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The Habakkuk Teacher of Righteousness

 

The phrase moreh (ha)zedeq, Teacher of Righteousness, occurs seven times in the Habakkuk pesher.

 

These are (Column:Line) — I:13, II:2, V:10, VII:4, VIII:3, IX:9, and XI:5.

 

I offer the following from Wikipedia, the Internet free encyclopedia as an explanation of pesher. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesher

 

 

Pesher is a Hebrew word meaning "interpretation" in the sense of "solution". It became known from one group of texts, numbering some hundreds, among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The word is translated as "the interpretation of this" or "the meaning of this." (I:2 — peshru eth and 1:6 — peshru, etc.)

The pesharim (plural of pesher) give a theory of scriptural interpretation, previously partly known, but now fully defined. The writers of pesharim believe that scripture is written in two levels, the surface for ordinary readers with limited knowledge, and the concealed one for specialists with higher knowledge. This is most clearly spelled out in the Habakkuk Pesher (1QpHab), where the author of the text asserts that God has made known to the Teacher of Righteousness, a prominent figure within the history of the Essene community, "all the mysteries of his servants the prophets" (1QpHab VII:4-5). By contrast, the prophets themselves only had a partial interpretation revealed to them.

There are generally considered to be two types of pesharim. Continuous pesharim take a book of the Hebrew Bible, often from the prophets, such as those of Habakkuk, Nahum, or from the Psalms, quote it phrase by phrase, and after each quotation insert an interpretation. The second type, the thematic pesharim use the same method, but here the author (or pesherist) brings together passages from different biblical texts to develop a theme. Examples of the latter include the Florilegium and what has been termed the Melchizedek Midrash. Smaller examples of pesher interpretations can also be found within other texts from Qumran, including the Damascus Document. The method has been likened to later forms of rabbinic biblical interpretation found in the midrash, termed midrash haggadah and midrash halakhah, although there are some significant differences. William Brownlee, the author of a textual study of the Habakkuk Pesher, even proposed a third category of midrash, namely midrash pesher. In general, however, scholars are divided as to whether the pesharim are a distinct genre.

The term pesher itself is used within these texts as a terminus technicus (although this is a gross simplification) to differentiate between the biblical text and its interpretation. Typical examples include: "its interpretation is/concerns" (pishro/pishro al); and "the interpretation of the word/passage is" (pesher ha-davar). It has been suggested that the Semitic root derives from a base meaning of 'loosen' and a similar term appears in the Hebrew Bible in connection with the interpretation of dreams. (Dan 2:45, 4:24, and so on.) The Ancient Near Eastern roots are fully discussed by Maurya Horgan in her comprehensive study of the pesharim.

The pesharim are the main source for the history of the Teacher of Righteousness and his rival the Wicked Priest, but the texts also refer to a number of other individuals, such as the Liar (or 'Scoffer'), and groups, including the Kittim, Ephraim and Manasseh, who it is suggested refer to the Romans, Pharisees and Sadducees respectively. The authors of these texts claim that these references were fully integral to the original text, whose full meaning has been subsequently revealed by the Teacher. Such philosophical claims are similar to those found throughout the region at the beginnings of the Common Era, as evidenced by the many mystery cults of Mithras, Isis, Dionysus, and others active at the time; the tradition continued through the Gnostic movements both Christian and non-Christian, and is still prevalent today among certain fundamentalist Moslem and Christian groups with a heavy emphasis on Holy Scripture.

Many allusions within the pesharim are apocalyptic, with clear references to the eschaton, or the End Times, a theme familiar to readers of the New Testament. Other familiar themes from the New Testament found in the pesharim include: the "Righteous One", the Poor, the community as temple, the holy spirit, the Star Prophecy, and other messianic images. These allusive images are tied by the pesharim in an apocalyptic manner to selected prized biblical texts.

There is a considerable body of scholarly research discussing the methods of the pesharim, which can be classified under the general category of fulfillment hermeneutics.

Clearly, from my work on this web site, one can see that I do not believe the Qumran community was Essene, nor do I believe that the Teacher of Righteousness was historical. The Dead Sea Scrolls were intended for our use at the end of the age, and interpretation must be guided by that principle.

Thematic Discourse

As we read through the Habakkuk Pesher we find sections concentrating on certain themes. For example, from I:1 to I:9 and then from 1:16 to II:10 are presentations of the actions taken by the Teacher of Righteousness and the Violators of the Covenant spurred on by the Man of Lies and a general attitude of disbelief.

Section - Col:Line Theme
I:1 to I:9 Why Destruction and Violence?
I:10 to I:15 Justice is Perverted
I:16 to II:10 The Unbelievable Events
II:11 to IV:14 The Kittim
IV:16 to V:11 God's Judgment and Salvation
V:12 to VI:12 More on the Kittim
VI:12 to VIII:3 God's Mysteries Made Known to the Teacher of Righteousness
VIII:3 to X:13 The Wicked Priest
X:14 to End

Wicked Priest Pursuing the Teacher of Righteousness

Can Men Communicate with Wood and Stone?

 

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