THE DEAD SEA SCROLLSDear List Members:
This article on the Dead Sea Scrolls is writen by Frederick Hiebel, an early Anthroposophist who worked with Rudolf Steiner, and the article [which I have in 2 sections] was published perhaps 20 years ago or more in one of the Anthroposophical Journals, the name of which I cannot recall exactly, but the editor, unless I'm mistaken, at the time was Henry Barnes, and now Christy Barnes.
The praise for Dr. Burrows is well deserved, I feel, and his findings were the first dealing specifically with the Dead Sea Scrolls per se which I read. If memory serves correctly, he was amazed and saddened by the halt brought to translating these Scrools by Egypt's wish for preservation, although there is much more to it than that. Surely if the entire material contained in the Scrolls was publicised, organised religion would suffer a mighty blow to its very existence; but this is only my opinion gained from my own thoughts based upon the material itself and the unusual and sudden denial of access to these works as though a curtain went down to cover them.
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
Starting in the spring of 1947, in eleven caves around Khirbet Qumran along the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, there were discovered a number of manuscripts that have come to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They have attracted enormous interest ever since they were identified.
The scrolls originated in an Essene settlement resembling a monastery at Khirbet Qumran. Five seasons of excavation in the years 1951 56 brought to light the ruins of the Essene´s cloister and of a scriptorium where the manuscripts had been written and assembled. Even some of the equipment for writing was discovered. Study of a number of coins found on the site indicated that the cloister was built about 100 B.C., destroyed about 31 B.C., and again destroyed about 70 A.D. Carbon-14 tests show with reasonable certainty that the scrolls could have been produced as early as 100 B.C.
The contents of the scrolls point to the following facts, although it must be recognized that practically every aspect of the matter is the subject of continuing and vigorous debate among the experts:
1. The teacher and leader of the Essenes is never given a personal name, being referred to as the Teacher of Righteousness of God´s Elect. The same is true of the "wicked priest" or "man of the life," but he is generally identified as the Jewish priest-king Alexander Jannaeus (ruled 103-76 B.C.). The martyr´s death of the Teacher of Righteousness is dated to the beginning of Alexander´s reign, thus again giving us a figure of about 100 B.C.
2. The Essenes were the most important religious group in the last pre-Christian years in Palestine. Their rules, rites of initiation, prayers, and hymns all show that they had a highly developed secret teaching and apocalyptic doctrine.
3. The Essenes expected the coming of a final prophet and the birth of a priestly as well as a kingly Messiah.
4. The Essenes were aware of Zarathustra´s Persian doctrine of the war of light against darkness. They called it the war of the Archangel Michael against Belial, the Prince of Darkness.
5. Khirbet Qumran is located very close to the site of the Baptism in Jordan. The ritual of the Essenes reminds us of John´s baptism with water. John the Baptist, and also the youthful Jesus, must have had some connection with the Essenes of Qumran.
The discoveries in the first cave were already enough to astonish the scientific world. The items of principal interest to us were as follows:
THE MANUAL OF DISCIPLINE. This sets forth the ritual and rules of the Essene order. These tally very well with the descriptions given by Flavuis Josephus and Philo of Alexandria.
THE WAR OF THE SONS OF LIGHT WITH THE SONS OF DARKNESS. This shows the light-versus-darkness theme in the Essene views of the approaching end, and gives the final summons of the Archangel Michael.
THE HYMNS AND THANKSGIVING PSALMS. These give us a glimpse into the Essene esoterics.
THE HABAKKUK COMMENTARY. This interprets the first 2 chapters of the prophet. The Teacher of Righteousness is referred to very particularly. Everyone who sought to join the Essenes had to be convinced as to the message of the Teacher, who stood in opposition to the "wicked priest."
THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT. This was not entirely new, a copy of it having been found about 1896 in Cairo and published in 1910. A second copy was found at Qumran. Here again the Teacher of Righteousness is contrasted to the "preacher of the lie."
Among the many finds in other caves, we will mention only the MESSIANIC FLORILEGIUM, which is especially important for its references to the "David Messiah" and the "Teacher of the Torah" (the priestly Messiah); and the COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH, which describes the David Messiah, who was to rule and judge under the guidance of the priestly Messiah.
The work of deciphering and publishing began in 1947, and there has been a flood of scientific essays by representatives of numerous religions and philosophical positions. Even a specialist can
Hardly keep track of the literature. Many of the manuscripts, however, have not yet been deciphered because of their poor condition, hence a good deal of completely new material will be available in the future and may give us deeper insight.
THE SEARCH FOR THE ESSENES
Various antique writers speak of the Essenes in Palestine and the likeminded Therapeutae in Egypt. Philo of Alexandria, Flavius Josephus, and Pliny the Younger describe in varying length the life in the Essene communities, which seem to have had about four thousand members at the time when Jesus was born. These people led a contemplative life, whether or not they were actually in monasteries; abstained from all meat and alcohol; and devoted themselves to the ascetic attainment of purity and virtue.
In the 19th century, a retionalistic critic of the Bible such as Ernest Renan could still include the Essenes in his reconstruction of Jesus´ life. In the present century, however, it was until very recently considered unscientific and fantastic to discuss the Essenes. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has changed all this. Full of doubts at the beginning, cautiously changing their views, and finally abandoning all hesitation, the scholars have concluded that Khirbet Qumran was the center of the Essene communities, and that the scrolls in the caves were part of a systematic collection of the books of the order.
