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Scrolls from the Dead Sea. The just shall live by his faith. This means all the doers of the law in the House of Judah. God shall deliver them from the house of judgment because of their deeds and their fates and the teacher of righteousness. For the wicked to the righteous. This means that the wicked man is the wicked. And the righteous man is the teacher of righteousness. These are excerpts from a cook commentary. One of the seven original scrolls found in a cave in 1947 near the Dead Sea. We're not certain who put these documents in the caves nor what happened to their owners but it is probable and one day in the fateful spring of 68 as the Roman
legions swept down on Jerusalem. The documents were plain. An earthenware jar and hidden in the caves which gave them refuge for almost 2000 years. These schools all found recently comprise 20th century scholarships. Most fascinating and momentous find. Who is the Teacher of Righteousness program 11 of the scrolls from the Dead Sea. A radio exploration of the most significant archaeological find of our time. These programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under grants from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in one thousand forty seven scholars from many fields have been hard at work biblical specialists theologians paleography as archaeologists many
more are working with the documents. One of these scholars is Professor Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Recently Professor Mansoor traveled in Europe Israel and America collecting documentary materials for these programs. He tape recorded interviews with over 25 leading scholars and theologians. Now back at the University of Wisconsin professor Mansoor has planned and written this series of programs exploring the meaning and content of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Professor Mansoor. In previous programs I told you of the incredible discovery of the fabulous library the contents of most of the scrolls and the importance of the scrolls to biblical studies. I also described and analyzed the contents of one of the most controversial scrolls. The manual of discipline by which the sect was governed. This sect is generally believed to be the pre-Christian Jewish sect
known as the scenes. Last week I discussed the similarities and differences between the literature and the writings of the New Testament. We showed that there are indeed some striking parallels but also some profound differences. Scholars generally admitted that there are innumerable links of ideas and practices between the sect of the scrolls and the early church. I should like to make an important remark about that. It is true that there has been a tremendous amount of talk about similarities with the New Testament but the trouble is that several writers have exaggerated the direct connection between these scrolls and the New Testament. You see many of these similarities of text are well-known post Biblical Hebrew phrases and idioms which are familiar to every student of Hebrew or rabbinic literature. Nevertheless Most scholars agree that the scrolls throw a very interesting light on
the world in which New Testament was born. Finally we reached the conclusion that the paramount importance of the scrolls for the New Testament studies is that they add to our knowledge and understanding of that era and give us more precise insight into the life and faith of one of the pre-Christian Jewish brotherhoods of the time. New Testament scholars are realizing more and more that the scrolls are of primary importance for them. And some excellent comparative studies have been made between the Qumran scrolls and the New Testament. There is no denying that the controversy and the exaggeration arise when it comes to the interpretation of these similarities. On the other hand several scholars have emphasized that Jesus ransacked differed sharply on many points. But before we go further I wish to remind you that in my talk on the manual of
discipline we referred to the sect leader who is not mentioned by name he is called in Hebrew which can be translated. The Teacher of Righteousness or of the righteous stitcher. Now the $64000 question is who is the teacher of righteousness. Many historical persons have been thought to be the Teacher of Righteousness to enter into details that will require an entire article for each person which shall give only two or three things or is in rough less brevity according to one theory. A Jew named on nighest was that teacher. Both Josephus and the Talmud record the stoning of a man called on the righteous about 65 B.C. It was a saintly man and was believed to have brought rain by his prayers. It was probably an Essene he was stoned by the followers of King perkiness for refusing to curse his rival brother King Aristobulus
one Cambridge scholar. J.L. Teicher was the first to put forward a sensational theory about the teacher of righteousness. He maintained that the scrolls did not resemble Christian documents merely but they were actually Christian documents. They belong to a Christian Jewish sect known as the Ebionites. The story of the Ebionites has been described as one of the strangest and most tragic chapters in the history of Christianity. During the 40 years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christian communities were being established in many centers of the Roman Empire. In addition to the Mother Church in Jerusalem the converts outside Palestine were chiefly Gentiles while the Christians of Jerusalem were largely Jews who like Jesus believed in the Old Testament and adhered to the Law of Moses. This Jewish Christian sect was known as the Ebionites. Now they originated of this theory Teicher maintains that the
