Manual of Discipline
Discipline, Manual of
DISCIPLINE, MANUAL OF
DISCIPLINE, MANUAL OF ("The Sectarian Document" or "The Rule of the Community"; Heb. סֶרֶךְ הַיַּחַד, Serekh ha-Yaḥad; abbr. 1qs), one of the *Dead Sea Scrolls, found in the spring of 1947 near Qumran; now in the Israel Museum's Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. The designation "Manual of Discipline" was coined by the American scholars Burrows, Trever and Brownlee – who were the first to study the scroll, and who published a facsimile edition in 1951 under that title. Since then at least ten fragmentary copies of the Manual have been discovered in two caves (iv and v) in the vicinity of the Qumran ruin where, according to most scholars, these and many other manuscripts were copied in Hellenistic and Roman times, before 70 c.e., by members of a Jewish religious community.
The manuscript is about 6 ft. 2 in. (1.86 m.) long and c. 10 inches (24 cm.) high and is made up of five pieces of parchment sewn together. Originally other sheets of parchment were attached to 1qs; these fragments were later found in Cave 1 and have been labeled 1qsa (usually appearing as superscript a) and 1qsb (usually appearing as superscript b). 1qs has 11 columns of Hebrew writing (with an average of 26 lines to each column); the scroll is well preserved and contains only a few lacunae, but from the occurrence of some erasures and insertions it has been concluded that, in its present form, the text (slightly corrupt in some places) is the work of more than one scribe. The margins of the manuscript contain curious symbols some of which are also found in the First (Great) Isaiah Scroll (1qisaa) found together with the Manual; the meaning of these symbols is unknown.
1qs is first and foremost a religious document focused on various aspects of life within "the community" (Heb. הַיַּחַד, hayaḥad). 1qs 1:1–18a contains a series of statements about the ideal life to which the members pledged themselves at the annual renewal of the covenant which is described in 1:18b–3:12; on that occasion the "priests" and the "levites" pronounced (a) praises to God, (b) blessings of "all the men of God's lot," (c) curses against "all the men of Belial's lot," and (d) curses against unworthy members of the movement. A communal confession of sins was an important feature of this ceremony which was followed by the priests' pronouncement of an expanded version of the *Priestly Blessing (Num. 6:24–26). This liturgical part of 1qs ends with a warning to members not to rely on the efficacy of ablutions carried out mechanically for "it is by an upright and humble spirit that sin can be atoned" (3:8). Some scholars assume that baptismal rites formed part of this annual renewal of membership although this is not explicitly stated, 1qs 3:13–4:26 is a treatise which explains in theological terms the position of the members of the community in this world, as well as their destiny in the world to come. The basic theme of the sharp division of mankind into members and those outside – already clear from the preceding homiletic and liturgical parts – is here seen as ultimately due to God's providential planning of everything from the Creation on. He has given man two "spirits" (of "truth" and "iniquity") which struggle with each other in the heart of everyone (4:23). As a result of this conflict mankind is divided into sons of "truth," "righteousness," and "light" on the one hand, and of "iniquity" on the other. The two "spirits" are not to be taken as cosmic, dualistic principles (as in Zoroastrian theology), but in accordance with the use of "spirit" in Hebrew psychology (cf. within the pseudepigraphical books Test. Patr., Judah 20:1 which affords a close parallel to the Manual here). Nor is the "dualism" expressed here either absolute, physical, or cosmic but ethical and eschatological: God is in control from beginning to end, and "the angel of darkness," though in charge of the "sons of iniquity," is clearly inferior to God, in the same way as the "prince of lights" rules over the "sons of righteousness" in a capacity subordinate to God, who, for some unknown reason beyond human understanding ("according to His mysteries," 3:23), allows the "angel of darkness" enough power to cause the "sons of righteousness" to sin "during the period fixed by Him." Eventually, however, God will utterly destroy the spirit of iniquity from a part of mankind by a holy spirit (4:20ff.). The pious, chosen by God and yet responsible for their acts, will then enjoy "healing and great peace… together with everlasting blessings, endless gladness in everlasting life … in eternal light" (4:6ff.). The damned will suffer "eternal perdition … together with the disgrace of annihilation in the fire of murky Hell" (4:12ff.). Neither the Messiah nor the Resurrection is mentioned. The theory of Zoroastrian influence in this treatise, although accepted by many scholars, is rejected by others, who feel that the themes of the essay are satisfactorily explained against the general background of apocalyptic circles of the time. Apart from a penal code (6:24–7:25), which contains a list of punishments for various offenses (such as cursing God, telling a lie, rebelling against authority, guffawing, and spitting in the assembly), the section 5:1–9:25 is not easily divided into subsections. In a verbose and repetitive manner, often echoing biblical language, the author enumerates the ethical ideals of the members of the community (truth, unity, humility, righteousness, love, etc.; e.g., 5:4 and 8:2ff.), describes the community in quasi-poetical passages (e.g., metaphorically as a spiritual temple consisting of "Aaron" and "Israel," i.e., priestly and lay members, 5:6; 8:5ff.), and alludes to the perfect lives of the members as being capable of atoning for sins, not only their own (5:6; 8:3, 10; 9:4). From such homiletic passages, aimed at impressing the lofty vocation and