Times of Israel: DSS Calendar Scroll

ToI published an article reporting the piecing-together and deciphering, by Univ. of Haifa Dr. Eshbal Ratson, of another DSS describing the Osin, 360-day, calendar (https://www.timesofisrael.com/2000-year-old-dead-sea-scroll-deciphered-revealing-2nd-temple-power-struggles/ (2018.12.23); 2018.12.25).

First, this was a tedious work well done. Kol ha-kavod.

But this calendar scroll doesn’t fit into the overall political power struggle of the Hellenized “Temple” as Dr. Ratson describes. The historical context dictates that this was NOT a case of a “tiny sect rebell[ing] against the religious authority wielded by Jerusalem’s centralized calendar-controlling priestly class.”

Rather, this was the part of the fall-out from the Hellenist take-over of the Tzedoqim Kohein ha-Gadol by the Hellenist Yehoshua Ben-Shimon from his brother, the sitting Tzedoqim Kohein ha-Gadol, Khonyo Ben-Shimon in BCE 165 (http://www.netzarim.co.il/Calendar/Khanukah.htm#Hellenism). This split created two “Tzedoqim” parties (that later culminated in the story of Khanukah):

1. The “Old School” (Torah-faithful) pre-Hellenization-of-the-priesthood and “Temple” party, who became the עושים (Osim; doers) — Aramaic עושין (Osin, corrupted to Essenes) — denoting their interpretations of Torah, which they called מעשה (Ma’aseh; doing; their counterpart of the Perushim Halakhah).

2. The new, pseudo-Tzedoqim Hellenist kohanim group that displaced the original עושין.

The original, 365 day, עושין calendar was, indeed, obsolete. But the calendar was a side-issue; certainly far removed from their expulsion from the temple by the Hellenist Tzedoqim. The struggle between these two kohanic Jewish Tzedoqim groups was over Hellenism versus Torah; between the ruling Hellenist new-Tzedoqim versus the expelled original Tzedoqim subsequently known as the עושין. See, inter alia, Qimron, 4Q MMT.

The third sect, the Perushim, were still different from either Tzedoqim sect; working to bring Torah directly to the Jew (how, sadly, different from Ultra-Orthodox rabbinics today!) at the local beit-k’nesset. However, the Perushim appears to have leaned much more toward sympathies with the Osin, absolutely loathing the Hellenist — Roman-occupier collaborating — new Tzedoqim.

The Perushim preference for the Osin was not returned. The Osin preferred the futile hope of bringing their Hellenist brothers and cousins back to teshuvah and Torah. Sadly, that never happened.

2 thoughts on “Times of Israel: DSS Calendar Scroll

    • I think the 360-day calendar had, during their epoch, already been around for centuries. They couldn’t have been unaware that the khagim progressed through the seasons as the years passed. I don’t know whether they “fixed” it every few years or allowed the khagim to just progress through the seasons. When the rabbis emerged, c BCE 165, they adjusted the formula to “fix” the calendar every few years. Since the Osin went extinct, I don’t know their thinking. Perhaps it could be found in a DSS. What is the importance? Torah must be understood in accordance with the (physics, inter alia) Laws of the Creator.

      Liked by 2 people

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