Sunday, June 12, 2005

WAC and the Sicarii

Danny Zacharias at has been reading Wise-Abegg-Cook:

My sense is that it was probably Michael Wise who wrote the essay proposing that the Qumran sect was Sicarii in orientation. It was an interesting read, and I am curious to hear what others think of it. Ultimately I was unconvinced, but his noting of texts also found at Masada, as well as his explanation for the existence of 4Q448 (In Praise of King Jonathan) at Qumran was interesting. I am wondering what other readers or bloggers think about it. Perhaps Ed Cook would have time to blog about, since his name is technically attached to the proposal.

In fact, the introduction to Wise-Abegg-Cook (up to page 35) was drafted by me and then revised by both Marty and Mike. Therefore my name is more than "technically attached" to it.

Danny, if you will re-read the introduction with more care, you will see that there is no proposal that "the Qumran sect was Sicarii in orientation." The key sentence is found at the top of page 33, "After the Romans came to power, the situation changed." Our model sees the proper background for the Qumran scrolls in the internecine strife in the Hasmonean state of the first half of the first century BCE. The sect, broadly speaking, chose the anti-Pharisaic side in this dispute; the Sicarii did not yet exist. There are no specifically sectarian texts that seemed to have been composed after the Romans came to power; but, in the first century CE, sectarian compositions (War Scroll, 1QS, etc.) seem to have influenced and been adopted by other, "carrier" groups that may, or may not, have descended directly from the first century BCE group that composed the sectarian texts. One of these groups may have been the Essenes as Josephus describes them; there is strong evidence that another such group was the Sicarii. Therefore it would have been more accurate to say that "the Sicarii were 'Qumranian' in orientation" than the other way around.

I have previously blogged about the dating of the Scrolls here and here.

The revision has been completed for the second edition of Wise-Abegg-Cook; hopefully it will be in print by November and available at SBL.

A picture of the three of us at our last editorial meeting can be seen here; I'm on the left.


Alcibiades said...

What did you think about that recent research that claimed Qumran was in fact an ancient pottery making center based upon studies into the composition of the remains in the pools that had previously been thought to have been mikva'ot?

Anonymous said...

Dr.Cook, I have done a 'pt.2' to my first blog in the following blog that I am hoping you'll respond to, and I'd also be interested in hearing your response to alcibiades reply as well. Danny Zacharias

EMC said...

I appreciate the comments of both of you. DZ, I read your response and I appreciate it. When I get back to thinking about this topic, I'll try to say something thoughtful in reply.

Joe Weaks said...

I'm confused by the editorial group picture... are you on my left, or on the left from the group's point of view? Thanks for the clarification. :)