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weinerdog73 commented on a post in r/AskBibleScholars
weinerdog73 2 points

Preface: I'm getting most of this information from Flint and Vanderkam's The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls and a bit from my own research.

For background on the Dead Sea Scrolls, see my answer here: http://goedhartvoordieren.nl/?page=r/AskHistorians/comments/5sz5mi/what_do_we_know_because_of_the_dead_sea_scrolls/ddj8ife/

And for background on the question of whether the DSS were written by the Essenes, see here: http://goedhartvoordieren.nl/?page=r/AcademicBiblical/comments/3z27v7/identification_of_qumranites_as_essenes_yay_or_nay/cyiwby8/

Now, I'm actually in the middle of a paper on an apparent controversy between most of these groups (Pharisees/Rabbis, Essenes, Christians, Hasmoneans) in the centuries surrounding Jesus, so I don't have as much time to spend on this as I'd like to, but I'm hoping I can offer some insight nonetheless.

This was a big question after the initial dissemination of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in fact goes back at least as far as 1790, when a writer by the name of Karl Bahrdt "tried to account for the mysteries in Jesus' life by suggesting that he was a "secret agent" of the Essenes" (F/K 321). Ernest Renan had a similar take, that Jesus was trained by the Essenes, in 1863.

When the Scrolls first came to light, there was something of an explosion of scholarship about Jesus and Qumran. Most people didn't know many details about them other than the facts that there were biblical scrolls and peculiar sectarian scrolls, and that they ranged from the third century BCE to the first century CE. Not only that, but there was this mysterious "Teacher of Righteousness" that was referenced in a lot of the scrolls. Some responses were measured and some were outlandish. In 1950, André Dupont-Sommer wrote a measured analysis:

Everything in the Jewish New Covenant heralds and prepares the way for the Christian New Covenant. The Galilean Master, as He is presented in the writings of the New Testament, appears in many respects as an astonishing reincarnation of the Teacher of Righteousness. Like the latter He preached penitence, poverty, humility, love of one's neighbour, chastity. Like him, He prescribed the observance of the Law of Moses, the whole Law, but the Law finished and perfected, thanks to his own revelations. Like him He was the Elect and Messiah of God, the Messiah redeemer of the world [...]

That being said, he writes in the work that the Teacher of Righteousness, who most likely died nearly a century before Jesus, is useful for contextualization of the Jesus movement more than any kind of real spiritual forerunner.

Then things go off the rails a bit with the speculation. John Marco Allegro, who was on the original team of Dead Sea Scrolls editors, is a curious case of an academic mind going haywire. He started out quite measured, writing in 1956,

We should be wise at this stage to avoid too dogmatic assertions about the life of the Teacher or the manner of his death, or make too sweeping comparisons or contrasts with the Christian Master.

But then, as his views became increasingly odd, he came out in 1970 with The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East, in which he "proposed that early Christianity was a orgiastic fertility cult that made use of a hallucinogenic mushroom containing the drug psilocybin. Moreover, Jesus never actually existed, but was invented by early Christians under the influence of this drug."

Another author, Barbara Thiering, wrote that all characters referenced in the DSS (The Wicked Priest, Teacher of Righteousness, etc.) corresponded to characters in the early Christian movement. She claims, according to F/K, that "Jesus marries Mary Magdalene twice, he is crucified near the Qumran complex but does not die, his unconscious body is placed in Cave 8, and he later lives out his days in Rome as an old man" (326).

I'm getting off track talking about the most extreme speculations (mostly because I find them fun to read about).

Many scholars have noted the similarities between John the Baptist's lifestyle and teachings and those of the Qumranites. Flint and Vanderkam note four things specifically:

1) John's family background and lineage: John was born to elderly parents. According to Josephus, Qumranites didn't marry, but they would adopt children, regard them as kin, and bring them up in their teachings.

2) Location of John's ministry: John taught in the Judean wilderness and it would be fair (though not sure) to assume that he came in contact with the sect at Qumran.

3) John's ministry shared many features with the Qumranites: An urgent message that the time was at hand, and the prominent place of baptism.

4) John's interpretive methods: they use similar passages of scripture as proof texts of their own teachings.

Now this is where scholars (myself included) would put forth something of a fork in the road. There is evidence (which I will get to presently) of similarities between aspects of the gospels and the writings at Qumran, but does this mean (A) that Jesus was an Essene or had studied with the Essenes or (B) that one or more of the gospel-writing communities had roots in the Essene movement? I suppose it depends on how faithful you believe the gospels are to Jesus' actual person and teachings. Anywho, here's a list of DSS passages that sound like the gospels:

1) In the Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521), we read, "For He shall heal the critically wounded, He shall raise the dead, He shall bring good news to the poor, He shall lead the holy ones, and the hungry He shall enrich [...]

