The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Roots of Christianity and Islam: Re-Erecting the Fallen Tent of David in the Land North of Damascus

Grave Distractions Pub.
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The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Roots of Christianity and Islam: Re-Erecting the Fallen Tent of David in the Land North of Damascus represents a small part of Prof. Eisenman’s groundbreaking work in deciphering the hidden history and influence the Dead Sea Scrolls have had on the world’s three major religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in a desolate, and place called Qumran on the north-west shore of the Dead Sea, between 1946 and 1956. Over 970 documents were found in 11 caves. The scrolls have courted controversy ever since because of their Biblical and extra-Biblical content, and the question of who actually wrote theta continues to be disputed till this day.

Because the scrolls were possessively kept secret for a long time, conspiracy theories arose with some claiming that the Vatican was suppressing information found in the scrolls that was damaging to the church, á la Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. In reality, it was greed and a turf war between scholars that kept the scrolls hidden from the public—scholars wanted to be the first to interpret the texts, for obvious reasons. Today, you can view the fragments of the scrolls on the Internet.

"We said (the scrolls) should be open to anybody," said Prof. Eisenman. "It should he free for anyone religious, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or whomever to look at the scrolls for themselves. And the Israelis didn't want that. They wanted their scholars to see the documents and write the principal works so that their version would be the official interpretation.”
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About the author

Robert Eisenman is the author of The New Testament Code: The Cup of the Lord, the Damascus Covenant, and the Blood of Christ (2006), James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1998), The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians (1996), Islamic Law in Palestine and Israel: A History of the Survival of Tanzimat and Shari'ah (1978), and co-editor of The Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1989) and The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (1992).

He is Emeritus Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology and the former Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University Long Beach and Visiting Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University in Philosophy and Engineering Physics (1958), an M.A. from New York University in Near Eastern Studies (1966), and a Ph.D from Columbia University in Middle East Languages and Cultures and Islamic Law (1971). He was a Senior Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies and an American Endowment for the Humanities Fellow-in-Residence at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first examined.
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Grave Distractions Pub.
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Feb 19, 2014
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Religion / Biblical Studies / Exegesis & Hermeneutics
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In The New Testament Code: The Cup of the Lord, the Damascus Covenant, and the Blood of Christ world-renowned scholar and bestselling author Robert Eisenman uncovers the Truth and unravels the real code behind New Testament allusions like “this is the Cup of the New Covenant in my blood” and connects them to “the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus” and “drinking the Cup of the Wrath of God” in the Dead Sea Scrolls.


In doing so, Eisenman demonstrates the integral relationship of James the Brother of Jesus to the Righteous Teacher of the Dead Sea Scrolls, deciphers the way the picture of “Jesus” was put together in the Gospels, and clarifies the real history of Palestine in the first century and, as a consequence, what can be known about the real “Jesus.” In paring away the traces of Greco-Roman anti-Semitism—which were deliberately introduced into “this picture” thereby tainting Western history ever since—The New Testament Code shows what really happened in Palestine in that time, not what the enemies of those making war against Rome wanted people to think happened.


In making these arguments and exposing these revisions, overwrites, and falsifications that were introduced into the New Testament, Eisenman also explains the esoteric meaning of many of the usages with which we are all so familiar in the Western World. In doing so, he identifies the Scrolls as the literature of ‘the Messianic Movement in Palestine’ and ‘decodes’ many well-known and beloved sayings in the Gospels such as, “Every Plant which My Heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted,” “Do not throw Holy Things to dogs,” “A man shall not be known by what goes into his mouth but, rather, by what comes out of it,” and “These are the signs that the Lord did in Cana of Galilee.” Offering a thorough and in-depth, point-by-point analysis of James’ relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls, he illumines such subjects as the “Pella Flight,” “the Wilderness Camps,” and Paul as an “Herodian,” exposing Peter’s true historical role as “a prototypical Essene,” who was used in the Gospels and the Book of Acts as a mouthpiece for Anti—Semitism, and demonstrating how, once we have found the Historical James, we have found the Historical Jesus.


