3 - Persons And Events

Following the pattern set by the book of Daniel composed shortly before 160 B.C., writers living in the inter-Testamental period, and convinced that they were seeing the 'last days', never alluded directly to persons and events. As in Daniel xi, where the various Ptolemaic and Seleucid rulers of the Hellenistic kingdoms are called simply, 'the king of the north', 'the king of the south', etc., and the Romans are named 'Kittam', so in the Scrolls the term 'Kittam' is applied to the final foe and the identity of personalities connected with the history of the sect is concealed under such pseudonyms as 'Teacher of Righteousness', 'Wicked Priest', and 'Chief of the Kings of Greece'.

To present-day scholars this deliberate avoidance of precision and clarity is a great handicap, particularly as there are no chronicles or annals to help them, not even a letter bearing directly on contemporary events. In all that mass of manuscripts and fragments representing several hundred works, not a single document is dated. Fortunately, archaeological discovery has to some extent remedied this lack of literary evidence, and has allowed the historian to narrow his field of research before setting out to interpret the cryptic material contained in the Qumran writings.


Archaeological Data

Archaeological findings at Qumran have made it possible to situate the activities of the Community within a chronological framework; to ascertain, that is to say, the duration of their stay there and the approximate date of their abandonment of the site. The following brief survey, largely dependent on the preliminary reports issued by R.de Vaux, director of the French School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, presents these data in simple outline.

The Qumran settlement was built some time during the second half of the second century B.C. on the deserted ruins of a town belonging to the ancient kings of Judah - perhaps the 'City of Salt' mentioned in the book of Joshua (15:62).

Its occupation covered two main periods. During the earlier part of period I, represented by - among other things - three Seleucid silver coins dating from 136-129 B.C. and over a dozen bronze coins from the time of John Hyrcanus (134-104 B.C.), the place seems to have been only sparsely inhabited. But later, as testified by the discovery of eighty-six coins minted during, the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 B.C.), it grew into a full-scale religious establishment and reached what must have been its golden age.

This came to an end as the result of an earthquake which brought down the buildings and disrupted community life: Josephus reports that a catastrophe of this nature occurred in the area in 31 B.C. Subsequently, the monastery lay more or less deserted, as is shown by the small number of coins - only five - dating from the long reign of Herod the Great (37-4 B.C.).

Period II began in the final years of the pre-Christian era during the reign of Archelaus (4 B.C. to A.D. 6). The community buildings were restored and from then on they were fully occupied until the third year of the Jewish War which broke out in A.D. 66. J.T. Milik reports the discovery of seventy-three coins minted by the Jewish rebels in the second year of the war, but only five coins have been found dating from the third year. The remains of ashes and signs of conflagration show that the place was destroyed by fire, probably in A.D. 68, and probably also as the result of an attack by the Romans, some of whose arrowheads have been recovered.

For the next twenty or thirty years, Qumran served as quarters for the Roman soldiery, and then in the second century A.D. the followers of Bar Kochba took refuge there and left behind them as evidence of their stay thirteen coins from the time of the second Jewish revolt (A.D. 132-5). Since then, Qumran has never been permanently occupied.

The first conclusion to be drawn from these findings is that, as the monastery was abandoned in A.D. 68, all the events referred to in the Scrolls, which were stowed away in the neighbouring caves immediately prior to the Community's flight, must have happened before that date. This time limit might be stretched slightly, were there any strong evidence to justify doing so, but although it has been suggested that the inhabitants of Qumran were Judeo-Christian Ebionites or members of the warlike party of Zealots, both these theories are in themselves far too unlikely to outweigh the archaeological evidence measured against them.

No properly Judeo-Christian characteristic emerges from the Scrolls, and unless we are much mistaken, the Zealots were scarcely a company of ascetics. For the events reported in the Qumran literature it therefore seems reasonable to turn to the historical period prior to A.D. 66-70, and more precisely - for various reasons which will appear later - to the epoch beginning with the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes (175 B.C.) and ending with fall of Hyrcanus II (40 B.C.).


