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Otherworldly Priesthood In Sectarian Writings

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Chapter Summary

This chapter turns to notions of otherworldly priesthood in documents of certain sectarian provenance. Four texts are treated: the Rule of Benedictions, 4QSongs of the Sage, the "Self-Glorification Hymn," and 11QMelchizedek. In addition, one text of unknown provenance, 4QUnidentified Fragments C is treated within the larger discussion of 11QMelchizedek. The sectarian text best known for touching on the notion of otherworldly priesthood is the Rule of Benedictions, or 1QSb. The Self-Glorification Hymn relates the first-person boasts of a mysterious figure who claims to be incomparable in glory and takes a seat among the "gods" (i.e., angels). Both Collins and Eshel have argued that the exalted priest of the Self-Glorification Hymn is a future eschatological figure rather than a visionary who has already undergone an amazing transformation. The chapter shows that the Qumranites participated in the mysteries of God's knowledge and thus became enlightened like the angels.

Keywords: 11QMelchizedek; 4QSongs of the Sage; liturgical-eschatological priest; otherworldly priesthood; Qumranite; Rule of Benedictions; sectarian writing; Self-Glorification Hymn



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