2) In 4Q246 (Apocryphon of Daniel), we read, "Also his son will be called great, and be designated by his name. He will be called the Son of God, they will call him the son of the Most High [...]"

3) 4Q525 (Blessings of the Wise or Beatitudes): "Blessed is the one who speaks truth with a pure heart and does not slander with his tongue. Blessed are those who hold fast to its statutes and do not hold fast to the ways of injustice. Blessed are those who rejoice in it, and do not burst forth on paths of folly. Nlessed are those who seek it with pure hands and do not search for it with deceitful heart."

I need to cut it short here because I've lost some valuable writing time, but I'd suggest you pick up the Flint and Vanderkam book (A) because it's great and (B) because it has a good chapter on this question. I'll close out by suggesting that you read some of the Dead Sea Scrolls (including the Thanksgiving Hymns), and then read the Gospel of John. It's fascinating to read in sequence, and you can find lengthy conference proceedings on the subject.

In conclusion, there are arguments that could be made for Jesus having learned something from the Essenes, or at least from John the Baptist who might have learned it from the Essenes, but it depends how much you're willing to speculate. For me, the likeliest possibility is that, supposing some or all of the gospel-writing communities were originally Jewish and decided to follow Jesus's interpretation of the Law instead, it stands to reason that some of those Jews would have been of the Essene persuasion. I'm personally of the mind that the community that put forth the Gospel of John was more than likely coming from this background, based on the similarities in their methods of interpreting Hebrew scripture. But that's a discussion for another time. I hope this wasn't insanely long and boring!

weinerdog73 commented on a post in r/AskBibleScholars
welchie98 6 points

Probably around between 0-50AD, around Jesus's time.

weinerdog73 5 points

If we're talking about the first century CE, I can offer some insight here about Jewish thought on the subject around the time of the gospels and letters. Unfortunately, I can't speak to Roman concepts of it, so maybe someone can fill in those blanks.

A catholic synonym for the sin of masturbation is "Onanism", so we can go back to the biblical story of Onan for a straight forward explanation of why masturbation is evil........ except the story doesn't really mention masturbation at all. I won't explain the whole story here for the sake of brevity, but the jist of it is that Onan, faced with his Levirate duty to conceive a child with his late brother's wife, pulls out, spills his seed on the ground instead, and is immediately struck dead by God.

The use of Onan as the poster boy for masturbation really only came into fashion in the early 18th century (with the publication by an anonymous author of the pamphlet "Onania" that set off an anti-masturbatory craze, the reverberations of which we still feel today) BUT there was discussion of what exactly Onan's sin was, and some of the conclusions involve masturbation.

Starting with the Jewish thinker Philo of Alexandria (20BCE-50CE), we read that Onan's sin was "going beyond all bounds in love of self and love of pleasure."

In the Talmud (Yevamoth 34b), the traditions of which were forming around this time, we read that Onan and his brother (also struck dead for the same reason) "indulged in unnatural intercourse," and that the wife they were supposed to be sexing, Tamar, "exercised friction with her finger" without penalty.

Elsewhere in the Talmud (Niddah 13a), we read:

Whosoever emits semen in vain deserves death, for it is said in Scripture. And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of the Lord, and He slew him also. R. Isaac and R. Ammi said, He is as though he shed blood for it is said in Scripture, Ye that inflame yourselves among the terebinths, under every leafy tree, that slay the children in the valleys under the clefts off the rocks; read not 'that slay' but 'that press out'.

As you can see, men who "inflame themselves" and "press out their children" under the trees of the field deserve death.

So I guess it was frowned upon, but there's always the question of whether or not this attitude was put into practice in the greater society. It's pretty certain, though, that in religious circles it would have been a no-no.

Edit: grammar

weinerdog73 commented on a post in r/politics
weinerdog73 3 points

This is an honest question from a Canadian who doesn't have a horse in this race and doesn't really understand American politics or the legal system.

It seems like every day a new bombshell drops incriminating Trump and his squad, and I see all of these comments about what a huge bombshell this is and how fucked Trump (or one of his cronies) is, and nothing ever actually happens. With the hype around here, it's like he's getting impeached imminently, day after day. But again, nothing ever happens to him.

Am I missing something? Is something brewing? Is this all leading to something tangible? Or is it futile?

I really want to know what you think, and I hope this came off the way I wanted it to, as a genuine and honest question.

