write
συμβιῶσαι,(83) “some of them refrain from marital relations after having
lived together, others preserve their virginity.” Whether this emendation
is right or not, it is clear that Epiphanius describes his Dositheans as a
kind of Encratite ascetics, while the prohibition of polygamy—whether
contemporaneous or consecutive—by our sect has a totally different ground;
of asceticism there is, indeed, no symptom in its ordinances.

Dr. Schechter thinks that the statement of Epiphanius quoted above that
the Dositheans “abstain from eating living creatures” “may have some
connection with the law in our text on p. 12, l. 11, which may perhaps be
understood to imply that the sect forbade honey, regarding it as _’eber
min haḥai_ (a limb cut off from a living animal), which would agree with
the testimony of Abul-Fath that they forbade the eating of eggs, except
those which were found in a slaughtered fowl.” Ἐμψύχων ἀπέχονται does not
mean “abstain from eating living creatures,” but “abstain from animal
food,”(84) while our sect certainly did not include vegetarianism among
its eccentricities, any more than the depreciation of marriage.

Several authors describe the Dositheans as extravagant sabbatarians.
Origen reports that their rule was, that in whatever place and in whatever
posture the Sabbath found a man, there and thus he was to remain till its
end. Abul-Fath gives a longer account of their Sabbath laws, which are
much stricter than those of our texts. It was forbidden, for example, to
feed domestic animals or give them drink on the Sabbath, they were to be
provided on Friday with enough provender and water to last them through
the Sabbath. Extreme sabbatarianism is, however, a sectarian propensity
which does not have to be borrowed.

Dr. Schechter quotes Epiphanius further as saying that the Dositheans
“have no intercourse with all people because they detest all mankind,” in
which he thinks “we may readily recognize here the law of our Sect
requiring the washing of the clothes when they were brought by a Gentile
(because of the contamination), and the prohibition of staying over the
Sabbath in the vicinity of Gentiles” (Introduction, pp. xxiii f.). What
Epiphanius says is that the Dositheans agree with the rest of the
Samaritans in the observance of circumcision and the Sabbath, and in
avoiding contact with any one because they feel that all men (that is, all
gentiles) are unclean. He had already described the customs of all the
Samaritans: They wash themselves and their clothes in water when they come
in contact with a foreigner; for they regard it as a defilement to come in
contact with any one or even to touch a man of another religion.(85) It
is, therefore, not a Dosithean peculiarity, but the general Samaritan
usage which Epiphanius describes, and it is useless to search for remoter

The marked hostility to the patriarch Judah with which Eulogius, the
Patriarch of Alexandria (died 607 A.D.), charges Dositheus(86) is natural
enough in a Samaritan heresiarch; in the same sentence Eulogius accuses
him of scorning the prophets of God, which, again, is not peculiar to the
Dositheans, but is the general Samaritan position. It has been remarked
above (p. 353) that our sect gives especial honor to the books of the
prophets “whose words Israel has despised”; and, however unfriendly the
attitude of these seceders to the degenerate Judah of their time, there is
no indication of animosity to the patriarch, as there is none in the

From a much later time Dr. Schechter has gleaned some notices of a sect of
“Zadokites” in whose tenets also he recognizes resemblances to those of
our sect. Kirkisani, a Karaite author of the tenth century,(87) says:
“Zadok was the first who exposed the Rabbanites and contradicted them
publicly. He revealed a part of the truth, and composed books [a book] in
which he frequently denounced the Rabbanites and criticised them. But he
adduced no proof for anything he said, merely saying it by way of
statement, except in one thing, namely, in his prohibition against
marrying the daughter of the brother and the daughter of the sister. For
he adduced as proof their being analogous to the paternal and maternal

This is a matter about which our sectaries are especially fierce in their
denunciations of the laxity of the orthodox. The argument they employ is
the same which Kirkisani attributes to Zadok. It is, however, the obvious
argument, if the principle of analogy be admitted in the interpretation of
the law; it is common in the Karaite books, and is ascribed to the
Samaritans also.(89) Kirkisani also says that the Zadokites absolutely
forbade divorce, which the Scripture permitted, agreeing in this with the
Christians and with the Isawites, whose founders, Jesus and Obadiah of
Ispahan,(90) had likewise forbidden it. We are not told expressly that our
sect prohibited divorce, but their prohibition of remarriage during the
life of the divorced wife would have the same effect. Finally, Kirkisani
says that the Zadokites fixed all the months at thirty days each,(91) and
that they did not count the Sabbath among the seven days of the
celebration of the Passover and the Tabernacles, making the feast consist
of seven days exclusive of the Sabbath. Substantially the same statements
are made about the Zadokites by another Karaite author, Hadassi, who
flourished in the middle of the twelfth century, and perhaps derived his
information from Kirkisani.

