"Every Plant Which My Heavenly Father Has Not Planted Shall Be Uprooted"

Robert Eisenman (with Noelle Magana)

What I would like to do in this essay is to show that the famous aphorism, “Every Plant which My Heavenly Father has not Planted Shall be Uprooted,” attributed to Jesus in the Synoptics, which comes following a long diatribe condemning the Pharisees (to my mind a euphemism for the anti-Pauline “Party of the Circumcision”) and famously referring to them as “Blind Guides,” followed up by the equally famous “And the Blind shall lead the Blind and both shall fall into the Pit,” was written by people who were aware of the Dead Sea Scrolls—in fact, more specifically, the First Column of the Cairo Damascus Document (CD) where the same metaphors or, shall we say, similes or allusions are used, albeit to 180-degree opposite effect.

Of course, everyone knows what the Damascus Document does later with the idea of the Pit. From my perspective, I do not believe all these correspondences are simply accidental and, in fact, right after CD talks about how “He [God] caused a Root of Planting to grow . . . and inherit the good things of this Earth,” it goes on to talk about how “they were as blind men groping for the Way” when “He [God] raised up a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in theWay of His heart.” I do not think I need to say more but there is, of course, more to say as there always is.

As the Synoptics then unfold, the Jesus they are presenting then goes on with his “toilet bowl parable,” which talks about how “a man is known not by what goes into his mouth but by that which goes forth from it” (I have shown in my recent New Testament Code, as might be known, that this is just a variation of what R. Yohanan b. Zacchai says about R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus after the latter put cow dung in his mouth to give himself bad breath!—a neat little bit of refurbishment but, clearly, to reverse ideological effect. Again the keynote is always reversal. What once was a pro-Torah pronouncement is inverted a la Paulinism into an anti-Torah one).

The final point is that Jesus is then made to conclude (or at least the narrator does) in all these Synoptic Parables that “He said this declaring all foods clean” (something Peter forgot when he had his “Tablecloth” vision in Acts). But never mind, the point is always the same—a neat 180-degree reversal from the position of Qumran. This is what I would like to show—that the authors of these materials not only knew the Qumran documents or at least some of them (most notably, the Damascus Document), but were reversing them in a systematically consistent manner.

The linguistic interdependence of the “Root of Planting” allusion of Matthew 15:1–20 andMark 7:1–23 and much else in the depiction of Jesus’ arguments with the “scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem” should be clear. This is the case in Matthew 15:1. In Mark 7:1, this changes into the even more pregnant “the Pharisees” and the telltale “some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem” (thus—note both the “coming” and the “some”) and a euphemism, it would appear, evocative of Paul’s interlocutors from “James,” “Church,” or “Assembly” in Jerusalem.” In Matthew, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees as Blind Guides—in this instance, in a polemical exchange with his own disciples, following this up with the passage which is the title and subject of this essay:

Every plant which my Heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up. (Mt 15:13)

It should be obvious that these are anti–“Jerusalem Church” aspersions, since they are usually followed by and tied to equally proverbial statements like “the First shall be Last and the Last shall be First” (Mt 19:30, 20:16 and pars.) — “the Last” having, patently, to do with Paul’s new “Gentile Christian” communities and those, like him, making no insistence on seemingly picayune legal requirements for salvation. The inverse parallel to this—which as at Qumran, as we shall show further below, will also involve a “Guide” or “Maschil”1 — will be present in the Damascus Document’s dramatic opening imprecation about how God caused

a Root of Planting to grow [the parallel is here] from Israel and from Aaron to inherit His land and to prosper on the good things of His Earth.2

I say “patently,” because Paul first made the allusion to being “last” in his 1 Corinthians 15:8 Jesus-sighting-order determinations—also, importantly enough, citing James, even albeit if defectively3:

And last of all he appeared, as if to one born out of term [or “to an abortion”], also to me.