The Director of the American School of Oriental Research at Jerusalem for the year 1947 was Miller Burrows, professor of biblical theology at Yale. Professor Burrows was connected with the discoveries at Khirbet Qumran from the beginning and has published his views in two books: The Dead Sea Scrolls (Viking, 1956) and More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Viking, 1958). Since these works scrupulously report the widely differing opinions of other scholars, they are probably the best sources of information for the general public. (Our latest quotations from Professor Burrows refer to the first of these 2 books.) Therefore we will rely heavily on Professor Burrows´ exposition of the various texts.
In Burrows´ earliest remarks (published in a news release dated 11 April, 1948) the first text was called "a manual of discipline of some comparatively little-known sect of monastic order, possibly the Essenes." Half a year later, in September of 1948, he spoke of it as a "curious work which I will call for the present the Sectarian Document." At the same time he wrote: "This again appears to confirm the idea that our text is the manual of discipline of a group organized like the later monastic orders in Christianity."
Shortly thereafter Andre Dupont-Sommer of the Sorbonne in Paris asserted vigorously that THE HABAKKUK COMMENTARY and THE MANUAL OF DISCIPLINE came from the Essenes. This was also the opinion of Paul Kahle.
Burrows himself finally concluded that the sectaries at Qumran were Essenes. "The installations uncovered at Khirbet Qumran could be easily understood as belonging to a settlement of the Essenes." (280)
Now Burrows summarizes the results of 7 years of research. The Essenes were in possession of a very special revelation. They regarded the Teacher of Righteousness as the inspired expositor of the divine mysteries. They awaited a final prophet, as well as one Messiah for Aaron (priestly) and a second for Israel (Davidic and kingly). The Messianic expectations of Qumran ran parallel with the sermon of John the Baptist, although "nothing corresponding to the strong organization of the community is attested concerning John´s disciples." (329) Also, the Essene communities must not be equated with the primitive church. "The church was not an exclusive, esoteric group with jealously guarded secret teachings. The gospel given to it had to be proclaimed to all the world." (333)
These carefully weighed surmises and hypotheses have been drawn from the research at Qumran. What did Rudolf Steiner say 50 years earlier?
It is a sad fact that none of the archeaologists and theologians working on the Dead Sea Scrolls have even mentioned Rudolf Steiner´s research on the gospels. Is this because he did not belong to the academic fraternity? The same would be true of Philo, Josephus and Pliny, the scholars of the Talmud and the Kabbala, the writers of the gospels and the epistles. Is it a case of simple ignorance or of conscious ignoring?
No matter what the explanation may be, it is our obligation to call attention to Rudolf Steiner's remarkable discoveries, as well as to the works of his students, particularly Emil Boch´s Caesars and Apostles and The Childhood and Youth of Jesus and the numerous articles by Emil Bock, Rudolf Frieling, and W. Kelber that have appeared in the journal of The Christian Community.
Let us now compare Rudolf Steiner´s Christology with the Qumran results on Essenism and its connection with Jesus. We will begin with a general view of the Essenes, then proceed to the doctrine of the two Messiahs and the problem of identifying the Teacher of Righteousness.
CHRISTIANITY AS MYSTICAL FACT
AND THE RIDDLE OF ESSENISM
The earliest work in which Rudolf Steiner dealt with the Gospels was Christianity as Mystical Fact (1902). The 10th chapter, which discusses the Essenses, is already different from the other 12 chapters in the book. It is the shortest by a considerable margin, and the German original is divided into only 2 paragraphs. The first paragraph discusses Essenism in general, and the second edition (1910) makes only 4 changes in it (three single words and a short subordinate clause). The second paragraph, which goes into the Essenes´ attitude toward Jesus and touches on the Baptism in Jordan, is completely reworked in the second edition.
The first paragraph describes the Essenes as "a community which required its members to lead a life that would bring man close to becoming divine." The last clause was altered in the second edition. In place of the general concept of "becoming divine," it now reads "should lead a life that developed a higher self within the soul and brought about a new birth."
The Essene movement is described as a connecting link between the Myseries of antiquity and the founding of Christianity. The contents of the heathen Mysteries, which had been revealed only to a few initiates, appeared among the Essenes embodied in the form of communities. "In the wisdom of the Mysteries is to be sought the soil out of which grew the spirit of Christianity. All that was needed was the gaining ground of the fundamental conviction that this spirit must be introduced into life in greater measure than had been the case with the Mysteries." Such a fundamental conviction prevailed in the Essene comminities.
With the aid of a long quotation from Philo´s book On the Contemplative Life, Rudolf Steiner described the tests and vows of the Essenes. He was actually summarizing the then unknown contents of the MANUAL OF DISCIPLINE for the benefit of readers who, 50 years before the finds at Qumran, had no access to the problems concerning the Essenes. The passage from Philo describes the dwellings of the members of the community, and especially their consecrated chamber. Such a chamber is now visible to our eyes in the excavations at Qumran. The passage also mentions how the members of the order devoted themselves to the exposition of sacred writings. This activity is clearly reflected in the scriptorium at Qumran, and is embodied in the Scrolls themselves.
The first paragraph culminates in the assertion that the communities of the Essenes and Therapeutae formed a natural transition from the Mysteries of antiquity to the founding of Christianity. Then follows the lapidary sentence: "Christianity, however, wished to convert into the business of mankind in general that they had made the business of a sect."
