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apexviper13

Qumran and the Quran

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Qur'an: القرآن

Qumran:قمران‎, though I think the location is more properly Khirbet Qumran: خربة قمران‎

Looking at it in Arabic I'm not sure if it is one letter or not, the full name certainly is more than one letter different. And the one letter off in English you note only works if Qur'an is used to transliterate and not Koran. The Qur'an means "the recitation", I can't seem to find a meaning translation for Khirbet Qumran.

Note that traditionally the receipt of the Qur'an by Mohammad is around Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Khirbet Qumran is quite some distance away. And even if there is a similarity of meaning or word roots, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a connection of substance. Just like a bibliography and the Bible aren't terribly connected. Also one letter can mean a lot, fake versus fate for example .

Is there something about the Essenes that leads you to think of a connection between them and Islam?

Edited by Dravin

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Qur'an: القرآن

Qumran:قمران‎, though I think the location is more properly Khirbet Qumran: خربة قمران‎

Looking at it in Arabic I'm not sure if it is one letter or not, the full name certainly is more than one letter different. And the one letter off in English you note only works if Qur'an is used to transliterate and not Koran. The Qur'an means "the recitation", I can't seem to find a meaning translation for Khirbet Qumran.

Note that traditionally the receipt of the Qur'an by Mohammad is around Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Khirbet Qumran is quite some distance away. And even if there is a similarity of meaning or word roots, it doesn't necessarily mean there is a connection of substance. Just like a bibliography and the Bible aren't terribly connected. Also one letter can mean a lot, fake versus fate for example .

Is there something about the Essenes that leads you to think of a connection between them and Islam?

Nope. Quite honestly it's just how close the words are that got me to ask.

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Are there any connections between the ancient Qumran community and the Quran of the Islamic faith? I didn't think about how close these two words are until today. Just a one letter difference.

You ought to ask this over at the Mormon Dialogue and Discussion board. A regular contributor, Daniel Peterson, is a BYU professor specializing in Arab/Islamic studies.

Elphaba

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Hebrew and Arabic are sister languages, so they will sound similar often. However, there is no direct connection between the location of Qumran and the holy book, Quran.

Khirbet Qumran (Hebrew: חירבת קומראן‎, Arabic: خربة قمران‎ ). It is a place name.

Al Qur'an (Arabic: القرآن الكريم ) It means "the recitation."

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Maybe it's just me, but I see no more similarity between Qumran and Quran as I do between here and there, who and why, or -- in Spanish -- cereza (cherry) and cerveza (beer).

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There is no connection other than the two words are both 100% Arabic. But the whole thing is worse than you think and there is, because, for lack of a better term, an international conspiracy involved in this matter.

The first bit of truth I would like to bring forward is that there was an ancient name for the settlement by the Dead Sea and there is not one religious scholar that will openly speak the name of the ancient settlement. But since I am an amateur I can speak. The ancient name was “Damascus” and I offer as proof the “Damascus Document” which is also called the rule of the community. Therefore the community today is not called by any Jewish designation but by Arabic designation that names a nearby geological wash and has no historical relevance what-so-ever.

The reason is obvious - If this is where Paul was traveling to when he was converted then the scriptures at Damascus provide definitive proof that the Bible is not the holy scriptures and that there was a massive effort to alter what was scripture shortly after Jesus - both for Christians and Jews. That is a can of worms no religious scholar is willing to touch.

But it is worse - to create confusion that there is anything of real importance or significance in the documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the settlement is called Essen. This is most interesting because there is not one artifact ever found at Qumran that is Essen. In addition there are things such as “The War Scroll” that prove beyond any possible or reasonable doubt that the community was not Essen. Plus graphologist have conclusive proven that several of the scribes at Qumran were also present at Masada - and there is no historical connection with the battle of Masada that ever had anything to do with any Essens.