status of the community on the reader, the author passes on to aspects of organization, admission of members (5:7ff.; 20ff., 6:13ff.; 8:16ff.), and communal activities such as meals and deliberations (6:2ff.); at the latter, problems of scriptural interpretation, as well as any matter of concern to the community, were discussed. This long section, indispensable for an understanding of the inner life and spiritual nature of the Qumran community or the religious movement centered there, ends with a summary of the virtues characteristic of the maskil ("the wise man"), the ideal member of the sect. Almost imperceptibly, transition is made to a set of at least three hymns of praise (10:1–8a; 10:8b–11:15a, and 11:15b–22) with which 1qs comes to an end. The main themes of these compositions are indicated in 10:23: "With thanksgiving hymns I will open my mouth, and the righteous deeds of God shall my tongue enumerate always, together with the faithlessness of man and his utter sinfulness." The author, as a human being, is sinful (11:9f.), but God has forgiven him and granted him "righteousness" (10:11; 11:12), and that is the reason for praising Him at all times (10:1ff.). (For the use of the word "righteousness" in the meaning of "Divine grace," see 11:14, 2.) These concluding hymns belong to the same literary genre as the compositions contained in the *Thanksgiving Psalms (1qh) which were found in Cave i together with the Manual. Some scholars claim that these contents form a literary unit whereas others claim that 1qs contains a number of originally separate texts copied onto the same scroll. It is generally assumed, however, that the contents of the scroll all go back to the same religious circles; an exception to this view is that of Del Medico who has argued for the theory that 1qs not only is not a literary unit, but also that the various parts, of which in his view the text of the manuscript is made up, go back to different Jewish religious circles. It must be conceded, however, that there is a unity of language and style in the Manual; nor can it be said that the various sections are unrelated to each other, or that they have been put together in an entirely haphazard fashion. Furthermore, the fact mentioned above that other copies of the work are in existence suggests that a traditional form of it was copied and recopied through a fairly long period.
Language and Date
The language of the Manual is akin to biblical rather than mishnaic Hebrew, and its text must have been copied, or at least composed, at a time when there was little or no difference between the literary language of sacred writings (as attested by the consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible) and the spoken Hebrew of everyday life. Paleographically 1qs is dated by experts to around 100 b.c.e. and if these datings are correct other copies now lost were probably in circulation at an even earlier time (second century b.c.e.) among the many local groups within the religious movement for whom the document was intended. Linguistically 1qs is akin to the Great Isaiah Scroll (1qisaa) which is supposed by many scholars to have originated in pre-canonical times, i.e., certainly before the first century c.e. – and long before the vocalization of the standard text by the masoretes in the early Middle Ages. The two manuscripts have some characteristic features in common, such as profuse application of vowel letters, a certain resemblance to Samaritan as regards pronominal suffixes, and – in the forms of nouns and verbs – a degree of influence from Aramaic which was then spoken in Palestine. Hebrew was undoubtedly spoken by the Jews in Palestine at this time, and therefore, the occurrence of words otherwise only known from late sources is not to be taken as pointing to a late date for the Manual.
Life and Identity of the Religious Circles Described in 1qs
No precise information about the history of the religious movement described in 1qs is available in either the document itself or in any other related text. However, the importance attached to the priestly element within the Yaḥad and the explicit reference to the "sons of Zadok," are usually taken to suggest that the Yaḥad originated in a schism within the Jerusalem priesthood in early Hasmonean times, as a result of which some Zadokite priests established a religious center at Qumran, possibly together with sympathizers among the *Hassideans. Cut off from the sacrificial cult at the central sanctuary they devoted themselves there to the study of the Scriptures (the Law and the Prophets), whose meaning was "found" or "revealed" by an allegorizing type of interpretation an example of which occurs in 8:13ff.: "When these become a community by these norms in Israel, they shall separate themselves from the session of the men of iniquity by going out into the wilderness in order to clear His way there; as it is written: 'In the wilderness make clear the way of…. [four dots are used in the manuscript to indicate the Tetragrammaton], level in the desert a highway for our God.' This alludes to the study of the Law which He has commanded through Moses to do, according to everything which has been revealed time and again, and according to that which the Prophets have revealed by His holy spirit." In this passage and elsewhere (5:1, 10; 8:10; 9:5, 9, 20ff.) the members are urged to "separate themselves" (verb נבדל) from iniquity, and a long passage (5: 11ff.) is devoted to a denunciation of the godless with whom the pious must have no dealings: they must not get involved in arguments with them, nor disclose any of their rules of conduct to them (9:16f.). The full members, whose exact place within the society was strictly defined according to seniority, learning, and behavior, ate, blessed and deliberated together (6:2ff.); new members, if approved by existing members and the inspector (ha-mevakker or ha-pakid), were admitted at the end of