The Essenes are the bridge from the Mysteries to Christianity. This is why Steiner presents them as the historical background of the life of Jesus. This proposition has its full impact, however, only when we read this chapter as one of the 13 in the book and bear in mind the contents of the preceding 9 chapters. Rudolf Steiner was reckoning with readers who would not regard the contents of the Mysteries as fantastic allegories, which is the way they are usually presented by modern scholars. He saw them as the embodiment of direct spiritual experience, conveying pure reality despite their enigmatic language.
This is the decisive point through which Rudolf Steiner tried to awaken the consciousness of modern intellectualism.
The second paragraph of Chapter 10 is devoted to a problem that has greatly exercised the students of the Dead Sea Scrolls what are the differences between the Essenes and the communities of the primitive Christian church, between the Teacher of Righteousness and Christ? A careful comparison of the 2 versions of this paragraph shows clearly how, along with his spiritual research, Rudolf Steiner was wrestling continually with problems of style and clarity.
In 1902 Rudolf Steiner wrote: "The existence of such sects makes the personality of Jesus fully understandable." The word "fully" was deleted in revision, because it sometimes misled careless readers into thinking that Jesus had been an Essene. The second edition was expanded to read as follows: "The existence of such sects enables us to understand to what extent the times were ripe for grasping the Christ mystery."
In the first edition we read: "They (such sects as the Essenes) offered the possibility that, in a man in whom lay the highest spiritual qualities, these should actually be converted into reality." The second edition changes this to the following: "In the Mysteries, a man was artificially prepared for the dawning upon his consciousness, at the appropriate time, of the spiritual world." The 2 formulations mean pretty much the same thing, but the latter is better in that it makes the application more general (Mysteries rather than sects) and speaks of the gradual ascent of a well prepared soul into the spiritual world rather than of a vague conversion of spiritual qualities into reality.
The first edition continues: "In such a community each person is awakened to the extent permitted by the stage at which his soul stands." The second edition makes this clearer and more generally applicable: "Within the Essene or Therapeutic community the soul sought, by a certain mode of life, to make itself ripe for the awakening of the higher man."
Rudolf Steiner now begins to focus more clearly on the figure of Jesus as this gradually emerges from the historical background of Essenism. The differences in the second edition are so great that we will set longer passages beside each other for comparison:
"A Buddha-nature differs from that of an ordinary person in that its soul-life has evolved much further. It has a larger spiritual inheritance than the other; more numerous spiritual ancestors. It is born with higher capacities, which these ancestors have worked out. The belief in the return of the souls is a premise for the conduct of life in the manner of the Essenes and Therapeutae. The more highly developed soul will rise to a higher rank in the governing hierarchy. It will be an initiate of higher degree. Such a Buddha-nature is cultivated in the community." (1902)
"A further step forward is that one struggles through to the feeling that a human individuality may have evolved to higher and higher stages of perfection in repeated lives on earth. One who had arrived at a glimpse of this truth would also be able to feel that in Jesus a being of lofty spirituality had appeared. The loftier the spirituality, the greater the possibility of accomplishing something of importance." (1910)
The first edition speaks of "the belief in the return of souls." The second edition improves this by speaking of "repeated lives on earth."
The expression "a Buddha-nature" appears twice in the first edition, and is compounded shortly thereafter by the phrases "Buddha-personality" and "Buddha-Jesus." All these are dropped in the second edition. They were originally employed by Rudolf Steiner (and here we should recall that in 1901 and 1902 he was lecturing on "From Buddha to Christ" at the same time that he gave the lectures on which Christianity as Mystical Fact is based) to designate the grade of perfection of a very highly developed being such as had appeared in Jesus. He expressly states that in this "Buddha-Jesus" the divine spirit of the Logos was able to become flesh. Nevertheless, a superficial reader (and there are many such, even among scholars) could misinterpret this passage and conclude that Jesus, in whom the Christ-spirit became flesh, had proceeded directly out of Essenism. This is why the revised version no longer says that "Essenism enables us to understand the arising of Christianity" and that "the highest personality who could arise out of Essenism" was Jesus.
"Thus, at the time when Christianity arose, the conditions were present under which a new Buddha-personality could be trained and recognized. A Buddha-Jesus could arise in such a community. Essenism and Therapeutism enable us to understand the arising of Christianity." (1902)
"Thus the individuality of Jesus could become capable of accomplishing the deed that the Gospels so mysteriously indicate in the Baptism by John, speaking of it in such a way as to show clearly that they consider it extremely important." (1910)
The most striking difference between the first and second formulations is in the reference to the Baptism by John, through which the Christ ego entered into Jesus. The training of Jesus, especially what he experienced among the Essenes in the years preceding the Baptism, is described as a gradually intensifying process of becoming capable of "accomplishing the deed of the Baptism by John."
The baptism of Jesus is not only John´s activity, to which Jesus passively submits; part and parcel of it is Jesus´ strenuous activity in preparing his soul for the sacrifice entailed for him by the action of the Baptist. This is reflected in the Baptist´s sagely modest remark: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)
"In an Essene community, the Logos could become flesh, i.e. a personality, and dwell there. Jesus was able to be the highest personality who could arise out of Essenism." (1902)
"The personality of Jesus became capable of receiving into its own soul Christ the Logos, so that this was made flesh in him. After this reception, the "ego" of Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and the outer personality was the bearer of the Logos. This event, the "ego" of Jesus becoming the Christ, is enacted in the Baptism by John." (1910)
This fact of the John-Baptism is the climax of the chapter and gives the answer to the central question of how Essenism differs from Christianity.