The Traveler

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Many scholars pursue the claim that Damascus is equivalent to Qumran and that any

references to Damascus in the Qumran scrolls refer to a migration

to the Judean desert. In my view, this has no basis, since CD 7:14

expressly says that they travel to the north, citing Amos 5:27. It

is incredible that the author of MTA would refer to Qumran as

located in the north. Moreover, within the hundreds of documents

emanating from Qumran, only those related to MTA mention the

movement to Damascus. With the vast literature we have, there is

always a possibility that by accident all the other references to a

massive communal migration north have perished. This, however,

is implausible. In my opinion moreover, the migration to the north

in MTA is not historical but a prediction that it would occur in the

future; hence, the near silence about this migration in the DSS.

The new Damascus Document : The midrash on the eschatological Torah of the

Dead Sea Scrolls : reconstruction, translation, and commentary / by

Ben Zion Wacholder.

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I agree with Volgadon. The DSS have nothing to do with Paul and the road to Damascus. This is an argument attempted in the book Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, where they insist Damascus was actually Qumran, and that the DSS were Christian writings. Paul was the Wicked Priest, and James the Righteous Teacher.

For one thing, most of the DSS were pre-Christian, including the War Scroll and Community Rule. Second, how does one tell what is/isn't an Essene settlement? There seems to have been two types of Essenes: the celibates that dwelt in the desert, and the families that lived in the cities. Not all Essenes were pacifists. They were, for the most part, less violent than the Fanatics, but then so were the Pharisees and Sadduccees, etc.

In LDS theology, we preach peace, yet we also have gone to war on many occasions. Does that mean we cannot be both peacemakers, and still proclaim war when needed? The argument doesn't follow; it is a non-sequitur.

Why do the scholars not speak much about Qumran being Damascus? Because it is a non-issue, except for a few non-scholars on the fringes.

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Lawrence Schiffman, in pg. 93-94 of his “Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls,” claims that Damascus was code for Qumran. I disagree for the reasons outlined by Wacholder, but the important thing is that a major main-stream scholar of Second Temple Judaism had no problem identifying Damascus as a code for Qumran, and did so in print. If one were to believe Traveler, thhen one would assume that Schiffman would never have been allowed to publish again, or hold any important academic positions. He has done both.

I blogged about Qumran as Damascus briefly last year. Calba Savua's Orchard: Amos in Later Jewish Tradition

To claim a consiracy of silence is prepostrous.

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I agree with Volgadon. The DSS have nothing to do with Paul and the road to Damascus. This is an argument attempted in the book Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, where they insist Damascus was actually Qumran, and that the DSS were Christian writings. Paul was the Wicked Priest, and James the Righteous Teacher.

For one thing, most of the DSS were pre-Christian, including the War Scroll and Community Rule. Second, how does one tell what is/isn't an Essene settlement? There seems to have been two types of Essenes: the celibates that dwelt in the desert, and the families that lived in the cities. Not all Essenes were pacifists. They were, for the most part, less violent than the Fanatics, but then so were the Pharisees and Sadduccees, etc.

In LDS theology, we preach peace, yet we also have gone to war on many occasions. Does that mean we cannot be both peacemakers, and still proclaim war when needed? The argument doesn't follow; it is a non-sequitur.

Why do the scholars not speak much about Qumran being Damascus? Because it is a non-issue, except for a few non-scholars on the fringes.

The only ancient reverence to Essens comes from Josephus. In fact if it was not for Josephus we would not know Essens ever existed. According to Josephus the Essens were 1. An obscure Jewish sect. 2. The Essens were not only pacifists but would die before they would fight. 3. The Essens lived by themselves in the wilderness (no mention of where). 4. The Essens were friendly with King Herod.

What I ask is if there is one thing of the Essens that we can say describes the “Qumran Community”? One may say they had a community in the wilderness - the problem with this is that not even the majority of the society lived there and according to documents their “priests” made daily sacrifices at the temple of Jerusalem. As I posted earlier several of the same scribes that were at “Qumran” were also at Masada. This being the case - why would Josephus say they were pacifists and friendly toward King Herod. The answer is simple - These were NOT Essens.