What the “Zadokite” writings really were to which these authors refer is
not known. It is certain, however, that both the Karaites and their
opponents took them to be Sadducean works. In the passage about Zadok,
part of which Dr. Schechter quotes (see above), Kirkisani says: “After the
appearance of the Rabbanites (the first of whom was Simeon the Just), the
Sadducees appeared; their leaders were Zadok and Boëthus.... Zadok was the
first who exposed the Rabbanites,” etc.(92) Zadok’s disclosure of a part
of truth was followed by the full discovery of the truth about the laws by
Anan, the founder of the Karaites. Not only do the opponents of the
Karaites stigmatize Anan and his followers as the remnants of the
disciples of Zadok and Boëthus, but the older Karaites expressly claim
this origin. Thus Joseph al-Baṣir (first half of the eleventh century)
says that, in the times of the second temple, the Rabbanites, who were
then called Pharisees, had the upper hand, while the Karaites, then known
as Sadducees, were less influential.(93) The Karaite author of an
anonymous commentary on Exodus preserved in manuscript in St.
Petersburg(94) polemizes against a disciple of Saadia, the great _Malleus
Karaeorum_, about the proper way of determining the beginning of the
months (and consequently the dates of the feasts), which the Rabbanites
fixed by calculation of the conjunctions, while the Karaites depended on
observation of the visible new moon. The ancients, he says, required
evidence of the appearance of the new moon.(95) Saadia, who mistakenly
assumed that the beginning of the month had been determined astronomically
from remote antiquity—the calendar was, in fact, of Sinaitic
origin(96)—asserted that the taking of testimony about the appearance of
the moon was an innovation occasioned by the contention of Zadok and
Boëthus that the law required the beginning of the month to be determined
by actual observation; witnesses were heard only to prove that observation
confirmed the calculation. To this the author replies: “The book of the
Zadokites (Sadducees) is well known, and there is no such thing in it as
that man (Saadia) avers. In the book of Zadok are various things in which
he dissents from the Rabbanites of the second temple with regard to
sacrifices and other matters, but there is not a syllable of what the
Fayyumite (Saadia) says.”(97) Saadia himself appears not to have
questioned the authenticity of the writings that went under the name of
Zadok, with which he seems to have been acquainted, directly or
indirectly, for in a passage quoted by Yefet ben ’Ali he says that Zadok
had proved from the one hundred and fifty days in the story of the flood
just the opposite of what the Karaites try to prove from them.(98)

Zadokite books thus meant, for all those from whom our information comes,
Sadducean books; and so, in the sense that, whatever their age and origin,
they contained substantially Sadducean teachings, most modern scholars,
also, have understood the name.

The possibility that Sadducean writings from the beginning of the
Christian era had survived to the Middle Ages cannot well be denied,
especially in view of the preservation of the book of the unknown sect
that forms the subject of our present study in copies as late as the tenth
or eleventh century; and even if the book which the Karaites took for
Sadducean was erroneously attributed to that sect, there is no sufficient
ground for identifying it with the texts in our hands or for ascribing it
to our sect. A thirty-day month, and the prohibition of divorce and of
marriage with a niece, are much too slender a foundation to support so
large an inference, and it is hardly legitimate to argue that if we had
the entire book, of which only a part—or, according to Dr. Schechter,
excerpts—is preserved, we might find other and more significant

Dr. Schechter has also remarked certain coincidences between the tenets of
our sect and those of the Falashas, or Abyssinian Jews, whom, with Beer,
he is disposed to connect in some way with the Dositheans. Their Sabbath
laws resemble those in the Jubilees and in the texts before us; they also
prohibit marriage with a niece; they have a tradition that the Pentateuch
was brought to Abyssinia by Azariah, the son of Zadok (1 Kings 4 2);
certain features of their calendar may possibly be related to that of the
Zadokites as described by Kirkisani. Here, again, the correspondences are
not numerous or distinctive enough to establish an historical connection.

Putting together these scattered indicia, Dr. Schechter arrives at a
theory of the history and relations of the sect which must be given in his
own words:—

    We may, then, formulate our hypothesis that our text is
    constituted of fragments forming extracts from a Zadok book, known
    to us chiefly from the writings of Kirkisani. The Sect which it
    represented, did not however pass for any length of time under the
    name of Zadokites, but was soon in some way amalgamated with and
    perhaps also absorbed by the Dosithean Sect, and made more
    proselytes among the Samaritans than among the Jews, with which
    former sect it had many points of similarity. In the course of
    time, however, the Dosithean Sect also disappeared, and we have
    only some traces left of them in the lingering sect of the
    Falashas, with whom they probably came into close contact at an
    early period of their (the Falashas’) existence, and to whom they
    handed down a good many of their practices. The only real
    difficulty in the way of this hypothesis is, that according to our
    Text the Sect had its original seat in Damascus, north of
    Palestine, and it is difficult to see how they reached the
    Dositheans, and subsequently the Falashas, who had their main
    seats in the south of Palestine, or Egypt. But this could be
    explained by assuming special missionary efforts on the part of
    the Zadokites by sending their emissaries to Egypt, a country
    which was especially favourable to such an enterprise because of
    the existence of the Onias Temple there. The severance of the
    Egyptian Jews from the Palestinian influence (though they did not
    entirely give up their loyalty to the Jerusalem Sanctuary),
    prepared the ground for the doctrines of such a Sect as the
    Zadokites in which all allegiance to Judah and Jerusalem was
    rejected, and in which the descendants of the House of Zadok (of
    whom indeed Onias himself was one) represented both the Priest and
    the Messiah.

The evidence adduced in support of this ingenious hypothesis has already
been examined in detail, and the results need only be summarized here:
There is nothing in the book before us to warrant classing the men who
made the new covenant in the land of Damascus as a Zadokite sect;(99)
neither the external nor the internal evidence suffices to identify the
work quoted by Kirkisani as Zadokite (by which he and all the rest
understood Sadducean) with the book before us; the connection of the sect
with the Dositheans rests in great part on misunderstanding of the
testimonies about the Dositheans—misunderstandings, it is fair to say,
which are not all original with Dr. Schechter,—in part upon points of
resemblance which are not distinctive enough to prove anything. Of the
peculiar organization of our sect, which would be conclusive, there is no
trace anywhere.