"The requirement that the basic character of Essenism should become the concern of mankind in general led this personality to become the founder of Christianity. This meant being independent of external forms and concentrating on the training of the soul, so that everything possible could be achieved without the strict regulations of the Essene way of life. This second requirement must now be added to the first. And is was added. The kingdom of God is "not here or there, it is in you." Even without becoming Essenes you can come to a conviction of the truth of the divine. This conviction is the main thing. One who has this will be able to find God everywhere. With this conviction, one need only open his eyes in order to find the divine everywhere." (1902)
"During the epoch of the Mysteries, the "union with the spirit" was the concern of the few persons who were to be initiated. Among the Essenes, a whole community cultivated a way of life that aimed to enable all its members to arrive at this "union." Through the Christ-event, something the deeds of Christ was placed before all mankind so that the "union" might become the knowledge and concern of all mankind." (1910)
The fact of the Baptism in Jordan is the most significant addition to the revised version. It is the climax not only of the chapter, but of the book. Throughout the whole work the motif of the incarnation of the Word of God, which took up residence in the Son of Man, resounds like an organ tone.
We should also note how this theme was gradually built up in the preceding chapters until it could reach the present climax.
The 6th chapter, on "The Mystery Wisdom of Egypt," states in the first edition: "The life of Jesus contains more than the live of Buddha. Buddha showed by his life that man is the Logos and that, when his earthly body dies, he returns into this Logos, into the Light. Jesus is himself the Logos, become a person. In him the Word became flesh." In the second edition, the next-to-last sentence has been slightly clarified to read: "In Jesus the Logos itself became a person."
Another passage in both editions says: "Jesus and Buddha, to those who have recognized their divine nature, are initiates in the most eminent sense." To this the new edition adds, in brackets: "Jesus is an initiate through the indwelling of the Christ Being."
A further step in the metamorphosis of this motif is found in the 8th chapter on "The Lazarus Miracle." Here it is said of Lazarus: "Through his initiation he had become capable of recognizing that the Word that had become alive in him had become a person in Christ Jesus."The first edition had not been quite so explicit: "He is the living Word. In him ancient tradition has become a person."
The highest point in this progression is clearly in the 10th chapter. Here the mystery of the epiphany is directly revealed once and for all: "The personality of Jesus became capable of receiving Christ the Logos into its own soul. After this reception, the ´ego´ of Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and the outer personality was the bearer of the Logos."
However, the Baptism as the birth of Christ in the body of Jesus is inextricably connected with the relationship of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth to the Essenes.
ZARATHUSTRA AND THE DOCTRINE OF THE TWO MESSIAHS
The controversies that have raged among the scholars since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls would serve a good purpose if, as part of the general revision of views on the Bible, they led to some attention being paid of Rudolf Steiner´s work on the subject. The new texts throw a sort of broken light on a number of facts that were clearly expounded in Rudolf Steiner´s lectures on the Gospels before the first World War.
The Essenes were filled with the conviction that this world is divided between the Sons of Light and the Children of Darkness. This Persian doctrine, stemming from Zarathustra, was prt of their basic position. Under Michael´s leadership the Sons of Light were waring against Belial, the figure who appears in Zarathustra´s teachings as Ahriman.
Why, and to what extent, had the heathen views of Zarathustra penetrated into Essene Judaism before the birth of Christ? The answer to this question will throw a good deal of light on the other problems connected with the Essene doctrine of the 2 Messiahs.
THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT is especially rich in passages pointing to a Messiah of Aaron and a Messiah of Israel, a priestly and a Davidic=kingly. In the Essene community the doctrine that in the last days a priestly and a Davidic Messiah would rule side by side became a central dogma. The priestly Messiah outranked the lay Messiah, wow as to come of the House of David. The Old Testament basis for the 2 Messiahs was found in Balaam´s words in Numbers 24:17: "There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel." The Essenes took the star as the sign for the coming of the priestly Messiah and the scepter as that for the kingly Messiah.
This dual expectation of the Messiah is clearly expressed in a sentence of the MANUAL OF DISCIPLINE. "They shall be judged by the first judgment by which the men of the community began to be disciplined, until there shall come a prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel." (Miller Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Viking, 1956, p.383.) This passage shows that the Essenes also expected a last prophet to prepare the way. This can be none other than John the Baptist.
Here are some similar passages from the DAMASCUS DOCUMENT. "These escaped in the period of the first visitation, but those who turned back they delivered to the sword when comes the Messiah of Aaron and Israel." (Burrows, 355).
All the scientific research that has been devoted to this problem in the last few years will never achieve a satisfactory answer as long as it neglects Rudolf Steiner´s work on the gospels. Two basic facts especially must be recognized: the importance of reincarnation in the history of mankind, and the impossibility of Christ´s incarnating on earth a second time.
Rudolf Steiner obtained his information through reading the spiritual script known as the Akashic Record, quite apart from all documents, but his statements can be tested in complete detail by an unprejudiced scholar working from the documents. His access to the Akashic Record enabled Rudolf Steiner to ascertain many facts that solve contradictions and fill gaps in the biblical record. There is no conflict between the two. Often he spoke of his contributions as constituting a "fifth Gospel" that had never yet been written, remarking at the same time that in a sense it was as old as the other four Gospels. Many truths that he presented in a completely new light, in accordance with the consciousness of our time, can not be partially confirmed through apocryphal writings, although these are often mulilated or obscure.