Teacher of Righteousness is none other than Jesus while the person who is referred to in the texts as the wicked priest is told for his conversion here represented as the enemy of the teacher. I doubt whether there is one scholar who accepts far reaching view. Now two important documents refer to this mysterious Teacher of Righteousness the Damascus government and they have a commentary. Some of you may recall that the Damascus government was discovered about 70 years ago in the guineas or the storeroom of a Cairo synagogue comparison with the dates the scrolls indicated beyond doubt that the Damascus covenant refers to the sect and to the very same leader the teacher of righteousness. Moreover we found several fragments of this very same work in the caves. The following is a translation from the Damascus government prepared many years
before the discovery of the scrolls. Listen for yourselves how close are the language and the subject matter to those of the Koran texts. Now therefore hearken unto Me all ye who know righteousness and have understanding in the works of God for he hath a controversy with all flesh and will execute judgment upon all who despise him. For because of the trespass of those who forsook him he hid his face from Israel and from his sanctuary and gave them over to the sword. But when he remembered the covenant of the forefather he left a remnant to Israel and gave them NOT over to destruction. And he made to spring forth from Israel and Aaron a rod of his planting to inherit his land and to grow fat through the goodness of his Earth. And God considered their works for they sought him with a perfect heart and he raised them up. A Teacher of Righteousness to lead them in the
way of his heart. Here we are introduced for the first time to the teacher of righteousness. He is the leader of the sect which calls itself the Sons of Iraq. It appears from the above text that members of the sect were groping their way in the wilderness like a blind man for 20 years until God sent them the teacher of righteousness. I have said earlier in this program that the teacher is also mentioned in the commentary. You may recall that this important scroll was one of the seven orignal scrolls found in the forward describe its contents I would like to say a few words about this commentary in this writings from the time when the institution of the synagogue was first created over 2000 years ago. Rabbis have delivered sermons in them especially in connection with the divine services on Sabbaths and holidays.
To do that they often made use of parables legends traditions or simply words of wisdom. Most of these rabbinic interpretations however were based on Scriptural passages. Now the Jewish philosopher of the first century A.D. tells us that they had a similar practice just listen. Then one of them takes up the holy book and reads it. And another of the men of the greatest experience comes forward and explains what is not very intelligible for a great many precepts are delivered in enigmatical modes of expression. This is exactly what we mean by Biblical commentary. Now they have a cool commentary follows this pattern of interpretation to the author here explains the text of Habakkuk verified by the US with some allusions to historical events not relating to have a time
but to the period of the Qumran sect. They have a cool commentary refers for instance to the persecution of the teacher of righteousness by a person referred to as the wicked priest. Before we go further I wish to give you several illustrations. I shall particularly select the excerpts which refer to the teacher of righteousness. The text from have a Coke reads. The just shall live by his faith. And the commentator of have a Coke gives its interpretation. This means all the doers of the law in the House of Judah whom God will rescue from the house of judgment because of their labor and their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness. This havoc or commentary is of special importance. First it contains more than any other scroll references to the leader of the sect. The Teacher of Righteousness as you have just heard here is another
excerpt from have a called chapter 1 verse 4. Therefore the law is slacked. This means that they rejected the law of God and judgment never go forth for the wicked death compass about the righteous. This means that the wicked man is the wicked priest and the righteous man is the teacher of righteousness. Let's now listen to some scholarly opinions on the personality of the Teacher of Righteousness. I first asked Dr John strug of Oxford University England to give me his views on the Teacher of Righteousness. One thing that has struck me I think it has also struck some of my colleagues is that the figure of the Teacher of Righteousness enigmatic though he is really occupies a very small place in the writings of the sect. The New Testament for instance
is full of Christ every page bears the impress of the importance of the figure of Christ for the Christian church. Well you couldn't say that if the sect of course and the teacher of righteousness they have a color commentary has a rather special interest among the scholars because of its historical references. One more crucial excerpt from this commentary. It is perhaps the most complicated and the most controversial passage in the scrolls. This is by the way the excerpt selected by Time magazine for its cover page on the scrolls. First here is the Biblical excerpt from Habakkuk Chapter 2 Verse 15 Woe unto him that give us his neighbor drink that poorest out his wrath to him and makers to him drunken also that they may as to gaze at their festivals
on which the commentator say's this means the wicked priest who persecuted the teacher of righteousness in order to confound him in the indignation of his wrath. Wishing to banish him and at the time of their festival of rest the day of atonement he appeared to them to confound them and to make them stumble on the day of fasting. Their Sabbath of rest. The well-known French story and Semitic scholar professor are on the radio of the Sorbonne Paris as early as 1950. Published one of the first books on the scrolls containing the last excerpt you have just heard instead of the phrase in the house of exile. The pond rendered that has dared to strip him of his clothing. We do not know how he reached this translation. The French professor explained that the teacher of righteousness who probably lived in the first half
