The Dead Sea Scrolls and St. John’s Gospel

Leon Morris, B.Sc., M.Th., Ph.D.

The Campbell Morgan Memorial Bible Lectureship, No. 12
Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate, London, S.W.1
[Reproduced by permission]




I should like to express my appreciation of the invitation extended to me to deliver the Campbell Morgan Memorial Lecture for 1960. The name Campbell Morgan is one held in high esteem wherever Biblical scholarship is loved, and I count it a high honour, indeed, to have been asked to deliver a lecture in memory of so great a man and a Christian.

During the concluding stages of the preparation of this lecture I have been occupied as guest professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, and have had the benefit of the help and advice of some who are temporarily my colleagues. I am grateful to Prof. H. S. Gehman, to Prof. J. H. Gailey and to Prof. L. Dewitz, all of whom read the typescript and made valuable suggestions.

Acknowledgment is made to The Viking Press, Inc. for permission to make quotations from Millar Burrows' The Dead Sea Scrolls, Copyright © 1955 by Millar Burrows and More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Copyright © 1958 by Millar Burrows.

L. M.



Frank M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran (New York, 19.58)


Millar Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls (New York, 1955)


A. R. C. Leaney, R. P. C. Hanson and J. Posen, A Guide to the Scrolls (London, 1958)


Millar Burrows, More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York, 1958)


Krister Stendahl (ed.), The Scrolls and the New Testament (New York, 1957)


The Dead Sea Scrolls and St. John's Gospel

The Pharisees, being sensible men, did not bother themselves with perpetuating ideas they knew to be wrong. Anticipating the excellent practice of our modern scientists they discarded ideas that were shown to be false (or that they held had been shown to be false), and concentrated on those that were true. They held that the distinctive ideas of the Sadducees and the Essenes were erroneous, so they piously eschewed propagating them. This would be of no more than passing interest to us were it not for the fact that in time the Pharisees became the dominant party within Judaism. Jewish writings became to all intents and purposes Pharisaic writings. The Rabbinic literature by and large sets forth Pharisaic ideas. We see other Jewish groups not as they saw themselves, but through Pharisaic eyes. None of their writings were copied by the Pharisees, which is both understandable and unfortunate. New Testament scholars have had to be content with a monolithic Judaism.

The great value of the Dead Sea scrolls for New Testament studies is that for the first time we are able to read the views of a Jewish sect other than the Pharisees from within. Whatever be the dates of composition of these documents they let us see something of a sect which was in existence at the time the Christian movement began, and to see it in the sect's own writings.

Not surprisingly some of the terms and ideas in the scrolls are found also in the New Testament. This has led to the most diverse estimates of the relationship between the two. Some stress the resemblances. They think of Christianity as nothing more than a natural development of the type of religion we see reflected in the scrolls.[1] Some even think of the scrolls as Christian documents.[2] Others concentrate their attention on the differences. They think that there is no significant connection


between Christianity and the scrolls.[3] We cannot complain of lack of variety in the views put forward.

By common consent there is no part of the New Testament with more points of contact with the scrolls than the Gospel according to St. John,[4] and it is with these contacts that we shall concern ourselves in this lecture. We shall examine some of the common terminology and ideas, and try to estimate the significance of the scrolls for the understanding of the Fourth Gospel.

There are some resemblances of style and general approach. The style of John is notoriously different from that of the Synoptic Gospels. It is more like that of part, at any rate, of the scrolls than is that of the Synoptic Gospels. Cross finds this resemblance so striking that he thinks of the origins of John's style as being found among the sectarians.[5] The estimate of style is a subjective thing, but I think that Cross goes too far here. The sectarians wrote in Hebrew or Aramaic and John in Greek, albeit a Greek which shows Aramaic influence. Indeed Dr. H. S. Gehman suggests to me that this may explain such resemblances as there are. But the difference in language makes it more than difficult to establish a dependence stylistically. In any case it must be borne in mind that the style of the scrolls is not uniform. John's style is his own. There are some passages in the scrolls that are not markedly dissimilar, but there is certainly nothing to show that John derived his essential method of writing from the sectarians.


The Two Spirits

A feature of the scrolls is a dualism which comes to expression in various ways: the good spirit and the evil spirit, the sons of light and the sons of darkness, truth and perversity. Raymond E. Brown can say, "The outstanding resemblance between the Scrolls and the New Testament seems to be the modified dualism that is present in both."[6] Nowhere is John closer to the sectarians than here.

The view of the men of Qumran is outlined in the Manual of Discipline:

"He created man to have dominion over the world and made for him two spirits, that he might walk by them until the appointed time of his visitation; they are the spirits of truth and of error. In the abode of light are the origins of truth, and from the source of darkness are the origins of error. In the hand of the prince of lights is dominion over all sons of righteousness; in the ways of light they walk. And in the hand of the angel of darkness is all dominion over the sons of error; and in the ways of darkness they walk. And by the angel of darkness is the straying of all the sons of righteousness, and all their sin and their iniquities and their guilt, and the transgressions of their works in his dominion, according to the mysteries of God, until his time, and all their afflictions and the appointed times of their distress in the dominion of his enmity. And all the spirits of his lot try to make the sons of light stumble; but the God of Israel and his angel of truth have helped all the sons of light."[7]

Here we have a clear expression of the thought of two spirits, one good and one evil. Both are made by God. One rules over "the sons of light" and the other over "the sons of darkness". To the angel of darkness is ascribed the responsibility for all evil, including that in the sons of light as well as that in his own sons of darkness. The two spirits struggle for men and in men. Though some men belong to the good spirit that does not mean that they are sinless. It means that they are on his side. But the evil spirit is always eager to lead them astray and thus he and his henchmen "try to make the sons of light stumble". The result is a grim struggle with evenly balanced opponents. "For God has established the two spirits in equal measure until the last period, and has put eternal enmity between their divisions."[8] "For in equal measure God has established the two spirits until the period which has been decreed and the making new."[9] These sayings preserve the great truth of God's sovereignty over all, and of the final victory of good. But until that final victory the good and the evil are evenly matched.

In time of war there are usually no tender feelings toward the enemy, and the scrolls make no bones about the harsh attitude to be adopted towards the other side. The writers think of God as having put "eternal enmity between their divisions". He Himself loves one of the spirits,


but "as for the other, he abhors its company, and all its ways he hates forever."[10] A like attitude is required from those who serve Him. The final section of the regulations in the Manual of Discipline sums up with "These are the regulations of the way for the wise man in these times, for his love together with his hate, eternal hate for the men of the pit..."[11]

A variety of names is given to the spirits. There are references to "his holy spirit", "the prince of lights", "the spirit of truth", "his angel of truth". Other references may have this spirit in mind, though possibly the spirit of the man is meant, as in the Psalm which says, "I know thee, my God; by the spirit thou didst put in me, which is trustworthy",[12] or in the Blessing of the Prince of the Congregation, "with the breath of your lips you shall slay the wicked, with a spirit of counsel and everlasting power, a spirit of knowledge and the fear of God."[13] The most common name for the other spirit is "the spirit of Belial", but other designations also appear, "a spirit of error", "a spirit of confusion", "the angel of darkness". His helpers are "the spirits of his lot", or "destroying angels".

