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Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism [Paperback]

By Gabriele Boccaccini (Author)
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Item description for Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism by Gabriele Boccaccini...

Will spark fresh debate on our current understanding of the Qumran community. Sifting through the ancient records and all of the known Dead Sea Scrolls, Boccaccini elaborates on his view that the Essenes can be traced back to an earlier "Enochic Judaism," which also influenced John the Baptist and Jesus.

Publishers Description
Respected scholar Gabriele Boccaccini here offers readers a new and challenging view of the ideology of the Qumran sect, the community closely related with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Boccaccini moves beyond the Essene hypothesis and posits a unique relationship between what he terms "Enochic Judaism" and the group traditionally known as the Essenes. Building his case on what the ancient records tell us about the Essenes and on a systematic analysis of the documents found at Qumran, Boccaccini argues that the literature betrays the core of an ancient and distinct variety of Second Temple Judaism. Tracing the development of this tradition, Boccaccini shows that the Essene community at Qumran was really the offspring of the Enochic party, which in turn contributed to the birth of parties led by John the Baptist and Jesus. Convincingly argued, this work will surely spark fresh debate in the discussion on the Qumran community and their famous writings.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   252
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.78 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2000
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802843603  
ISBN13  9780802843609  

Availability  55 units.
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More About Gabriele Boccaccini

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gabriele Boccaccini, Ph.D. Turin (1991) is Professor of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins at the University of Michigan. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal "Henoch," director of the "Enoch Seminar" and editor of its Proceedings.Among his publications are "Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism" (Eerdmans, 1998), "Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel" (Eerdmans, 2001). John J. Collins, Ph.D. Harvard (1972) is Holmes Professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. He has published extensively on the Hebrew Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Second Temple Judaism. His more recent books include "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible" (Fortress, 2004), "Jewish Cult and Hellenistic Culture" (Brill, 2005), "Encounters with Biblical Theology" (Fortress, 2005), and "The Bible after Babel. Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age" (Eerdmans, 2005).

Gabriele Boccaccini currently resides in the state of Michigan. Gabriele Boccaccini was born in 1958.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Dead Sea Scrolls
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4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
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8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > Sacred Writings

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Reviews - What do customers think about Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways between Qumran and Enochic Judaism?

the myth buster  Feb 7, 2007
This book does an outstanding job of putting alot of myths regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls and Qumran to rest. We've been hoodwinked by so many charlatans trying to sell the Dead Sea Scroll - Christian connection. It takes a real scholar like Gabriele Boccaccini to smash those myths once and for all.

The Qumran community which produced the sectarian writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls and who were described by Pliny as the monastic community living on the shores of the Dead Sea were not the same Essenes which Josephus and Philo wrote about. They were both rooted in Enochian Judaism but parted ways after the Maccabean revolt which ended the rival Zadokite priesthood.

Boccaccini takes us step by step through the history of Enochian Judaism which started as a rival to the Zadokite priesthood, to the Maccabean crisis which deposed the Zadokite priesthood and relegated the Enochians to a second class status. The book explains how the Enochians accepted the Zadokite Hebrew Bible with its stress on the Mosaic covenant
but kept the earliest books of Enoch which make no reference to the Mosaic covenant. It then explains how the Qumranites separated from the mainstream Enochian/Essene movement as described in the Damascus Document.

The Qumran community is described as an isolated, xenophobic community which did not have the tremendous impact on history which so many people give them credit for. With two minor exceptions, which are adequately explained, the Qumran sectarian literature was unknown to the earliest Christians and are neither quoted nor mentioned in the earliest Rabbinic writings or Josephus. Conversely, none of the later Enochian literature starting in the first century B.C.E., ie The Similitudes and The Testaments of The Twelve Patriarchs, were found at Qumran.

Boccaccini explains how the mainstream Enochians/Essenes who Josephus and Philo were familiar with radically differed from the Qumranites. The mainstream group were pacifists who refused to take oaths,and believed that individuals could be saved by repentance. In contrast, the Qumranites were more militant and believed in absolute predestination in which only members of their community were predestined for salvation. The Qumranites disdained not only gentiles but anyone who was outside their community. In addition, the Essenes stressed the issues of seduction and greed which the isolated Qumranits didn't have to deal with.
This conforms not only to the descriptions given by Josephus and Philo but the later Enochian literature as well.

