Full Text for The Righteousness of Qumran’s Teacher of Righteousness and the Pauline "Righteousness of God" (Text)

Walter A. Maier, II THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF QUMRAN'S TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE PAULINE "RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD" Concordia Theological Seminary Press Fort Wayne, Indiana ...~O\.OCle..(. ......(,.~J.,t\4'(1'~Q 'So3 . -; 1. " o : ~ ,:; FORTWAYNE III II III III THE RIGHTEOUSNES~ OF QUMRAN'S TEACHER 01 RlGHTEOUSNESS AND THE P\ULINE "RIGHTEOUSNESS uF GOD" A number of the Dead Seas Scrolls introduce us to an impwtant personage and "player" in the history of the Essene sect.· many ofwhose members occupied the area of Qumran at some lime, probably during the period tl-om about the middle of the secnlld century B.c. to 68 A.D. N"ever mentioned by his personal name in the Qumran texts, he is rderred to as "The Teacher of Righteousness," the PJ..~ ;;7,,) 0 ' whom scholars (1 f' the scrolls generally regard as the founder andlor principal reiigious leader of the Qumran secldrians ( or, sectaries). He is presumed himself to have authClrcd several of the Dead Sea documents and been the primary source ofthe religious teaching i'(lund in others. According to Qumranite belief, God had granted the teacher the revelation of all truth, finally and definitively. This teacher led his folluwers to oppose contemporary poiilicalleaders' attempts to Hellenize Judaism; he brought [hem to accept an even stricter interpretation ofthe Mosaic law and maintain a severer discipline than even the Pharisees did. In so doing, the faithful were to consider themselves, according (0 the teacher's instruction, to be (Tod's chosen, faithful remnant in Israel, indeed, the final remnant of all time--the true Israel of ( lod with whom He had established a new covenant, the eternal blessing of which would he inaugurated with the arrival of a Messiah, or Messiahs, whose coming was imminent. The Mcssiah(s) would usher in a new age in which all wickedness \\ ould be banished from the world. truth and goodness would reign victoriously forever, the earth \\ould be renovated, and the elect uf God would interit "a crown of glory, and a garment of majesl: in unending light," as the Commllnity Rule (IV)2 puts it. The teacher, who may also at first have been a priest im(lived in Jerusalem's temple ,., III II III 2 service, and his disciples encountered opposition and hostility from 1he Hasmonean3 rulers of their day and from others in Israelite society, scholars theorize. In dele time they were forced, it seems, to leave the Jewish capita: and, entering into what they call:..'d a "new covenant" with God, they settled and practiced their faith in the wilderness of Qumran. After the period of his ministry to his fellow sectarians. the teacher ofrighteousness died. His teachings lived on in the memories of Essenes at Qumran and elsewhere in Palestine and v. LTe perpetuated in many of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The precise dating of the years of the teacher's ministry is debated. That question will not be treated in the body ofthis paper, except to sa~ that it is generally held that the teacher lived and worked bel \\een about 175 and 63 RC.4 Some students of the Dead Seas Scrolls have asserted tha: the apostle Paul was influenced in his theology by (even derived dements of it from) the literature uf Qumran, including Paul's central salvific concept of "the righteousness of God." This paper proposes to examine specific passages in the scrolls containing the Qumran teacher's instruction pertaining to the subject of the righteousness of God that j:-: said to be divinely prescribed as s~lVing for men (in God's eyes) and to compare with this the significance of the concept of the S~i\ ;ng "righteousness of God" as presented in the Pauline writings of the New Testament. The Righteousness of Qumran's Teacher of Righteousness We may direct our attention first to the teacher's comment in the Habakkuk Pesher5 at 24b, the well know passage. "The righteous shall live by his . th." The comment reads: "Interpreted, this concerns all those who observe the Law in the I louse of Judah, whom God will deliver from the House of Judgment because of their suffering designate the divinely provided mediatorial grounds of the sinner's salvation. It is the rightl'ousness of God which saves. H.eJ(.!rences to this righteousness, in abbreviation, simply with the words "His righteousness" or simnly "righteousness," appear in various contexts in five additional Pauline epistles, 1 Corinthiam. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and 2 Timothy. Paul writes in the theme of Romans, 1:16-17, these well known words (translation, mine): J an not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation in the case of everyone who believes, the Jew first and also the Greek. For in connection with it the righteousness of God is being revealed from faith for III III II III 8 faith, even as it is written "The righteous one, OUl (l f his faith \\ill he go on living. Prior to these verses Paul Slates that he is eager to travel to Rome and continue there his proclamation of the truth. Far hom being reticent about this, as trH: ;'esult of unease over the matter of Gospel preaching in the capital city of the empire, Paul h~lS been "champing at the bit" as it were to do so, he indicates, b-:cause operative in the Gospel \\ henever and wherever it is communicated is God's own mighty power to save hearers, of all, trata of society, by bringing them to faith in the Gospel and Savior Jesus Christ whom it c\alts. This power of God is operative to create saving faith. \\hen--in connection with the Gl)