The Traveler

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Lawrence Schiffman, in pg. 93-94 of his “Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls,” claims that Damascus was code for Qumran. I disagree for the reasons outlined by Wacholder, but the important thing is that a major main-stream scholar of Second Temple Judaism had no problem identifying Damascus as a code for Qumran, and did so in print. If one were to believe Traveler, thhen one would assume that Schiffman would never have been allowed to publish again, or hold any important academic positions. He has done both.

I blogged about Qumran as Damascus briefly last year. Calba Savua's Orchard: Amos in Later Jewish Tradition

To claim a consiracy of silence is prepostrous.

Perhaps but take note of the date of his publication. There was a major event that occurred in 93 that discredited the Dead Sea Scroll Society that up to that date controlled the DSS and who could look at them. For several years contrary opinions were published - but not so much in the last 5 years.

But I agree with one thing - Damascus at Qumran was not hidden or obscure. And I would like someone to explain to me how Paul would be able to take "Christians" from a Roman providence outside of Judea with nothing more than “letters” from the priests at the temple. For the crimes that would allow Paul to take them from Syria to Jerusalem for trial and punishment Paul would have to have had Roman papers - not Jewish. The only place he could have been going was Qumran - else there was a major historical flaw in the New Testament account.

the Traveler

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No, these are not the Essenes that Josephus described. There is a difference. He may not have known much concerning the Essenes, being he was actually from the area around Sepphoris, near Nazareth and the north. He was writing decades after the Qumran people would have had their hey day. By the time he arrived on the scene, the community could have changed drastically from what they were like 100 BC or earlier.

Whether the people at Qumran were Essenes or not, we do not know. They easily could have been an entirely separate group that we have not heard about before. As to their scribes moving from Qumran to Masada, this only shows that Qumran was over-run prior to many fleeing south to Masada. I would imagine that many believed the Zealots of Masada were their last hope of maintaining Jewish independence, thinking Herod's winter palace in the mountain strong-hold of Masada impenetrable.

You see, I agree that they may not be Essenes. But I reject the idea that they were Christians. They were not Zealots, because their literature goes against Zealot philosophy. Nor were they Pharisees or Sadduccees. That leaves us with Essenes or some other group entirely.

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No, these are not the Essenes that Josephus described. There is a difference. He may not have known much concerning the Essenes, being he was actually from the area around Sepphoris, near Nazareth and the north. He was writing decades after the Qumran people would have had their hey day. By the time he arrived on the scene, the community could have changed drastically from what they were like 100 BC or earlier.

Whether the people at Qumran were Essenes or not, we do not know. They easily could have been an entirely separate group that we have not heard about before. As to their scribes moving from Qumran to Masada, this only shows that Qumran was over-run prior to many fleeing south to Masada. I would imagine that many believed the Zealots of Masada were their last hope of maintaining Jewish independence, thinking Herod's winter palace in the mountain strong-hold of Masada impenetrable.

You see, I agree that they may not be Essenes. But I reject the idea that they were Christians. They were not Zealots, because their literature goes against Zealot philosophy. Nor were they Pharisees or Sadduccees. That leaves us with Essenes or some other group entirely.

You have my interest - what in their literature goes against Zealot philosophy? And why do you think the Zealots at Masada would let Essenes in when most other Jews were not allowed.

The Traveler

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Their views of the coming Messiah were different from the Zealots, who sought a political king/conqueror, not a spiritual leader.

The Zealots allowed any Jews in that were not working for the Romans. Once the Romans arrived, they were sealed up tight as a drum. But we aren't talking about Jews who were building the earthen ramp for the Romans. We are talking about a few scribes from a religious sect fleeing and converging with others who were fleeing to the mountain fortress/retreat.