of the first century B.C. and who was persecuted and put to death probably by crucifixion by the wicked priest reappeared to his disciples. That means research wrecked and the plan some further suggested that the teacher of righteousness was the forerunner and model of Christ whom he described quote as an astonishing reincarnation of the Teacher of Righteousness. He claimed that probably through John the Baptist Jesus had been greatly influenced by the doctrines of the teacher. Therefore it was inevitable that it should be struck by the similarity between the teacher of righteousness and Christ. Before we go further let us listen to the excerpts from the book. This book received little attention in the United States until May 1955 when the New Yorker devoted almost its entire issue to an article
by the well-known literary critic Edmund Wilson who leaned heavily on the conclusions the relevant excerpt is as follows. Everything in the Jewish New Covenant heralds and prepares the way for the Christian New Covenant. The Galilean master as he is presented to us in the writings of the New Testament appears in many respects as an astonishing reincarnation of the Teacher of Righteousness like the latter he preached penitence poverty humility love of one's neighbor chastity like him. He prescribed observance of the Law of Moses the whole law but the law finished and perfected. Thanks to his own revelations. Like him he was the elect and the Messiah of God the Messiah Redeemer of the world like him. He was the object of the hostility of the priests. The party of the Sadducees like him he was condemned and put
to death like him. He pronounced judgment on Jerusalem which was taken and destroyed by the Romans for having put him to death like him at the end of time he will be the Supremes judge like him. He founded a church whose adherents fervently awaited his glorious return in the Christian church. Just as in the Essene church the essential rite is the sacred meal whose ministers are the priests here and there at the head of each community. There is the overseer the bishop and the ideal of both churches is essentially that of unity communion in love. Even going so far as the sharing of common property the Teacher of Righteousness died about 65 63 B.C.. Jesus the Nazarene died about eighty thirty in every case where the resemblance compels or invites us to think of a borrowing. This was on the part of Christianity.
The imposing parallels have greatly impressed several Christian writers like Edmund Wilson who follows the conclusions faithfully Mr John Allegro of Manchester England and the Unitarian clergyman Powell Davis. Anyhow suppose as deponents America claims the believes of the ransacked and dissipate the tenets of Christianity what is wrong with that. We know that some beliefs and rituals in Judaism have been influenced by ancient neighboring peoples. Does this cast a reflection against Judaism. We know Christ many teachings are drawn from Judaism. Does this detract the greatness of Christianity. Mohammed has lavishly use the teachings of both Judaism and Christianity. Nevertheless can anyone deny the tremendous driving force behind Islam which captured the hearts of 300 million persons almost
one seventh of mankind. The answer is definitely no. The same applies here. It was natural for Jesus and John to be influenced by and adopt some of the practices of the sect particularly those of baptism and the Lord's Supper. But this new light on it should not worry anyone. It is true there are many parallels. But as we said before there are as many and even more contrasts. Several leading scholars have not accepted the theory. Some scholars have even strongly criticized the professor for denying the virtue of originality to Christianity. Soon the issue became a public affair for Wilson's book on the scrolls became a bestseller for several months. This conclusion was somehow regarded as an attack on the uniqueness and divinity of Jesus. It has brought about some indignant utterances. Monsignor John Dyer
a Catholic professor of sacred scriptures at the Immaculate Conception seminary protested. Mr. Wilson has taken one hypothetical interpretation that of the French scholar and presented it dressed up in exciting diction to the circle of those who can read but not evaluate. That is Mr. Professor Frank M. cross of Chicago who is a member of the international team working on the scrolls refuted the French scholar saying God Jews used to give meaning to history not suspended. This means he uses its continuity its language its events its institutions. In speaking to men and in building his church. Thus cross clearly implied that no one need be concerned that the study of this cross will destroy his faith. Another writer on the scrolls Rev. Greystone strongly denounced this type of scholarship based
on shaky grounds. He sayd the whole reconstruction of events and ideas by Dupont so merry and Allegro is simply a train of conjectural inferences and hypothesis. Snap one link in the chain and the entire edifice falls to the ground. One of the foremost scholars who have been studying the fragments of the scrolls is Professor Frank M. cross of McCormick Theological Seminary. I asked him whether you would say that the fragments from the caves contained any useful support for the theories of Professor the professor cross the reconstruction of the history of the sect. Presumably the scenes and the role of the teacher of righteousness in that sect and that history. Is a much debated question and one which only now is beginning to become clear. They are early positions of professor to pass on their most stimulating have I think broken down through
