טומאת המקדש ו'יחסי החוץ' של כת קומראן בראשית התקופה החשמונאית

Translated title of the contribution: The Temple Impurity and Qumran's "Foreign Affairs" in the Early Hasmonean Period

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Abstract

Although 4QMMT and the theological and halakhic concepts of impurity in the Dead Sea Scrolls have already been studied extensively, it seems that the attitude of the Qumran sectarians concerning the Temple and its worshippers in the early Hasmonean period still remains unclarified. It is suggested that the study of 4QMMT may contribute to the understanding of the Qumranic claim that the Temple is defiled. Our analysis of the halakhot in 4QMMT leads to the conclusion that all of them deal with one major issue — the defilement of the Temple. Thus, the impurity of the Temple (and consequently the uselessness of its ritual) is the problem that concerns the authors of the scroll. Therefore, we conclude that the purpose of the appeal to the addressee (presumably a high priest) is the authors' wish to persuade him to purify the Temple by adopting their halakhot. Given the absence of any traces of acrimonious conflict between the authors and the addressee, it is possible, that hoping that the addressee would subscribe to their halakhic views, the sectarian's major aim was to return to Jerusalem and take part in the Temple ritual. In contrast to the authors' moderate approach towards the addressee, although he bore responsibility for the ritual impurity of the Temple cult, we suggest that the other group depicted in 4QMMT, רוב העם ('the multitude of the people') was held to be defiled by the impurity of immorality. This kind of impurity is more severe and difficult to remove, and it too endangers the Temple. Hence, in the hortatory section of 4QMMT there is a theological notion that the sins and 'evil ways' of רוב העם are defiling, and consequently they bring this impurity into the Temple. This notion of impurity became a major motif in the Qumranic attitude to the 'Wicked Priest' and the Temple. In Pesher Ḥabakkuk, the Damascus Covenant and the Community Rule, moral impurity is much more significant than ritual impurity, and it signifies the rupture between the Qumran sect and defiled Temple, as well as its worshippers — עדת אנשי העול ('the congregation of the men of sin'). Hence, it is possible to reconstruct not only the roots of the opposition of the Qumran sectarians to the Temple, but also its development from the endeavor for integration in MMT to the concept of total break which is typical of the Community Rule.
Translated title of the contributionThe Temple Impurity and Qumran's "Foreign Affairs" in the Early Hasmonean Period
Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)133-156
Number of pages24
JournalZion
Volume64
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

IHP Publications

  • ihp
  • Damascus document
  • Eretz Israel -- History -- 586 B.C.-70 A.D., Exilic and Second Temple period
  • Habakkuk Commentary
  • Jewish law -- History
  • Manual of Discipline
  • Purity, ritual (Jewish law)
  • Qumran community
  • Temple of Jerusalem (Jerusalem, Israel)
  • ארץ-ישראל -- היסטוריה -- תקופת בית שני (587 לפנה"ס- 70 לספירה)
  • בית המקדש
  • הלכה -- היסטוריה
  • טומאה וטהרה (יהדות)
  • כת מדבר יהודה
  • מגילת ברית דמשק
  • מקצת מעשי התורה (מגילה)
  • סרך היחד
  • פשר חבקוק

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