Page 24 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 17 (1958-1959)

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
that came to be relegated to the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.
The New Testament and Rabbinic literature also reveal that the
list of books regarded as sacred by Jews was still quite fluid.
Qumran confirms this by confronting us with books whose very
existence is completely new to us. But at Murabbaat there is no
/trace of Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, for it was about 100 C.E.
(between the Qumran and Murabbaat periods) that the divisive
i books were banned and the c ^ o i r ^tabljshed.
, Probably the most important effect of the Scrolls on the
modern scene is their having established that there is no vast
gulf separating Judaism and Christianity, once we define Judaism
\and Christianity broadly. It is only by limiting and parochializ-
ing our definitions of Judaism and Christianity that we create a
chasm. For example, the Church Militant does not sound very
Jewish until we take a look at the Jews of Qumran, who were
organized into military units to prepare for the great War
of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness (concerning
'which we have a special Scroll). Monasticism and retreat to the
desert seem Christian but incommensurate with Judaism until
we consider the Qumranites and other Essene groups. The three
offices of Christ (prophet, priest and king) take on a Jewish
look once we read in the Manual of Discipline that in the End
f o i
Days there will come the Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron
and Israel. (The Messiah of Aaron is the priestly ruler, while
^ the Messiah of Israel is the secular king.) Qumran assigns the
three offices to different men, whereas Christianity combines the
three offices in one person. But both systems stem from a
j common Jewish source. Christianity’s insistence on salvation
' through faith in a man, seems quite un-Jewish until we note
that the Jews of Oumran made the same condition, though
their Teacher of Righteousness (in whom they Had to have faith
to be saved) was a different man who perished before Jesus
V was born.
The Scrolls hold out opportunities for deeper understanding
in several ways:
Jews can learn more about historic Judaism.
Christians can learn more about historic Christianity.
Both can learn more about each other’s religion.
All of us can, through study, expunge from our minds the
imaginary gulf that separates us, and arrive at a more knowledge­
able estimate of the real differences that exist.
Rightly used, the Scrolls can help us come to a fuller under­
standing of ourselves and of each other.