A conspicuous example of this sort of work is Rudolf Steiner´s clarification of the conflicting stories of Matthew and Luke about the childhood of Jesus. It we do not take this into account, we will never completely solve certain questions raised by the Essene texts from Qumran.
The two different genealogies of Jesus have been a baffling problem for the critics from the beginning. Theologians of all camps, schools, and denominations agree that it is impossible to reconcile the two series of ancestors given by Matthew and Luke, to say nothing of their stories of the birth. Thus Charles Guignebert, professor of theology at the Sorbonne, states candidly: "If the two editors of the Matthew and Luke Gospels had gone to the public archives and consulted the records, they would have come out with the same material, subject to errors and omissions. But they not only contradict and vary from each other; they are completely unlike."
In Matthew, Joseph´s father is Jacob; in Luke, he is Heli. Jacob and Heli in turn have different fathers, and desperate appeals to ancient Jewish marriage customs have given no aid in explaining this. Between David and Joseph, Matthew gives only about 42 generations in all, down to Jesus, and he traces Jesus back to Solomon, thus connecting him with the royal line of the House of David. Luke gives 77 generations and shows Jesus as descended from David through the priestly line of Nathan the prophet. Luke´s series is supposed to be about 400 years longer.
We must now look at the style and motifs of the two stories, training our eyes to see the compositional elements in the Gospels. This is what Rudolf Steiner expected from students of the Bible.
In Matthew, the genealogy is at the beginning of the first chapter. In Luke, it appears in the third chapter, after the Baptism in Jordan. Matthew traces the line from Abraham to Joseph, whereas Luke goes beyond Abraham to Adam. The two series move contrapuntally. The first leads from the past to the present and shows us the course of history as a result of the Fall. The second proceeding from the present to the past, seems to suspend history and show us the way from earth to heaven.
Matthew´s story of the birth puts the accent on Joseph, to whom the angel makes the annunciation in a dream. In Luke, the angel appears to Mary. In Matthew, the home is in Bethlehem and the birth takes place in Joseph´s house, where the Wise Men from the east make their appearance. In Luke, the parents live in Nazareth, but are on a journey to Bethlehem; they find no accommodation, and the birth takes place in a stable, whither the shepherds come to worship. In Matthew, Joseph is warned in a dream to escape from Herod´s persecution by fleeing to Egypt. The parents of the Luke child simply return to Nazareth in peace.
The striking thing in Rudolf Steiner´s explanation of the riddles of the birth stories is that he points to two separate Mystery streams lying behind the Matthew and Luke Gospels and their authors. The Matthew Gospel, with its emphasis on the masculine element in the figure of Joseph, leads into the expanses of star-knowledge; in the light of wisdom and sagacity the three Magi follow the golden star. Luke, on the other hand, leads us through the mystery of the Madonna into the midnight-hour of the human inner world, where the shepherds hear the annunciation.
Matthew´s genealogy describes the birth of the golden star (Zoro-Aster, Zarathustra), who, during the Babylonian Exile, had prepared the prophets while incarnated as Zarathos or Nazaratos. The battle of Ormuzd against Ahriman, which Zarathustra had long ago revealed to the Persians, is still the basic mood of the Matthew Gospel. Therefore, many things appear in such a black-white contrast: the Wise Men and Herod; the child fleeing to Egypt, and the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem.
Luke recounts the story as though it had occurred in the chaste moonlight of the midnight-hour. The mood is one of recovery from the Fall, of the redemption of Lucifer.
Matthew´s story of the temptation reaches a climax where Christ turns on Ahriman with the worlds: "Get thee hence, Satan" (Matthew 4:10). Luke, however, does not use the word Satanas, (The King James version, however, says "Get thee behind me, Satan" (Luke 4:8) the original Greek text employing only the word Diablos, or devil, meaning Lucifer. Matthew describes the defeat of Satan-Ahriman. The Magi are able to transform the haughtiness of knowledge into humility and reverence. Luke´s shepherds, innocent souls leading a selfless life, are able to tear the thorn of egotism out of their hearts.
The head´s knowledge, aiming at the wisdom of the stars; the heart´s innocence, resting on the selflessness of the human soul: these were the two Mystery paths that pre-Christian mankind had to tread in order to unite them at the end in the Christ event. Everything depended on this uniting of the two streams.
Rudolf Steiner´s assertion that there were two Jesus boys does not relate only to the stories of descent from the two sons of David, Solomon the kind and Nathan the priest; it also reckons with the problem of their reunion. The unitary Jesus, lost through the contradictions in the Gospels, is restored to us. The clue (recounted only by Luke) is the mysterious three-day sojourn of the 12 year old Jesus in the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.
In his small book, THE SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE OF MAN AND HUMANITY, Rudolf Steiner describes how, in the 12th year, Zaarathustra left the body of the Matthew Jesus in order to live in the Luke Jesus. The Luke child, all soul and heart, received into himself the spirit and thinking power of Zarathustra. Therefore this child, who until then had been dreamy and sensitive, was now suddenly so alert and wise that he could instruct the doctors in the temple. His parents "were amazed" (Luke 2:48) and could hardly recognize him after a separation of only three days.
From this moment on, the two were one. The Zarathustra stream, containing all the heathen wisdom of the world, was poured into the fruitful soil of Jewry, the noblest flower of which was the Jesus child of the Luke Madonna.
The path of the highest head led into the depths of the greatest heart. The body of the Nathan Jesus became the temple of Solomon. The keenest capacities of wisdom in the brain, such as only a scion of the house of Solomon could develop, were combined with the purest love-forces of the heart of the Luke child.