But “the First” is an extremely important expression at Qumran— especially meaningful in the Damascus Document—carrying with it the signification of “the Forefathers” or “the Ancestors.” The sense is always “those who observed” or “gave the Torah,” while “the Last”— aside from Paul’s evocation of it regarding his own post-Resurrection appearance experience—usually has to do with “the Last Times” or “the Last Days” denoting the “present” or “Last Generation” as opposed to “the First.”4

On the other hand in the Gospels, once again absolutely turning Qumran ideology on its head, “the Last” are “the simple” or “these little children”—completely representative of Paul’s new “Gentile Christian Community” knowing or required to know little or nothing about such onerous legal requirements, yet still in a state of salvation, or, as it were, “in Jesus.” The simile, symbolism, parable, or allegory—as the case may be—in all these allusions is not hard to figure out despite endless academic attempts at evasion or posturing to the contrary.

Furthermore, and even perhaps more germane, these polemics in Mark 7:1–23 andMatthew 15:1–20 actually evoke the famous Talmudic tractate, Pirke Abbot (The Traditions of the Fathers, which has a variation in the ARN—The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan, here in Mark 7:3–5 and Matthew 15:2, “The Traditions of the Elders”). This designation “Elders” or “Presbyteron” is used at various junctures in the Gospels and the Book of Acts and is the actual designation for James’s “Jerusalem Community” in both Acts 21:18 and the Pseudoclementine Homilies.5

In some of the most convoluted reasoning imaginable, these polemics invoke the Mosaic commandment, “Honor your father and your mother” (Mk 7:10/Mt 15:4) and, in doing so, leave no doubt that we are dealing with “the Fathers.” Just as importantly in Mark 7:1–5 (and to some degree paralleled in Matthew 15:1–4 and 12), the Pharisees are invoked as well—three times in five lines. As just suggested above, this is an expression that often acts as a blind for those of the Jamesian persuasion within the early Church—as, for example, in Acts 15:5 at the renowned “Jerusalem Council” and the elusive “some who believed” of “the sect of the Pharisees” who provoked the council by their insistence on circumcision and “keeping the law of Moses” (thus).

The evocation of these same Pharisees is being used to attack those of the James school over the issue of “table fellowship with Gentiles” in these passages about Blind Guides from Mark and Matthew (an issue clearly being raised by Paul in Galatians 2:11–14). Moreover, there is the additional derivative attack, which now seems to us, if not bizarre, at least rather specious, on the Jewish people as a whole—in this case, plainly meant to include the Jerusalem Community of James, and others of similar mindset—that “eating with unwashed hands does not defile the man” (Mt 15:20/Mk 7:2–3). This attack derogates “washing one’s hands before eating” to the level only of what is being called “a Tradition of Men” and “breaking the [obviously higher] Commandment of God.” In the ad hominem logic being displayed in this patently pro-Pauline exposition, the meaning of this last would appear to be the Mosaic commandment and that of humanity generally “to honor your father and your mother” (Mk 7:8–9/Mt 15:3 and 15:19).

The argument appears to turn on the point that, since one’s parents might have “eaten with unwashed hands,” the commandment not to do so—which the Gospel Jesus is pictured as dismissing here merely as “a Tradition of the Elders” (meaning the allusion to “a Tradition of Men” above)—would be contradicting the higher commandment (the one he is terming “a Commandment of God”) not to dishonor them! This is appears to be the gist of an extremely tortured and, indeed, highly polemicized argument but, to judge by the time spent on it inMark as well asMatthew, a clearly pivotal one as well. The writer sees it as a striking example of retrospective pro-Pauline polemics or “Paulinization” and, consequently, feels it to be a service to rescue “the historical Jesus” from this particular bit of tendentious and not very sophisticated, medically speaking, sophistry.

Both Mark 7:6–7 and Matthew 15:7–9 picture Jesus as using this passage to attack the “vanity” of those who “teach as their doctrines the Commandments of Men,” meaning, “the Traditions of the Elders” just mentioned inMark 7:5 andMatthew 15:2 above. Not only is this clearly an attack on what in Rabbinic parlance is called “oral tradition,” but it turns around the parameters of Paul’s debates with those of the Jamesian school or, if one prefers, inverts their arguments turning them back against themselves.6 Again, the meaning both the Gospels of Mark and Matthew are clearly ascribing to their Jesus from the start here is that “hypocrites” of this kind, following “the Tradition of the Elders,” are forcing people to wash their hands before eating, something that most people nowadays would consider as not only normal but hygienic; however, in Paul’s inverted invective, something Paul (to say nothing about his alter ego Jesus) would obviously consider quite reprehensible.

