History and prophecy in the Qumran Pesharim : an examination of the key figures and groups in the Dead Sea Scrolls by way of their prophetic designations
The thesis examines the Qumran pesharim and seeks to test the claim that these texts are solely 'historically' based. Instead, it finds that the interpretations are driven by prophetic concerns, founded on and guided by the biblical concept of 'pesher' as dream-interpretation. The study concentrates on the various sobriquets in the pesharim, and is loosely divided into two main parts. Part one examines those designations of groups, including the Kittim, Ephraim and Manasseh, and the Seekers of Smooth Things. Part two, meanwhile, focuses on the interrelationship between the Teacher of Righteousness, the Wicked Priest, and the Man of Falsehood. One of the dominating themes of the thesis is the stress laid on the relationship between the Teacher and the Man of Falsehood, while the thesis also proposes that 'Ephraim' and 'Seekers of Smooth Things' are an offshoot of the Man of Falsehood's original followers. This allows the opposition to this group in 4QpNahum to be properly understood, and suggests a lurk between the Qumran group and the proto-Pharisaic movement. In concluding, the study condemns the suggestion that the 'masking' by sobriquets intentionally conceals these subjects' identity. Rather, such masking links the intended target with prophetic expectations. In short, the thesis finds that although the two are often distinguished in modem scholarship, the correct interpretation of any aspect of the 'historical' pesharim inevitably relies on the understanding of the prophetic term 'pesher' - and vice versa. The thesis does not tackle the issue of the dating of these texts. Rather, it assumes the consensus view that the pesharim were composed during the first century BCE. Occasionally, it will be evident that a text requires a composition before or after a particular date or event, or even that it must postdate another Qumran text, but in general the question has not been an overriding concern.