mitzvot in Galatians?

RSBrenchley at RSBrenchley at
Tue Apr 11 17:44:04 EDT 2000

Liz Fried writes:

<< The Dead Sea Scroll community did reject the temple and its
 priesthood. They did not reject sacrifice per se. 
 The temple scroll indicates the communities high regard for
 the temple and the sacrificial system >>

What I see going on here is a fissiparous Judaism, where the idea of the 
Temple is fundamental, but it is controlled by one or two groups (Pharisees 
and Sadducees). To the extent that other groups oppose these, they end up 
opposing the actually existing Temple; they either spiritualise it (John 
2:21) or develop a 'fantasy Temple' (the Temple Scroll). The concept 
survives, but in a new form. Similarly with sacrifice; the church 
spiritualised it, and something of the sort was surely going on within the 
Dead Sea Scrolls community. What do you make of Otto Betz' article Was John 
the Baptist an Essene' (Hershel Shanks, ed., Understanding the Dead Sea 
Scrolls, SPCK, 1993)? I feel he goes a little too far in the Essene 
identification, but he writes (p. 211), 'The Temple's offerings of animals 
were replaced [among the Essenes] by the 'offerings of the lips' (that is, 
prayers), and works of the Law'. This seems to make sense in the context of a 
dissident community, and this type of trend would then lay the foundation for 
post-70 developments.


Robert Brenchley

RSBrenchley at

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