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Old 07-26-2001, 09:40 PM   #1
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Post Interesting Stephen/James and Qumran parallel

Intrigued by a recent discussion on the Qumran Sect I went back to some of my old books to reference the Community Rule scroll. Reading it again I was struck by how similar it was to elements within ancient Christianity. For instance, I stumbled across this interesting passage about how an Essene should conduct himself:

"Each man is to reprove his fellow in truth, humility, and loving-kindness. He should not speak to him in anger, with grumbling, with a [stiff] neck or with a wickedly [zealous] spirit. He must not hate him because of his own [uncircumcised] heart." Community Rule (1QS, 4Q255-264a, 5Q11, quoted from "The Dead Sea Scrolls" by Wise, Abegg, Jr., and Cook)

The phrase "uncircumcised heart" triggered a memory and I found a parallel in Luke-Acts in the story of the stoning of Stephen. Here's Stephen's conclusion to his long-winded speech to his accusers:

"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered…" (Acts 7:51-52).

I'm sure Bill and Earl, both of whom have been researching Eisenmann's theories concerning James the Righteous, would have a lot to say on this passage. Was Stephen expecting James' return rather than Jesus' return? Interesting! I think a good case can be made that Stephen is either directly or indirectly familiar with the Qumran Sect's theology.

Here's another interesting parallel to the Eucharist that I throw out just for fun:

"They [Yahad] shall eat, pray, and deliberate communally. Wherever ten men belonging to the society of the Yahad are gathered, a priest must always be present. The men shall sit before the priest by rank, and in that manner their opinions will be sought on any matter. When the table has been set for eating or the new wine readied for drinking, it is the priest who shall stretch out his hand first, blessing the first portion of the bread or the new wine." (Community Rule as above)
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Old 07-26-2001, 11:19 PM   #2
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The phrase "(un)circumcised (of) heart" is straight out of the Hebrew Bible. See Lev 26:41 , Deut 30:6, Jer 9:26, and Ezek 44:7,9.

Speaking loosely, the Qumranians exhibited both the apocalyptic eschatology of early Christianity as well as the hypernomianism of rabbinic Judaism. Fellowship (e.g. communal meals, rules enforcing sectarian brotherhood) is a common feature of virtually all sectarian movements, so this doesn't strike me as a particularly compelling parallel. Again, I think eschatology is where the parallels to Christianity are strongest. But even there, many of these currents could be detected within the general milieu of late 2nd Temple Judaism, as often attested in the pseudepigrapha.

[ July 27, 2001: Message edited by: Apikorus ]
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Old 07-27-2001, 07:34 AM   #3
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Originally posted by Apikorus:
<STRONG>The phrase "(un)circumcised (of) heart" is straight out of the Hebrew Bible. See Lev 26:41 , Deut 30:6, Jer 9:26, and Ezek 44:7,9.</STRONG>
Thanks for following up. In this case I agree that Luke probably recast Stephen as an Ezekiel figure rather than relied upon the same oral material that went into 1QS or other Qumran sect writings. When I was re-reading Stephen's speech last night it reminded me that Luke has a nice way of setting up a scene and putting great speeches into his protagonists' mouths. The whole story is very similar to the passion except Stephen gets to say a whole lot more.
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Old 07-29-2001, 04:41 AM   #4
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Stephen was the Good Samaritan, Jonathan Annas, In the list
of apostles, he appears as Jacob of Alphaeus. It was Annas'
priestliness, together with a certain pomposity that is
attested by Josephus (who said that his death was brought
about in the fifties AD because he irritated the Roman
governor by frequently interfering*) that led to a division
in his following. The Christians emerged from the peace
hellenists as laymen who did not need a priest as a leader;
Jesus could occupy all three leadership roles. Jesus,
during his ministry, consistently challenged Jonathan for
his position of priest. As high priest in AD 37 Jonathan
was called in Acts Stephen, meaning "crown".
Jonathan speaks for 3 hours, giving a history of the
ascetic movement from early 1st century BC (A 7:1-53). He
is rejected as high priest. His brother Theophilus has
been appointed in his place (Ant. 18:123-124, September 24
AD 37) Theophilus completes the sectarian atonement, with
Jesus acting as his Second. Jonathan Annas, now reduced to
a witness, looks through the side window into the Holy of
Holies (A 7:55-58) .....

*(Ant 20-162) Felix also bore an ill will to Jonathan, the
high priest, because he frequently gave him admonitions
about governing the Jewish affairs better than he did,

As I have said before, Jesus survived the
crucifixion, also, the gospels are full of
pseudo-names, locations, and times. Egypt
was Qumran, heaven was the holy of holies,
and there was another Jerusalem.

thanks, offa
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Old 07-29-2001, 11:12 AM   #5
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Hmmm could someone recomend a good bookweb site on the possibility that "Jesus" lived in the B.C.s or never existed.
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Old 07-29-2001, 04:18 PM   #6
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Hmmm could someone recomend a good bookweb site on the possibility that "Jesus" lived in the B.C.s or never existed. "

One Hundred Years Before Christ by Alvar Ellegard.

The Jesus Puzzel by Earl Doherty
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