The “Zadokite” Document -- By: William Hayes Ward

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 068:271 (Jul 1911)
Article: The “Zadokite” Document
Author: William Hayes Ward


The “Zadokite” Document1

William Hayes Ward, D.D.,

This interesting and puzzling Hebrew document, coming from the same treasure of manuscripts as the Hebrew of Ecclesiasticus, might have escaped much notice but for the attention called to it by the Rev. G. Margoliouth, of the British Museum, in the Athenaeum of November 26, 1910. Mr. Margoliouth, who is a Hebrew scholar of distinction, claimed to have made the startling discovery that the personages mentioned are the leading ones in the first period of Christian history; that the “Anointed One “is John the Baptist; that the “Teacher of Righteousness” is Jesus; and that the “Man of Scoffing” is Paul. He thus makes this a document belonging to the first century, and representing the views of a Jewish-Christian sect who rejected the teachings of Paul, regarding him as a perverter of the true faith of Jesus, and who remained “zealous for the Law.” Such a remarkable claim challenges attention to this Document; for if the claim be justified, it will provide us a source of the earliest Christian history of the utmost importance, giving us a view of the

position of those very early disciples who held fast to the Mosaic Law, and made of the new Way only a sect in Judaism. It is the purpose of this paper to study the new problem presented to us by Mr. Margoliouth. The question is, then, one of date, whether of the first century, or of a century before the Christian era. The difficulty of answering this question arises from the fact that no one belonging to the community is mentioned by name, and that only general terms are used; and the Hebrew language, lacking both mood and tense, often leaves it uncertain whether past or present time is referred to.

The clearer evidences of date are the following: There are many quotations from the Law and the Prophets, and also a few from the third collection called “the Psalms.” These are taken from the later division of the Psalter, — Ps. 94:6 (p. 6, 1. 16); 94:21 (p. 1, 1. 20); 106:25 (p. 3, 1. 8); and 107:40 (p. 1, 1. 15). Also from Proverbs the author quotes 15:8, 29 (p. 11, 1. 21), and 17:15 (p. 1, 1. 19). These are all, but are enough to prove that, at the time of writing, the later Hebrew books were at least familiar. That they were held to be canonical is rendered doubtful by p. 7, 11. 15–17, where the Torah a...

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