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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

The Anti-Vegan Paul Parallels the Liar in Dead Sea Scrolls. M. Baigent & R. Leigh. Ed. Chapman Chen

Excerpt: From the Acts of the Apostles, from Josephus and from early Christian historians, there emerges a coherent, if still incomplete, portrait of James, 'the Lord's brother'. He appears as an exemplar of 'righteousness' - so much so that 'the Just', or 'the Righteous', is appended as a sobriquet to his name.

He is the acknowledged leader of a 'sectarian' religious community whose members are 'zealous for the Law'. He must contend with two quite separate and distinct adversaries. One of these is Paul, an outsider who, having first persecuted the community, then converts and is admitted into it, only to turn renegade, prevaricate and quarrel with his superiors, hijack the image of Jesus and begin preaching his own doctrine -a doctrine which draws on that of the community, but distorts it.

James's second adversary is from outside the community - the high priest Ananas, head of the Sadducee priesthood. Ananas is a notoriously corrupt and widely hated man. He has also betrayed both the God and the people of Israel by collaborating with the Roman administration and their Herodian puppet-kings. James publicly challenges Ananas and eventually meets his death at the hands of Ananas' minions; but Ananas will shortly be assassinated in turn.

All of this takes place against a backdrop of increasing social and political unrest and the impending invasion of a foreign army. With this scenario in mind, Eisenman turned to the Dead Sea Scrolls, and particularly the 'Habakkuk Commentary'. When the fragmentary details of the Qumran texts had been assembled into a coherent sequence, what emerged was something extraordinarily similar to the chronicle of Acts, Josephus and early Christian historians.

The scrolls told their own story, at the centre of which was a single protagonist, the 'Teacher of Righteousness' - an exemplar of the same virtues associated with James. Like James, the 'Teacher' was the acknowledged leader of a 'sectarian' religious community whose members were 'zealous for the Law'. And like James, the 'Teacher' had to contend with two quite separate and distinct adversaries. One of these was dubbed the 'Liar', an outsider who was admitted to the community, then turned renegade, quarreled with the 'Teacher' and hijacked part of the community's doctrine and membership. According to the 'Habakkuk Commentary',

the 'Liar' 'did not listen to the word received by the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of God'.22

Instead, he appealed to 'the unfaithful of the New Covenant in that they have not believed in the Covenant of God and have profaned His holy name'.23

The text states explicitly that, 'the Liar... flouted the Law in the midst of their whole congregation'.24 He 'led many astray' and raised 'a congregation on deceit'.25 He himself is said to be 'pregnant with [works] of deceit'.26 These, of course, are precisely the transgressions of which Paul is accused in Acts - transgressions which lead, at the end of Acts, to the attempt on his life. And Eisenman stresses Paul's striking hypersensitivity to charges of prevarication and perjury.27

In 1 Timothy 2:7, for example, he asserts indignantly, as if defending himself, that 'I am telling the truth and no lie'.

In II Corinthians 11:31, he swears that:

'The God and Father of the Lord Jesus... knows that I am not lying.'

These are but two instances; Paul's letters reveal an almost obsessive desire to exculpate himself from implied accusations of falsity. According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the 'Liar' was the adversary of the 'Teacher of Righteousness' from within the community. The 'Teacher's' second adversary was from outside. This was the 'Wicked Priest', a corrupt representative of the establishment who had betrayed his function and his faith.28 He conspired to exterminate the 'Poor' - those 'zealous for the Law' - said to be scattered about Jerusalem and other places.

He harried the 'Teacher of Righteousness' wherever the 'Teacher' sought refuge. At the hands of the 'Wicked Priest's' minions, the 'Teacher' suffered some serious injury and possibly - the text is vague on the matter - death. Subsequently, the 'Wicked Priest' was himself assassinated by followers of the 'Teacher', who, after killing him, 'took vengeance upon his body of flesh' - that is, defiled his corpse.29

The parallels between the 'Wicked Priest' of the scrolls and the historical figure of the high priest Ananas are unmistakable. In his book on James, Eisenman explores these parallels - James, Paul and Ananas on the one hand, the 'Teacher of Righteousness', the 'Liar' and the 'Wicked Priest' on the other - in exhaustive detail. He goes through the 'Habakkuk Commentary' and other texts line by line, comparing them with information vouchsafed by Acts, by Josephus and by early Christian historians.

In our own pages, it would be impossible to do adequate justice to the weight of evidence he amasses. But the conclusions of this evidence are inescapable. The 'Habakkuk Commentary' and certain other of the Dead Sea Scrolls are referring to the same events as those recounted in Acts, in Josephus and in the works of early Christian historians.

Source: Baigent, Michael and Leigh, Richard (n.d.). "James 'The Righteous', The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception.

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