A much more sensational hypothesis was broached by Mr. G. Margoliouth in
the _Athenaeum_ for November 26, 1910, under the title, “The Sadducean
Christians of Damascus.” He takes “the root” which God caused to spring
from Israel and Aaron (1 7) for the same person who is subsequently called
the Anointed one (Messiah), and distinguishes this figure from the Teacher
of Righteousness, also called the Anointed one, who appeared twenty years
later. “Both these Messiahs were dead when the document was composed, but
they were both expected to reappear in the latter days.”

The first of them, the Messiah descended from Aaron and Israel, in
consequence of whose work “they meditated over their sin, and knew that
they were guilty men,” is John the Baptist. John’s father was a priest,
and though his mother also is said to have been of priestly descent, “this
need not stand in the way of believing that there was a strain of
non-priestly Israelite blood in the family.” The Sadducees would naturally
prefer a priestly Messiah to a Davidic one, and, when John won the
recognition of the people as a prophet sent by God, it would not be
strange if a priestly party acclaimed him as in some sense a Messiah, or
anointed leader of the nation.

The other Messiah, the Teacher of Righteousness, must then be Jesus. That
he appeared twenty years after John, so far from being an argument against
this identification, would relieve the difficulty of trying to crowd
John’s whole history into little more than a year. “It is surely not
necessary to defend the Lucan tradition on this point at all hazards, and
it seems quite likely that the newly discovered document has at last given
us the right perspective of events.”

If these identifications are correct, the “man of scoffing,” or
Belial,(100) who is sent to pervert the nation and turn it from the law,
can be no other than the Apostle Paul, and it is noted for confirmation
that “the period here assigned to his activity and that of his immediate
following is about forty years, a space of time not far removed from the
result of recent critical computation.”

The New Covenant so often referred to in the texts is clearly to be
connected with the identical conception and expression in the New
Testament, nor does it seem to be accidental that the Teacher of
Righteousness is several times spoken of as the “only” or “unique” one.

Mr. Margoliouth presents his complete hypothesis as follows:—

    The natural and apparently inevitable conclusion of the whole
    matter, therefore, is that we have here to deal with a primitive
    Judaeo-Christian body of people which consisted of priests and
    Levites belonging to the Boëthusian section of the Sadducean
    party,(101) fortified—as the document shows—by a considerable
    Israelitish lay element, besides a real or contemplated admixture
    of proselytes. They acknowledged, as we have seen, John the
    Baptist, as a Messiah of the family of Aaron, and they also
    believed in Jesus as a kind of second (or, perhaps, as
    pre-eminent) Messiah whose special function it was to be a
    “Teacher of Righteousness.” Paul they abhorred; and they strove
    with all their might to combine the full observance of the Mosaic
    Law, as they understood it, with the principles of the “new
    covenant,” again as they understood it. On the destruction of the
    Temple by Titus, finding that it would not serve any good purpose
    to linger in Judaea, they determined to migrate to Damascus,(102)
    intending to establish their central organization in that city,
    and to found communities of the sect in different parts of the
    neighboring country. It was at this juncture that the manifesto,
    bearing as it does unmistakable marks of personal touch, was
    composed by a leader of the movement.

No scholar who has made an independent study of the texts published by Dr.
Schechter can have failed to consider the question whether these
schismatics, with their “unique teacher,”(103) their “new covenant,” their
“Supervisor,” whose name and functions might be compared with those of a
bishop ἐπίσκοπος, their loyalty to their dead leader, God’s Anointed one
(Messiah), who made them know his holy spirit, and their expectation of an
Anointed one in the last times, their hostility to the Pharisees, can have
been a Jewish Christian sect.

The more closely the documents are examined, however, the less tenable
this conjecture appears. One feature of the sectarian eschatology which,
if established, would afford the most striking coincidence with early
Christian belief, namely, that the Messiah who died in the early days of
the sect is to “reappear” (Margoliouth), or “rise again” (Schechter), has
no support whatever in the text.(104) The “new covenant” in the land of
Damascus is plainly the obligation by which the members of the sect bind
themselves to the organization, with its peculiar interpretations of the
law and its distinctive observances. Neither in the terms of the covenant
nor in the law itself is there anything that suggests Christian origin or
influence. That “a man should love his neighbor as himself” is not
peculiarly or even preëminently a Christian precept. The Testaments of the
Twelve Patriarchs reiterate it; by the most orthodox rabbis it was
recognized as the most comprehensive commandment in the law.

The things which the sect esteems of vital importance lie wholly in the
sphere of the law; polemic zeal for a code which is at every point more
rigorous than that of the Pharisees is the salient characteristic of both
parts of the book. The moral precepts are the commonplaces of Judaism
narrowed to a sectarian horizon.(105) The judgment of God is similarly
circumscribed. It is not a judgment of the world or of the Jewish people,
but of those who reject and controvert the legal interpretation of the
sect, and of those who have fallen away from it.

The code of law which is the constituent principle of the sect and the
reason for its existence was given it by its founder, the Teacher of
Righteousness. This unique teacher was not a prophetic reformer, but “the
interpreter of the law who came to Damascus,” “the legislator.” The
statutes he decreed are final; the sect “shall receive no others until the
teacher of righteousness shall arise in the last times.”

Mr. Margoliouth thinks that the “teacher of righteousness” to whom the
sect attributed its institutions and laws was Jesus. The statement of this
conjecture is its refutation. The rôle of a legislator is the last which
the character and teaching of Jesus in the Gospels would suggest even to a
sect in search of a founder. That he, whose disregard for the Pharisaic
rules of Sabbath observance repeatedly got him into trouble, should,
within a generation after his death, have been metamorphosed into the
author of the sabbatical code in our texts, which out-pharisees the
Pharisees at every point, surpasses ordinary powers of imagination. The
Christian Jews of the first century in Palestine, so far as we know
anything about them, conformed in the matter of observance to the
authority of the scribes and Pharisees, and alleged the express command of
Jesus for this practice (Matt. 23 2). Early Christian heresies sometimes
exhibit ascetic features reminding us of the Essenes; but none of
ultra-legalistic tendency is known.