With these facts in mind, we are no longer puzzled by Jesus´ answer to his parents when they found him in the temple: "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father´s business?" (Luke 2:49). The house of the father was now in one sense the temple of Solomon the king, who was also the ancestor of the Zarathustra-Jesus. But the temple of Solomon, in contrast to all heathen mysteries, was the path toward a grasp of the Mystery of Man, who experiences his ego in the bloodstream. The Jesus body, with which the Solomon child now united himself, was in the truest sense the temple of the body that had been prepared as a dwelling for the Lord. Its destiny was that its head and brain should be the Grail temple, while its heart´s blood, which later flowed into the earth on Golgotha after the Logos had become Flesh, should be the blood of the Grail.
The transfer of the scion of King Solomon into the heart of the priestly child is the beginning of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The task of the temple of Solomon was fulfilled in this hour.
What do the Qumran texts have to say on this problem? One student, the theologian Karl Georg Kuhn of Heidelberg, repeatedly points to the connections between the doctrines of Zoroaster and Judaism in post-Exilic times, and in so doing he lays special stress on the Essenes. The Parisian orientalist, Andre Dupont-Sommer, even cites medieval Syrian sources that speak of Zoroaster´s being of Jewish descent. Burrows (259-261) also discusses the subject.
Rudolf Steiner asserted as early as 1910 (THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW, 6th lecture) that there were 2 groups of people who knew the secret of the Zarathustra Jesus. These were the Chaldean initiates and the Essenes. The Chaldeans learned of it through their spiritual connection with Zarathustra himself; the Essenes through mystical knowledge gained in their occult training. The secret doctrines of the Essenes taught of the approach of Jesus in a slow descent through 42 generations, as in the Gospel of Matthew. The Essene pupils went through an initiation in 42 stages. Matthew was able to describe this because he himself had trodden the Essene path.
Any modern person must, of course, have great initial difficulties with the suggestion that there were 2 Jesus children. One question that arises is why the birth of the Matthew boy, whose individuality moved into the other boy at 12, should have been necessary at all. Why could not the Zarathustra wisdom simply be incorporated into the Agamitic body of the Luke Jesus, whose entelechy could then remain in the depths of the soul?
This is a central problem. We must recall something mentioned earlier, the "contrapuntal" motion in the 2 genealogies. Matthew emphasizes the masculine element, Luke the feminine; Matthew the adversary power of Satan-Ahriman, Luke the tempting of the devil, Lucifer. The human body in its material condensation, which runs counter to the original plan of the divine creation, is the result of the Fall of both the first ancestors, Adam and Eve, the masculine and the feminine, and also of Ahriman´s work in the bones and nerves and pulsing of the blood.
The separation of the sexes is the first physical expression of the fall into matter through the expulsion from Paradise.
What did the Jesus body have to become if it was to be the dwelling place of the Christ Logos? It had to be a "Paradise body", a body that resisted the laws of the Fall, remaining as it had been in the plan of the Elohim before the Satanic-diabolic powers began to solidify and darken it. Had only the Luke child been born, the flower of the Jewish blood-forces would not have received the wealth of heathen Mystery wisdom. Had only the Matthew boy appeared, the vessel offered to the Logos would have contained wisdom without the heartfelt love derived from the Madonna mystery; in such a body, Christ would have been a teacher but not a savior, and his sayings would never have been understood by all mankind, by the "shepherds" as well as the "kings".
The story of the Luke Jesus´ birth is connected with the supersensible influence of the Gautama Buddha. It has a Buddhistic-oriental atmosphere. The Zarathustra impulse, as shown in the Matthew Gospel, points from the east towards the west. Pupils of Zarathustra worked among the priests of Hermes (Thoth) in Egypt and among the Pythagoreans in Southern Italy. The path of the Wise Men from the east led toward the west. The 2 gospels present the fact of the new birth of mankind from eastern and from western standpoints. Luke speaks from the aspect of oriental feeling-mysticism; Matthew from the aspect of the western knowledge of the world.
The union of the 2 streams, as shown in Luke´s story of the 12 year old Jesus in the temple, seems like an apocalyptic anticipation of the announcement of the fall into sin and the separation of the sexes.
Since wisdom was not united with love as in the beginning, Christ was able to express the highest spiritual secrets in the simplest pictures. These appealed to the feelings of the east as well as to the understanding of the west. His body had the purest blood and the most perfect brain. The Zarathustra individuality worked on this brain as Rudolf Steiner vividly described during his 12 year sojourn in the Solomon child, and then continued and completed this work during the following 18 years in the Luke body.
Many apocryphal books hint at the mystery of the 2 Jesus boys. Rudolf Steiner called our attention to this. Thus in the Gospel of the Egyptians it is said: "to Salome´s question, when will the 2 become one and the exterior like the interior."
The BOOK OF ZOHAR contains the following passage: "The son of David and the son of Joseph are two, not one another Messiah, the son of Joseph, will unite himself with the Messiah, the son of David."
In the very early Christian document called THE TESTAMENTS OF THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS, at the close of the testament of Simeon, we read: "A lord out of Levi will awake a high priest and out of Judah a king, God and man."
The PISTIS SOPHIA, a Gnostic writing preserved in the Coptic language, says: "The divine lordliness will dwell in our land, grace and truth will meet one another, righteousness and peace will kiss one another."