The chronological table of the inter-Testamental history of Palestine given below may help the reader to follow the argument more closely.


• 197 -> Judaea became a province of the Seleucid Empire ruled by the Syrian successors of Alexander The Great.
• 187-175 -> Seleucus IV. Beginning of Hellenistic infiltration, resisted by the Zadokite High Priest Onias III.
• 175-163 -> Antiochus IV (Epiphanes). Onias deposed and replaced by his Hellenophile brother Jason.
• 172 -> Jason expelled from office in favour Of Menelaus, Hellenizing High Priest from 172-162 B.C.
• 171 -> Onias III murdered at the instigation of Menelaus Forced Hellenization.
• 169 -> Antiochus led by Menelaus profaned and plundered the Temple of Jerusalem.
• 168 -> Antiochus thwarted by the Romans in his second campaign against Egypt.
• 167 -> Persecution of those Jews who opposed the unification of the Seleucid Empire on the basis of Greek culture and religion. Official abolition of Jewish religion and practice under threat of death. The Temple transformed into a sanctuary of Olympian Zeus.
• 166 -> Rising of the Maccabees supported by all the traditional parties under the leadership Of Judas Maccabee.
• 164 -> Truce. Cleansing of the Temple, still held by Menelaus.
• 162-150 -> Demetrius I. Menelaus executed by the Syrians. Alcimus appointed High Priest by the king.
• 160 -> Judas killed in battle. Jonathan assumed leadership of the rebels (160-152 B.C.).
• 159 -> Alcimus, the last Hellenizing High Priest, died of a stroke. End of Syrian military intervention.
• 152-145 -> Alexander Galas usurped the Seleucid throne and appointed Jonathan High Priest (152-143 B.C.).
• 145-142 -> Antiochus VI, Son of Alexander, raised to the throne by Tryphon, his father's general. Jonathan named governor of Syria. Simon, his brother, made military governor of the Palestinian littoral.
• 143 -> Jonathan arrested by Tryphon.
• 143-134 -> Simon High Priest and ethnarch.
• 142 -> Jonathan executed in prison.
• 140 -> Simon's titles confirmed as hereditary. Foundation of the Maccabean, or Hasmonean, dynasty.
• 134 -> Simon murdered by his son-in-law.
• 134-104 -> John Hyrcanus I High Priest and ethnarch. Opposed by the Pharisees.
• 104-103 -> Aristobulus I High Priest and king.
• 103-76 -> Alexander Jannaeus High Priest, king, and conqueror. Resisted by the Pharisees.
• 76-67 -> Alexandra, widow Of Jannaeus, queen. Friend of the Pharisees. Hyrcanus II High Priest.
• 67 -> Hyrcanus II king and High Priest. Deposed by his brother Aristobulus.
• 67-63 -> Aristobulus II king and High Priest. Taken prisoner by Pompey In 63 B.C. after the fall of Jerusalem. Judaea became a Roman province.
• 63-40 -> Hyrcanus II reinstated as High Priest without the royal title.
• 40-37 -> Antigonus, son Of Aristobulus II, occupied the throne and pontificate with Parthian support. Hyrcanus maimed and exiled.
• 37-4 -> Herod The Great. End of Hasmonean dynasty. Hyrcanus executed in 30 B.C.
• 27-A.D. 14 -> Augustus emperor.
• 6 B.C. (?) -> Birth Of Jesus Christ.
• 4 B.C.-A.D. 6 -> Archelaus ethnarch of Judaea and Samaria.


• 14-37 -> Tiberius emperor.
• 26-36 -> Pontius Pilate procurator of Judaea.
• 27-30(?) -> Ministry and crucifixion Of Christ.
• 66-70 -> First Jewish War ending with the capture of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by Titus.