As our sect is very zealous for things which have no connection with
Christianity, so on the other hand the texts disclose no trace of specific
Christian beliefs or conceptions. For the Christian Jews of the first
century, the belief that Jesus, who had been crucified under Pontius
Pilate, was the Messiah of prophecy, that he had risen from the dead and
ascended to heaven, whence he was presently to come in might and majesty,
according to the vision of Daniel, to usher in the new era, was the pith
and substance of their faith, the “heresy” by which they were separated
from their countrymen, the focus of their polemic and apologetic in
controversies with those who rejected their Messiah. It is impossible to
imagine a writing as long as this, and imbued as strongly as this with a
controversial spirit, proceeding from any Christian sect, in which there
should not be so much as an allusion to any of these things; or that a
sect which put John the Baptist in so high a place should not make
something of baptism in the admission of members.

Apart from these general considerations, Mr. Margoliouth’s identifications
rest upon a palpable misinterpretation. On page 1 we read: “But because
God remembered the covenant with the forefathers, he left Israel a
remnant, and did not suffer them to be exterminated. And at the end of
wrath ... he visited them and caused to spring up from Israel and Aaron a
root of his planting _to inherit his land and to prosper on the good
things of his earth_.” The italicized clauses prove beyond question that
the “root” is not an individual, but is a collective designation for the
first generation of the sect.(106) The parallel passage on p. 5 says
explicitly: “God remembered the covenant with the forefathers, and he
raised up from Aaron men of insight and from Israel wise men, and he heard
them, and they dug the well.” “The well is the law, and they who dug it
are the exiles of Israel who migrated to Judah and sojourned in the land
of Damascus.” In the face of this perfectly plain meaning of the passage
Mr. Margoliouth takes “the root” for the person designated in other places
as “the Anointed from Aaron and Israel,” who led the people “to recognize
their wickedness and know that they were guilty men.”(107) In this first
Messiah he recognizes John the Baptist, and, consequently, in the Teacher
of Righteousness who came after him, Jesus. The point of correspondence is
the relation between the forerunner and his successor. The text, however,
as I have just showed, says nothing of a precursor of the teacher of
righteousness; on the contrary, it was this teacher who first brought
light to the generation which in the consciousness of its sin was groping
like the blind, and guided them in the way of God’s heart.(108)

That by the “man of scoffing” the Apostle Paul is meant is for Mr.
Margoliouth a corollary of the preceding identifications, and falls with
them. The enemies of Paul were doubtless capable of calling him all sorts
of hard names, but there is nothing in the epithets “scorner” and “liar,”
or in the doings attributed to this figure, which fits Paul better than
any other false teacher and sower of discord, while the reference to the
fate of the men of war who followed the “man of lies” seems quite
inapplicable to Paul.(109)

That we should be unable to identify the Covenanters of Damascus with any
sect previously known is not surprising. The three or four centuries in
the middle of which the Christian era falls were prolific in sects and
heresies of many complexions, as were the centuries following the rise of
Islam. Through Philo, Josephus, the church Fathers, and the Talmud, we are
acquainted with some of them; but it is probable that there were many
others of which no reports have reached us. If we cannot, out of the
collection at our disposal, put a label on our Covenanters, we may console
ourselves with the reflection that here we know one Jewish sect from its
own monuments, and that the texts in our hands, mutilated as they are,
suffice to give us a much clearer notion of its peculiarities than we get
of most of the other sects from the descriptions which have come down to

Its affinities with various antipharisaic or antirabbinical parties, such
as the Samaritans, the Sadducees, and, in later times, the Karaites, is
obvious. It shared with all these a zeal for the letter and the literal
interpretation, and a disposition to extend the law by analogy of
principle, as a result of which their rules were in general much stricter
than those of the Rabbis, who possessed in the theory of tradition and in
their methods of exegesis the means of adapting the law to changed
conditions, and who were also more disposed to give the precedence to the
great principles of humanity in the law over its particular prescriptions
when the two seemed to conflict. The organization of the sect, on the
other hand, has no parallel within our knowledge. In view of the use of
the name “camps” for the local communities, and the references to the
“mustering” of the members, the “trumpets of the congregation,” and the
like, it may be surmised that the organization of Israel in the wilderness
suggested the plan, and that the Supervisors were meant to correspond to
the chiefs of the tribes (for instance, Num. 1 10), each having authority
over a separate camp.

The sect seems to have perpetuated itself for a considerable time,
otherwise this book would hardly have been preserved. It may perhaps be
conjectured that it survived long enough to be gathered, along with
numerous younger sects, into the capacious bosom of Karaism, of which it
was in various points a precursor. Such an hypothesis would explain how it
came about that copies of the book were made in the tenth century and
later, we should then suppose by Karaite scribes.(110)

Dr. Schechter has laid all students of Judaism under new obligations by
the discovery and publication of these texts. They will join with their
congratulations the hope that he may find yet other treasures among the
accumulations of the Genizah.


    1 Documents of Jewish Sectaries. Volume I. Fragments of a Zadokite
      Work. Edited, with Translation, Introduction, and Notes, by S.
      Schechter. Cambridge University Press. 1910.

    2 It may be added that the quotations are singularly inexact.

    3 In my translation I have sometimes thought it possible to adhere to
      the text where Dr. Schechter has preferred a conjectural emendation.

    4 That is, probably, against the legitimate high priest of the time
      (perhaps Onias).—The rendering “_by_ his Anointed” is grammatically
      admissible, but would be unintelligible in this context.