various and detailed philological work. Crucial passage is for his understanding of the Teacher of Righteousness as a crucified or rather as a martyr Messiah. And as one who has made a resurrection appearance have simply disappeared in the light of detailed linguistic work. The disclaimer that Professor the views were seriously challenged by almost all scholars alarmed by the impact of the attack by scholars published another book on the subject. Here the French scholar appears to be more cautious about his theory. But you would agree now that it is high time that we should let Professor Dep. himself have a say for this purpose I left for Paris an interview with a French scholar at his office in the ancient and inspiring House of Learning this. I asked him a straightforward question as to whether he still maintained that according to
the scrolls the Essene story come ransacked. I believe that the teacher of righteousness was a divine incarnation that he was crucified and that he would return from the dead. Professor deep on some documents Sue I have much respect for the any British language as you see my pronunciation E's nor do good. I therefore prefer to reply in French in order not to be unkind to your listeners. I hate beauty for say years so please forgive me for people in French. They do leave because the keys you would he would let me know the main points of Professor Dupont So Mary's reply can be summed up as follows. 1. He never claimed that the Dead Sea Scrolls could strike a blow against the uniqueness of Jesus as some of his critics have said to in his first book published in
1951. He simply drew attention to a certain number of traits held in common by the teacher of righteousness and Jesus. 3 He thought that the most contested point of his theory was the messianic character which he deponent so mare had attributed to the teacher of righteousness. He still holds his view maintaining that the Thanksgiving hymns of the sect seem to have recently brought this fact into full light. While these common traits between the teacher of righteousness and Jesus are undeniable. The professor insists it does not follow. As far as he is concerned that the two personages are identical. On the contrary since 1950 he claims he has plainly indicated that the teacher of righteousness and Jesus were two historically distinct persons. Finally The Post American included that he believed that the Dead Sea Scrolls did not deny the divinity of Jesus even in the sense of Son of God incarnate. He added that in a general sense viewed as a whole. The originality of the Christian Church seemed to him to remain
unchanged unshaken. Well I think this seems to me in a sense a moderate and sound approach. But why all this public and scholarly excitement about the theory. Was it a storm in a teacup or much ado about nothing. No doubt the public was alarmed and bewildered because they believed that the foundations of their faith were being undermined. It is clear however by the statement made by the pond and in fact by most leading scholars that they were that there was no basis at all for all of this commotion. The trouble is that it was Mr. Wilson's account of the view that has spread the reincarnation theory. In the meantime as you have just heard has greatly modified his views the public and the scholars for action can be best reflected in months when he asked Why is this tempest necessary.
The scale of scholarly justice would be further balanced if Edmund Wilson would write a second bestseller to be entitled The Dead Sea Scrolls revisited in which in his very readable style he would bring readers up to date on affairs of the scrolls. I wish to stress here that throughout my travels and interviews I have not heard a single claim that the contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls would either revolutionize our knowledge of Christianity or after affect the uniqueness of Christ. On the contrary as you shall hear in a later program if anything the scrolls have confirmed the tenets of Christianity. Perhaps I should conclude here by quoting Professor Miller Barras views which are typical of the general view is entertained almost by all the scholars. Dr Barrows conclusion is as follows. The documents throw new light upon the strength and variety of Jewish thinking in the period in which Christianity arose. There is no danger however that the Dead Sea Scrolls will require revision of any basic article of Christian faith.
Dr. Barrows is chairman of the department of Near Eastern languages and literature at Yale and author of another bestseller scholarly book on the scrolls. He has been closely associated with the discovery of the scrolls since 1948. We can therefore confidently accept his cautious and sound verdict. Next week's program is entitled The crucial issue particularly referring to Mr. Allegro as imposing parallels between the teacher of righteousness and Christ and the Messiah. It's you. It's grows from the Dead Sea. These programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. The planning in writing and narration is by Dr. Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. These programs are distributed by the National Association of educational
broadcasters. This is the NEA Radio Network.
Scrolls from the Dead Sea
Teacher of righteousness?
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University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores the controversy over the identity of the leader of the Qumran sect.
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The story of the Dead Sea Scrolls, featuring interviews with 30 leading scholars, scientists, archeologists and theologians.
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Composer: Voegeli, Don
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Speaker: Stribling, Don
Speaker: Strugnell, John, 1930-2007
Speaker: Cross, Frank Moore
Speaker: Dupont-Sommer, Andre_
Writer: Mansoor, Menahem
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-21-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:19
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Chicago: “Scrolls from the Dead Sea; Teacher of righteousness?,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
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APA: Scrolls from the Dead Sea; Teacher of righteousness?. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from