He covers new archaeological discoveries along the Dead Sea, AMS radiocarbon dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the controversial almost miraculous appearance of the “James Ossuary” (which he considers having been based on his book on James) and the reasons for its being considered a fraud. A crucial new point that emerges in The New Testament Code is the identification of the document known as the MMT as a Letter from James to someone early Church Fathers call the “Great King of the Peoples beyond the Euphrates.” Readers will not be disappointed.


The crowning point of all his arguments will be his exposition of the relationship of “the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus” in the Dead Sea Scrolls to the ritual of “the Last Supper;” and ‘the Cup’ connected to both, to be but a parody–one of the other. The final mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls as they relate to Peter, Paul and James will be elucidated. Did Paul know the meaning of the famous Damascus Document, discovered in the Cairo Genizah in 1897, “to set the Holy Things up according to their precise specifications”? Or the reverse of it, as Peter was presented as discovering it in the Books of Acts—to make “no distinctions between Holy and profane”? These and many other questions will be revealed in The New Testament Code.


In this concluding volume of James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls II: The Damascus Code, the Tent of David, the New Covenant, and the Blood of Christ, renowned biblical scholar Robert Eisenman compresses in a more reader-friendly format the results of previous work, creating a more comprehensive picture of Jesus’ brother James as “the pivotal Opposition Leader” of the time leading up to the War against Rome (66-70 CE).

Is there an interconnecting code between the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls? Eisenman – who broke the Scrolls monopoly and was the first to identify the so-called “James Ossuary” as fraudulent – shows that there is. Moreover, in this newly-revised volume, he ‘decodes’ many beloved and famous sayings of the Gospels, such as “Every plant which My Heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted,”“A man shall not be known by what goes into his mouth but by what comes out of it,”“Do not throw Holy Things to dogs”, etc. including chapters like “The Dogs who Licked Poor Lazarus’ Sores” or “Rabbi Eliezer’s Bad Breath and Lazarus’ Stinking Body”.

In identifying the Scrolls as the literature of “the Messianic Movement in Palestine”; he not only connects “James the Brother of Jesus” to the Leadership of ‘Early Christianity’ in Palestine, but also to "the Righteous Teacher” in the Scrolls.

Offering a point-by-point analysis of James' relationship to the Habakkuk Commentary, The Damascus Document, The War Scroll, etc., he also illumines the subjects "the Pella Flight and raising the Fallen Tent of David”, “Paul as an Herodian,”“the Wilderness Camps,” and “Peter”’s role as “a prototypical Essene” but in Acts as a mouthpiece for anti-Semitism. In doing so he, not only clarifies the true history of Palestine in the First Century, but deciphers the way ‘the picture’ of “Jesus” was put together in the Gospels and, as a consequence, what can be known about the real “Jesus”.

He also covers subjects like “the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus” and Paul’s attack on James on the Temple steps, extending it to the competition between Paul and “the Party of James” over “Circumcision” in Antioch and the conversion of Queen Helen Adiabene and her sons in Northern Syria, who led the “famine relief” effort ascribed to Paul in Acts. Moreover, he will show the figure of James to have been so influential and highly-regarded in the Jerusalem of his day that his death was the capstone event leading up to the Jewish Revolt against Rome.

In making these arguments and exposing actual ‘overwrites’, a crucial new point that emerges is his identification of the Qumran document called by scholars “MMT” as a ‘Jamesian’ Letter to “the Great King of the Peoples beyond the Euphrates.” At the same time, he unravels the real “code” behind the pivotal New Testament allusion: “This is the Cup of the New Covenant in My Blood,” connecting it to “the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus” and “giving the Cup of the Right Hand of the Lord ( "the Cup of Divine Wrath”) to drink” in both the Damascus Document and Habakkuk Pesher in the Scrolls.

Did Paul know the meaning of the famous Damascus Document (discovered in Cairo in the Nineteenth Century) “to set the Holy Things up according to their precise specifications”– or the reverse of it, as Peter is presented as being made to understand by “a Voice out of Heaven” and “a Tablecloth” descending out of it –“to make no distinctions between Holy and profane”– on a rooftop in Gaza?