    5 It would be possible to render “the penitents of Israel.”

    6 The four or five words which follow are unintelligible.

    7 The references are to page and line of the Hebrew text.

    8 Others sought refuge in Egypt; the temple of Onias at Leontopolis
      had its origin in the same circumstances.

    9 So they understood the words translated in the English version “the
      cruel venom of asps.”

   10 See 2 Macc. 4 16: “By reason of which (sc. their predilection for
      Greek ways) a dire calamity befel them, and those for whose customs
      they displayed such zeal and whom they wanted to imitate in
      everything became their enemies and avengers.” Assumption of Moses,
      5 1: “When the times of retribution shall draw near, and vengeance
      arises through kings who share their guilt and punish them,” etc.,
      describes the same situation.

   11 Cf. “the whole race of the elect root,” Enoch 93 8.

   12 See Schürer, Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (3 ed.), vol. iii. p.

   13 A comparison with the Apocalypse of the Ten Weeks in Enoch (93 + 91
      12-17) is in point here. The sixth “week” (period of 490 years) ends
      with the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar; in the seventh
      a rebellious generation arises, all whose works are apostasy (the
      hellenizers of the Seleucid time); at its end the “chosen righteous
      men of the eternal plantation of righteousness” are chosen to
      receive the sevenfold instruction about God’s whole creation
      (apparently the cosmological revelations of Enoch); the historical
      retrospect closes before the robbery and desecration of the temple
      by Antiochus Epiphanes (170, 168 B.C.), of which the seer knows
      nothing. The chronological error here amounts to sixty or seventy

      In the Introduction, p. xii, by a typographical error which is
      repeated on p. xxii, Dr. Schechter says that the 390 years of the
      text would bring us “to within a generation of Simon the Just, who
      flourished about 290 B.C.,” and twenty years more would bring us
      into the midst of the hellenistic persecutions preceding the
      Maccabaean revolt (about 170 B.C.). Margoliouth, whose hypothesis
      490 does not suit any better than 390, takes courage from
      Schechter’s doubts to disregard the numbers altogether. Gressmann
      (Internationale Wochenschrift, March 4, 1911) is led by metrical
      considerations to treat all the chronological notices as
      interpolations, and gives them no further consideration. But even if
      the figures were introduced by a later hand, they may still
      represent the tradition of the sect.

   14 Perhaps we should emend _ma’mādō_, “station,” i.e. sect.

   15 See below, p. 350, 354 f.

   16 Cf. Isa. 30 20 f.

   17 The Septuagint renders _yāḥīd_ most frequently by ἀγαπητός, less
      often by μονογενής.

   18 The same prophecy which was applied by Akiba to Bar Cocheba and by
      the Dositheans to their founder (see below, p. 362).

   19 The sect rejects the temple in Jerusalem and its worship. Cf. 20 21
      f., in the last crisis, “they will lean upon God ... and will
      declare the sanctuary unclean and will return to God.”

   20 Perhaps better, keep aloof, by vow and ban, from unrighteous,
      unclean gain.

   21 See below, p. 353.

   22 The name comes from Isa. 28 14, where the scorners are the rulers in
      Jerusalem, who boast of their covenant with death and their compact
      with hell, who have made lies their refuge and hidden themselves in
      falsehood. See also Isa. 29 20.

   23 It might be surmised that the false prophet had headed an
      insurrection—perhaps a Messianic rising—which ended in disaster.

   24 See above, p. 333.

   25 Or, as Schechter elsewhere expresses it, “disappeared.” Among the
      synonyms for death, Aaron ben Eliahu names “gather in” (Isa. 58 8).

   26 Introduction, p. xiii.

   27 P. xiii. “We gather from another passage that the Only Teacher found
      his death in Damascus, but is expected to rise again (p. 19, l. 35;
      p. 20, l. 1; cf. also p. 6, l. 11).” The verb _’āmad_ means, as
      frequently in the later books of the Old Testament, “appear upon the
      scene.” In this sense it occurs repeatedly in the book before us,
      and there is nothing in the context here to suggest a different

   28 Cf. Acts 1 11.

   29 See Isa. 59 20.

   30 The quotation is to be thus restored; see Exod. 20 6 and Deut. 7 9.
      The next two or three lines are very obscure: “From the house of
      Peleg, who went out (or, will go out) from the city of the
      sanctuary, and they will rely on God (cf. Isa. 10 20) when the
      transgression of Israel is at an end, and will declare the sanctuary
      unclean, and will return to God. The prince (?) of the people with
      few words (??).” The house of Peleg may be an etymological allegory
      for the seceders; the city of the sanctuary is probably Jerusalem
      (cf. 6 11 ff., above, p. 338); but neither the connection with the
      preceding nor the meaning of the sequel is clear.

   31 Text, “and confessed,” which leaves the sentence without a

   32 See also 7 20: “The sceptre” (Num. 24 17) “is the prince of all the
      congregation; and when he arises he will destroy all the children of

   33 It is not improbable that the author thought also of the other
      meaning of the word _tāphēl_, here rendered “stucco,” viz. something
      insipid, stupid; cf. Lam. 2 14, in a passage which, like Ezek. 13
      10, refers to the false prophets. I see nothing to indicate that
      “the wall” is the fence or hedge which the Pharisaean rabbis drew
      around the law to protect it from infraction, as Dr. Schechter

   34 The text explains, “this is the prater of whom it says, they prate
      unceasingly” (4 19 f.; cf. Mic. 2 11). Dr. Schechter regards this
      explanation as “a disturbing parenthesis.”

