This paper demonstrates that the Qumran exegetes who expounded prophecy by the pesher method recognized, and based their interpretations on, the likelihood that an oracle may be realized more than once. This notion goes hand in hand with the concept of historical time as an integral sequence of periods that unfolds according to a single divine master plan. This view gives particular meaning to the lapse of time between the prophetic utterances and their interpretation by the Teacher of Righteousness centuries later. Equally significant is the analogical gap between the ancient apocalyptic seers and their visions of the entire progression or final section of history. The dynamic unfolding of historical events, through which the premeditated divine plan comes into being, dictates how this process is understood. The sense and direction of the temporal course also unfolds gradually, but is revealed only to the worthy. Thus each period is defined by a precise measure of understanding attainable at specific time. In this perspective the opening section of the Damascus Document (4Q268 1 7–8), Pesher Melchizedek (ii 20) and Pesher Habakkuk (II, 6–10; VII, 3–5) stress the particular understanding of the historical periods granted to the Qumran covenanters and to their leader, the Teacher of Righteousness. The true meaning of the prophecies was revealed only to covenanters; their opponents remained in ignorance. In the Qumranites' view, the interpretation of prophecy is similar to that of the Torah; both are based on the conviction that the temporal sequence unfolds and is realized gradually, as is the understanding of both Torah and Prophecy.
|Published - 2009