As in all of the previous episodes above, the denouement of this abolishing purity requirements/table fellowship episode in Mark 7 and Matthew 15, which further legitimatizes the Pauline Gentile Mission, once more has Jesus in 7:17 entering a “house” (as he does yet again in Mark 7:24). In Mark 7:17, this is typically “away from the multitude” to rebuke the disciples. InMatthew 15:15 there is no house7 and the rebuke of “being yet without understanding” is as per usual—because of Galatians 2:11–14—only to Peter. Still, “the multitude” from Mark 7:17 (which probably should be read “the many” or “the Rabim”; the term— unlike “the Sons of Zadok”—usually applied to the rank and file at Qumran) are the ones already portrayed earlier in Mark 7:14 and Matthew 15:10 as the ones being addressed by Jesus on the subject of “pure foods,” “unwashed hands,” “Blind Guides,” and “Uprooted Plants.”

In both Gospels, Jesus’ discourse begins with the words, “Hear and understand,” which has direct links to and appears to play off the opening exhortations of the Damascus Document that read—and this very familiarly and, for that matter, not insignificantly—“Hear, all you who know Righteousness, and understand” (i.1) …

and now listen to me all who enter the Covenant [“the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus” demanding both “purity” and “separating the Holy from the profane”] and I will unstop your ears. (ii.2)8

But in Mark 7:16 in the midst of Jesus’ attack on “the Tradition of the Elders” and “purifying all food” preceding this, the same ears metaphor from column 2 of the Damascus Document, just reproduced above, actually appears, to wit, “If anyone has ears, let him hear.”

To go back to Matthew 15:16, there the rebuke about “being yet without understanding” is, as already remarked, directed at Peter alone and not at the disciples. Notwithstanding, prior to this, after “calling the Multitude” or “the Many to him” (15:10, reprised in Mark 7:14), Jesus does actually address the disciples in Matthew 15:12 as well. There the reproof he gives the disciples concerning staying away from the Pharisees and “leaving them alone” (in 16:6–12 later, “the leaven of the Pharisees” repeated multiple times)—which includes the “Blind Guides,” “planting,” and “uprooting” allusions we have just been calling attention to above—comes in the wake of his enunciation of the following famous doctrine:

Not that which enters the mouth defiles the man, but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man. (15:11—in Mark 7:15, this changes into the more prolix and obviously derivative, “There is nothing from without the man that going into him can defile him. Rather the things that proceed out of the man are those that defile him.”)

This allusion to the Pharisees, the evocation of whom initiated the whole series of encounters right from the beginning in Mark 7:1 and Matthew 15:1 above, comes—as Matthew 15:12 now phrases it— because the disciples reported to Jesus that “the Pharisees were offended by what they heard him saying.”9 It must be reiterated that expressions like “the Pharisees,” regardless of their overt meaning in any other context here or historically, have a covert meaning in these contexts as well. As we have been at pains to point out, they—like “the Scribes” (“some of the Scribes who came down from Jerusalem”) coupled with them in Matthew 15:1 and Mark 7:1 above—are, in this context in the Gospels, stand-ins for “the James Community” in Jerusalem that not only insisted upon circumcision but (as it would appear) its legal consequences as well, such as purity regulations that, by implication, would have included measures of bodily hygiene like “washing their hands” that seem, in the picture Mark and Matthew are presenting, to so upset their Jesus here.10

It is also perhaps not without relevance that an expression like “Pharisees”—Perushim in Hebrew—carries with it, as well, the meaning of “splitting away” or “separating themselves from”—the implication being that, in some contexts, it can even be understood as “heretics,” which, in fact, is one of the appositions Acts 15:5 applies to it. Nor should the reader overlook the fact that Matthew’s picture of Jesus at this point, reproving the Pharisees, follows his exhortation to the Many/the Rabim in 15:10 to “hear and understand” (in Mark 7:14, “hear me all of you and understand”)—a phrase, as we just saw, that has to be seen as comparable to CD i.1’s “Now hear, all you who know Righteousness and understand the works of God.”