   35 The Jannes and Jambres of 2 Tim. 3 8.

   36 Such marriages, especially with a sister’s daughter, are not only
      permitted, but especially commended in the Talmud (Yebamoth 62b-63a;
      see Maimonides, Issure Biah 2 14), and are still common in countries
      where the Jews are free to follow the rabbinical law. On the Karaite
      prohibition of marriage with a niece, see below, p. 366.

   37 On the pollution of the sanctuary, cf. Assumption of Moses 5 3;
      Testament of Levi 14 5 ff.; Psalms of Solomon 2 3.

   38 On the portals of the sun, see Enoch 72, etc.

   39 Perhaps an error of the text for 2000; see below, § 8.

   40 Cf. Jubilees 50 8.

   41 This holds on week-days as well as on the Sabbath.

   42 Perhaps we should read, “make an ‘_erūb_’ ” (a legal fiction by
      which dwellings or limits were treated as one). The Sadducees and
      Samaritans rejected this evasion of the law.

   43 See 12 12 ff.

   44 Similarly the Essenes, at their reception into the order, bound
      themselves by the “tremendous oaths” which Josephus describes, B. J.
      ii, 8 7.

   45 The oath by the Tetragrammaton included _a fortiori_.

   46 The Essenes excluded oaths altogether, except in the initiation of
      members. See also Slavonic Enoch 49 1; Philo, De spec. legibus ii,
      1, and elsewhere (Charles, Secrets of Enoch, p. 65). Our sect
      recognizes judicial oaths (9 8 ff.) and imprecations (9 12), as well
      as vows under oath (16 6 ff.).

   47 On the relation of the Jubilees to the sect, see further below, p.

   48 Cf. Jubilees 2 9, God appointed the sun ... for sabbaths, and
      months, and feasts; and Jubilees 6 37, the observation of the moon
      disturbs the calendar.

   49 It seems necessary to supply these words.

   50 “The book of _hagu_.” The rendering “Institutes” is not offered as a
      translation of the name, but as indicating the probable character of
      the work. See below, p. 353 f.

   51 Dr. Schechter renders “Censor,” and remarks, “Such an office,
      entirely unknown to Judaism, could only have been borrowed from the
      Romans.” But the functions of the Inspector or Supervisor bear no
      resemblance to those of the Roman censors; and for the identity of
      the title the translator is solely accountable, not the constitution
      of the sect. Mr. Margoliouth talks loosely about dependence on Roman
      administrative models; it would be interesting to learn in what
      particulars. With the very large authority vested in the Supervisor
      may be compared that of the managers, or administrators
      (ἐπιμεληταί), among the Essenes, “without whose directions they do
      nothing”; though the functions of the managers in the Essene
      coenobite establishments were of course quite different from those
      of the Supervisors of our sect.

   52 In the partly illegible lines that follow, his dealing with the
      congregation is compared with that of a shepherd with his flock.—Dr.
      W. H. Ward suggests that the title _mebaḳḳer_ may be connected with
      Ezek. 34 11 f., where the verb is used of a shepherd’s looking out
      for his flock.

   53 As in Mishna _Yoma_ the High Priest has to be instructed by experts
      in the ritual of the Day of Atonement, and made to swear not to
      depart from his instructions.

   54 Probably the lands belonging to the sect.

   55 That a court must consist of ten judges, the Karaites deduce from
      Ruth 4 2. So Anan quoted by Poznanski, Revue des études juives, vol.
      xlv, p. 67, and p. 69, n. 1.

   56 This seems to be the meaning of the somewhat obscure passage.

   57 It is not clear whether imprisonment or surveillance is meant.

   58 On the spirit of Belial (ruling over Israel) see Jubilees 1 20.

   59 “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,” 1 Sam. 15 23.

   60 In contrast to the Samaritans.

   61 In 8 18 ff., after saying, “Such will be the judgment of every one
      who despises the commandments of God, and he forsook them and they
      turned away in the stubbornness of their heart,” A adds: “This is
      the word which Jeremiah spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah and Elisha
      to his servant Gehazi,” referring probably to otherwise unknown
      apocryphal books. Johanneh and his brother, whom Belial raised up
      against Moses, are familiar figures of Jewish legend.

   62 The simplest explanation of the form would be to take it as an
      abstract noun of the type _fa‘l_, like _sáḥu_; “swimming” or _fi‘l,
      fu‘l,_ like _séku_ (n. pr.), _tóhu_, _bóhu_, etc., from the verb
      _hagah_ (root _hagw_), “reflect, give thought to something,” also
      “read” (aloud), so that the noun might literally mean “study,”
      equivalent to _midrash_, or perhaps “reading.”—If the opinion which
      connects the sect with the Dositheans were tenable (see below, p.
      360 ff.), another explanation of the name might be suggested by a
      passage in Abul-Fath’s account of the origin of the Dositheans. He
      narrates that a son of the Samaritan high priest, named Zar’ah, a
      man preëminent for learning in his time, having been expelled from
      the community for immorality, betook himself to Dositheus, who made
      him the chief of his sect. This man “wrote a book in which he
      vituperated all the Samaritan religious heads and set forth
      heresies.” The words are, _haja fīhī kul al’ a’immetin wa’abda’a
      fīhī_. Inasmuch as the Arabic _hajwun_ formally corresponds to the
      Hebrew _hagu_, the Book of _Hagu_ in our texts might be identified
      with this controversial writing of Zar’ah, the disciple of
      Dositheus. The Hebrew verb _hagah_ is thought by Kohut (Aruch
      Completum, III, 177) to occur in Echa Rabbathi on Lam. 1 4 and 3 33
      in the sense “contemn, deride,” equivalent to the Arabic _haja_,
      “lampoon, vituperate.” It might then be conjectured that Abul-Fath
      had heard of a Dosithean book of _hagu_ (in Hebrew) and, taking the
      word in its Arabic meaning, evolved his description of the character
      of the work from this etymology.