two years after which trial period they bound themselves by oath "to return to the Law of Moses … according to everything which has been revealed from it to the sons of Zadok, the priests who keep the covenant and seek His pleasure" (6:8ff.). Their property was then pooled with the property of the community and they themselves were allocated a seat at the communal meals, and from then on they were entitled to take part in its deliberations (6:4). A degree of ownership of property is presupposed in some passages, and poverty does not in itself seem to have been regarded as an ideal. Women are not mentioned in 1qs, and most scholars assume that the members of the Yaḥad were unmarried; women are, however, referred to in other texts which were either found near Qumran or appear to have originated in related religious circles. Parts of the Manual (as, e.g., the liturgy of the annual renewal of the covenant) must refer to events which took place at the Qumran center; and in 8:1ff. a special group of 15 members (12 laymen and three priests) is mentioned who can hardly have lived anywhere else. It is clear, however, from 6:3, 6 that there were local groups – some of them consisting of no more than 10 members (the required minimum) – in various parts of the country, within which the levitical laws of purity were strictly observed and the Scriptures were intensely studied. Much in the Manual may be taken as referring to such "Qumranian" fellowships anywhere in the country, and some Jewish scholars have attempted to establish a connection between these and the ḥavurot ("fellowships") of the early Pharisees which are described in the Talmud in terms which are partly identical with those employed in 1qs of the Qumran Yaḥad. That is not to say, however, that the Qumran "sectarians" are necessarily identified with the Pharisees. None of the designations applied in 1qs to the members contains any clue as to their exact identity; it is clear that the movement was priestly, ritualistic, legalistic, with a bent toward secrecy, mysticism, and apocalypticism, but these qualifications do not in their totality fit any of the known Jewish religious groups in late Judaism, including the Essenes, although there are suggestive similarities (as well as some differences) between Josephus' description of the latter and the Manual. Most scholars accept the view that the Qumran Yaḥad was Essene. If the theory is correct, lqs, apart from enabling us to check Josephus' information on a number of points, adds considerably to the knowledge of a branch of Judaism which, even before the Scrolls were discovered, was thought by some to form the background out of which Christianity grew. Within the New Testament the most suggestive points of contact with the Manual are found in the Johannine group of writings and in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
A fragment containing the Hebrew title of 1qs (סר] ך היחד]; [ser]ekh ha-yaḥad), and 1qsa and 1qsb mentioned above, were all originally attached to 1qs. As, however, the bottom quarter of the last column of 1qs is left blank, the Manual clearly ends at 1qs 11:22, and has presumably always done so. That there is a literary relationship between 1qsa ("the Rule of the Congregation"), 1qsb (several fragments making up a collection of benedictions) and 1qs is certain in view of some degree of phraseological similarity (especially between 1qsa 2:11ff. (the messianic banquet of the Congregation) and 1qs 6:4ff. (the daily meal of the members of the Yaḥad)). It is possible, however, that these texts do not all refer to the same religious circles because of differences in contents (1qsa, e.g., is martial (possibly Hassidean) in character and deals with aspects of family life); it was perhaps from among the circles referred to in 1qs that the Yaḥad of the Manual arose; and at least the major part of another, larger document ("the Damascus Document," cd) also probably dates back to the time before the Manual was composed.
A Theory of Composition
A general hypothesis of composition was proposed by J. Murphy O'Connor in 1969, with 1qs developing to meet the needs of the Community at different stages in its history, as follows: (1) 1qs 8:1–10a, 12b–16a, 9:3–10:8: with a Teacher of Righteousness proposing the establishment of the Community in the Wilderness, to serve as a spiritual temple and run by a priestly core; (2) 1qs 8:10–12a, 8:16b–9:2, interpolations relating to the attempt to deal with failures of obedience within the Community; (3) 1qs 5:1–13, 6:8–23, 6:24–7:25, the organizational redefinition of the Community as an institution, with new legislation for the assembly and for the admittance of new recruits; (4) 1qs 1:1–3:12, 3:13–4:23a, 4:23b–26, 10:9–11:22, with attempts being made to revitalize the spiritual life of the Community.
[Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]
text: M. Burrows et al., The Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery, vol. 2, fasc. 2 (1951); translations and commentaries: W.H. Brownlee, The Dead Sea Manual of Discipline (1951); P. Wernberg-Møller, The Manual of Discipline Translated and Annotated (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah), ed. by J. van der Ploeg, 1 (1957); general works: A. Dupont-Sommer, The Jewish Sect of Qumran and the Essenes (1954); H.H. Rowley, The Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1952); Wernberg-Møller, in: Annual of Leeds University Oriental Society, 6 (1969), 56–8. add. bibliography: P.R. Davies, Behind the Essenes: History and Ideology in the Dead Sea Scrolls (1987); Charlesworth, J.H. (ed.), The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations. vol. 1: Rule of the Community and Related Documents (1994); theory of composition: J. Murphy O'Connor, "La genése litteraire de la Règle de la Communauté," in: Revue Biblique 76 (1969), 528–49; idem, "The Essenes and Their History," in: Revue Biblique, 81 (1974), 215–44.