These then are the persons, events, and dates which the experts have had to bear in mind when assessing the origins of the sect and, more particularly, the time of the ministry of the Teacher of Righteousness. In the main, they have tended to advance three theories. The first, supported by H. H. Rowley, I. Rabinowitz, H. Bardtke, M. Black, and others, recognizes that the occurrences alluded to in the Scrolls took place in the era of the Hellenistic crisis, i.e., during the reigns of Antiochus Epiphanes and Demetrius I (c. 175-160 B.C.).

The second is the Maccabean theory proposed by the present writer and adopted with certain modifications by J.T. Milik, F.M. Cross, P. Winter, E. F. Sutcliffe, R. de Vaux, etc.; this identifies the Wicked Priest with Jonathan and/or Simon. The third theory inclines to the period of the later Hasmoneans (134-40 B.C.), with marked preference for the reign of either Alexander Jannaeus (M. Delcor, H.M. Segal, J.M. Allegro, F.F. Bruce, and others) or Hyrcanus II (A. Dupont-Sommer, K. Elliger).

Whichever of these three periods is adopted, and each holds some degree of probability, the life and ministry of the Teacher of Righteousness will fall between the years 175 and 63 B.C. Doubtless, the fact that the few personalities mentioned by name in two of the Scroll fragments lived during the same period brings added support to this general conclusion.

Antiochus (most likely Epiphanes) and Demetrius (probably Demetrius III, contemporary of Alexander Jannaeus) figure in the Commentary on Nahum, and we are informed that in an as yet unpublished religious calendar occasional reference is made to historical persons, among them Queen Alexandra, Hyrcanus (I or II), and Aemilius (Scaurus, Pompey's general).

If our only purpose were to place the sect and its doctrine within the larger frame of the historical evolution of Palestinian institutions and Jewish religious thought, the most prudent move would be to rest content with the wider limits of the century and a quarter covered by all three of the theories just mentioned. Like this there would be little danger of grave miscalculation. But the subject is of such interest and importance that it urges the student to attempt the risky task of placing events and personalities more exactly.

This is bound to lead some distance into the realm of conjecture, and in presenting my own interpretation I must make it plain that it in no way pretends to be infallible, but is only, as it seems to me, the least unsatisfactory explanation among many others.


Historical Allusions

The concealed references to the Teacher of Righteousness and the history of his followers are scattered throughout the first section of the Damascus Rule and the biblical Commentaries. As a first move it is important to collect them into a coherent whole.

Damascus Rule. The founder members of the Community were chosen by God in the 'age of wrath' 390 years after the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar. They repented, and for twenty years went 'groping for the way'. God then raised up for them the Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of His heart' (I) . The Teacher and his disciples encountered opposition and hostility. Their adversaries, called seekers of 'smooth things' (I), 'removers of the bound' (v), and 'builders of the wall' (IV, VIII), were led astray by the 'Scoffer' (I), the 'Spouter of Lies' (VIII), the 'Liar' (B I), and embraced false doctrine concerning the laws of purity and impurity, justice and ungodliness, and the Temple ritual (v); they were lovers of wealth (VIII) and stirred up civil strife (I).

The despised and persecuted Priests and Levites of the Community abandoned the Temple of Jerusalem together with the faithful Israelites (IV, VI; B II) and entered a 'New Covenant' in 'the land of Damascus' (VI). They were forbidden to rejoin the Jewish people, who continued to be governed and misled by the new masters of Jerusalem and its sanctuary even after the death of the Teacher of Righteousness (B II). Although God's anger was kindled against them (I) and the 'Chief of the Kings of Greece' came 'to wreak vengeance upon them' (VIII), they persisted in their evil ways. Their rule would be brought to an end by the 'Sceptre', the 'Prince of the whole Congregation', i.e., by the King-Messiah (VII).