The discussion of the spirits is complicated by the fact that the scrolls sometimes speak of the spirit of a man. It is not always easy to determine whether the spirit in a given passage refers to the man's human spirit or to the spirit in whose lot he is. When a candidate for membership in the sect appears "they shall investigate his spirit in the community, between a man and his neighbour, according to his understanding and his works in the law".[14] This might refer to the man's own spirit, his inner disposition, his nature, what he is. More likely it means that examination is made to determine whether he really belongs to the good spirit, for only if this were so might he belong to the community. The community is especially the province of the good spirit and "holy angels are in their congregation."[15] By contrast those outside may be termed "a congregation of Belial".[16]

This goes a long way beyond the Old Testament. There we see references to an evil spirit, but we do not get the picture of two spirits with their followers engaging in incessant struggle. The view of the sectarians is also very different from anything in contemporary Judaism as far as it is known to us. There does not seem to be much emphasis on present activities of the Spirit at all. The Spirit of the Lord is understood to have worked in the days of old as recorded in the Scripture. And in the messianic age He may be expected to work again. But there was little thought of a present activity, whereas Qumran and John both stress the work of the Spirit in this age. It is this fact, that John shares with the scrolls a series of ideas not found in the Old Testament or elsewhere in contemporary Judaism which shows that there is some connection between the two.

K. G. Kuhn seems to have shown that the Qumran view is indebted to Iranian Zoroastrianism.[17] Whatever be the truth of this it is important to notice that John shares to some extent with the men of Qumran a


particular view of the ethical struggle which we do not find elsewhere.[18] The qualification "to some extent" is not without point. John does speak of. a continuing conflict between light and darkness. He does refer to "the Holy Spirit" and "the Spirit of truth". But John does not endorse the sect's views on spirits as a whole. Indeed, the Qumran view of "spirit" is inexact and bewildering. Sometimes it refers to the two spirits, sometimes to the spirit of a man, sometimes to angelic or demonic beings, sometimes to influences exerted by such beings. John does not share the sect's view that the two spirits are evenly matched. He does not see the Holy Spirit as a created being on a level with Satan. Rather He partakes of the nature of deity, and proceeds from the Father and the Son. It is also worth noticing that John speaks of Jesus as "the light of the world" (Jn. 8. 12), which contrasts with the Qumran view of a created "prince of lights". Again, the Johannine writings tend to link light with Christ, while "the Spirit of truth" is the Third Person of the Trinity. The scrolls make no such distinction. Their "prince of lights" is identical with their "spirit of truth". Moreover, while John speaks of a struggle it is not an even contest. Christ has won the victory (Jn. 16. 33). Satan has already been defeated, and believers even now pass from death to life. The resemblances to Qumran thought should not be overlooked. But the differences are striking.

The Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness

The division of mankind into two groups is fundamental for the men of Qumran. They refer to both in a variety of ways. The sect, of course, takes up an exclusive position. Only its members are in right relation to God. They are spoken of in the Damascus Document as "those in the covenant", "the many", "the sons of the camp". The Habakkuk Commentary sees them as "the simple ones of Judah, the doers of the law", as "the teacher of righteousness and the men of his party", as "(God's) people and his congregation", as "the poor". The Manual of Discipline refers to "sons of righteousness", "the sons of the truth", "the wise man", "the men of the community", "the men of perfect holiness", "a holy man", "all who have offered themselves", those "who have offered themselves together to his truth", "those who choose the way", "all the men of God's lot". In the War Scroll we read of "sons of light", "all the men of (God's) lot", "the congregation of the sons of heaven", "thy people", "the Sons of thy truth". The Rule of the Congregation refers to "the whole congregation of Israel", "the sons of Zadok the priests and the men of their covenant, who turned back from walking in the way of the people", "the men of his counsel". The Commentary on Ps. 37 mentions "the congregation of his elect, those who do his will", "the congre-


gation of his elect, who will be chiefs and princes", "sheep in the midst of their pastures", "the congregation of the poor", "his holy people".

Those outside may be described as "all who despise" God, "a congregation of treacherous men, those who turned aside out of the way", "the sons of the pit", "the men of the pit", "the wicked", "the house of Absalom and the men of their party", "the house of judgment", "men of violence who rebelled against God", "a congregation in falsehood", "the sons of error", "the sons of darkness", "the seekers of smooth things", "men of deceit", "Seers of error", "the men of Belial's lot".

The very wealth of nomenclature (and this is not an exhaustive list) indicates the manysidedness of light and darkness. John likewise has many ways of referring to those in the right way or those in the wrong one. The former are "disciples", "his disciples", "true worshippers", "my sheep". We are told that "the sons of God" are "as many as received" Christ, or again "them that believe on his name". Other expressions are "he that doeth the truth" (cf. "I am the truth"), "he that believeth on him", "he that beholdeth the Son and believeth in him", "he that heareth my word and believeth him that sent me", "he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood", "he that abideth in me, and I in him", "my friends", "every one that is born of the Spirit". John refers to those who continue in Christ's word, and to those who are drawn to Him. He can speak of those in the wrong way as "the world", or "the Jews", or refer to them as loving darkness or doing evil. But he also refers to men who do not "come to" Christ or "receive" Him, and to those who "went back and walked no more with him". Cf. also he that "hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God", "he that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words", "he that honoureth not the Son", them "that believed not", "not of my sheep".

The interesting thing about John's usage is that his terms tend to centre on Jesus. People are characteristically described according to their relation to Him. Especially important is the stress on faith. Though he never uses the noun John employs the verb "to believe" over 90 times, and this is the measure of the importance he attaches to believing. Indeed, he tells us that he wrote his Gospel "that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name" (Jn. 20. 31). While there is occasional mention of faith in the scrolls there is no counterpart to this emphasis. The Habakkuk Commentary once speaks of "faith in the teacher of righteousness",[19] but this signifies no more than wholehearted acceptance of his teaching. It is not trust in the New Testament sense.[20] Indeed, since it means acceptance of the Teacher's doctrine of salvation by keeping the Law it cuts clean across one of the more important New Testament ideas,


namely that law works will never save.[21] John puts relationship to Jesus, and specifically the relationship of faith in Jesus, in the very centre of the picture. That is the one thing that matters. The Teacher of Righteousness is for the men of Qumran an honoured figure, but at the centre of their religion is not a person but the Law. For John the great truth was that the Messiah has come. Men must put their faith in Him, not in any ability to keep the Law.

The sectarians give unambiguous expression to the doctrine of salvation by works. Thus the Manual of Discipline opens with the words, "the order of the community; to seek God.… to do what is good and upright before him... to do truth and righteousness and justice in the land."[22] Shortly it refers to "all the men of God's lot, who walk perfectly in all his ways".[23] Here and there statements will be found that are more humble, but for the most part the covenanters have no mock modesty about their ethical achievements.

It is true that there are some passages, especially in the Thanksgiving Psalms, which regard the members of the community as men who have been forgiven. Thus we may read,

"Who will be justified before thee when he is judged?
There is no spirit that can reply to thy accusation,
and none is able to stand before thy wrath.
But all the sons of thy truth thou wilt bring in pardon before thee,
cleansing them from their transgressions."[24]

Other passages might be cited to similar effect. But the sectarians are not thinking of all men as sharing in a corrupt nature. As T. H. Gaster puts it, "There is... no vestige of the idea of Original Sin. On the contrary, the idea is affirmed constantly in the Book of Hymns that every man is endowed at birth with the charisma of knowledge and discernment and that any sinfulness which he incurs is due only to his individual neglect of these gifts... because sin is individual and not the inherited lot of man, and because it is incurred by his own personal disposition, it can be removed also by his own individual experience... since there is no concept of original, universal sin, there is obviously no place for universal vicarious atonement. Men suffer their individual crucifixions and resurrections; there is no Calvary."[25] Men outside the community are regarded as sinners exceedingly. Anyone who seeks admission must therefore first confess his sins and seek forgiveness. But thereafter the emphasis is overwhelmingly on works.

