Luke using the Dead Sea Scrolls

by peacefulpete 8 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    The Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521) consists of eleven fragments and the script is dated to 100 B.C. The poem incorporates Psalm 146:6-7 and Isaiah 61:1 and shows the characteristics of the anticipated Jewish Messiah.
    "...[the hea]vens and the earth will listen to His Messiah, and none therein will stray from the commandments of the holy ones. Seekers of the Lord, strengthen yourselves in His service! All you hopeful in your heart, will you not find the Lord in this? For the Lord will consider the pious and call the righteous by name. Over the poor His spirit will hover and will renew the faithful with His power. And He will glorify the pious on the throne of the eternal Kingdom. He who liberates the captives, restores sight to the blind, straightens the b[ent]. And f[or] ever I will clea[ve to the h]opeful and in His mercy...And the fr[uit...] will not be delayed for anyone. And the Lord will accomplish glorious things which have never been as...For He will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor"

    The Messianic Apocalypse mentions that the Messiah would "straighten the bent." This is not found in Isaiah 61. But Luke includes a story (13:10-17) wherein Jesus healed a woman who was bent over and could not raise herself up. Is Luke here making reference to the 4Q521 text quoted above?

    The Luke story continues with John the Baptist discouraged in prison and was wondering if Jesus was the Messiah. He sent some men to Jesus and they asked him, "Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?" Jesus gave them this answer, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them." (Luke 7:22).

    Notice that Is 61 does not speak of "raising the dead" as a sign of the Messiah but 4Q521 does.

    The Apocryphon of Daniel (4Q246) also called the Aramaic Apocalypse and the "Son of God" fragment (text dated to 1-2nd c. BC) has two significant messianic phrases: "son of God" and "son of the Most High."

    "The son of God he will be proclaimed and the son of the Most High they will call him. "

    This text has been interpreted in various ways but the resemblence to Luke 1:32 ("he will be called Son of the most High") seems impossible to miss.

    Countless examples exist of NT writes citing or alluding to apocraphal works as authoritative. This reflects the fact that the OT was not fixed and that many books now lost or known only in fragments were held as inspired by NT authors.

  • seeitallclearlynow

    Umm, thought-provoking, peacefulpete. Thanks!

  • Narkissos

    Excellent points. Thanks!

  • Leolaia

    PP....Nice gem you found. The most impressive parallel with Luke 7:22 is the "revive the dead and bring good news to the poor" part, which (with the mention of the blind seeing and the deaf hearing) alludes to Isaiah 26:18-19, 35:5-6, 61:1-2 and distinctly anticipates the Jesus' ministry to the poor and the miracles the Messiah was expected to perform. It is curious that the Qumrun text relates the acts from the point of view of the Messiah while the Gospel text presents the point of view of those healed, raised, etc. Note also that there is a parallel in Luke 4:18 and the text in 7:22 is duplicated also in Matthew 11:2-6 and derives from Q, so it is more a matter of Q using the DDS (or Essene traditions related to the DSS) than Luke. The text you quoted sounds very similar to 4Q175, a Messianic testimonia described below:

    The existence of early Christian and pre-Christian testimonia or catenae of OT passages had been suspected for at least a hundred years before the discovery of the Qumrun texts, so it is quite fascinating to see an actual example. There is lots of evidence of their use in the NT (e.g. Romans 9:32-33 and 1 Peter 2:6-8) and early Christian writings (e.g. Barnabas and Melito of Sardis) in the form of composite and midrashic OT quotations.

    There's an interesting book by Dale Thomas called The Intertextual Jesus: Scripture in Q (Harrisburg: Trinity Press, 2000), and I looked up this text to see what he says. Here is the relevant passage, if you are interested:

    "Isa 26:18-19 (cf. Q 7:22) is expounded in a fragment of the Apocryphon of Ezekiel preserved in Epiphanius, Haer. 4(64).70.5; already Dan. 12:2 is probably a transformation of Isa. 26:18-19, which is also taken up into 4Q521 2 + 4 ii 2; the verses may lie behind the promise of eschatological dew in 2 Bar. 29:2 and b. Hag. 12b; and v. 19 is quoted in Acts Pilate 21:2.

    "Isa 35:5-6 (cf. Q 7:22) is alluded to in Mk. 7:37; Acts 3:8; and the Slavonic addition to Josephus, Bell. 1.364-70; the verses are cited in Justin, 1 Apol. 48.2; Dial. 69.5; and Mek. on Exod 15:1.

    "Isa 61:1-2 (cf. Q 6:20-23 and 7:22) is not only frequently referred to in early Christian literature (e.g. Lk. 4:18-19; Acts 4:27; 10:38; Barn. 14:9) but was important for those who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls (1QH 23 (18):12-15; 11QMelch 2:4, 6, 9, 13, 17, 18, 20; 4Q521 2 + 4 ii 12); it is also quoted in Mek. on Exod 20:21." (p. 120)

    These early catenae appear to practically be blueprints for the Gospels. But Thomas makes one interesting observation: while Mark and the narrative gospels draw on the Suffering Servant theme of Deutero-Isaiah, nowhere does Q equate Jesus with the suffering servant. And while Isaiah is frequently cited in early Christian literature as support for the Gentile mission (cf. Isaiah 9:1-2; 42:1-7; 57:19; 65:1-2), Q makes no similar use of these passages. This shows the lack of interest or knowledge of the Passion of Jesus (cf. Gospel of Thomas) and the Jewish-Christian orientation of the early Q community.

  • peacefulpete

    Note also that there is a parallel in Luke 4:18 and the text in 7:22 is duplicated also in Matthew 11:2-6 and derives from Q, so it is more a matter of Q using the DDS (or Essene traditions related to the DSS) than Luke.


    Being the radical I am (wink wink) I was aware that Q seems to have no awarness of the Passion story. Some early traditions had him escape. Certain Gospel deconstructions have him simply ascend to heaven when his message was given. The 3 day in the grave and death as godman motif was added later to the existing "Son of Man" tradition. This is consistant with the developing theory that two distinct cults were merged to form the Xtianity that we know. Doherty pursues the Mystry cult as the original but the Jewish Apocalypicism existed contemporaneously. Doherty is doing a fine work in isolating the Pagan elements while others isolate the Jewish. Price's new book "The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man" is touted to be a monumental work that verse by verse associates the Gospel story with the Jewish predecessors. I'm ordering the book.

  • Leolaia

    The connections you mentioned are most interesting and I look forward to reading Price's book to see what sort of case he makes. I presently am more persuaded by Wells than Doherty but I see them both as working on different aspects of the same problem. Since Price rejects the entire Pauline corpus as early (a fundamental piece of evidence for Wells and Doherty), it would be interesting to see how his synthesis will compare. Finally, does his stuff get peer-reviewed at all or is he just too radical?

  • peacefulpete

    The internet has served as the testing ground for many of these ideas. Doherty and Price have been using this forum for years, allowing opponents to voice their arguments and discuss varient ideas. I think that their theories present a reasonable starting point for future discovery and interpretation.

  • Leolaia

    Did you get to read yet, btw, my lengthy reply on the Woman at the Well story?

  • peacefulpete

    Yes Leolaia, good argument. I left a couple comments.

Share this