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The Religious Ideas of the Judean Desert Sect / כת מדבר יהודה והשקפותיה

דוד פלוסר and D. Flusser
Zion / ציון
Vol. יט‎, חוברת ג/ד‎ (תשי"ד / 1954), pp. 89-103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23548536
Page Count: 15
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The Religious Ideas of the Judean Desert Sect / כת מדבר יהודה והשקפותיה
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Abstract

Three stages in the development of the Judean Sect are embodied in the "Dead Sea Scrolls" which have so far been published: — a) The fundamental doctrines of the Sect — the division of the world into two hostile camps, and the doctrine of the predestination — were the ideological basis of a warlike activism (the Scroll of the War of the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness). b) The members of the Sect do not renounce activism completely; they postpone the destruction of the wicked to a remoter date in the future, and now adhere to a conditional pacifism. Their hatred of society has been transformed into a "hatred of the world in a spirit of concealment", and as far as outside world is concerned they submit slavishly to the ruling order of things. The members of the Sect base their new attitude on the doctrine of the predestination in its passive form: as the End of Days has not yet come, a member of the Sect may not rebel against the will of God and must restrain himself from taking any action against the wicked Serekh Hayahad and Thanksgiving Scroll). c) Within the Sect there arose a new doctrine: the Election of man by God's Decree of Grace. This doctrine rests (1) on the belief held by the Sect in those days that defilement and sin are part of man's nature, and (2) on the doctrine of the predestination in its passive form, which teaches that all man's deeds originate in God's exclusive will (Thanksgiving Scroll and Psalm in Serekh Hayahad). Hence it may be assumed that after the sectaries had, owing to circumstances, given up their activist policy, they accommodated their doctrine to the new conditions and contented themselves with a controlled hatred of the society surrounding them, and with the hope of their future victory. In the end the Sect becomes inward-looking; its members turn their back on human society, which is sunk in "the impurity of man and sin of mankind", and became absorbed in the doctrine of the Election of Man by God's Grace which shows them the way to individual salvation.

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