The Fourth Gospel sees salvation as the gift of God in Christ. It is received by believing on Christ, and not by any works of righteousness whatever. While John does not sit light to the importance of good works


he does not regard them as meriting salvation, and he does not think of any man as having reason for self-satisfaction before God. The conviction that salvation is God's free gift, and that it cost Christ His life, cannot but make for humility in the recipients.

Truth and Error

The passage telling of the creation of the two spirits refers to them as "the spirits of truth and of error".[26] Truth is often connected with God, as when the sectarians write on their banner as they go to war, "The Truth of God",[27] or when their Psalmist speaks of "all the works of thy truth."[28] The Psalms in fact have quite a number of passages of this kind. Somewhat in the Johannine manner truth is thought of now and then as a means of purification. "God will refine in his truth all the deeds of a man... cleansing him with a holy spirit from all wicked deeds. And he will sprinkle upon him a spirit of truth, like water for impurity…"[29]

With this we might compare, "Sanctify them in the truth... I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth" (Jn. 17. 17-19).

John speaks of "doing" the truth (Jn. 3. 21), an expression which is found also in the opening section of the Manual of Discipline. The community is "to seek God... to do truth and righteousness and justice in the land".[30] But before we conclude that the men of Qumran had the same idea as did John it is important to notice the way they connect truth and the law. For example, they explain Hab. 2. 3 in this way: "This means the men of truth, the doers of the law, whose hands do not grow slack from the service of the truth".[31] A close examination of their writings shows that the sectarians connected truth closely with the Law, whereas the distinctive Johannine teaching is that which associates truth with Jesus, who said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn. 14. 6). The terminology is arrestingly similar, but the basic ideas are fundamentally diverse.


A marked feature of the scrolls is their insistence that all takes place according to the will of God.[32] Thus the concluding psalm in the Manual of Discipline says: "By his knowledge everything comes to pass; and everything that is he establishes by his purpose; and without him it is not done... apart from thy will nothing will be done... there is no


other besides thee to oppose thy counsel".[33] So in the Thanksgiving Psalms we find, "What can I plan unless thou hast desired it, and what can I think apart from thy will?... Apart from thee nothing is done",[34] and again, "it is thy counsel that will stand, and the purpose of thy heart that is established forever."[35] There are many references throughout the scrolls to God's "elect", which, of course, points to the same basic idea. It means that God chooses men and not men God. Sometimes the sectarians seem to think of evil as well as of good as being determined: "according to each man's inheritance in truth he does right, and so he hates error; but according to his possession in the lot of error he does wickedly in it, and so he abhors truth."[36] It is this sort of thing which leads Kuhn to say, "For each individual, God has determined beforehand to which side he shall belong, and once he is in existence his acts and destiny are unchangeable."[37]

This is not the whole teaching of the scrolls. There are many passages which regard men as responsible beings, particularly in the matter of their guilt. Those who perished in the flood, for example, are blamed in the Damascus Document "because they did their own will and did not keep the commandment of their Maker".[38] By contrast, Abraham "kept the commandments of God and did not choose the will of his own spirit."[39] There are frequent appeals for repentance, which presuppose that men may respond.

There are thus two different ideas taught in the scrolls. One conception is that wickedness is reprehensible and goodness to be praised. Men have chosen the evil or the good, and are adjudged accordingly. Side by side with this is the thought that the will of God is done. Men act according to the lot in which they have been placed. No attempt is made to reconcile the two. Indeed, it may be doubted whether the sectarians realized any need to reconcile them. They simply passed from the one to the other with no sense of incongruity.

John also has a strongly predestinarian strain. Men cannot come to God (more exactly, to Christ) of themselves: there must first be a divine work in them. "No man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father" (Jn. 6. 44, 65). Characteristically John has Jesus in the central place. Again, as in the scrolls, there is the thought that those who perish do so of their own fault, "this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil" (Jn. 3. 19). But there is no trace of the idea that evil is predetermined. Sinners are always viewed as responsible men; they are to be blamed for their sin.

Perhaps this is the place to notice the point made several times in the scrolls that knowledge in things religious comes by revelation from God, i.e. it comes as and when God wills. Thus we read in the Psalms, "thou hast given me knowledge of thy wondrous mysteries";[40] "of thy


true counsel thou wilt give him knowledge."[41] Throughout the Fourth Gospel there runs the thought that the only true knowledge comes from God. But characteristically John thinks of it as mediated by Jesus. It is through Him that the knowledge comes to us.

The Eschatological Struggle

The scrolls are clear that the struggle between good and evil, and specifically between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error, will continue throughout this life and come to an end only at the last time. Then there will be a terrific battle. The two armies of good and evil will engage in a cataclysmic engagement the result of which will be the total destruction of the hosts of darkness and the final victory of God.

The present situation is that "God has established the two spirits in equal measure", but this is specifically "until the last period".[42] The end time will see a very different pattern. "God in the mysteries of his understanding and in his glorious wisdom has ordained a period for the ruin of error, and in the appointed time of punishment he will destroy it forever."[43] For the wicked there will be "eternal perdition in the fury of the God of vengeance, to eternal trembling and everlasting dishonor, with destroying disgrace in the fire of dark places. And all their periods to their generations will be in sorrowful mourning and bitter calamity, in dark disasters until they are destroyed, having no remnant or any that escape."[44]

With a wealth of vivid detail the War Scroll portrays the final battle, telling us of the organisation and the battle tactics that will be employed. It looks for the total destruction of the wicked and the eternal joy of the Sons of light. The final bliss is in mind in many places in the scrolls, and, for example, there are several references to it in the Benedictions.[45]

There are some points of resemblance between all this and John's view of the triumph of God, but the differences are more striking. John does not think of eternal life as coming to man only at the last. It comes to believers now. He emphasizes God's present activity, and there are many references to present condemnation or to present judgment or to the present gift of everlasting life. The eschatological triumph is real to John as we see, for example, from Jn. 5. 28f. But it is not a prominent feature of his Gospel. Certainly it receives nothing like the stress it gets in some of the scrolls. There is no parallel in John to the lurid imagery of the War Scroll with its bitterly contested battle. Moreover John writes as one for whom the victory is already won. The end time means but the unfolding of the implications of the victory that Christ has already obtained.


Brotherly Love

The scrolls have some beautiful passages on the importance of love among the brethren. The covenanters according to the Manual of Discipline are "to love all the sons of light",[46] they "shall all be in true community and good humility and loyal love and righteous thought, each for his fellow in the holy council".[47] The final Psalm in this document speaks of "loyal love for the humble".[48] In the Damascus Document we find the requirement "to love each his brother as himself".[49] Of course brethren will not always see eye to eye, but when a brother is to be rebuked it must be "according to the commandment".[50] The Manual lays it down that "One shall not speak to his brother in anger or in resentment, or with a stiff neck or a hard heart or a wicked spirit; one shall not hate him in the folly of his heart. In his days he shall reprove him and shall not bring upon him iniquity; and also a man shall not bring against his neighbour a word before the masters without having rebuked him before witnesses."[51]

These are outstanding passages. We are reminded that John records our Lord's words, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (Jn. 13. 34f.). Nowhere in the New Testament is there a greater emphasis on the importance of Christian love than in the Johannine writings.

