Modern Rabbinic Jews are heirs to the enemies of Jewish Patriots, and violate their Ethics on Impurity, Sexuality, and Usury-Materialism
[Rabbinic Judaism is the re-birth of Anti-Nationalist Pharisees]
But the Pharisees were not the popular party of their time and place, despite Josephus’ attempts – and those of Rabbinic Judaism thereafter – to prove otherwise.
The Establishment groups, quite simply put, were the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians, the last being those members of the Herodian power structure and their associates not encompassed under the preceding two designations.
But as I have been at pains to assert, Pauline Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism are two sides of the same coin. Both develop in conjunction with each other and both follow an accommodationist policy towards Rome, which is why no doubt both survived. In this context, the main difference is that one is pro-Law and the other against it. But the points of accommodation here are not the minor ones belaboured in Rabbinic tradition, such as those connected with dietary regulations, sexual purification or Sabbath observation, though these played a part. Rather, they are the broad lines of accommodation with foreigners in a political sense, seen by Qumran and ‘Zealot’-style groups generally as ‘breaking the Law’.13
[The Qumran Essenes, and The Jerusalem Church perish – Rabbinic Accomodationists survive ]
For Suetonius, Tacitus, and Roman historians thereafter, basing themselves on Josephus, this ‘World Ruler’ Prophecy is the foundation of the Uprising against Rome, that is, the Jews were led astray by an ‘ambiguous oracle’ from their ancient literature, capable of manifold interpretation, that ‘a World Ruler would come out of Palestine’.101 They were mistaken in this, as Josephus, like these other historians, is anxious to point out.
This is also the position of Rabbinic Judaism following the Pharisaic point of view, which both Paul and Josephus also claim as their legacy. Of course, the position of Qumran is directly the opposite. There is no mistaking this, which is why, presumably, these documents ended up in caves along the Dead Sea. No one lived to come back and retrieve them. This was the price paid for an alternative interpretation of this prophecy, the apocalyptic one of the War Scroll, recapitulated too in James’ proclamation of ‘the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Great Power and about to come on the clouds of Heaven’ in the Temple on Passover, 62 CE.
[Three Nets to snare Israel= Zealous Essenes vs Herodians: fornication, pollution, riches ]
Being Separate unto God or a Nazirite
The use of the word ‘separate’ or ‘separation’ with regard to Peter’s actions, after being called to account by the representatives of James, is used, as noted earlier, in crucial contexts in the two organizational documents from Qumran known as the Community Rule and the Damascus Document. The first uses the term in relation to the interpretation of the ‘Way in the wilderness’ Prophecy associated in Christian tradition with the mission of John the Baptist in the wilderness; the second, in interpretation of Ezekiel 44:15, the scriptural basis of the promises about ‘the Sons of Zadok’ or ‘the Zadokite Priesthood’, and the evocation of what are called ‘the Three Nets of Belial’.12
While the second ‘net’ or ‘snare’ described there has to do with ‘Riches’, a theme forming the bedrock of the Letter of James’ allusions to ‘the Poor’ and ‘the Rich’, the first and third ‘nets’ have to do with ‘fornication’ and ‘pollution of the Temple’. The truly Righteous in the Community — ‘God’s Community’ or those of ‘Perfect Holiness’ or ‘the Perfect of the Way’ – the true ‘Sons of Zadok’, are instructed to ‘separate from the Sons of the Pit’ and ‘go out from the Land of Judah and live in the Land of Damascus’; in the Community Rule, ‘to separate from the settlement of Unrighteous men and go out in the wilderness and prepare the Way of God’.13
in the Temple that creates the ‘pollution’ problem – the improper ‘separation of clean and unclean’, in particular, improper separation from people who ‘lie with a woman in her period’ or as a matter of course or normative family practice marry their nieces or close family cousins. The Damascus Document adds, ‘anyone who approaches them shall not be free of their pollution’.14
I have identified the ‘fornication’ and ‘pollution’ allusions tied to these practices as relating to Herodians. ‘Riches’ does too.
[Noah Righteousness vs ‘Belial’ Consumption]
This terminology, of course, relates to the ‘Belial’ terminology at Qumran and the B-L-’ circle of language. This circle of language, centring around the root meaning in Hebrew of ‘swallowing’, more or less functions in opposition to a parallel circle of language relating to Z-D-K or ‘Righteousness’. As we have seen, I Peter 5:9 shows clear knowledge of this language, when it uses the ‘Enemy’ terminology in speaking of the ‘Diabolos’ (‘Belial’ at Qumran), then connecting it with an allusion to ‘being swallowed up’ – the letters B-L-’ in Hebrew always having the root meaning of to swallow or consume. Paul too uses this language in Galatians 5:II-15 after referring to ‘the scandal of the cross’, wishing his circumcising opponents ‘would themselves cut off’, and citing the all Righteousness Commandment, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.