Matthew 15:14 also pictures Jesus as calling these Pharisees “Blind Guides” (an allusion we shall presently show to be charged with significance) because of their complaints against his teaching that “eating with unclean hands does not defile the man” (15:20), as well as related matters concerning purity and dietary regulations, themselves having a bearing on the key issue in Galatians 2:11–14 above of “table fellowship with Gentiles.”11 It is at this point, inMatthew 15:14 too, that Jesus then cautions his disciples (none of this paralleled now in Mark or, for that matter, any other Gospel) to “leave them alone.” It would be well to point out that even the line in Matthew 15:19, preceding 15:20 on “eating with unclean hands not defiling the man” just cited and echoed in Mark 7:21–23, enumerates “the things that proceed out of the mouth” (thereby, according to the discourse being attributed here to Jesus, “coming forth out of the heart” and, most famously, therefore “defiling the man”) as: “Evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, blasphemies—these are the things that defile the man” (Mark 7:22 adds “greedy desires, wickednesses, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, pride, and foolishness”).

But this catalogue of “evil” inclinations almost precisely reprises one of the most famous passages in the Community Rule from Qumran as well, the “Two Ways”: the “Ways of Darkness” and the “Ways of “Light.” In this document, the “Spirit of Evil”/”Ungodliness” or “of Darkness” is depicted even more lengthily as

greediness of soul, stumbling hands in the Service of Righteousness, Wickedness and Lying, pride and proudness of heart, duplicitousness and deceitfulness, cruelty, Evil temper [there is a lot of Paul in this— to say nothing of Mark 7:21–23 above], impatience, foolishness, and zeal for lustfulness [the opposite, of course, of proper zeal—”zeal for the Law” or “zeal for the Judgments of Righteousness,” as it is expressed in the Hymns from Qumran],12 works of Abomination in a spirit of fornication, and ways of uncleanness in the Service of pollution [now we are getting into it—as opposed to the proper “Service of Righteousness” of “true” Apostles above—all issues of “table service,” for instance, aside), a Tongue full of blasphemies [the “Tongue” imagery of the Letter of James],13 blindness of eye and dullness of ear [this, too, momentarily reappearing in the Gospel episode we shall now describe], stiffness of neck and hardness of heart [as will this] in order to walk in all the Ways of Darkness and Evil inclination.14

This is quite a catalogue, but the parallels with Matthew and Mark do not stop here. Even the allusion to “Blind Guides,” to say nothing of “leave them alone,” which Matthew depicts Jesus as advising vis-à-vis the Pharisees, actually seems to parody the pivotal character evoked at Qumran (in particular, in the Community Rule again, but also in the Hymns), the Maschil or Guide. He is defined, just like “the Teacher of Righteousness,” as instructing theMany in the Ways of Righteousness.15

In the Community Rule this Maschil or Guide is pictured, inter alia, as “doing the will of God” (that is, “being a Doer” not “a Breaker” in the manner of the recommendations in James 1:22–25—nor should one forget, in this regard as well, all the “signs” or “miracles,” Jesus is depicted as doing, in John 2:11, 2:23, 6:2, 6:14, etc.) and

studying all the Wisdom that has been discovered from age to age, to separate [the language of “separation” again, just evoked above in the “leave them alone” allusion] and evaluate the Sons of the Righteous One [here, the usage really is “the Sons of the Righteous One” or “the Zaddik,” not the more usual Qumran and New Testament “Sons of Righteousness”—in Hebrew, Zedek, without the definite article] according to their spirit and fortify the Elect of the Age according to His will as He commanded and, thereby, to do His Judgment [once more the Jamesian emphasis on “doing”] on every man according to His spirit.16

This does begin to seem New Testament-like. Not only does it hark back to several New Testament themes, such as the “Two Spirits” and Paul’s “knowing the things of man according to the spirit of man which is in him” of 1 Corinthians 2:11–15, but the Community Rule’s description of the Guide then goes on to actually evoke two allusions, “clean hands” and “not arguing with the Sons of the Pit”—in other words, the “leave them alone” theme just encountered in passages from Matthew 15:14 and to a certain extent in Mark 7:8 above (the latter to be sure not quite in the same context). Perhaps even more strikingly, yet another allusion is evoked—the third, “the Pit,” just remarked as well and an allusion known throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls, which we shall encounter in Jesus, further disparagement of these “Blind Guides” as we proceed:

[The Maschil shall allow] each man to draw near according to the cleanness of his hands [here, yet another allusion to “clean hands,” should one choose to regard it] and his wisdom and, thus, shall be his love together with his hate. Nor should he admonish or argue with the Sons of the Pit [here again, yet another allusion Jesus’ directive to the disciples a propos of the Pharisees in Matthew 15:12–14, just highlighted above, to “leave them alone”].

