Parody of the Dead Sea Scrolls



The book I reference here - I could not possibly review it - has more holes than the proverbial Swiss cheese. The author actually imagines that the New Testament contains a history of Judaea in the first century, with a real, actual, living, divine man Jesus. Oh dear, but never mind; here we'll treat a part of the chapter The Herodians of the Gospel of Mark:
The glaring lacuna of the missing Essenes in the New Testament has removed them from centre field. It would be hard to construct a notion of Essene marginality on the basis of Philo or Josephus, yet they are missing in the New Testament and thus - given the dominant conceptual paradigms created by biblical literature - it seems obvious. Why would the Gospel-writers have avoided mentioning the Essenes if they were powerful players, deeply involved in public debate? If the Pharisees and Sadducees were concerned about Jesus’ interpretations of the law and actions, surely the Essenes - if they played a public role - would also have been concerned? As we have seen, in Philo and Josephus the Essenes are presented as the most exemplary of all Jewish legal ‘societies’ in Judaea and a key paradigm for Judaism as a whole; in the New Testament they are absolutely nowhere. (The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea by Joan Taylor, Oxford University Press, 2015)
The gospel writers did not avoid mentioning this sect: the New Testament is all about them, in parody. They are the whole point of the New Testament.


The sect which wrote much of the Dead Sea Scrolls, almost certainly in Qumran, next door to the caves in which they buried them, never gave themselves a formal title - not even once. It is therefore unrealistic to expect to find this non-existent title in the New Testament. Instead, they describe themselves using various terms: The Poor (Ebionim, Ebionites), The Way and Nazarite; they also had leaders with titles such as Righteous Teacher and Messiah. We see clear parody with Christian usage of Nazareth, the way and messiah.

I'm saddened to see how even the most modern and prestigious scholarship n this field just tramps along the old textual tradition, with nothing new or important to say.

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