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Monday, March 16, 2009

Dead Sea Scrolls Not Written by Essenes

In my books I have repeatedly addressed the decades-old contention that the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the esoteric Jewish sect of the Essenes, demonstrating that the evidence shows otherwise. A recent article in TIME highlights the claim by Jewish scholar Dr. Rachel Elior that likewise views the Dead Sea Scrolls as a product of someone other than the Essenes:

This title, of course, is not only sensational but also erroneous, in that the Essenes were evidently not the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the first place. Someone obviously wrote the scrolls, so they certainly existed. Elior, however, is taking this contention one step further and saying that the Essenes themselves never existed. As TIME relates:
As Elior explains, the Essenes make no mention of themselves in the 900 scrolls found by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947 in the caves of Qumran, near the Dead Sea. "Sixty years of research have been wasted trying to find the Essenes in the scrolls," Elior tells TIME. "But they didn't exist. This is legend on a legend."
While I would wager that an esoteric sect of the "Essenic" nature certainly did exist in Judea, as it did elsewhere around the Mediterranean, including at Lake Mareotis in Egypt, I definitely agree that the evidence points elsewhere as to the authorship of the scrolls. In my book The Christ Conspiracy (1999), I fleshed out the scholarship that logically attributes the scrolls to the Zadokites, a certain group of Sadducees, as the authors deemed themselves.

In a chapter entitled, "Essenes, Zealots and Zadokites," I write:
The idea of a monolithic Essene community from which Christianity issued was...given fuel with the discovery in 1947 of the caches of scrolls in caves near the ruined site of Qumran along the Dead Sea in present-day Jordan. However, there is yet another debate as to whether or not Qumran was indeed an Essene community....

In reality, the archaeological finds indicate Qumran was not an Essene community but a waystation for travelers and merchants crossing the Dead Sea. In Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, Norman Golb evinced that Qumran was a fortress, not a monastery... In addition, Golb posited that the scrolls were not written by any Essene scribes but constituted a collection from libraries in Jerusalem secreted in caves throughout eastern Palestine by Jews fleeing the Roman armies during the First Revolt of 70 CE.... The Dead Sea collection is in fact eclectic, representing more than one sect or priesthood, competitors, in actuality.... (Acharya, The Christ Conspiracy, 301)
Although the DSS represent an eclectic collection, some of the original scrolls--those composed possibly using the inkpots found at Qumran--were written by individuals who could be categorized as Zealots and who, again, identified themselves as Zadokites, after the Old Testament priest Zadok, founder of the Sadducees. In this regard, in The Christ Conspiracy, I further state:
At the end of the second century BCE, Galilee was violently subjugated by the Judeans... After this invasion and forcible conversion, the ranks of the Herodian outpost Qumran supposedly swelled, evidently with Samaritans and Galileans, or Zealots "from Damascus," who also were the Sadducees, or "sons of Zadok," i.e., "the priests who keep the covenant," as the Zealots of the scrolls identified themselves. Indeed, Solomon Schechter, the discoverer of the Cairo edition of one important scroll also found at the Dead Sea--the "Zadokite Document," also known as the "Damascus Rule" or "Damascus Covenant"--considered the Dead Sea Zadokites an "offshoot" of the Sadducean sect, "possibly the Dosithean schism," thereby equating this Sadducean offshoot with the Samaritans. (Acharya, CC, 306)
In this same manner, TIME recently related:
So who were the real authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Elior theorizes that the Essenes were really the renegade sons of Zadok, a priestly caste banished from the Temple of Jerusalem by intriguing Greek rulers in 2nd century B.C. When they left, they took the source of their wisdom — their scrolls — with them. "In Qumran, the remnants of a huge library were found," Elior says, with some of the early Hebrew texts dating back to the 2nd century B.C.
In consideration of this current debate, it is wise to keep in mind that scholarship on various subjects is not always set in stone, as we can see in this instance. The Essene authorship of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been treated as if factual for several decades; yet, not only was there no evidence for such an attribution but the scrolls themselves pointed elsewhere, with the authors identifying themselves as Zadokites.

Moreover, this Zadokite attribution, which I developed in a book published in 1999, unravels some of the difficulties in discerning Christian origins, which I also detailed in that same book, tracing many influences upon Christianity not only to the Zadokites but also to other sects within the Mediterranean region as a whole.

While Dr. James Charlesworth rebuts Elior's statements by claiming that the term "Essenes" would not appear in the scrolls, because it is a "foreign word." Be that as it may, Josephus specifically refers to three separate sects, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes, which indicates he believed that the Sadducees/Zadokites and Essenes were not the same group. Says, the Jewish historian:
At this time there were three sects among the Jews, who had different opinions concerning human actions; the one was called the sect of the Pharisees, another the sect of the Sadducees, and the other the sect of the Essenes..." (Ant., XIII, V, 9)
To this day, the majority of people perceive these two as distinct groups, for a variety of reasons, including their "different opinions concerning human actions." It is my contention, however, that all three were instrumental in the creation of Christianity.

For more information, see:

The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled
Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ya know what, I read this blog and went to grab my copy of Christ Conspiracy ... skimming through it again I realize (once again) how great a book it really is. You've been accurate far more than the critics & detractors can afford to admit. This blog is just one more example of that. You go girl!

Anonymous said...

No wonder the Cathoholics tried to hide their findings for so long.

Family Resources said...

Judging by my read of The Law of One and other related material, it appears to be quite possible that the same social memory complex
"Lucifer" written about in The Book of Job is the same group that created religion.

It appears that its primary goal was and still is to create a hierarchy of control, is why The true Christ was so adamantly opposed to Church Inc.

Therefore, the foundation for The Old World's Order is based on religion, however, it is probable that this generation will be the one to see (after Anti-Christ has done its duty) the end of religiosity in The true Christ's coming New World Order System of governance.

Let us therefore focus our conscious intend, not on the storm, but rather on He who over came the storm, as we watch the last dieing breaths of The Old World Order.

If you desire more of this understanding, click on the link "Family Resources" to view the material.