I see it similar to Sunnis and Shiite Muslims. They are religious enemies, but glad to join together against an outside force. IOW, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. At least until things get back to normal, and then the religious differences can surge once again.

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The only ancient reverence to Essens comes from Josephus. In fact if it was not for Josephus we would not know Essens ever existed.

You seem unaware of Pliny, who places them in the area of Qumran.

According to Josephus the Essens were 1. An obscure Jewish sect.

He lists them as one of the major Jewish philosophies.

2. The Essens were not only pacifists but would die before they would fight.

Yet Josephus states that they possessed weapons and that they carried them on their journeys. He states that they would die before they would commit transgressions or eat what was forbidden.

3. The Essens lived by themselves in the wilderness (no mention of where).

Josephus says they lived in many places, not only in the wilderness.

4. The Essens were friendly with King Herod.

Is there any indication that the authors of the DSS were not?

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Thanks Volgadon. I was actually thinking these same things, but have not read Josephus in about a decade, and therefore was not sure if I remembered it correctly or not. I have not read Pliny, so it is good to know he also mentions the Essenes.

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In fact, BAR has all the quotes from Josephus regarding the Essenes all in one place.

Josephus on the Essenes - Biblical Archaeology Review

It seems Volgadon was correct. Josephus seems to mostly be discussing those in the depths of the sect, for example he states they do not marry, yet are not opposed to others marrying. It is believed, IIRC, by many scholars that the Essenes had regular families raising children in the cities, and allowing those at Qumran to adopt whom they would of their children.

Here are some excerpts:

The Jewish War, Book II. Chapter 8

(8.2)

119 For three forms of philosophy are pursued among the Judeans: the members of one are Pharisees, of another Sadducees, and the third [school], who certainly are reputed to cultivate seriousness, are called Essenes; although Judeans by ancestry, they are even more mutually affectionate than the others. 120 Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue. And although there is among them a disdain for marriage, adopting the children of outsiders while they are still malleable enough for the lessons they regard them as family and instill in them their principles of character: 121 without doing away with marriage or the succession resulting from it, they nevertheless protect themselves from the wanton ways of women, having been persuaded that none of them preserves her faithfulness to one man.

(8.4)

124 No one city is theirs, but they settle amply in each. And for those school-members who arrive from elsewhere, all that the community has is laid out for them in the same way as if they were their own things, and they go in and stay with those they have never even seen before as if they were the most intimate friends. 125 For this reason they make trips without carrying any baggage at all—though armed on account of the bandits. In each city a steward of the order appointed specially for the visitors is designated quartermaster for clothing and the other amenities. 126 Dress and also deportment of body: like children being educated with fear. They replace neither clothes nor footwear until the old set is ripped all over or worn through with age. 127 Among themselves, they neither shop for nor sell anything; but each one, after giving the things that he has to the one in need, takes in exchange anything useful that the other has. And even without this reciprocal giving, the transfer to them [of goods] from whomever they wish is unimpeded.

(8.5)

128 Toward the Deity, at least: pious observances uniquely [expressed]. Before the sun rises, they utter nothing of the mundane things, but only certain ancestral prayers to him, as if begging him to come up. 129 After these things, they are dismissed by the curators to the various crafts that they have each come to know, and after they have worked strenuously until the fifth hour they are again assembled in one area, where they belt on linen covers and wash their bodies in frigid water. After this purification they gather in a private hall, into which none of those who hold different views may enter: now pure themselves, they approach the dining room as if it were some [kind of] sanctuary. 130 After they have seated themselves in silence, the baker serves the loaves in order, whereas the cook serves each person one dish of one food. 131 The priest offers a prayer before the food, and it is forbidden to taste anything before the prayer; when he has had his breakfast he offers another concluding prayer. While starting and also while finishing, then, they honor God as the sponsor of life. At that, laying aside their clothes as if they were holy, they apply themselves to their labors again until evening. 132 They dine in a similar way: when they have returned, they sit down with the vistors, if any happen to be present with them, and neither yelling nor disorder pollutes the house at any time, but they yield conversation to one another in order. 133 And to those from outside, the silence of those inside appears as a kind of shiver-inducing mystery. The reason for this is their continuous sobriety and the rationing of food and drink among them—to the point of fullness.