But we should not without further ado assume that the attitudes in Qumran and in John are the same, or even basically similar. If it is true that the men of Qumran inculcate love to the brethren it is also true that they demand hate for those outside the community. The first passage quoted in the preceding paragraph goes on, "and to hate all the sons of darkness", which is very different from anything in John. Again, the Manual bids the Levites curse "all the men of Belial's lot" in these forthright terms, "Accursed may you be in all your wicked, guilty works; may God make you a horror through all those that wreak vengeance and send after you destruction through all those that pay recompense; accursed may you be without mercy according to the darkness of your works, and may you suffer wrath in the deep darkness of eternal fire. May God not be gracious to you when you call, and may he not pardon, forgiving your iniquities; may he lift up his angry countenance for vengeance upon you, and may there be no peace for you…"[52] Sometimes a better note is struck, as in the closing Psalm in the same document, "I will not render to a man the recompense of evil; with good I will pursue a man".[53] But this attitude is not sustained, for this very stanza goes on, "my anger I will not turn back from men of error... I will not have mercy on any who turn aside from the way".


For all the heights to which the men of Qumran might at times attain we cannot say that they are enunciating the doctrine of love that means so much to John. At best they have no more than a feeling out after the type of love that John depicts so movingly. John had the cross before him and they did not. Nevertheless it is of interest that the Qumran exhortations to brotherly love should be more nearly paralleled in John than in other parts of the New Testament.

Living Waters

Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria about "living water", water which becomes in the recipient "a well of water springing up unto eternal life" (Jn. 4. 10, 14). Again, He spoke of living water as flowing out of the believer, which John explains in the words, "this spake he of the Spirit". (Jn. 7. 39). The scrolls sometimes use this kind of imagery and even speak of "living water". The Damascus Document makes the statement, "they dug the well", and goes on to explain, "The well is the law, and those who dug it are the captivity of Israel, who went out from the land of Judah and sojourned in the land of Damascus".[54] Those who apostatized are those who "turned back and acted treacherously and departed from the well of living water".[55] One of the Thanksgiving Psalms begins, "I thank thee, O Lord, because thou hast put me at a source of flowing streams in dry ground... trees of life in a fount of mystery... They shall send out their roots to the stream; its stump shall be exposed to the living water".[56]

Here again there are coincidences of language and thought. But they are not sufficient to compel us to think of dependence, all the more so in view of Old Testament passages like Jeremiah 2. 13, "they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters", which might well be the common source. The differences are as important as the agreements. For the sectarians "living waters" evoked memories of the Law. Their basic idea that the keeping of the Law is central shines through here. For John the expression signified the gift that Christ would give, the Holy Spirit. He saw in it the very antithesis of law-keeping.


Throughout the scrolls there is a deep interest in the correct observance of the liturgical year. It is generally agreed that the men of Qumran observed a different calendar from that in use in the temple at Jerusalem, and that theirs was the calendar used also in Jubilees and I Enoch. This is a solar calendar, consisting of twelve months each of thirty days, with four days intercalated, one in each period of three months. This makes exactly thirteen weeks in each period of three months, and it has the advantage that any given date will always fall on the same day of the week. New Year's Day, for example, is always on a Wednesday, and similarly all the other feasts have their set day year by year.[57]


The sectarians put great emphasis on the festivals and they clung to their calendar with fierce tenacity. It was not only a matter of custom or convenience but a point of honour and even faith to respect the difference between their calendar and that in the Temple. The Manual tells us that those admitted to the community had to pledge themselves "not to advance their times or postpone any of their appointed festivals".[58] The exaggerated emphasis on the calendar may be illustrated in the Damascus Document which, in speaking of the obligations laid on the covenanters, puts "His holy Sabbaths and his glorious festivals" before "his righteous testimonies and his true ways, and the desires of his will".[59] The thirteenth section of this document contains detailed regulations for Sabbath observance (including, interestingly, a prohibition of raising an animal from a pit into which it had fallen). Right through the scrolls runs a tremendous stress on the due observance of the liturgical year.

There is no such thing, of course, in the Fourth Gospel. Yet it is not to be overlooked that there are more frequent references to the Jewish festivals in this Gospel than in the others. It cannot be maintained that John has as a primary interest the due observance of the liturgical year, but it is not without its interest that he so faithfully notices that such and such happenings took place when such and such a feast was near. "For him the festivals became an occasion for Jesus' pronouncement of a new and higher expression of the meaning of each feast. The basic idea seems to be that Christ in his signs, discourses, and religious ideas associated with each of the Jewish feasts finds a higher and absolute meaning in them."[60]


The men of Qumran looked for the coming of the Messiah, indeed of two Messiahs,[61] and they have quite a bit to say about them. There is


an interesting trio of messianic personages in the Manual, which looks for the coming of "a prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel."[62] We are reminded of the triple question about the Christ, Elijah and the prophet (of Deut. 18. 15) in John 1. 19-21, though the personages are different. In the Damascus Document we read of "the Messiah of Aaron and Israel"[63] where the two Messiahs have apparently become fused into one. The Commentary on Genesis 49 looks for "the coming of the Messiah of righteousness, the branch of David",[64] and there are other passages referring to one Messiah only. The Davidic Messiah is not regarded as pre-eminent, but is subordinate to the priestly Messiah, and perhaps to the priests. The Rule of the Congregation looks for a time "when God begets the Messiah:[65] with them shall come the priest at the head of the whole congregation of Israel, and all the fathers of the sons of Aaron, the priests, summoned to the meeting, men of renown; and they shall sit before him, each according to his rank. Next shall come the Messiah of Israel…"[66] It is provided that in the meal the priest "shall put forth his hand on the bread first; and next the Messiah of Israel shall put forth his hand on the bread."[67]

There are many references in the scrolls to a figure called "the Teacher of Righteousness", and some think of him as the Messiah. He was a priest, plainly of the legitimate line. Some scholars have made extraordinary claims for him, even going so far as to say that he was crucified and that his followers looked for his resurrection and return. He is thus held to have been the pattern for the Christian view of Jesus' death and resurrection.[68] This, however, seems the result of a lively imagination rather than close attention to what the scrolls say. One cannot but feel that some scholars have read back into the scrolls things that the Gospels tell us about Jesus. Not surprisingly they have then been able to detect "resemblances". The truth is, in the words of C. G. Howie, that "never have a few writers drawn so many conclusions from so little evidence as has been done in the comparisons of Jesus and the Teacher of Righteousness. In no sense at all was Jesus a late copy or reincarnation of the earlier model."[69]

The passage cited to show the martyrdom of the Teacher is in the


Habakkuk Commentary, "This means the wicked priest, who persecuted the teacher of righteousness in order to confound him in the indignation of his wrath, wishing to banish him."[70] The concluding words make it doubtful whether death is in view at all, and it is certainly more than difficult to see a reference to crucifixion. Crucifixion is more likely to be in mind in the Nahum Commentary, where we read of "the lion of wrath... who hangs men alive".[71] But the Teacher is not mentioned at all in this text, so that if anyone is being crucified it is not he.[72] There are references to "the gathering in of the unique teacher" in the Damascus Document,[73] but this does not necessarily denote violent death at all, let alone death by crucifixion.[74] The same document looks for "the arising of him who will teach righteousness at the end of the days",[75] but this is a slender basis indeed on which to erect a doctrine of resurrection. While the expression "him who will teach righteousness" is very similar to "teacher of righteousness" it is not identical, and it is far from certain that the future teacher is the same as the past. Indeed, Cross can say bluntly, "There are no references to a resurrection of the Righteous Teacher in the Qumran literature."[76]

The scrolls look back to the Teacher with affection and admiration. It is not too much to say that he is esteemed as practically the founder of the sect. While "the consummation of the period (God) did not make known" to Habakkuk, He did reveal to the Teacher "all the mysteries of the words of his servants the prophets."[77] The work of the Teacher was thus to initiate a sect with special significance for the events of the end time. But this does not constitute him the Messiah,[78] and, as we have seen, the coming of the Messiah(s) is looked for in the future. There is a passage in the Psalms which speaks of a woman who "gives birth to a man-child; with pains of Sheol he bursts forth from the crucible of the pregnant one, a wonderful counselor with his power..."[79] There seems no reasonable doubt but that this pictures the Messiah as issuing from the womb of the community.[80] But it looks forward to a future coming, not back to the Teacher and the foundation of the sect. In any case it must be borne in mind that the attitude of the community to the Teacher was not that that would be taken up towards the Messiah. "His name is unknown, his person, as the instrument of God, disappears wholly and entirely behind the divine majesty. No one invokes him, no one worships him after his death, his name and work are not made part


of a profession of faith."[81] It is, moreover, far from certain that all the references to the Teacher point to the same person. T. H. Gaster and others have no doubt that the expression is the title of an office, held at different times by different persons, rather than the designation of an individual. When the sect's teaching on the Messiah is being considered, then the references to the Teacher must be firmly rejected.