   63 Some Karaite authorities, also, transferring to the synagogue the
      holiness of the temple, forbade a man in a state of uncleanness to
      enter the inner room of the synagogue (Nissi; see Winter und
      Wünsche, Die jüdische Litteratur, vol. ii, p. 74).

   64 The coincidence of the name with the Arabic _masjid_, “place of
      bowing down,” mosque, is hardly a sufficient reason for suspecting
      Moslem influence, as Dr. Schechter does, who thinks it possible that
      the word was introduced by a later (Falasha?) scribe as a substitute
      for the original term.—Elia Bashiatzi (Adereth Eliahu, p. 58), a
      Karaite writer of the 15th century, gives _Beth hishtaḥawīya,_
      together with _Beth hakeneseth_ and _Beth hamidrash_, as the three
      names of the place of worship. Moslem influence can here hardly be
      questioned; in a later chapter Elia describes the postures of prayer
      quite after the Moslem pattern, alleging Biblical authority for all
      of them.

   65 The opinion that after Josiah’s reform, or after the restoration of
      the temple by Zerubbabel and Joshua, Jerusalem was the only place
      where Jewish sacrifices were offered is refuted by an accumulating
      volume of evidence from various regions. See D. S. Margoliouth,
      Expositor, 1911, pp. 40 ff.

   66 Cf. the accusation against the orthodox Jews (5 6): “They defile the
      Sanctuary in that they do not separate according to the law,”
      etc.—It is possible that the prohibition quoted above applied, not
      to the inhabitants of the city, but to persons who visited it for
      the purpose of worship, as is the rule for pilgrims to Mecca.

   67 The holy spirit in them. Dr. Schechter adduces parallels in Jewish
      writings. Cf. Jubilees 1 21, 23, “Create in them a clean heart and a
      holy spirit.”

   68 Dr. Schechter conjectures that the author wrote _Sar ha-Panim_, the
      Prince of the Presence, but the passages from Jubilees which he
      quotes in support of this opinion are hardly convincing.

   69 See Slavonic Enoch 42 5; cf. 9.

   70 So far as may be argued from silence, this is an important
      difference from Jubilees.

   71 See 7 2; cf. Slavonic Enoch 50 4: “When you might have vengeance, do
      not repay either your neighbor or your enemy. For God will repay as
      your avenger in the day of the great judgment. Let it not be for you
      to take vengeance.” (ed. Charles, p. 67); cf. Ecclus. 28 1.

   72 That Zadok was the name of the “interpreter of the law,” the founder
      of the sect, is a much less probable opinion; the name stands in no
      connection with the origin of the sect or its legislation, but with
      the bringing to light again of the Pentateuch. The author cannot
      have supposed that the _written_ law remained unknown till the
      second century B.C.; the reforms of Josiah, based on another
      recovery of the book by Hilkiah, would preclude such a notion.

   73 The coincidence of names does not count for very much. Abul-Fath
      names two Samaritan “Zadokite” subsects among the later Dositheans

   74 See Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums, 1884, pp.
      155 ff.; Montgomery, The Samaritans, 1907, pp. 252 ff.

   75 See also Epiphanius; the Sadducees were an offshoot from Dositheus.

   76 Not in the time of Alexander the Great, as Dr. Schechter has from
      Montgomery. Abul-Fath, indeed (and Adler’s Chronicle after him),
      introduces this whole story before Alexander, and makes Simon a
      protégé of Darius; but the testimony that Dositheus appeared after
      the time of Hyrcanus, which, as a matter of Samaritan history, may
      be conceived to rest on tradition, is not to be set aside because,
      in fitting his Samaritan traditions into the framework of universal
      history, Abul-Fath is in error by two or three centuries about the
      date of Hyrcanus. This used to be understood; see, e.g., De Sacy,
      Chrestomathie arabe, vol. ii (1806), p. 209.

   77 Epiphanius avers, on the contrary, that the Dositheans kept their
      festivals at the same time with the Jews.

   78 See Ideler, Handbuch der mathematischen und technischen Chronologie,
      vol. i, pp. 437 ff., 517; Ginzel, Handbuch der mathematischen und
      technischen Chronologie, vol. i, pp. 170 f., 287. On the calendar of
      Gaza, Schürer, Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (3 ed.), vol. ii, pp.
      88 f.

   79 We have experience of the inconvenience of this system in the
      wandering of Easter and the Christian festivals dependent on it; a
      reform by which Easter should come on a fixed date in the solar year
      has repeatedly been proposed, and a movement is now on foot in
      Europe to bring this about by agreement of governments and churches.

   80 The year of 364-days is found also in Enoch 72-82, and (by the side
      of the true solar year of 365-¼ and the lunar year of 354 days) in
      the Slavonic Enoch. The intercalary days are introduced one at the
      beginning of each quarter of the year (Enoch 75 1); this is also the
      method in Jubilees; see 6 23. In effect this is equivalent to a year
      in which eight months have thirty days and four—those in which the
      equinoxes and solstices fall—have thirty-one (Enoch 72 13, 19). It
      is not impossible that this system is implied in the chronology of
      the flood in Genesis; see B. W. Bacon, Hebraica, vol. viii
      (1891-1892), pp. 79-88, 124-139; Charles, Jubilees, p. 56.

   81 This is not the place to discuss the value of Epiphanius’s
      testimony. His description of the Scribes and Pharisees at least
      admonishes to caution.