The somewhat vague image emerging from this analysis of the Damascus Rule is brought into sharper focus when set beside the information provided by the Habakkuk Commentary. This work is not concerned with the earliest stages of the sect's history, but with the struggle of the Teacher of Righteousness against his principal opponent and with the future destiny of the sect's enemies.

Commentary on Habakkuk. Once again, the Villain is described as the 'Liar', the 'Spouter of Lies', but chiefly as the 'Wicked Priest'. He was 'called by the name of truth' when he first appeared, but on becoming Israel's ruler he betrayed God for the sake of riches and defiled himself with wealth amassed by robbing the 'men of Violence who rebelled against God' and the 'peoples' (VIII). He led many astray in order to 'build his city of vanity with blood and raise a congregation on deceit' (x). He defiled Jerusalem and the Temple (XII). He 'plotted to destroy the Poor (the Community)' (XII), sinned against the Teacher of Righteousness and his disciples (ix), chastised him whilst the 'House of Absalom' remained dumb (v), 'pursued the Teacher of Righteousness to the house of his exile', and appeared before the Community on their Day of Atonement ' to confuse them, and to cause them to stumble' (XI); and he 'robbed the Poor of their possessions' (XII).

But God punished him by delivering him 'into the hand of his enemies' so that he should be humbled by a 'destroying scourge, in bitterness of soul'; and they 'took vengeance upon his body of flesh' (IX). His successors, 'the last Priests of Jerusalem', continued to 'amass money and wealth', but finally all their possessions would be seized by the Kittim, the 'remnant of the peoples' (IX). At the time of judgement, the Wicked Priest would have to drink 'the cup of the wrath of God' (XI) and would suffer punishment 'with fire of brimstone' (X).

Commentary on Psalm 37. Again, it is said that the Wicked Priest sought to lay hands on the Teacher. In chastisement for this deed God delivered him 'into the hands of the Violent of the nations' (I).

Messianic Anthology. A new and rather important detail may be deduced from the extract of the Psalms of Joshua, quoted at the end of the Messianic Anthology, mentioning the misdeeds of 'two instruments of Violence', clearly two brothers, who rebuilt and fortified Jerusalem, committed abominations, spilt blood, and destroyed their neighbours. That this text follows a series of Messianic passages from the Bible indicates that the two men were thought to have played a part of major significance as the chief enemies of the Community from which the Messiahs were to arise.

Commentary on Nahum. Although it makes no allusion to the Teacher or the sect, this Commentary contributes a point of great historical interest in identifying the 'lion's den' with Jerusalem, into which 'Demetrius king of Greece' tried to enter 'on the counsel of those who seek smooth things'. He failed: the kings of Greece were unable to take the city 'from the time of Antiochus until the coming of the rulers of the Kittim'. The sovereign of Jerusalem, 'the furious young lion', then took revenge on 'the seekers of smooth things' and crucified them, thereby adopting a form of execution unknown to the Jewish Law.

War Rule. It appears from this work that the sect expected to remain in 'exile' until the Messianic war, and then to reoccupy Jerusalem and conquer the world by defeating all the Gentiles, including the king of the Kittim, the lords of the universe.



The next step is to establish some measure of correlation between the enigmatic story told in the Scrolls and Jewish history itself.

It is my belief that the ministry of the Teacher of Righteousness took place during the historical period dominated by the two Maccabee brothers, Jonathan and Simon, and that the person described as the sect's principal opponent was the younger brother, Jonathan. Projected against this background, the various innuendoes in the Scrolls seem to acquire a greater significance and intelligibility than when placed within any other historical setting.

To illustrate the point, I will first examine the oblique references to events which, in addition to their importance to the Community, were of interest to the Jewish nation as a whole. I refer to the 'age of wrath' 390 years after Nebuchadnezzar, and to the career of the Wicked Priest who ruled Israel.