It is obvious that the sect's messianism has affinities with John. He begins the narrative section of his Gospel with an incident featuring the coming of the Messiah. There are references to Messiah throughout the Gospel. Indeed, John tells us that he wrote his book expressly "that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ" (Jn. 20. 31). But there is this great and fundamental difference between the two. For the men of Qumran the coming of the Messiah(s) was yet future. It was a consummation devoutly to be wished, but in the meantime men must live without all that that coming would bring. There was a messianic community awaiting the Messiah, but that was all.[82] And their ideas about the Messiah are far from clear. Different conceptions are found in different places, and it is impossible to be sure of what the community really expected, as Millar Burrows' discussion plainly shows.[83] John's ideas, by contrast, are clearly formulated. For John the Messiah has come. All of life has been transformed by that fact. In this, as in many other points, the difference between the scrolls and John is - Jesus.[84]

Ceremonial Ordinances

The covenanters were more than strict on ceremonial purity. The War Scroll lays it down that "No lame or blind man or halt man, or one with a permanent blemish in his flesh, or a man afflicted with the uncleanness of his flesh - none of these shall go with them to battle";[85] "no man who is not clean from his issue on the day of battle shall go down with them; for holy angels are together with their armies."[86] References to uncleanness are common throughout the scrolls. The remedy is baptism. This


is not a single, unrepeatable act, as in Christianity, but a regular ritual cleansing. There are pools and cisterns on the site of the monastery, but it is not certain that baptisms took place there. The waters of Am Feshka or the Jordan may have been preferred. Similar pools are found in other sites where there is no question of baptism. Baptism of itself is not regarded as sufficient. There must also be right dispositions in the worshipper. Of the sinner who gives "free rein to the stubbornness of his heart" the Manual says, "He will not be purified by atonement offerings, and he will not be made clean with the water for impurity."[87] But this does not mean that the ritual requirements are unimportant. The state and quantity of water to be used are rigidly prescribed.[88] K. G. Kuhn goes so far as to say that baptism had acquired "the sacramental function of mediating in the divine forgiveness of sins (1 QS iii, 3ff.). In place of the sacrificial cultus of the Temple, which was no longer possible for them by reason of their distance from it, the baths, and apparently also the communal meal, took on a new meaning, mediating salvation from God."[89]

There are also strict food laws.[90] And many regulations stress the importance of a man's keeping his proper place. "Every man of Israel may know his appointed position in the community of God for the eternal council. And none shall be abased below his appointed position or exalted above his allotted place."[91]

This interest is not found in John. He speaks of John the Baptist, but says little about his baptism. He tells us that Jesus' followers baptized some people, but again says little about it. It may not be without significance that he makes much of the symbolism of water, and that incidents in which water figures are common in this Gospel. But he does not relate this to ritual observances. O. Cullmann sees in most such passages references to Christian baptism, but it is more than difficult to follow him here. The plain fact is that John makes no specific reference to either of the two Christian sacraments. He has no interest in ceremonial cleanness and little in ritual ordinances. He is concerned with believing in Christ, with responding in the right manner to God's sending of His Son. In this he contrasts sharply with the sectarians.

Perhaps this is the place to notice the prominent place assigned to the priesthood throughout the scrolls. There can be not the slightest doubt but that, for the sectarians, a regularly established priesthood was of the first importance. No one takes precedence of their priestly caste, not even the Messiah. The atmosphere of the Fourth Gospel is altogether different. Priesthood is never mentioned there in connection with the followers of Christ.

Eternal Life

One of John's leading ideas is eternal life, which, he stresses, comes through believing on Jesus Christ. There are occasional references to


eternal life in the scrolls, as when the Damascus Document speaks of "His holy Sabbaths and his glorious festivals, his righteous testimonies and his true ways, and the desires of his will, by which, if a man does them, he shall live",[92] or again, "Those who hold fast to (the sure house in Israel) are for eternal life".[93] Similarly the Manual speaks of "the counsels of the Spirit for the sons of the truth of the world and the visitation of all who walk by it, for healing and abundance of peace in length of days, and bringing forth seed, with all eternal blessings and everlasting joy in the life of eternity, and a crown of glory with raiment of majesty in everlasting light."[94] But while such passages are found they are not typical.[95] The covenanters certainly regarded themselves as the community which would be vindicated in the end time, and whose members would live eternally. But the thought is not prominent. There were too many things to occupy their attention until the blessed state came to pass. And there is no trace of John's characteristic idea that the believer already experiences the life of the age to come.

Much more characteristic is their interest in the Law. The Damascus Document says, "they shall walk according to the law",[96] and it regards accepting the obligation "to return to the law of Moses" as identical with joining the community.[97] The Manual lays it down that "every one who comes into the council of the community shall enter into the covenant of God... he shall take it upon himself by a binding oath to turn to the law of Moses".[98] The writer of a Psalm rejoices that "Thy law is hidden in my heart, until the time when thy salvation will be revealed to me."[99] Typical of the whole attitude to the law is the provision that "from the place where the ten are there shall never be absent a man who searches the law day and night, by turns, one after another. And the masters shall keep watch together a third of all the nights of the year, reading the book and searching for justice, and worshiping together."[100] One of the documents, The Oration of Moses, is nothing more than a paraphrase of Moses' farewell address,[101] and illustrates vividly the keen interest in the law and the lawgiver so characteristic of the sect.

John treats the Law with respect, but assigns it a different function. For him it points to Christ. He records Philip as saying, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth" (Jn. 1. 45). He tells us that Jesus said, "if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me" (Jn. 5. 46). He says nothing that is disrespectful of the Law, but he does not accord it that central place that the sectarians did. Cullmann can say, "the new texts are in


fact the strongest expression of Judaism's legalistic piety. Legalism is driven to the utter limit."[102] But John is no legalist.

One of John's great concepts is that of judgment. Sometimes he thinks of this as taking place at the last great day (Jn. 5. 26ff.), and sometimes as a present activity, "this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil" (Jn. 3. 19). The men of Qumran likewise think of judgment under more than one aspect. There is the final judgment, as in the "judgments of fire" of the Habakkuk Commentary,[103] or the saying in the concluding Psalm in the Manual, "with God is the judgment of every living man; and he will repay to a man his recompense."[104] Present judgment is also found, but it is not John's profound conception of a man passing judgment on himself by his attitude to the light that is come into the world. Rather it is the activity of the covenanters themselves as they pass judgment on their fellows. The eleventh section of the Damascus Document sets forth "the order for the judges of the congregation", and the many references throughout the scrolls indicate that this role was taken seriously. Before he can take part in this judgment a man must be at least thirty years of age and "no simpleton".[105] Again we see that, though the interest is in the same subject, the differences are more striking than the resemblances. For the men of Qumran the important thing about the present judgment was that it was passed by qualified members of the sect upon others, and about the future judgment that it marked the destruction of their enemies. For John the present judgment is passed by men on themselves according to their reaction to Christ, and the future judgment is to be dispensed by Christ. Again it is Christ who is the difference.