The Essene documents also confirm what Rudolf Steiner said, Matthew describes the jesus who stems from the kingly Davidic line; Luke the Jesus who stems from the priestly line of Nathan. That the first must be the liegeman of the second, i.e. must unite himself with him, in order to pave the way for the Mystery of the epiphany, the Baptism in Jordan, is made quite clear in the Essene books and is repeatedly mentioned by the students of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
THE TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The most mysterious figure in the Qumran documents is the Teacher of Righteousness, also known as God´s Elect. How can we identify this teacher, who is never called by a personal name?
Perhaps we should first identify the wicked priest, which is an easier task even if there is no unanimity among the students of the subject. Several suggestions have been made, but no one seems to fit the requirements as well as Alexander Jannaeus, who ruled as king from 103 to 76 B.C. His Jewish name, Jonathan, was shortened to Yannai in late Hebrew and was written in Greek as Jannaeus or Janneus. His assumption of the title of king was regarded as a breach of faith toward the House of David. As to his being the wicked priest, he not only fits the chronological necessities but his character and reputation were suitable. Burrows remarks: "He is qualified for the role on several points, including drunkenness, luxery, immorality, love of riches, sickness and final punishment by his enemies." (175) Professor John Marco Allegro of the University of Manchester strongly concurs in this indentification.
If Alexander Jannaeus was the wicked priest, who was the Teacher of Righteousness? Burrows discusses a number of possibilities. Flavius Josephus spoke of a certain Eleazar (called Judah ben Jebediah in the Talmud) who rebuked John Hyrcanus (ruled 135 104 B.C.), and he also described an Essene named Judah who preached against Aristobulus I (rules 104-103 B.D.). Furthermore, both Josephus and the Talmud tell of a righteous man named Onias, who was stoned in 65 B.C. under Aristobulus II. All these and many more have been ruled out on one ground or another, and we are left with nobody who is acceptable to any considerable number of scholars (Burrows 185).
The philologists have shown that THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT, by speaking of the Teacher as still alive, implies that his violent death took place about the year 100 B.C., i.e. in the early years of the reign of Alexander Jannaeus. This date and the person of Alexander are accepted by most of the scientists as closely connected with the anonymous Teacher of Righteousness. This is as far as the consensus goes.
In the lectures in Berne on the Gospel of St. Matthew in 1910, Rudolf Steiner raised the veil that obscured this problem. He distinguished carefully between the inspirer ant the inspired. The former was of purely spiritual nature, while the latter was an earthly instrument of flesh and blood.
The spiritual leader had the rank of a Bodhisattva. When, in ancient India, the Prince Gautama, son of King Sudhodana, ascended from Bodhisattva to Buddha, he selected from a number of other leaders the one who would be the next to attain the rank of Buddha. This new Bodhisattva had the task of acting as the spiritual leader of the Essenes and the related Therapeutae.
At this point Rudolf Steiner gave a historical clue that tallies as to names and dates in a remarkable way with details already well known to the modern students of Qumran. He said: "This Bodhisattva sent, as it were, for the leadership of the Essenes under the reign of King Alexander Jannaeus, a special person into the Essene communities. This person is well known in occultism, and also in the external Talmudic literature, under the name of Jesus ben Pandira. We must regard him as a person standing under the protection of the Bodhisattva who was the successor of the Buddha."
Thus we must distinguish between the human personality of Jesus ben Pandira (who was accused of blasphemy, stoned, and hanged upon a tree about 100 B.C.) and his divine patron, the Bodhisattva who inspired him and who will be known in the future as the Maitreya Buddha. This explains why the documents never mention a personal name. Emphasizing the divine rank of the leader, they speak of him always with the recurring formula of "Teacher of Righteousness" or "God´s Elect."
Rudolf Steiner adds: "No clairvoyant faculties are needed in order to say something about Jesus ben Pandira, to assert that he existed. Anyone who wishes can read about him in Hebrew sources such as the Talmud. He has frequently been confused with the true Jesus, even as early as the second century A.D."
Rudolf Steiner repeatedly stressed thqt Jesus ben Pandira was in no way identical with Jesus of Nazareth. He stood under the special guidance of the Bodhisattva, one of those spiritual leaders who continually incarnate in order to prepare men to understand the Christ (who incarnated only once in an earthly body, remaining from the Baptism in Jordan until Golgotha). In the years when Rudolf Steiner was lecturing on the Gospel of Matthew, this circumstance played a part in the unhappy conflict that culminated in his exclusion from the Theosophical Society. Annie Besant was one of those who erroneously identified Jesus ben Pandira with the Christ.
Modern theology may be committing similar errors in the face of the new manuscripts found at Qumran. Thus Andre Dupont-Sommer, one of the principle writers in this field, speaks of Christ as an astonishing "reincarnation" of the Essene Teacher of Righteousness. Others attempt to show that early Christianity was an uninterrupted continuation of the pre-Christian Essene comminities.
When we note that Rudolf Steiner so carefully pointed out that the personality of Jesus ben Pandira can be grasped without occult knowledge, merely by studying the ancient sources, we must wonder whether anything could be more prophetic for the Qumran finds in our time. The documents seem to challenge us to take a fresh look at the originality of Rudolf Steiner´s work, and to measure it against the problems and riddles that are not becoming apparent.