It is also connected to related allusions in the New Testament like ‘Balaam’. Not only is ‘Balaam the son of Be‘or’ referred to in 2 Peter 2:15-a letter replete with Qumran imagery, which calls Noah the ‘Preacher of Righteousness’ (2:5) – and Jude 1:11; but Revelation 2:14, in the context of referring not to ‘Belial’ but ‘the Diabolos’ (2:10) and ‘Satan’ (2:13), describes, as we have already seen, how ‘Balaam taught Balak to cast [balein] a net before the sons of Israel to eat things sacrificed to idols and commit fornication’.53
Here, of course is the ‘Three Nets of Belial’ language of the Damascus Document at Qumran. For the Damascus Document, ‘Belial … ensnares Israel by setting them up as three kinds of Righteousness’.54 We have now come full circle. The only thing missing is reference to the third net, ‘Riches’, but even this is made good obliquely in this section of Revelation, in the Letter of James, and elsewhere, not to mention in these stories about Bernice, Agrippa I, and Agrippa II. Not only are all parallel presentations, but what is being called ‘pollution of the Temple’ in the Damascus Document is equivalent to the formulation ’things sacrificed to idols’ in MMT (‘skins sacrificed to idols’ above), I Corinthians, and Acts; and the original suggestion we made, that Paul is operating within the same ideological context as the Scrolls at Qumran, which we derived from considering his use of terms like ‘things sacrificed to idols’ and ‘Beliar’ in 1-2 Corinthians, is correct.55
[The Zealous Essenes end usury, slaughter the Herodians ]
When the ‘Zealots’ or ‘Sicarii’ finally did seize control of the Temple Mount in the aftermath of all these demands as the Uprising turned more extremist and moved into its ‘Jacobin’ phase, the first thing they did – in Josephus’ own words – was to burn the debt records ‘to cause a rising of the Poor against the Rich’.56 As remarked, they also burned the Herodian palaces, including both Bernice’s and that of her brother Agrippa II, presumably the one in which he had reclined and viewed the Temple sacrifices while eating. Later, they also burned all the palaces of the High Priests appointed by Herodians, all of whom appear finally to have been slaughtered, including James’ nemesis Ananus.
The carnage that ensued, including the butchering of most or almost all of the High Priests and the burning of their palaces and those of the Herodians, culminated in the election, as we have mentioned, of the simple ‘Stone-cutter’ Phineas. As opposed to this, the highly Paulinized i Peter, however retrospectively, presents the following recommendation:
[Is James a violent zealot ?]
In the same vein, later on, Acts 21:20 characterizes the majority of James’ followers as ‘Zealots for the Law’, a priestly notation, as we have seen, going back both to Maccabean High Priestly claims and the zeal of Phineas by virtue of which they were said to have won their High Priestly office in perpetuity. To put this into a proper context, these same early Church descriptions of James, that we are considering here, not only insist that he wore the mitre of the High Priest, but also that he wore white linen. It is difficult to escape the impression that all these matters are connected in some manner, and that the Qumran documents, however one chooses to date them, are the key to unlocking these connections.
[The Christians allied with the Essenes, Zealots against the Accomodationist, Hellenistic elite}
In this period, it is always useful to group parties together according to who their common enemies were. On this basis, the ‘Christians’ in Jerusalem (whatever one might wish to say about their ideology or whatever name to apply), the ‘Zealots’, ‘Sicarii’, and the ‘Messianists’ responsible for the literature at Qumran, can all be said to have the same enemies, namely the Pharisees, ‘Establishment Sadducees’ or the High Priests, and the Herodians.
[It was the Rabbinic Jews The Pharisees – that killed Jesus for Rome not the mass of the Jewish people who opposed Rome]
The New Testament has by implication rather reversed this, making it seem as if – because of the accusation of killing Christ – the Jews as a whole were anti-Messianic. But this is patently untrue as we can see. The Establishment Classes were, including the Pharisee progenitors of Rabbinic Judaism today. But, by making it seem as if the Jews as a whole killed or collaborated with the Romans in the killing of Christ – the point of the Gospels and the Pauline corpus – they make it appear as if the mass of the Jews were not Messianic and opposed Messianism, when, in fact, just the opposite was true. It was because the mass of the Jews were so Messianic, as Josephus amply illustrates, not because they supported the Establishment and/or the ‘Pax Romanum’ of the Roman Authorities,