Lighting the Altar in Vain
The ‘Visionaries’, the Dead Sea Sect, and Judeo-Christianity
The Dead Sea Scroll known as the Damascus Rule (CD 6:11-13) prominently cites a verse from the prophet Malachi (1:10) in a passage also attested by 4Q266 f3ii:18: “None who have been brought into the covenant shall enter into the sanctuary to light up His altar in vain; they shall ‘lock the door’, for God said, ‘Would that one of you would lock My door so that you should not light up my altar in vain.’” I will argue that the Malachi verse served as inspiration for the Qumran sect’s attitude (as it developed in the centuries to follow) toward the Temple, the Covenant, and the rest of Israelite society. It also provides a link between Qumranic literature and a diffuse and ill-defined class of disenfranchised priests, known to some contemporary scholars as the “visionaries”. Perhaps best understood as an “anti-establishment” movement that may be traced back to the Babylonian captivity and before, they found themselves in deep conflict with their fellow priests who ruled the rebuilt Temple – “hierocrats” in league with the Persians. The bitter critique of the prophet Malachi in turn helped to bring forth a wide range of sectarian currents that came to characterize the entirety of Jewish culture in late antiquity, including the Essenes/Dead Sea sect, the Enochians and perhaps most intriguingly, the Judeo-Christians.
How to Cite
In Terms of the provisions in the Copyright Act, 98 of 1987, as amended, the copyright of author(s) in regard to articles submitted to and published in the Journal for Christian Scholarship is protected. The Vereniging vir Christelike Hoër Onderwys (VCHO) posesses the vested rights (copyright) in regard to published issues of the journal.
Die outeursreg (kopiereg) van outers ten opsigte van voorgelegde artikels aan en gepubliseerde artikels in die Tydskrif vir Christelike Wetenskap word beskerm, ingevolge die bepalings van die Wet op Outeursreg, 98 van 1987, soos gewysig. Die Vereniging vir Christelike Hoër Onderwys (VCHO) beskik oor die gevestigde regte (outeursreg) ten opsigte van gepubliseerde uitgawes van die tydskrif.