390 years. In the Damascus Rule, as will be recalled, the 'age of wrath' ago years after the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (587 B.C.) is given as the period in which the sect was founded. Scholars agree almost unanimously that the date thus obtained (197 B.C.) should not be taken literally. Some of them - with no cogent reason - maintain that the figure is purely symbolical; others argue with greater probability that it may be approximately right, and that the author of the Damascus Rule had in mind an eventful epoch during the first half of the second century B.C.

Their caution is due to the fact that no ancient Jewish historian was correctly informed of the duration of the Persian period. For example, Demetrius, a Jew living in Alexandria at the end of the third century B.C., reckoned 338 years and three months from the deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (587 B.C.) to the accession of Ptolemy IV (221 B.C.), whereas the actual lapse of time was 366 years.

Allowing for a similar misreckoning of from twenty to thirty years in the Damascus Rule, 'ago years' would point to the time of the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes (175 B.C.) and the Hellenistic crisis, an age well suited to be dubbed an 'age of wrath'. As a matter of fact, even some of those scholars who ascribe only a figurative value to 'ago years' have come to date the foundation of the Community in the same period, on the ground that in all historical probability the founders of the sect were drawn from the religious group called Hasidim or Pious Ones which, according to 1 Maccabees ii, was formed during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.

These Hasidim, representing conservative Judaism, strongly opposed the infiltration of Greek culture. When Hellenization became official policy under the pressure of Jason and Menelaus, and especially after the edict of Antiochus forbidding the observance of the Jewish religion, many of them, 'zealous for righteousness and the Law' flocked into the desert to escape defilement (l Macc 2:29-30). At first, rigid adherence to the Law caused them even to refuse to defend their lives on the Sabbath day when attacked by the pro-Greek faction, but later they joined forces with the Maccabees.

Nevertheless, their participation in the rebellion (1Mac, 2:42) resulted from necessity rather than from whole-hearted approval of the conduct and Views of the leaders of the insurrection, and in fact the Hasidim parted company from the Maccabees as soon as Alcimus was promoted High Priest in 162 B.C. after the execution of Menelaus.

They were ready to recognize this son of Aaron as pontiff, but for reasons of which we are unaware, their trust was deceived and he put sixty of them to death (1 Macc. 7:13-16). Compromised with the Maccabees and betrayed by Alcimus, they no doubt returned to the desert to grope their way there 'like blind men' until the appearance of the priestly Teacher of Righteousness.

In short, the 'ago years' lead to the opening decades of dip second century B.C., when the Hellenistic crisis came to a head and gave rise, in an 'age of wrath', to the foundation of the religious party of the Hasidim. From their known history it is safe to assume that they constituted the nucleus of the Teacher's first disciples and, as appears from the Scrolls, they must have included a strong priestly element firmly attached to the Zadokite pontifical dynasty which held supreme power in the Temple of Jerusalem from the time of Solomon to that of Antiochus Epiphanes.

The Wicked Priest. The Teacher of Righteousness made his appearance twenty years after the sect was founded: that is, if our chronology is acceptable, in about 155 B.C. By that time the war against the Seleucids had ended. The pontifical throne had been unoccupied since the death of Alcimus in 159 B.C. and the nation was governed by Jonathan, who continued to cleanse the country of all traces of Hellenism. But in 152 B.C. he was promoted High Priest by Alexander Balas, the usurper of the Seleucid throne, and accepted this appointment despite the fact that he was neither of pontifical descent nor took any real interest in matters of religion. He was by nature more suited to be a soldier or a political organizer than a High Priest.

To the Teacher of Righteousness and his followers Jonathan's claims were worthless and his behaviour objectionable. He was the Wicked Priest who was 'called by the name of truth' (CHab VIII), i.e., who was a true disciple of Moses, before he assumed the offices of High Priest and ruler; but when he came to power he betrayed God for the sake of the riches amassed by plundering both Hellenophile Jews - the 'men of Violence who rebelled against God' (CHab VIII) - and the neighbouring Gentiles (cf. I Mace. 12:24-34) With Simon, the other 'instrument of Violence' (MA), he took it on himself to fortify Jerusalem and build strongholds throughout Judaea (cf. I Macc. 12:35-8).