Moreover, the Guide or Maschil is commanded in this pregnant, concluding exhortation from the Community Rule to rather

conceal the counsel of the Torah [that is, “the Law”] from the Men of Evil [“the Men of the Pit” or “Ungodly” above], confirming the Knowledge of the Truth and Righteous Judgment to the Elect of the Way [“the Elect” is, of course, a very widespread and important terminology at Qumran, as is “the Way”] . . . comforting them with Knowledge, thereby guiding them in the Mysteries of the Marvelous Truth . . . , that is, to walk in Perfection each with his neighbor. [This being, of course, nothing less than James’s “Royal Law according to the Scripture”—“to love each man his neighbor as himself.” It is often found in the Scrolls.]

Of perhaps even more significance, this leads directly into the Community Rule’s second citation of Isaiah 40:3’s “preparing a Straight Way in the wilderness” in as many columns:

For this is the time of the preparation of the Way in the wilderness. Therefore he [the Maschil”—in Matthew above, Jesus’ Blind Guide] should guide them in all that has been revealed that they should do in this Time [n.b., again, the pivotal emphasis on “doing”] to separate [here again too, the Nazirite-like directive to “come out from among them and be separate,” just enunciated by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:17 as well] from any man who has not turned aside hisWay from all Evil [including, of course, from these “Sons of the Pit,” just alluded to above as well].

To further demonstrate the interconnectedness of these kinds of usages, the denotation “the Sons of the Pit” is immediately reprised in these climactic passages from the Community Rule:

These are the rules of the Way for the Guide in these Times [presumably “the Last Times” of other Qumran documents and the Gospels]: Everlasting hatred for the Sons of the Pit in a spirit of secrecy, to leave them to their Riches [here the language of “the Pit” coupled with express allusions both to “Riches” and “leaving them alone”] and the suffering [>amal] of their hands, like the slave to his Ruler and the Meek before his Lord.

Not only do we have the “master” and “lord” vocabulary here but also, yet again, that of hands—this time in the sense of “that which their own hands have wrought”—the same hands presumably that were to remain unwashed when eating in Jesus’ crucial “toilet bowl” homily in both Matthew and Mark above.17 The conclusion of all this is quite extraordinary:

And he [both the Maschil and the rank and file] shall be as a man zealous for the Law, whose Time will be the Day of Vengeance [meaning, in this context, “the Last Judgment” but, as usual, without a touch of nonviolence], to do all His will in all the work of his hands [hands” again] . . . delighting in all the words of Hismouth [the “mouth” vocabulary of Jesus’ “what comes into the mouth” or “goes forth from the mouth” above] and in all His Kingdom as He commanded.

The reader should pay particular attention to all these usages, but especially: “doing the will of God”; “separating the Sons of the Righteous One” and “not disputing with the Sons of the Pit,” but “leaving them to their Riches” and “the works of their hands”; and “doing all His will in all the work of his (the Maschil’s or the adept’s) hands” and finally “delighting in all the words of His mouth.”

It is now possible to return to Jesus’ allusion to the Pharisees as Blind Guides in Matthew 15:14 with a little more insight. This is where we began and, it will be recalled, that it was in the run-up to this allusion that Jesus was pictured as evoking the “plant” or “planting” vocabulary in which we are so interested in this essay. It should also be observed that Paul uses this vocabulary, too, when he speaks of “God’s plantation” or “growing place” and “God’s building” in 1 Corinthians 3, concluding in 3:6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused to grow.” It should be clear that this is also playing off a similar vocabulary, i.e., the Messianic “plant” and “planting” imagery that permeates the literature of Qumran in general18—in particular, “the Root of Planting,” with which the Damascus Document follows up its opening imprecation to “hear and understand” and the focus of our excursus here.