The story might be continued. A study of the term "glory" which figures in both literatures would yield much the same result. For the covenanters it means the triumph of their sect. For John the idea is transformed by Christ, and the true glory is seen in lowly service, and especially in the cross. And so with other terms. The men of Qumran see themselves as the sons of light, and they glory in their sect, both in its present manifestation and in its future triumph. John is concerned primarily with the action of God in Christ. The coming of Christ has transformed everything for him. And therefore even in those matters where he comes closest to Qumran there is a basic difference.



What shall we say then of the relation between the Fourth Gospel and the scrolls? In the first place, that there is a tremendous gap[106] between them. In this lecture we have been concerned to consider only those points where there is some relation, and this may easily give the impression that the two are closer than in point of fact they are. But to read the whole of the Qumran documents, including the detailed regulations in the Manual of Discipline and the Rule of the Congregation, the curious exegesis of the various commentaries, the martial regulations of the War Scroll, and all the rest, is to be transported into a different world. It is true that in some of the Thanksgiving Psalms we come in contact with a spirit not out of harmony with that of the men of the New Testament, but this fleeting glimpse of better things serves only to underline the fact that basically the sect is concerned with different purposes from those that underlie Christian service. This great gap should not be overlooked.

Yet when full allowance has been made for it the coincidences of language and thought are striking. There are far too many of them for us to assume that they are accidental, the result of mere chance. It is asking too much to assume that at roughly the same time, and in roughly the same part of the world two different groups of men independently evolved the same terminology and thought of the same ideas. It is much more likely that there was some point of contact.

Yet the relationship can hardly be one of direct dependence. We have seen how at point after point, even where John and the covenanters are using similar language and dealing with similar concepts, there are vast differences. Again it is too much to assume that John had the Qumran writings before him, and that as he borrowed their language and concepts he systematically distorted their sense.

What the relationship was we cannot be sure at this distance in time. But it was surely indirect. We may conjecture (though I stress that it is no more than conjecture) that the connection came through John the Baptist. W. H. Brownlee has pointed out that "Almost every detail of the Baptist's teaching in both the Synoptic and the Fourth Gospels has points of contact with Essene belief"[107] (he identifies the Qumran sect with the Essenes). Now the Gospels tell us that John's parents were old when he was born (Lk. 1. 18), and that "the child… was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel" (Lk. 1. 80). What being "in the deserts" means is difficult to establish. If it means that John was brought up there then the conclusion seems inescapable that he was brought up by some such sect as the men of Qumran (Josephus tells us that the Essenes adopted other people's children and brought them up). While we have no evidence for this there is nothing at all improbable in it. John's parents were old and may well have died while the child was young,


leaving no one to look after him. Alternatively, realizing their age and incapacity, they may have handed him over. The connecting link in either case would be the very high regard the Qumran men had for those of priestly stock. If this is not what happened at least being "in the deserts" means that John was in those parts where the sectarians lived, and he would have some knowledge of them. Either way he would have some knowledge of the teaching of the sect, in the one case a full and complete knowledge, in the other case a partial knowledge. Whichever be the truth he rebelled against Qumran's distinctive message, for his recorded teaching contradicts some of the essential ideas of the scrolls, even though it shows points of contact. But he did have the terminology of the sect and some of its ideas.

Now John 1. 35ff. makes it clear that some of the first disciples of Jesus came out of the circle that gathered round John the Baptist. This gives us a natural channel whereby some of the sect's terms and ideas may have flowed into Christianity. Especially would this be the case if the unnamed disciple of John 1. 35, 40 was the beloved disciple (as has been widely held). Thus the ideas and language of the covenanters would have come to the author of the Gospel, but only at second hand, and that per medium of one who was no longer a member of the sect even if he ever had been. He would not produce its teaching with anything like exactness. This would account for the fact that the Evangelist reproduces Qumran language sometimes with minute exactness, while at the same time his basic thought is poles apart from theirs.[108]

It remains for us to consider the importance of the scrolls for an understanding of the Fourth Gospel. I wish to make three points in particular.

1. The Uniqueness of Christianity. As we have already pointed out, there is a great chasm between the scrolls and the New Testament. It has been clear for long enough that Christianity is very different from any form of Judaism hitherto known to us. Now its uniqueness is seen against a different background. While there are points of contact in both language and ideas the scrolls add their quota of evidence to show that Christianity is distinctively different from every sect known to us from antiquity. There is no reason to doubt that some of the ideas of the men of Qumran have had their influence on Christian thought. But they have been transformed out of all recognition in the process. John may perhaps be indebted to Qumran for the particular way he gives expression to the thought of conflict between light and darkness. But the specific idea that Christ is the Light of the world is John's own. Both Qumran and John may speak about "the Holy Spirit". But there is no real parallel in the scrolls to the Fourth Gospel's conception of the Paraclete who "abideth with you, and shall be in you" (Jn. 14. 17). And so we might go on. While there are undoubted resemblances, the differences


are far more striking.[109] Christianity is not an advanced Qumranism. It is basically an independent movement.

2. The Fourth Gospel is Palestinian. Scholars have sometimes argued that the Gospel according to St. John is essentially Hellenistic. That is to say, it is written in a Greek environment, and is designed to appeal to men saturated in Greek culture by the employment of Greek concepts and imagery. Usually there has also been the thought that it is a late writing, composed possibly well into the second century A.D. Such ideas have been losing ground for some time, and the discovery of the scrolls has hastened their demise. The more firmly it is demonstrated that the ideas and the language are basically Palestinian[110] the more difficult it is to claim that the Gospel is essentially Hellenistic.[111] It makes an appeal to Hellenists, but that is another matter. Moreover any contact between Christians and the covenanters must be very early. It is impossible to maintain that after the death of Jesus, when Christian preachers dispersed throughout the world the movement began to be influenced by such a sect as the men of Qumran. The contact must be early. This does not compel an early date for the Fourth Gospel, but it is consistent with one.[112] It demands that the author must have come in contact with the kind of thinking that is typical of Qumran, and as far as we know there was no opportunity for this in later times.

3. The Centrality of Christ. To Christians it has always been obvious that Christ is at the very centre of their faith. The scrolls bring this home in a new and striking fashion.[113] Now we see what some of the ideas of the Christian faith look like apart from Christ. We see that the coming of the Messiah altered them out of all recognition. The scrolls might divide men into "sons of light" and "sons of darkness", but John insists that the criterion for the separation is men's attitude to Jesus. The scrolls revere the Old Testament and see it as pointing to a rigorous system of law-works. John reveres the Old Testament and sees it as pointing men to Christ. The scrolls speak of "living water", John speaks of Christ as giving it. At point after point we are compelled to say, "This idea has been transformed for John, because for him the Christ has come." In their own way the scrolls underline for us the cherished truth that Christianity is Christ.


