Essene sectarianism as a Judaic alternative to Pharisaism and Sadduceanism

Botha, P. D. (Pieter Daniël) (2003-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Essenism is, according to the data being discussed in this thesis, closely associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls material and had alienated itself from Second Temple Judaism as manifested through both Pharisaism and Sadduceanism. The problem that presents itself is the fact that Essenism is sometimes seen, with Pharisaism and Sadduceanism, as one of the three major trends within Second Temple Judaism, albeit schismatic in origin and nature. With Sadduceanism deriving its authority from the Temple and written Torah, and with Pharisaism its authority from both the written Torah as well as the oral tradition of the Sages, this thesis attempts to determine the criteria to be applied to cults of the Second Temple period in order for them to be classified as being Judaic. This is done in order to be able to establish what, in their own minds, set the Essenes apart from the other two prominent groups. That their motivation for exclusiveness must have been very strong becomes clear through the fact that, in their writings, the Essenes did not see themselves as just another group within Judaism, but as the only true and legitimate group. The ultimate aims of this thesis therefore are, firstly to find out exactly what constituted mainstream Second Temple Judaism according to certain historical and religious factors as well as Judaic ha/achic interpretation. Secondly, the thesis attempts to ascertain if Essenism met the determined criteria to be regarded as part of mainstream Judaism, and if not, if it can be regarded as sectarian Judaism, or as a separate religion altogether. In view of all the abovementioned criteria discussed, the probable conclusion would be that the sectarians from Qumran never thought of themselves as anything other than Jews within the ha/achic tradition, even though it may have been a ha/acha that may in certain respects have radically deviated from that of their fellow Jews. They can therefore rightly be regarded as part of the Judaic tradition of the Second Temple period.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Essenisme is, volgens die data bespreek in hierdie tesis, nou geassosiëer met die materiaal van die Dooie See Rolle, en die eksponente daarvan het hulself vervreem van Tweede Tempel Judaïsme soos gemanifesteer deur beide Fariseïsme en Sadduseïsme. Die probleem wat homself voordoen, is dat Essenisme, saam met Fariseïsme en Sadduseïsme, somtyds gesien word as een van die drie hoofstrominge binne Tweede Tempel Judaïsme, alhoewelskismaties van aard. Met Sadduseïsme wat sy outoriteit aan die Tempel en geskrewe Tora ontleen, en Fariseïsme sy gesag van beide die geskrewe Tora en die mondelinge tradisie van die Wyses, probeer hierdie tesis die kriteria bepaal wat toegepas kan word op kultusse van die Tweede Tempel tydperk, om sodoende as Judaïsties geklassifiseer te kan word, al dan nie. Dit word gedoen om vas te stel wat, in hul eie oë, die Esseners onderskei het van die ander twee prominente groepe. Uit hul geskrifte kan 'n mens aflei dat die Esseners se dryfveer vir eksklusiwiteit baie sterk moes gewees het, aangesien hulle hulself nie net as nog 'n verdere groep binne die Judaïsme gesien het nie, maar in der waarheid as die enigste ware en legitieme groep. Die uiteindelike doel van hierdie tesis is dus eerstens, om vas te stel presies wat verstaan kan word as Tweede Tempel Judaïsme, aan die hand van sekere historiese en religieuse faktore, asook ha/aehiese interpretasie. Tweedens, probeer dit vasstelof Essenisme aan die vasgestelde kriteria voldoen het om as deel van die hoofstroom Judaïsme gesien te kan word, en indien nie, of dit gesien kan word as sektariese Judaïsme, of as 'n heeltemal aparte godsdiens. In die lig van al die bogemelde bespreekte kriteria, sal die waarskynlike gevolgtrekking wees dat die sektelede van Qumran hulself nooit gesien het as enigiets anders as Jode binne die ha/aehiese tradisie nie, alhoewel dit 'n ha/aeha was wat in sekere opsigte radikaal verskil het van die van hul mede-Jode. Hulle kan gevolglik met reg gesien word as deel van die Judaïstiese tradisie van die Tweede Tempel tydperk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53414
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