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VanderKam 2nd ed. DSS Today (2010) on Sadducees

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  • goranson@duke.edu
    Yesterday arrived the brand new second edition of James C. vanderKam, the Dead Sea Scrolls Today (Eerdmans, 2010). Even if you read the first edition, I
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2010
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      Yesterday arrived the brand new second edition of James C. vanderKam, the Dead
      Sea Scrolls Today (Eerdmans, 2010). Even if you read the first edition, I
      recommend also reading the new edition. For a sample here are two paragraphs
      from a longer discussion of the proposal that Sadducees resided at Qumran
      (pages 120-121):

      "The Sadducees and the Essenes may well have agreed with one another on many
      laws or other points; they presumably did not disagree about everything. from a
      historical perspective, one would expect Sadducees and Essenes to share some
      views because both had deep priestly roots. The Qumran group may have been
      founded and led by priests who called themselves [though not the whole group--
      SG] sons of Zadok..., while the term _Sadducee_ seems to be derived from the
      name Zadok....Both parties opposed what they understood to be the Pharisaic
      tendency to soften some laws and to modify the related penalties. [p. 121] That
      is, one reason why they shared some legal views is that both were conservative
      on matters relating to the law.

      The nature of the data from the Mishnah...hardly matches the amount and
      character of the earlier information from Josephus, Pliny, and others that has
      led many to identify the Qumranites as Essenes. That Qumran views and those
      attributed to the Sadducees correspond for a few individual laws does not
      entail that the Qumran group was Sadducean in any sense in which that name is
      commonly employed today. After all, the Qumran manuscripts teach such prominent
      anti-Sadducean doctrines as the existence of multitudes of angels and the
      all-controlling power of fate. How could Sadducees develop such teachings,
      which are diametrically opposed to what ancient writers said about them? Also,
      the fact that an _early_ document such as the Cave 1 copy of the Rule of the
      Community...enunciates thoroughly Essene, anti-Sadducean theology makes it most
      improbable that the Qumran residents arose from Sadducean origins. If they did,
      they succeeded in reversing themselves in fundamental theological tenets within
      a few years--from nonpredestinarians to all-out determinists, to name just one
      example. Such a scenario is thoroughly implausible."

      best,
      Stephen Goranson
      http://www.duke.edu/~goranson
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