In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 259 Reviews Matthews, P. H. 1981 Syntax. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schramm, Gene M. 1964 The GraphetMs o/TibtrilJn Hebrew. BerteJey: University ofcalifomia Press. Wevers, J. W. 1970 "lJeth in Classical Hebrew." Essays on the Ancient Semitic World. J. W. Wevers and D. B. Redford, cds. Toronto: University oCToronto Press. pp. 101-112. Williams, Ronald J. 1976 Hebrew Syntax: An Outline. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Walter R. Bodine 5621 Tremont Dallas. TX 75214 THE ORGANIZATIONAL PATTERN AND THE PENAL CODE OF THE QUMRAN SECT. By Moshe Weinfeld. NTOA 2. Pp. 100. Fribourg Suisse: Editions universitaires I Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986. Cloth. In this brief book Professor Moshe Weinfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem argues that the organizational pattern and the penal code of the Qumran sect were modeled on those of the cullic associations of antiquity. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of such associations are known through Greek, Latin, and Demotic inscriptions and other sources. The associations are of various kinds, both professional (guilds) and personal (clubs), but follow certain standard patterns. In the first eight chapters Weinfeld tries to show that the Qumran sect follows the same standard patterns with regard to the following: the terms of self-designation (the Hebrew ,-,0, -m', and 0':1' are understood as translations of, or equivalents to, the Greek taxis, ko/non, and pJethos); leadership by a council; leadership by a priest, a "P!), and a 'P:lC; the manner in which new members are accepted (examination, registration, decision by lot or vote, and an oath); the rules incumbent upon all members and the penalties for violating the rules; an extended period of probation for candidates for admission; the yearly renewal of the validity of the charter; and veneration for the founder of the group. Chap. 9 lists the major differences between Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 260 Reviews the constitutions of the pagan guilds and the code of the Qumran sect. In chap. 10 Weinfeld argues that the early Christian communities also followed the organizational patterns of Hellenistic associations. The book concludes with six appendices. bibliography. and indices. The final appendix (pp. 77-78 with notes on pp. 79-80) is a useful synopsis listing in columnar form the common organizational traits of the Qumran sect. Greco-Roman associations. Egyptian (Demotic) associations. early Christian communities. and various Iewish and Near Eastern associations. Weinfeld demonstrates that numerous rulings of the Qumran Serek hayyabad (IQS) and Covenant of Damascus (CD) closely resemble those of Egyptian and Greek associations of the Hellenistic-Roman era. but it is not clear what these resemblances prove. Based upon Weinfeld's data we may conclude that a pagan of antiquity reading the sections of 1QS and CD that describe the entrance requirements and the rules of the group would think that he was reading the laws of a Hellenistic association. but this fact says nothing about the literary genre of either document as a whole or about the nature of the Qumran group. On p. 8 Weinfeld writes, "Although the external form and structure of this sect is similar to that of Hellenistic associations. the basic ideology of the sect is in its nature unique:' The uniqueness of the sectarian ideology is discussed further in chap. 9 (pp. 4647 ). Thus Weinfeld seems to be arguing that the external fonn of the Qumran sect is (standard) Hellenistic while its inner meaning is (uniquely) Iewish. This thesis may well be correct (if the distinction between "external fonn" and "inner meaning" can be sustained), but it would have been much strengthened had Weinfeld explained his concept of "Hellenism" and "Hellenization "; had he adduced other examples of such "external" Hellenism; had he discussed the organizational patterns of diaspora Iudaism (many diaspora Iewish communities were viewed as religious associations by the state); and had he treated other possible models for the organizational patterns of Qumran (schools are one such possible model; see S.I. D. Cohen, "Patriarchs and Scholarchs," Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 48 [1981]:57-85). In appendix E (pp. 71-76) Weinfeld criticizes Lawrence Schiffman's Sectarian Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Courts, Testimony and the Penal Code for...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 259-262
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.