This reads, as we have partially seen above, as follows:

And in the Age of Wrath . . .He [God] visited them and caused a Root of Planting to grow [these are some of the same words that Paul used in 1 Corinthians 3:6–8 above] from Israel and Aaron to inherit His Land [Paul’s “field” or “growing place” imagery in 1 Corinthians 3:9] and to prosper on the good things of His Earth.19

In Matthew 15:13–14, the preliminary characterization introducing Jesus’ “Leave them alone, they are Blind Guides” reproof, alluding to the Pharisees, read:

But he answered, saying, “Every plant whichMy Heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted.”

Of course, we are QED here, the “uprooting” or “rooting up” language being exactly the same as “the Root of Planting” just encountered in the opening exhortation of the this First Column of the Cairo Damascus Document—the “uprooting” playing off the “Root of Planting” that God “caused to grow”; and the “Planting,” the “Planting” part of the “Root” imagery. Nor is this to say anything about Paul’s parallel “Apollos planted, I watered, and God caused to grow,” we just highlighted, which not only plays off but is an actual verbatim quotation of the remainder of this all-important preliminary metaphor in the Damascus Document. One cannot get a much closer fit than this and the Damascus Document’s “the Root of Planting” to Matthew’s “every plant which my Heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted.”

Even so, the very next line in Matthew 15:14 continues the borrowing:

They are Blind Guides leading the Blind and, if the Blind lead the Blind, both will fall into the Pit.

First of all, one has in both subject and predicate here the image of the Maschil, just as in several of the passages quoted from the Community Rule above. Combined with this is the language and imagery of the Pit—in particular, “the Sons of the Pit” just underscored as well and used to attack all the enemies of the Community including, presumably, persons of the mindset of Paul.20 One should also note that in Matthew 15:14, it is both “the Blind Guides” and “the Blind” they lead who will, metaphorically, fall into “the Pit”!

This is an extremely telling example of another process detectable in comparing these documents—one reverses the other, that is, someone using the very language of another person and turning it back on that other person to undermine him. Indeed at this point in Matthew, this whole allusion that on the surface seems innocuous enough actually plays off yet another, seemingly unrelated passage concerning regulations governing the Sabbath in the Damascus Document, most of which counterindicated in the Gospels. In the process, Matthew 15:12–14 makes fun of and pictures its Jesus as having contempt for these too, i.e., if a mans “beast falls into a pit on the Sabbath, he shall not lift it out.”21

More importantly, however, the borrowing does not stop even here, and this is nothing in comparison to the importance of the allusion to “being blind,” which will now follow this pivotal passage about “God visiting them” and “causing a Root of Planting to grow” in the Damascus Document and link up directly with the allusion to the Pharisees as Blind Guides in the Gospel of Matthew. This occurs as follows and in the very next lines in this First Column of the Cairo Damascus Document. There, one comes upon, as we have already to some extent seen and parts of which we have already quoted above, the final linchpin of all this borrowing, ending with the very first introduction of the renowned “Righteous Teacher” himself—“the Guide of all Guides” as it were. It reads in its entirety, following right after the allusion to “God having visited them and caused a Root of Planting to grow” and the words “to inherit His Land and to prosper on the good things of His Earth”:

And they were like blind men groping for the Way [“the Way in the wilderness” and the name for early Christianity in Palestine as recorded in Acts on three different occasions] for twenty years [the time elapsed, perhaps, between the death of whomever “the Messiah Jesus” is supposed to represent and the elevation of James].22 And God considered their works, because they sought him with a whole heart [this language of “works” and “heart” that is pivotal throughout the Qumran corpus] and He raised up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the Way of His heart [the “guiding” language here is a variation of that of “the Way,” again combined with that of the “heart”].23

Of course, nothing could better illustrate the interconnectedness of all these imageries than the appearance of this allusion to “being like blind men” and how they were to be “guided by the Teacher of Righteousness” in “the Way” of God’s “heart,” following directly upon the one to “planting” the all-important Messianic “Root,” which God then “caused to grow” (the “caused to grow” here using the exact same language of theMessianic “Branch of David” in other documents and contexts, one of which I had the privilege of helping to bring to light)24 and preceding the equally pivotal introduction of the proverbial “Teacher of Righteousness.” One could not get a tighter construction of the inter-relatedness of all these documents than this.