[1] Cf. Edmund Wilson's well known statement that the Qumran monastery "is perhaps, more than Bethlehem or Nazareth, the cradle of Christianity" (The Scrolls from the Dead Sea, New York, 1956, p. 98). So also A. Powell Davies, "Surely, what the new knowledge is revealing to us is the natural historical evolution of Christianity from a branch of Judaism which preceded it", "Christianity, we now must see, instead of being a faith 'once for all delivered to the saints' in the Judea of the first century, is a development of one branch of Judaism into a religion which presently, when it mingled with other religions in the Gentile world, developed by a natural evolution into the religious system, widely divergent within itself, that we know today" (The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, New York, 1957, pp. 105, 120). Davies' treatment seizes on anything that looks like a resemblance, and almost totally ignores the differences. Wilson is not so wild, though he can make statements like "the rites and the precepts of the Gospels and Epistles both are to be found on every other page of the literature of the sect" (op. cit., p. 94). He, too, glosses over the differences.

[2] J. L. Teicher takes up this position. See the discussion of his views in ML, pp. 269ff.

[3] R. P. C. Hanson maintains that it is "highly precarious to recognize in the form and structure of the Christian Church any significant borrowings from the Qumran community. On this particular point it seems to me that too many writers have been afflicted by a dewy-eyed susceptibility to dubious points of resemblance" (Guide, p. 69, and cf. his list of differences on p. 68). Cf. also Geoffrey Graystone, "many of the most fundamental doctrines of the New Testament find no parallel in the Qumran scrolls; e.g. Redemption by vicarious expiation, the Blessed Trinity, the sacraments. Canon Coppens goes further and considers the 'essence of Christianity' according to Christ's teaching, not indeed, as we understand it, but as it is understood by leading liberal scholars. As the essence of Christianity, some have reckoned God's tender love for the individual human soul, as preached by Jesus; others, a combination of Divine Fatherhood, universal fraternity and the coming and presence of the Kingdom; others, the presence of the Kingdom and hence the need for man to obey God's will absolutely. Where, indeed, do we find parallels to these things in the Qumran writings? Is there anything to match the picture of God's universal tenderness as painted in the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son? Where do we find that spirit of 'universalism' that pervades the New Testament, that sense of universal redemption issuing in the urge to preach the good tidings to all nations? The Kingdom of God, a fundamental notion in the synoptic gospels, is not even mentioned in the Qumran scrolls. There is only that vague idea of 'domination', not of God, but of the angels who preside over the destiny of the 'two ways'." (The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Originality of Christ, New York, 1956, pp. 76f.).

[4] Cf. K. G. Kuhn, "We succeed in reaching in these new texts the native soil (Mutterboden) of the Gospel of St. John" (cited in A. Dupont-Sommer, The Jewish Sect of Qumran and the Essenes, London, 1954, p. 151).

[5] He cites Preiss on the Johannine literature, "In a style of grandiose monotony, it develops a few unchanging themes", and adds, "No better description could be given of the theological sections of the sectarian document. There can be little doubt that the origins of the Johannine style must be sought after in Essene circles" (ALQ, p. 155, n. 19 he accepts the identification of the sect with the Essenes).

[6] SNT, p. 184.

[7] DSS, p. 374. Here and throughout this lecture I use Millar Burrows' translation.

[8] DSS, p. 375.

[9] DSS, p. 376.

[10] DSS, pp. 375, 374.

[11] DSS, p. 384.

[12] DSS, p. 415.

[13] ML, p. 398.

[14] Manual, DSS, p. 378.

[15] Rule, ML, p. 395.

[16] Psalm, DSS, p. 402.

[17] SNT, pp. 98, 185.

[18] Lucetta Mowry maintains that a dualistic system of thought like that of John "was unintelligible to one trained in the Jewish outlook derived from a study of the Law and the prophets". She sees in this the difficulty of a man like Nicodemus (The Biblical Archaeologist, XVII, Dec. 1954, p. 79).

[19] DSS, p. 368.

[20] Cf. F. F. Bruce, "faith in the Teacher of Righteousness implied mainly faith in his teaching, whereas saving faith in Jesus, according to the New Testament, includes in addition personal commitment to Him as Lord and Redeemer. To His first followers Jesus was the promised Messiah; there is no evidence, on the other hand, that the Teacher of Righteousness ever claimed that dignity for himself or received it from His followers" (Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Grand Rapids, 1956, p. 96).

[21] Cf. C. G. Howie, "the salvation by personal faith in this figure actually amounted to salvation by works of law which Paul so desperately denied and detested" (The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Living Church, Richmond, Va., 1958, p. 93). We might add that this doctrine is just as abhorrent to John as to Paul.

[22] DSS, p. 371.

[23] DSS, p. 372.

[24] DSS, p. 410.

[25] The Dead Sea Scriptures, New York, 1956, p. 19.

[26] DSS, p. 374.

[27] DSS, p. 393.

[28] DSS, p. 401.

[29] Manual, DSS, p. 376.

[30] DSS, p. 371. Cf. also the expression "to practice truth", pp. 376, 381.

[31] Dss, p. 368. Cf. also the Manual, "every case regarding law, wealth, or justice, to practice truth..." (DSS, p. 376).

[32] Cf. Millar Burrows, "In recent discussions of the Dead Sea Scrolls the conviction of the absolute sovereignty of God is seen more and more to be basic for the sect" (ML, p. 278).

[33] DSS, pp. 388f.

[34] DSS, p. 413. The next Psalm also speaks of "the sons of thy good pleasure" (p. 414).

[35] DSS, p.406.

[36] Manual, DSS, p. 376.

[37] SNT, p. 285, n. 40.

[38] DSS, p. 351.

[39] Ibid.

[40] DSS, p. 407. The expression is repeated almost exactly in a later psalm (see DSS, p. 410).

[41] DSS, p. 413.

[42] Manual, DSS, p. 375.

[43] DSS, pp. 375f.

[44] DSS, p. 375.

[45] Thus the Blessing of the Congregation speaks of "a covenant eternal which shall stand forever", that of the Chief Priest says, "may he graciously grant you an eternal covenant", that of the Priests, "A covenant of eternal priesthood may he renew for you… who has consecrated you for an everlasting time and for all the periods of eternity", that of the Prince of the Congregation, "may he renew for him the covenant of community, to establish the kingdom of his people forever" (ML, pp. 396f.).

[46] DSS, p. 371.

[47] DSS, p. 373.

[48] DSS, p. 387.

[49] DSS, p. 354.

[50] Ibid.

[51] DSS, p. 378. The last mentioned provision is found also in the Damascus Document (op. cit., p. 358).

[52] DSS, p. 372.

[53] DSS, p. 386.

[54] DSS, p. 353. Cf. also, "they dug a well for many waters" (p. 351).

[55] DSS, p. 356 (MS.B).

[56] DSS, p. 411.

[57] See further J. T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea, London, 1959, pp. 107-13.

[58] DSS, p. 371.

[59] DSS, p. 351.

[60] L. Mowry, op. cit., p. 88. Again she says, "it would seem that the writer of the Fourth Gospel, prodded by the calendar quarrel, used with remarkable creativity the cycle of festivals as a literary device to interpret the meaning of Christ for a Christian group living in the midst of an Essene group in Syria" (op. cit., p. 89).

[61] Some scholars deny outright the propriety of referring to "the Messiah" in the scrolls. Thus W. La Sor maintains that the evidence as so far known has been too confidently interpreted. He says, "it is my opinion, on the basis of materials now available, that the word messiah in the Qumran writings partakes more of the nature of a common noun ('anointed one'). There is no clear evidence that any specific personage was known as 'the Messiah." (Amazing Dead Sea Scrolls, Chicago, 1956, p. 163). Again, T. H. Gaster says, "the 'Messiah' in question is no divine eschatological figure. He is simply the duly anointed king of Israel at any future epoch" (op. cit., pp. 19f.). There is need for caution, but it is worth noticing that even La Sor admits that the scrolls have a messianic doctrine. "To say that there is no messianic doctrine in the Qumran writings would be too extreme" (op. cit.). But if there is a messianic doctrine where shall we find it other than in the references to the "messiahs"? On the whole it seems to me that the scrolls do refer to two messiahs. Cf. J. van der Ploeg, while earlier "the doctrine of the sect about the two Messiahs was not yet quite clear; at present it is incontrovertible, because not merely one but several texts have been found which contain it unmistakably" (The Excavations at Qumran, London, 1958, p. 200).