Finally, we learn that John the Baptist and Jesus were more than likely products of mainstream Essenism. Their public preaching of repentance, Jesus' acceptance of "unclean" people, ie the lame and the blind, his healing on the Sabbath, and his pacifistic teachings of love for one's enemies and not returning evil for evil conform more to mainstream Essenism and is completely at odds with Qumran. This puts to rest once and for all the sensational but ridiculous idea that John the Baptist, Jesus, or James were members of the Qumran community. The fact that the earliest Christians read The Book of Enoch as indicated in the Book of Jude and preserved in the older Ethiopian Orthodox Church proves that Christianity was rooted in Enochian/Essene Judaism and not Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism.

If you really want to know the history of the Essenes, Qumran, and Christianity, you must read this book.
Qure for your Qumran Questions  Aug 23, 2004
If you're really "in" to the Dead Sea Scrolls, then you won't want to miss this volume. The subtitle ("The Parting of the Ways Between Qumran and Enochic Judaism") really only tells part of the story; Boccaccini devotes a lesser portion of this book to a quite reasonable hypothesis of the origins of the Essene movement in what he calls "Enochic" Judaism. The majority of the book is devoted to descriptions of the life and literature of the Essenes, and includes a collection of secular data on them (from Josephus, Pliny, Philo, etc.). As such it is an excellent reference.
paradigmatic work on enochian judaism  Mar 25, 2003
This work is a must for everyone wishing to understand the birth of both Judaism an Christianity. Boccaccini offers a most helpful key to interpret the historical and theological facts of the period between The Old and The New Testament, throwing new light upon both the Qumran-society (who made the Dead Sea Scrolls) and early Christianity. He convincingly shows the continuity between certain "enochian" themes and ideas usually thought to be spesificially christian, and how these ideas grows out of a split in Second Temple Judaism, between zadokites (mosaic) and levites (enochian). A most impressive book!
Plausible yet simple, believable  Dec 3, 2002
This book does a fine job of collecting various sources of thought and religious tenets from the period prior to first century Israel to put forward the theory that the various sects of Judaism and Christianity have a very common origination. The differences are explained but the emphasis is on the commonalities with time being properly considered. Some distinguishing light is shed on the major problem of identifying the Essenes to a small community in Qumran considering various sources that identify certain contradictions. Although most will acknowledge a common root to the various sects of the time, Pharisees, Sauducees, Essenes, and Christians, this author ties the various texts available and places them in a convincing time-frame that allows for all the differences. The notion of various sects within the Essene movement is plausible yet simple and that is what makes this so appealing in my opinion. Overall, a nice piece of detective work.
At last something new and meaningful about the Essene  Dec 19, 2001
This is the *best* book I ever read about the Essene and Qumran to date. Dry, no-nonsensical, factual, sound... A bit "boring" here and there, but the matter is dry in itself, and the author is always essential and up-to-the-point, so the "boring" parts are always *very* short (never more than two pages).

The author begins by reviewing all we know about the Essene from ancient sources.

Then he thoroughly examines the literature that most resembles these features, the "Enochic" Jewish literature. He highlights a set of shared ideas in all of these texts, as well an important evolution in them along two centuries.

Next, he examines the ideology displayed by the Qumran literature, and compares it with the "Enochic" one. Boccaccini makes his point with great elegance and very convincingly: Qumran people were not "the Essene" at large, but just a schismatic (somehow fanatical) group that had parted from the Enochic tradition from which it derived, developing unique features and ideas. It is therefore an error using the Qumran texts to understand who "the Essene" were and what did they think.

Boccaccini proposes to rather identify "The Essene" with the "Enochich" tradition at large: if the Enochic party was not the "Essene" party, then it was its twin, he prudently suggests.

Most important is Boccaccini's memento about the fact that Enochic/Essene literature continued after "the parting of the ways" with the Qumran community. From this more recent tradition also Christianity stems, he hints.

And here is the most deceiving point in this book. The huge interest in Qumran was first caused, among other things, from the suspect it was sort of a "parent" community for Christianity. Christianity, Qumran texts seemed to suggest, might have had Qumranic, i.e. allegedly "Essene", roots.
What Boccaccini does, undercover, is showing that these roots were *not* planted in the Qumran tradition... but rather in the larger "Enochic" (Essene) tradition!

The lack of a chapter about Christian roots in Essenism is the weakest point in this book, at least to me (this was the first reason why I bought it). But by reading the title one realizes Boccaccini never promised to deliver such a chapter in the first place, hence my 5 stars.

However, prudence in an exceedingly "hot" issue, not lack of relevance of the issue, is the real reason why Boccaccini did not write such a chapter: all of the documents, and the reasoning, necessary to allow the reader to draw by himself this conclusion, are in this book. Simply, the author refrains from drawing this conclusion by himself, although he explicitly hints at it two or three times along the book.

I strongly recommend this work, but I warn about the need to complement it with other works if the Essene/Christian question is what you are interested in.


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