The Teacher's opposition was resented, and eventually eliminated. He went to live in 'the house of his exile' (CHab XI), perhaps at Qumran, and there the Wicked Priest Visited him, though it is impossible to tell with certainty what happened on that famous occasion. The author of the Commentary on Habakkuk (v) reproaches the 'House of Absalom', a family which played an important part during the rule of Jonathan and Simon (cf. I Macc. 11:70; 13: II), for not having intervened on the Teacher's behalf. On the other hand, we are told that the Wicked Priest was punished by his foreign enemies who took 'vengeance upon his body of flesh' (CHab ix; cf. CPS 37). If my interpretation is correct, the person who carried out this act of revenge was the 'Chief of the Kings of Greece' (DR VIII).

These allusions refer to Jonathan's arrest by Tryphon, a general of Alexander Balas and Antiochus VI, who finally proclaimed himself king and dominated the Seleucid scene for about ten years. I Maccabees 12:39-48 relates how Tryphon trapped Jonathan in Ptolemais in 143 B.C. after massacring his escort of one thousand men. In the following year, Jonathan was put to death by his captor (I Macc. 13:23).

The 'last Priests of Jerusalem' and the 'young lion'. The death of the Wicked Priest did not mark the end of the domination of Israel by other Priests who continued to lead the nation astray. They the 'last Priests of Jerusalem' (CHab Ix; CNah) - incurred the same guilt as the Wicked Priest. They are said to have amassed 'money and wealth by plundering the peoples', and accusations of having taught false doctrine (DR) and of having adopted the Gentile calendar (CHOS) no doubt refer to them, as well as the reproach for cruelty (CNah); but they are never mentioned in connexion with the Community. Their punishment was to be executed on them by the Kittim (CHab IX; CNah).

In effect, from John Hyrcanus to Aristobulus II, the policy of Simon's successors, the Hasmonean rulers, was one of conquest and plunder at the expense of the neighbouring countries of Tran Jordan, Samaria, Idumea, Iturea, etc. Aristobulus II was even accused of piracy on the seas. One of these 'last Priests of Jerusalem', Alexander Jannaeus, is no doubt the Villain of the Commentary on Nahum, the 'furious young lion' who crucified as an act of revenge the 'seekers of smooth things' who had called in 'Demetrius king of Greece'.

The historian Josephus relates that in 88 B.C. the Pharisees encouraged the Seleucid king, Demetrius III, to invade Judaea. He was, however, unable to exploit his initial Victory over Jannaeus, and when he had returned to Syria Jannaeus ordered eight hundred Pharisees to be executed.

• The 'Kittim'. The rule of the 'last Priests of Jerusalem' will end, according to the Commentary on Habakkuk, with the triumph of the invincible Kittim. These 'quick and valiant' warriors who came from distant shores and .inspired 'all the nations with fear and dread', whose 'commanders' (not kings) laid waste the earth, and who sacrificed 'to their standards' (signa), were the Roman legions. Under the leadership of Licinius Lucullus and Pompey, they conquered between 69 and 63 B.C. the powerful states of Pontus, Armenia, the Seleucid Empire, and finally the Jewish kingdom. In 63 B.C., Pompey himself entered Jerusalem and deprived the Hasmonean dynasty of its royal title.


The texts at present available do not allow us to probe any further into the history of the Community. It is clear that the sectaries' interest in political events was limited to the formative period of their society, and the absence in their literature of all reference to later happenings obliges us to rely for their subsequent history on archaeological evidence. We know from this that the Qumran centre continued to flourish, with possibly an interruption of about thirty years, until the first Jewish revolt against Rome.