One final point that, perhaps, should be made: the reason for all this borrowing, parody, and sometimes even derogation has to have been that so original and impressive were these new ideas and usages, we now know from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and so well versed were some of the original creators of some of this material from the Gospels (in this instance, particularly Matthew), to say nothing of the material in Paul, that they were unable to resist continually playing off them and reversing or inverting the actual original sense or meaning.


1. See below or New Testament Code (London: Watkins, 2006), pp. 289–97 and for example, CDI.10–12, XII.20–1, XIII.22, 1QSIII.13, IX.12, IX. 21, etc.

2. CDI.7–8. This is followed by the note about “being like Blind Men,” “seeking Him with a whole heart,” and God “raising up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in theWay of His heart,” i.e., “the Guide.” There is also the first note here about God “visiting them”—see New Testament Code, pp. 601–29.

3. The defect here, which was first recognized by A. Von Harnack in “Die Verklarungsgeschichte Jesu, der Gericht des Paulus (I. Kor. 15.3ff.) under die Beiden Christusvisionen des Petrus,” Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademia 1922: 62–80, has to do with two versions of the sighting order in 1 Corinthians 15:6–7: “first to the Twelve” ( there were only supposed to be “Eleven” at the time) and “then to James, then all the Apostles” (a redundancy)—the latter obviously being the authentic tradition.

4. For “the First” at Qumran, which usually represents “the Forefathers who received the Torah,” see CDI.16. “the Last” or “Last Generation”/”Last Times” is already making its appearance here in I.11–12, but see also I.4, III.10, IV.6–9, VI.2, VIII.16–17, 1QpHabII.7, VII.2–12, IX.4–5, etc.

5. See, for instance, the Epistle of Peter to James 5.1 introducing the Homilies.

6. Cf. how Paul does this allegorically in Galatians 4:21–31 or in 1 Corinthians 6:12 (also about “food” and “the belly”)—10:29: “All things are for me lawful”; and my conclusion on p. 997 of New Testament Code.

7. It should be appreciated, however, that in Matthew 15:24 the “house” does reappear, but now it becomes “not being sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. “One should also note that in Matthew 15:13–14 the language of falling into a pit” also occurs, as does “uprooting plants,” both of which will also recur, as we shall see, in CDI.7 and XI.13.

8. This is recapitulated in CDII.14–15, but now the exhortation includes “uncovering your eyes that you may see and understand the works of God … in order that you may walk in Perfection in all His ways and not follow after the thoughts of a sinful imagination or fornicating eyes.”

9. The reader should appreciate, it would be easy to read here, “what they heard Paul saying”—as for example, “John Mark” evidently was in Acts 13:13 and 15:38 when he “withdrew from them in Pamphylia.” In these allusions in Acts, it becomes clear that “Mark’s desertion” of the team (as Paul would have it) to report what as transpiring back to Jerusalem was not an amicable one; but clearly involved a good deal of ill will—and this in the usually more accurate “We document.” Here, since Mark 7:1 had already used the verb “come” to describe the usual “coming down from Jerusalem, while Matthew 15:1 had rather expressed this as: “then come to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and Scribes” (forgetting both the “some” and the “down”); to avoid redundancy Mark must now use the basically meaningless phraseology “there gathered unto him the Pharisees and some of the scribes”—n.b., how Mark has added here the usual “some” to complete the implication of the “some from James coming” down from Jerusalem of Paul in Galatians 2:12 and elsewhere in the Gospels as earlier in Mark 14:4 or Luke 19:39 or John 9:40.

10. Even the allusion in Mark 7:21–23 (in this instance, the most prolix Gospel) to the heart’s “evil thoughts, murder, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings” as “defiling the man” recalls the Community Rule’s depiction of “the Spirit of Unrighteousness” or “of Evil” as: “greediness of soul, stumbling hands in the service of Righteousness (cf. Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:15), Wickedness and Lying, pride and proudness of heart, duplicitousness and deceitfulness, cruelty, ill-temper, impatience, much folly, and zeal for lustfulness, works of abomination in a spirit of fornication, and Ways of Uncleanness in the service of pollution, a Tongue full of blasphemies, blindness of eye and dullness of ear, stiffness of neck and hardness of heart in order to walk in all the Ways of Darkness and Evil inclination” in 1QSIV.9–11; cf. Matthew 15:19 and below.

