Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Gingernuts by the Dead Sea

Many people primarily associate the Dead Sea with a dodgy line of cosmetics hawked in shopping malls up and down the country. Apparently they're not as 'kosher' as they appear, as this report suggests.

But for those with an interest in all things biblical, the Dead Sea means the DSS. Greg Doudna, an Ambassador College graduate who subsequently moved on to more credible academic studies (he is currently on the faculty of Columbia College, Everett, WA), is among those now seeking to shake the established paradigm. Jim West points to one of two essays by Greg appearing at Bible & Interpretation. With the forbidding title "The Sect of the Qumran Texts and its Leading Role in the Temple in Jerusalem During Much of the First Century BCE: Toward a New Framework for Understanding" (surely enough in itself to make your eyes water), part one is found here and part two here.

You'd have to say this is no light and diverting read on the sofa with a cup of green tea and a gingernut, indeed I'd estimate a whole packet of gingernuts and a tea urn would be required, but it is guaranteed to push most of us up the learning curve.

And yes, this is the author of Showdown at Big Sandy, which I reviewed a few years back.

(Access to further papers by Greg Doudna available here. An earlier Otagosh article featuring his work can be found here.)


  1. I've been navigating through Dante's Divine Comedy here of late, but Greg's essays will most definitely be next on my reading list. Thanks for the heads up!


  2. Okay, so I think the title is slightly misleading. By that I mean, "'s leading role in the Temple of Jerusalem..." While he raises good challenges to the prevailing conclusions of scholars thus far regarding the "disaffection" of the Qumran sect, what I read of these two parts hardly establish anything like a certainty of any "leadership" function by the sect at the Temple in Jerusalem.

    I wonder if you have read any of Margaret Barker on Temple Theology? I've only just become acquainted with her, so cannot well-articulate her theories in light of Doudna's challenges, but I think there may be some bridging insight in her work worth plumbing. If I am correct, it would involve the idea that Second Temple was actually not the same religion as the First Temple (most evidence of which is lost). Perhaps the sect at Qumran considered themselves as preservers of the first (sons of Zadok in the sense of "true" Zadok, not necessarily a bloodline distinction) temple religious tradition(s). Barker's theory suggest that the existence of "true" first temple believers is what gave such quick rise/acceptance of chrisitanity. I hope I haven't misunderstood her, since I still haven't covered much of her material. But check it out. I think Doudna may have headed in the right direction without actually ending in a justifiable destination on this. His arguments are not strong enough to conclude that the sect was in a unity with the Jerusalem Temple. Where are the other Qumran "countryside" satellites of the Jerusalem Temple leadership?