(8.7)

137 To those who are eager for their school, the entry-way is not a direct one, but they prescribe a regimen for the person who remains outside for a year, giving him a little hatchet as well as the aforementioned waist-covering and white clothing. 138 Whenever he should give proof of his self-control during this period, he approaches nearer to the regimen and indeed shares in the purer waters for purification, though he is not yet received into the functions of communal life. For after this demonstration of endurance, the character is tested for two further years, and after he has thus been shown worthy he is reckoned into the group. 139 Before he may touch the communal food, however, he swears dreadful oaths to them: first, that he will observe piety toward the deity; then, that he will maintain just actions toward humanity; that he will harm no one, whether by his own deliberation or under order; that he will hate the unjust and contend together with the just; 140 that he will always maintain faithfulness to all, especially to those in control, for without God it does not fall to anyone to hold office, and that, should he hold office, he will never abuse his authority—outshining his subordinates, whether by dress or by some form of extravagant appearance; 141 always to love the truth and expose the liars; that he will keep his hands pure from theft and his soul from unholy gain; that he will neither conceal anything from the school-members nor disclose anything of theirs to others, even if one should apply force to the point of death. 142 In addition to these, he swears that he will impart the precepts to no one otherwise than as he received them, that he will keep away from banditry, and that he will preserve intact their school’s books and the names of the angels. With such oaths as these they completely secure those who join them.

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Here's some more info:

Ancient Historians & Essenes

Ancient writers such as Josephus, Philo, Pliny, Dio Chrysostom and Hippolytus of Rome spoke of the Essenes. Josephus speaks mainly of the Ossaeans of Qumran, while Philo speaks of the Theraputae who were a branch of the Nasaraean Essenes.

....

Historical information regarding the existence of numerous groups in Palestine exists, which includes the following groups:

  • The Qumran 'Covenanteers
  • Zealots
  • Followers of Judas the Galilean
  • Followers of Saddoch the Pharisee
  • Sicarii
  • Bandits
  • Self-proclaimed Messiah's
  • Magharians, or cave dwellers
  • The Baptists
  • Genistae
  • Meristae
  • Hellenists
  • Nasaraioi
  • Essenoi

Philo (second account)

The Essenes live in a number of towns in Judea, and also in many villages and in large groups.

Pliny the Elder

"To the west (of the Dead Sea) the Essenes have put the necessary distance between themselves and the insalubrious shore. They are a people unique of its kind and admirable beyond all others in the whole world; without women and renouncing love entirely, without money and having for company only palm trees. Owing to the throng of newcomers, this people is daily reborn in equal number; indeed, those whom, wearied by the fluctuations of fortune, life leads to adopt their customs, stream in in great numbers. Thus, unbeleivable though this may seem, for thousands of centuries a people has existed which is eternal yet into which no one is born: so fruitful for them is the repentance which others feel for their past lives!"

Here we see they both live in villages AND in the desert near the Dead Sea. As I mentioned, scholars tend to believe there were two types of Essenes: those who were ascetic, and those who dwelt normally among the people in villages.

So, we have several ancients speaking of the Essenes.

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Josephus also had a vested political interest in depicting the Essenes as a philosophical curiosity. The Romans were looking for a local party to collaborate with after the destruction of the temple. Josephus saw the Pharisees as the only viable option, so he talked them up and marginalised the rest. The Zealots hate Rome, the Sadducees appeal only to the rich minority, and the Essenes are philosophers out of touch with the world. Only the Pharisees have popular appeal.

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