Edit: formatting

uncovered-history 12 points

The answer /u/LordKettering gave is absolutely spot on, however, I wanted to perhaps add one detail to add some context.

I'd like to also confirm that tarring and feathering was not an every day action, nor was it one that was publicly supported by the majority of the gentry. However, some people, like wealthy merchant John Hancock of Boston who made a fortune off of smuggling and were now facing issues due to the British enforcing mercantilism and vice admiralty courts, were suspected of having worked with influence Bostonians to have some people harmed.

I've found that many people believe, for one reason or another, that apart from the battles, the American Revolution was a profoundly non-violent affair. This is not entirely accurate. Yes, the American Revolution was not nearly as violent towards the elite or ruling class as the French Revolution, but there was still its fair share of violence that was perpetrated mostly by the masses. A slang term used for this in parts of the 13 colonies, and also abroad in England during this time is 'Rough Music,' which was the 17th and 18th century term used by mobs against people who offended them. One of the ways that they acted against people who offended them, was indeed tarring and feathering people -- but this was not the only show of force against these people. Tarring and feathering was not intended to be fatal and all sources I've ever come across indicates that it was non-fatal, but caused excruciating pain. The goal was also to create a massive amount of social embarrassment since people were traditionally stripped naked before this action took place. It's also worth noting that it typically happened after it appeared that non-violent forms of protest failed, or the person in question was deemed to despicable to allow them to suffer other consequences. As historian Alan Taylor explained:

When social pressure failed, Patriots resorted to violence. At night, they fired into the homes of dissidents, toppled fences, and smashed windows. Sometimes, they broke in to drag out a man for tarring and feathering before forcing him to ride atop a sharp rail as a fifer and drummer played the rogue’s march for his parade through a mocking community. In Virginia in 1775, a teacher noted, “‘Tar and Feathers with their necessary Appendages, Scoff and Shame, are popular Terrors, and of great Influence.” In Georgia, Thomas Brown refused to sign the Continental Association. Patriots knocked him unconscious with the butt end of a musket, tied him to a tree, tarred his legs, and set them on fire, which cost him two toes. After partially scalping Brown, they carted him through the streets for public ridicule. By abusing and shaming Loyalists as despised outsiders, rituals of intimidation helped draw wavering neighbors into the Patriot rank. (1)

Taylor's point is that while it was non-fatal, the Patriot movements absolutely did not shirk away from using violence if it would fit their cause. There are hundreds of incidents similar to these where people or their property were harmed. While tarring and feathering was not an every day occurrence during the prelude to the American Revolution, it absolutely happened, it was a form of mob violence, and it was intended to embarrass the victims and terrify dissenters watching on the sidelines.

1) Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History 1750 - 1806 pp 188

weinerdog73 1 point

This is an excellent answer! (Along with /u/LordKettering of course). Thank you!

weinerdog73 commented on a post in r/nba
[deleted] 6 points

I've gotten shit on because I'll sometimes post my age here so people can know that I saw so-and-so event live.

Come at my 16-year olds!

Edit: Sorry for the "my vs. me" mistake above, but I'm typing from my Blackberry.

weinerdog73 8 points

age checks out re: blackberry

weinerdog73 commented on a post in r/AcademicBiblical
weinerdog73 5 points

I very very strongly suggest Robert Alter's translations. His work on Job is found in his volume The Wisdom Books, and he goes into how biblical poetry works.. He also has a book called The Art of Biblical Poetry that's probably worth a read for you. I'm just finishing up his earlier one, The Art of Biblical Narrative, right now.

weinerdog73 commented on a post in r/Archaeology
[deleted] -1 points

[deleted]

weinerdog73 4 points

I would understand this if it said "Israel" but the Judean Hills are a geographical region and have nothing to do with politics. You get a downvote.

weinerdog73 commented on a post in r/AskHistorians
SapphireEyes 2 points

The bonus fun fact about Na'hash is in 1 Samuel *11!

weinerdog73 3 points

Corrected, thanks!

webtwopointno 3 points

the Thanksgiving Hymns, which are a collection of really beautiful psalm-style poems. I really suggest reading them.

can you recommend a book? bilingual if possible

Thanks for all these answers by the way! very fascinating. Have you been to the museum?

weinerdog73 9 points

[Geza Vermes' translation](The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English: Seventh Edition https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0141197315/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_S4tNybVNACXJ7) has all the non biblical texts, including the hymns.

And yeah, the Scrolls exhibit came to my neck of the woods when I was a kid, and I way-too-briefly saw them again in Jerusalem a couple of years ago. Hope to see them again soon.

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