   82 The text is certain enough, in the sense that all the manuscripts
      hitherto collated have the same reading.

   83 Nicetas, in reproducing Epiphanius’s account of the Dositheans, has
      τεκνῶσαι, “after having begotten children,” which also agrees very
      well with the context.

   84 The familiar title of Porphyry’s book on vegetarianism, Περὶ ἀποχῆς
      ἐμψύχων, will occur to every one. Epiphanius himself explains the
      word in Haer. 18, 1, “they (Nasaraei) thought it unlawful to eat

   85 Haer. 9, 3; cf. 30, 2: “The Ebionites, like the Samaritans, avoid
      touching an outsider.” A still more extreme fastidiousness on this
      point is attributed by Josephus to the Essenes; cf. B. J. ii, 8, 10.

   86 Photius, Bibliotheca Codicum, cod. 280 (ed. Bekker, p. 285).

   87 The Kitab al-Anwār was published in 937, not 637, as by a misprint
      on p. xviii.

   88 Schechter’s translation, Introduction, p. xviii.

   89 Schechter, p. xxxvii, n. 21.

   90 Founder of a Jewish sect which arose in Persia about the end of the
      seventh century.

   91 On this point see above, p. 362.

   92 Quoted in the original by Poznanski, Revue des études juives, vol.
      xliv (1902). p. 162, n. 2.

   93 Quoted by Poznanski, l. c., p. 170.

   94 Harkavy attributed it conjecturally to Sahl ben Masliah; Poznanski,
      whom Dr. Schechter follows, thinks it more likely that the author
      was Hasan ben Mashiah.

   95 As the Karaites do. See e.g. Mishna, Rosh ha-Shana, 1 7 ff., 2 1 f.

   96 See Poznanski, Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. x (1898), pp. 159, 248,

   97 Quoted in the original by Poznanski, Revue des études juives, vol.
      xliv, p. 176.—The point is that the “Zadokite” writings known to the
      author said nothing about fixing the beginning of the month by
      observation. Saadia doubtless based his assertion, not on anything
      he found in “Zadokite” books, but on Rosh ha-Shanah 22 a-b.

   98 Poznanski, l. c., p. 177; cf. also Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. x,
      pp. 246 ff.—Saadia probably means that “Zadok” argued from the fact
      that the 150 days of Gen. 7 24, 8 3, make an even five months (7 11,
      8 4), that each month had thirty days (cf. Jubilees 5 27), while for
      the Karaites thirty days was only the extreme length of a lunar
      month. See Poznanski, Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. x, p. 241.

   99 See above, p. 359 f.

  100 In “Belial is let loose,” Mr. Margoliouth finds a witless pun on
      Paul’s apostolic claims.

  101 Mr. Margoliouth is led to the opinion that they were Boëthusians by
      the obscure passage in 2 13, which he interprets, “in the
      explanation of his name (sc. the Messiah’s) are also their
      names,”—the name of the sect points mysteriously to the name of the
      Messiah. “Now the Boëthusians derived their name from a priest named
      Boëthus, and the meaning of βοηθὸς is the same as that of the Hebrew
      name represented by Jesus. The inference would be that the section
      of the Zadokite or Sadducees who adopted an attitude of belief
      toward John the Baptist and Jesus were none other than the
      Boëthusians (perhaps identical with the great company of believing
      priests of Acts 6 7), who not unnaturally liked to dwell on the
      identity of meaning between their names and that of the
      Teacher.”—_Boëthos_, it may be remarked, is probably a Greek
      equivalent for the name Ezra, not for Jeshua.

  102 Mr. Margoliouth thinks that “the end of the destruction of the
      land,” after which the migration to Damascus took place, “can hardly
      be anything else than the completion of the Roman conquest in A.D.
      70.” “At the end of the devastation of the land” means, however, not
      when the destruction was complete, but when the period of desolation
      was over. The phrase itself, therefore, is no more appropriate to
      Titus than to Nebuchadnezzar—or to Hadrian. Mr. Margoliouth does not
      say how he interprets the rest of the passage. Are the men who, at
      the end of the devastation of the land, “removed the boundary and
      led Israel astray,” the great rabbis of the generations after the
      destruction of Jerusalem, and does the sequel, “and the land was
      laid waste because they spoke rebelliously against the commandments
      of God by Moses and against his holy Anointed one,” refer to the war
      under Hadrian?

  103 As has been noted above, _yāhīd_ is sometimes rendered in the Greek
      Old Testament by μονογενής.

  104 See above, p. 341.

  105 The commandment to love one’s neighbor as himself, for example. In
      the context of the covenant formula, in contrast to Jewish orthodoxy
      no less than to Christianity, the neighbor is not the fellow man,
      nor even the fellow Jew, but the fellow member of the schismatic

  106 See above, p. 334.

  107 That the repentance of the people was brought about by the work of
      “the root” is not suggested in any way in the text; on the contrary,
      the only natural construction and interpretation of the passage
      would make the penitent generation the same with that which is
      called “the root.”

  108 See above, p. 334.

  109 Gressmann is sure that this “man of lies” must be Bar Coziba (Bar
      Cocheba), the Messianic leader of the rebellion under Hadrian. He
      might have added that the contrast to the true star out of Jacob,
      the founder of the sect, would be peculiarly pertinent. The punning
      etymology, “Say not ‘Star,’ but ‘liar’ ” (Echa Rabbathi on Lam. 2
      2), is ascribed to the Patriarch Judah.

  110 Perhaps the manuscripts may have been in the possession of some
      Rabbanite controversialist in Egypt, and thus found their way, like
      various Karaite writings, into the Genizah of the Synagogue.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Covenanters of Damascus; A Hitherto Unknown Jewish Sect" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.