"It is completely incomprehensible", says Wilhelm Kelber, "that the scholars have not given more attention to the figure of Jesus ben Pandira in the Talmud. They have often used the Talmud to elucidate historical passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It has even been debated whether another man whose stoning is described in the Talmud, Onias the Just, was the Teacher of Righteousness. But Jesus ben Pandira has been ignored, although Emil Bock has reconstructed his biography on the basis of the Talmud. True, the Essene writings speak of the decisive encounter between the Teacher of Righteousness and his adversaries as occurring on the Day of Atonement, whereas the Talmud asserts that Jesus ben Pandira was executed on the day before the Passover. But this is not fatal, because the Talmud also says that Jesus ben Pandira was imprisoned for some time before his execution, and this imprisonment may well have lasted from the autumn of one year to the spring of the next year."
This significance of the newly found Essene writings was neatly summed up by Rudolf Steiner half a century ago, when he said: "The most important teachings available to mankind in order to grasp the Christ event came from the communities of the Therapeutae and Essenes. Jesus, son of Pandira, who selected to let himself be inspired, by the Bodhisattva who would later beome the Maitreya Buddha, with teachings that could make the Mystery of Christ understandable."
NAZARENES AND NAZARETH
In cultural history there are occasional coincidences that must be heeded by the historian. We have in mind cases where the discovery of documents suddenly drawn out attention to something in the past and seems to demand that we examine this with new forces of consciousness.
As Novalis was writing his "Lehrlinge zu Sais" and presenting the Madonna mystery in the form of Isis-Sophia, the Rosetta Stone was discovered, the deciphering of the hieroglyphics was made feasible, and Egyptology was inaugurated as a new branch of science.
At the end of the last century, scholars were beginning to decipher the cuneiform texts of the epic of Gilgamesh and to make it the subject of learned expositions. Nowadays the epic is known everywhere and is mentioned in every course on ancient history, but in 1910, when Rudolf Steiner began to discuss it, there was still much controversy about it among the orientalists.
Until quite recently only a bold scholar would refer to the Essenes in expounding biblical texts. In this respect Rudolf Steiner showed the way very early in the century. A document of the Essene community in Damascus had been discovered in 1896. This was published in 1910 and is now known as THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT. Although it excited interest in only the narrowest professional circles, it hardly seems accidental that it should be published at the same time, even in the same year, that Rudolf Steiner was putting the finishing touches on his exposition of the riddles of Essensism.
It was in September of 1910, in Berne, that Rudolf Steiner gave his lectures on the Gospel of Matthew, in which he discussed the problem of the great Essene teacher. As though in preparation for this, he had given in Berlin, a year earlier, 3 lectures on "Some Deeper Secrets of Human Development in the Light of the Gospel of Matthew". In these lectures he pointed to the Nazarenes.
The Nazarenes were a sect of earlier origin than the Essenes. In strict asceticism, they refrained from meat and wine. They had clairvoyant capacities in respect to the date of Christ´s approach. The last of the great Nazarenes was John the Baptist.
John spoke of the coming of the Lamb. He called the Pharisees and Sedducees the children of the serpent (generation of vipers). Rudolf Steiner stressed the significance of these words. All earlier knowledge, resting on ancient inspiration, had been instilled into men by Luciferic beings. John, however, wa aware of the change. Man was no longer to remain children of the serpent.
The Pharisees and Sadducees adhered to the letter of the law. They wanted to remain children of the serpent.
Two streams were at work in the ancient Hebrew people: the development of capacities based on the purity of the blood, and the observance of the law. The Pharisees clung to the law given on Sinai, whereas the Nazarenes worked on the blood stream. This brought them into collaboration with the Essenes.
The Nazarenes had existed before the Essenes, who continued the movement in a far stricter form. The Essenes became a bud on the tree, a "living branch" (netzer in Hebrew) in the pure line of successive generations. Those pupils among the Essenes who cultivated this special approach were called "netzers".
Jesus ben Pandira had 5 principle pupils, whose names were Matthai, Maki, Netzer, Boni, and Toda. The Talmud text agrees with Rudolf Steiner in this respect. Netzer expanded the doctrines that had long been cultivated among the Nazarenes. He founded an Essene colony, which was named Nazareth after him.
The Jesus described in the Gospel of Matthew was brought to Nazareth after the return to Egypt, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene" (2:23). Rudolf Steiner threw a great deal of light on this passage. It was necessary that Jesus should grow up in an Essene colony. Here in Nazareth Jesus found the Essene stream of the Netzers that was his needed historical background, and thereby he came into contact with the Nazarene John.
In lectures given in Oslo (THE FIFTH GOSPEL) from 1 to 6 October, 1913 (especially in the fifth lecture), Rudolf Steiner described how the Essenes imparted to the young Jesus, as a sort of "visiting fellow", all the wisdom of their initiates; and how John was a sort of lay brother among them. Jesus and John were intimately connected with the Essenes, but did not themselves become Essenes or partake in ascetic training and monastic exclusiveness. The Essenes regarded them as the instruments and witnesses of the Messianic expectations.
It may have been precisely at Qumran, that Jesus of Nazareth, before the Baptism in Jordan, experienced the onesided asceticism of monastic life as the last consequences of the Buddhist-Indian path. He saw the two adversary powers, Lucifer and Ahriman, fleeing from the Essene cloisters, but he sensed that their influence among other people, outside the cloisters, was not impaired and that this influence had to be transformed and redeemed. This was an especially poignant experience for Jesus of Nazareth just before the Baptism. This is why we find him, after the Baptism, wrestling with his adversaries in the wilderness and consorting, as a redeemer, with publicans and sinners.
The Essenes, in their exclusiveness, received into their communities only persons who were striving toward initiation. John the Baptist and Christ turned their efforts toward all of mankind and worked for the entire world.