[62] DSS, p. 383.

[63] DSS, p. 355 (MS. B). So also later in the same section (p. 356), and in a subsequent section (p. 361).

[64] ML, p. 401.

[65] The reading here is not certain and nothing should be built upon it. See the discussions by A. R. Leaney, Guide, p. 82, and Millar Burrows, ML, pp. 300-304.

[66] ML, p. 395.

[67] Ibid.

[68] A. Dupont-Sommer says, "It is now certain - and this is one of the most important revelations of the Dead Sea discoveries - that Judaism in the first century B.C. saw a whole theology of the suffering Messiah, of a Messiah who should be the redeemer of the world, developing around the person of the Master of Justice" (The Dead Sea Scrolls, Oxford, 1952, pp. 95f.). Jesus "appears in many respects as an astonishing reincarnation of the Master of Justice" (op. cit., p. 99). In a later work he italicizes the words "appears in many respects" to emphasize that the resemblance is not complete (The Jewish Sect of Qumran and the Essenes, London, 3954, p. 160).

[69] Op. cit., p. 107.

[70] DSS, p. 370. For difficulties in the interpretation of this passage see Guide, p. 118.

[71] ML, p. 404.

[72] See H. H. Rowley's discussion of this passage, Journal of Biblical Literature, LXXV (1956), pp. 188-93.

[73] DSS, pp. 356, 357.

[74] Leaney sees in the expression evidence of a peaceful death (Guide, p. 119).

[75] DSS, p. 354.

[76] ALQ, p. 367, n. 54.

[77] Habakkuk Commentary, DSS, pp. 367f.

[78] "If the teacher of righteousness was believed to have any eschatological role at all, it was certainly not that of the Messiah of Israel and probably not that of the priestly Messiah. If he was expected to come again in any capacity, he would come as the promised prophet" (ML, p. 334).

[79] DSS, p. 403.

[80] Though some disagree, ML, pp. 317f.

[81] J. van der Ploeg, op. cit., p. 200. He further says, "The description of the Teacher offered by Dupont-Sommer is taken not from the Qumran scrolls but from the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth"; "There is not much left of the parallelism between the Teacher and Jesus of Nazareth, since the most important elements appear conspicuous by their absence" (op. cit., pp. 202, 206).

[82] 1t seems to me that Stendahl (SNT, pp. 12f.) exaggerates the messianic significance of the Teacher. It is possible to read practically all the scrolls without coming across even a hint that he was expected to return as Messiah. This idea is, in fact, confined to a particular interpretation of a very small number of passages. The attitude of John, and of all the New Testament writers, to Jesus, is in marked contrast.

[83] ML, chs. XXVI, XXVII.

[84] D. Howlett stresses the point that this is not merely opinion but fact. "Jesus Christ towers above his contemporaries because of what he was, not because of what people thought he was. The beliefs about him stemmed from the kind of person he was" (The Essenes and Christianity, New York, 1957, p. 189). Again, the scrolls "enable us to see more clearly than we have ever been able to see before, that our faith is grounded in fact rather than fancy - that Christianity comes to us through him and because of him" (op. cit., p. 190).

[85] DSS, p. 395.

[86] Ibid.

[87] DSS, p. 373.

[88] E.g., Damascus Document, DSS, p. 359.

[89] SNT, p. 68.

[90] Damascus Document, DSS, p. 360f.

[91] Manual, DSS, p. 373.

[92] DSS, p. 351.

[93] DSS, p. 352.

[94] DSS, p. 375.

[95] Robert B. Laurin argues that there is no idea of immortality in the scrolls, "Immortality in the Qumran 'Hodayot' ", Journal of Semitic Studies, vol. 3, pp. 344-55. His conclusion is, "To the men of Qumran there was no hope after death. The grave would be man's final resting-place." I am not fully persuaded by his argument, but the fact that he can take up such a position shows that the idea of eternal life is not prominent.

[96] DSS, p. 354.

[97] DSS, p. 363.

[98] DSS, p. 377.

[99] DSS, p. 408.

[100] Manual, DSS, p. 378.

[101] See T. H. Gaster, op. cit., pp. 233ff.

[102]() SNT, p. 22. Similarly Raymond E. Brown says, "while Qumran and St. John characterize good men in much the same way, they differ greatly in their notion of what brings one into the domain of light. For Qumran it is acceptance of the community's interpretation of the Law; for John it is faith in Jesus Christ" (SNT, p. 194). So also Geoffrey Graystone, "the Qumran sect was based essentially on the Mosiac Law, it was contained within the framework of the Sinaitic Covenant, even though it claimed fuller lights for understanding its extent and obligations. The Christian faith was based on the belief that the Death of Christ had abrogated the Sinaitic Covenant and terminated the regime of the Mosaic Law" (op. cit., p. 26).

[103] DSS, p. 369. Cf. also, "in the day of judgment God will destroy all the worshippers of idols and the wicked from the earth" (DSS, p. 370).

[104] DSS, p. 386.

[105] Rule of the Congregation, ML, p. 394.

[106] Cf. Raymond E. Brown, "there remains a tremendous chasm between Qumran thought and Christianity" (SNT, p. 205). So also Mowry, "...the evangelist borrows, not, however, without radical modification of the ideas accepted by him" (op. cit., p. 97).

[107] SNT, p. 52. So also Raymond E. Brown, "almost every detail of his life and preaching has a possible Qumran affinity" (SNT, p. 207).

[108] Mowry thinks of John as directly combatting the sect. "The fact that he found himself in conflict with a group maintaining the value of strict adherence to the proper celebration of feasts, rites, and ceremonies, the Law as a means of salvation, and the teacher as an instrument to proclaim a higher righteousness have strengthened and deepened his own thinking, so that through struggle he gained a perspective and soared to a height that few Christian writers have ever attained" (op. cit., p. 97).

[109] Even Dupont-Sommer says, "the author in no way wishes to deny the originality of the Christian religion. He has here noted the resemblances, but differences also clearly exist" (The Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 100, n. 1. T. H. Gaster points out that there is in the scrolls "no trace of any of the cardinal theological concepts - the incarnate Godhead, Original Sin, redemption through the Cross, and the like - which make Christianity a distinctive faith" (op. cit., p. 12).

[110] Cf. Cross, "It now turns out... that John has its strongest affinities, not with the Greek world, or Philonic Judaism, but with Palestinian Judaism" (ALQ, p. 161).

[111] K. Stendahi points out that this means that "many of the odysseys of scholars some decades ago over the deep waters of Hellenistic philosophy and religion were more fascinating than they were rewarding" (SNT, p. 5).

[112] J. M. Allegro thinks that "the whole framework of (John's) thought is seen now to spring directly from a Jewish sectarianism rooted in Palestinian soil, and his material recognized as founded in the earliest layers of Gospel traditions" (The Dead Sea Scrolls, Penguin edn., 1956, p. 128).

[113] Cf. Raymond E. Brown, "No matter how impressive the terminological and ideological similarities are, the difference that Jesus Christ makes between the two cannot be minimized" (SNT, p. 205).

Prepared for the web by Robert I. Bradshaw in February 2005. Reproduced by kind permission of Westminster Chapel, London.

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