11. That the issue is “table fellowship with Gentiles” is just strengthened by all these allusions to “blindness” (as in John 9:13–41 above), “Blind Guides,” and “hypocrites”/“hypocrisy.” At Qumran, as reiterated variously in the Damascus Document, the position is “doing according to the precise letter of the Torah” and “setting up the Holy Things according to their precise specifications” (IV.8, VI.20, XX.6, etc.),whereas in Paul and the New Testament following him, it is “not to separate Holy from profane” (Acts 10:14–5) and “all things are for me lawful . . . eat everything sold in the butcher shop, in no way inquiring because of conscience” (Paul’s favorite euphemism for “the Law”— 1 Corinthians 10:23–25).

12. The reference is to 1QSIV.4 on “the Two Spirits.” The parallel kind of expressions in Hymns are to be found in II.15, V.24, IX.3 and 23, XIV.13–14, etc.

13. See James 3:4–8.

14. This is the second part of “the Two Spirits” in the Community Rule - “the Spirit of Righteousness” or “Cleanliness”—1QSIV.9–11.

15. Cf. CDI.11–12, XII.20–21, XIII.22–3, 1QHIII.13, IX.12–26, 1QHXII.11, etc.

16. 1QSIX.12–14.

17. Furthermore, the implication of the whole simile embodied in this passage, would appear to involve “the Judgment Day,” since the Hebrew camal —as in the all-important Isaiah 53:11 proof-text and the Qumran Habakkuk Pesher, seemingly like the Gospels dependent upon it—is eschatological and also part of the vocabulary here. One can see this camal in 1QpHab VIII.2–3’s interpretation of Habakkuk 2:4: “the Righteous shall live by his Faith.”

18. In the incredible hymn at the end of the Community Rule in 1QSX–XI, the Council is even pictured as “joined to the Sons of Heaven” and described as “an Eternal Planting” or “Plantation” (XI.8–9, but also see VIII.4–9: “With the existence of these in Israel, the Council of the Community will be established upon Truth like an Eternal Plantation, a House of Holiness for Israel . . . a Tested Rampart, a Precious Cornerstone, the foundation of which will not shake or sway in their place . . . a House of Perfection and Truth in Israel”). This is not to mention the “God causing a Root of Planting to grow” itself of the Damascus Document, which will also be directly parodied not only in Paul, but here in the Synoptics as well.

19. CDI.5–8.

20. This “Pit” language is very important and, as we shall see, is duplicated inMatthew 15:14, however tendentiously. Probably the best example of it is to be found in CDVI. 12–14, including the “Nazirite” language of “keeping away from” and “separation,” as well as Acts 21:30’s “barring the door,” introducing the definition of “the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus” in VI.16–18; but also see XIII.14 and XIV.2 and 1QSIX.16–21 above.

21. CDXI.13–14.

22. There is some evidence that “Jesus” (whoever he may have been) came in 19–21 CE. This comes in Eusebius’s citation from what he considers to be the fraudulent Acti Pilati, which places the crucifixion in that year (E.H. 1.9.3–4); but Tacitus, too (Annals. 2.85), places the expulsion of the Jews from Rome under Tiberius in most peculiar and suspicious circumstances in this period as well, not later as in Josephus’s version of similar events—see James the Brother of Jesus, pp. 66 and 863–64. In this manner, the mysterious “twenty years” in CDI.10 evaporates. Furthermore, this would explain why Paul, who is supposed to be functioning ca. 37 CE onwards, knows so little about the “Christ Jesus” (the eyewitness testimony of whom is almost nil) he is talking about. If there is an “Historical Jesus”—aside from the Samaritan one—this is probably the best way of understanding him.

23. CDII.9–11.

24. See, for instance, the document Prof. Wise and myself discovered (4Q285—we called it “The Messianic Leader”), which identifies “the Root of Jesse” with “the Branch of David” and, in turn, “the Nasi ha-cEdah”/”the Leader of the Assembly” or “Church.” This Messianic Leader, of course, then reappears in documents like 4QFlorI.11–13 and CDVII.16–20, above, not to mention the interpretation of “the Shiloh Prophecy” of Genesis 49:10 in 4Q252 or so-called “Genesis Pesher”—see Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (New York: Penguin Books, 1992), pp. 24–29 and 77–89, and New Testament Code, pp. 349–55, 638–56, and 674–75.