And from the accounts of the Essenes and Therapeutae written by Josephus and Philo we learn that the sect became a widespread and highly respected religious movement, not only in Palestine but also in Syria and Egypt. However, the great crisis of the war against Rome dealt a fatal blow to the Community. Its settlements must have been ruined, and its members dispersed. The survivors either rejoined the remnant of Palestinian Jewry, or were assimilated into Judeo-Christian sects, or entered the great Church proper.

In this reconstruction of the history of the sect, a modified version of the theory which I launched several years ago, most of the allusions contained in the Scrolls have been given concrete meaning. The founder members of the group have been identified with the Hasidim, the Wicked Priest with Jonathan, the two 'instruments of Violence' with Jonathan and Simon, the enemy of the Wicked Priest with Tryphon, the 'last Priests of Jerusalem' with the later Hasmonean rulers, the 'young lion' with Alexander Jannaeus, and the 'Kittim' with the Romans. Yet there are still two important lacunae in this synthesis: the significance of the 'Damascus' exile, and above all the identity of the Teacher of Righteousness.

The 'land of Damascus'. Three theories have so far been advanced: (1) The 'land of Damascus' is to be understood in its proper geographical sense, i.e., some early members of the sect migrated from Judaea to the north. (2) 'Damascus' is a symbolical name for Qumran. (3) The Community settled at Qumran, but the area was under the domination of the Nabatean kings who also ruled over Damascus, i.e., Qumran was in the 'land of Damascus'. It is impossible to solve this dilemma. Nevertheless, we may assume that if, as in the first hypothesis, there were settlements in the Damascus area (or northern Tran Jordan?), they must have maintained contact with the Qumran centre since early copies of the Damascus Rule were kept in the Qumran library.

The Teacher of Righteousness. Turning to the identity of the Teacher, we are confronted with a mystery. Several suggestions have, of course, been proposed, and the Teacher has been identified with various historical characters of the second and first centuries B.C.: the High Priest Onias III, for example, murdered in 171 B.C.; the Priest Jose ben Joezer, said to have been executed in 162 B.C.; Eleazar the Pharisee, an opponent of John Hyrcanus; the Essene Judas mentioned by Josephus as a diviner during the reign of Aristobulus I; Onias the Just, a wonder-worker stoned to death in 65 B.C., etc.

Yet none of these suggestions is entirely satisfactory. The dearth of concrete detail in the Scrolls in
connection with the Teacher's life, and the complete lack of information about the opposition to the Maccabees in accounts written by their sympathizers, makes it at present impossible to identify the great prophet of the Community.

We know only that he was a Priest, that he began his ministry in about 155 B.C., that he openly opposed the Wicked Priest and was scorned, persecuted, and exiled. Several scholars assert that he was killed during the course of a persecution commanded by the Wicked Priest, but none of the texts justify anything so categorical. Indeed, from the expressions used in the Damascus Rule and the Commentaries on Habakkuk and Psalm 37, it might be inferred that the Teacher escaped a Violent end. For the moment the question of both the manner and the date of his death must be left open.

Though several experts see in him the author of certain of the Scrolls, the Community Rule for instance, and some of the Hymns, this theory is not supported by any definite evidence. As a person the Teacher remains anonymous and appears only through the writings inspired by him, and through the role which his followers attributed to him as builder of the Community, guide to truth and knowledge, and discoverer of the mysteries of God. We know him through the faith of his disciples whose attitude to him may perhaps best be expressed by quoting the Scrolls:

All those ... who have listened to the voice of the Teacher of Righteousness and have not despised the precepts of righteousness when they heard them, they shall rejoice and their hearts shall be strong ... God will forgive them and they shall see His salvation because they took refuge in His holy Name' (DR B II).

The righteous shall live by his faith. Interpreted, this concerns all those who observe the Law in the House of Judah, whom God will deliver from the House of judgment because of their suffering and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness' (CHab VIII).


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