In this series, Eisenman’s revelations will extend far beyond these examples. James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, both I and II, will complete the task of rescuing James from the oblivion into which he was cast, either intentionally or via benign neglect. His conclusion will, therefore, definitively bear on the problem of “the Historical Jesus”: “Who and whatever James was, so was Jesus.” Eisenman’s many readers will not be disappointed.

This is the follow-up work to Prof. Eisenman's Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians, and Qumran: A New Hypothesis of Qumran Origins, in which he attempts to prove in a case-by-case manner some of the hypotheses he suggested in that original ground-breaking work. Both works turn out to be, surprisingly enough, just about exactly the same number of pages and what Prof. Eisenman does in this short volume is to go through what is known by scholars as "The Habakkuk Pesher" and laymen, "The Habakkuk Commentary" - "Pesher" in Hebrew having the same sense as "Commentary" in English - in a line-by-line, passage-by-passage fashion; and meticulously set forth just how they can relate to known events, ideas, and happenstances known from and associated with the life of James or as all Early Christian accounts would have it: "James the Just" (the cognomen, "the Just One" of course, being at all times all-important) or "James the Zaddik.." As everyone knows, he has expanded this in two 1000+ page books since: James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1997-98) and The New Testament Code: The Cup of the Lord, the Damascus Covenant, and the Blood of Christ (2006) and two shorter ones: James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls I and II (2012 and 2013); but these two initial volumes represent his first forays into this territory. Once again, despite the impression by a few critics, who try make light of or marginalize his theories or scholarship (as if they could produce anything better); as in MZCQ, he absolutely distinguishes between "the Spouter of Lies" or "Lying" (the so-called "Liar" or "Scoffer" - for Eisenman, a more accurate translation of this last being "the Jester") and "the Wicked Priest"; and this dichotomy has withstood the test of time and initiated a host of imitators. Not only does he make it clear - despite some simplistic "Consensus" theorizing - that these two are utterly different; but, in doing so, he absolutely confirms through internal analysis a First Century CE date for principal Qumran original Documents (called by so-called 'consensus scholars', "Sectarian"), a position he already basically set forth in MZCQ. The first, of course, is an internal ideological Adversary of the hero of the Scrolls, "the Righteous Teacher" - "the Liar" who "denied the Law in the midst of their entire Congregation" - the second, the present Establishment High Priest and this, definitively not a "Maccabean" but the reigning "Herodian" one. It is he who is responsible for the death or destruction of "the Righteous Teacher" and some of those with him - called revealingly "the Poor" - "the Ebionim" in the Hebrew of the Scrolls and very probably equivalent to "the Ebionites" of Early Church History about whom Eusebius in the 4th Century is so contemptuous and scathing of. These and many other things are meticulously delineated in this, Eisenman's first foray into a line-by-line decipherment of the Habakkuk Pesher - having already dealt definitively and in detail with the twin issues of Archaeology and Paleography in MZCQ preceding it. Both of these very-hard-to-acquire books will not, it is hoped, disappoint, Prof. Eisenman's many admirers.
Suzanne Fisher continues the story of Triphammer Falls but now all the action is in Europe. It follows James Levin from the time he lands at Le Havre till a month later when he meets Suzanne at the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris. Once in Paris, they take a room together on the Left Bank, but find there really wasn't much they could get done there nor achieve living as they were in a dollar-a-day hotel room in "The Latin Quarter." The book takes place completely in Europe at a time when it really was a "Bohemian Paradise" and there wasn't any place you really couldn't get a room for less than a Dollar a night. Suzanne is petrified of her father and that he will find out they are living together in Paris and, therefore, bring her home. Levin decides to solve the problem unilaterally, as it were, and goes, albeit unwillingly, not to Vienna - where he had always wanted to return - but to Alt Aussee in the Austrian Salzkammergut, which some people at a Cafe on the Left Bank, The Contrascarpe - known for its guitar-playing folk singers, French, English, Scottish, and American, near where Hemingway used to live - had recommended to him. From there, still unable to work effectively because of worrying about Suzanne alone in Paris, he goes to Vienna and several times back to Paris before finally going down to Hydra off the Coast of the Peloponnesos (since made famous by Leonard Cohen in his song So Long, Marianne) and the Greek Islands. It has also recently been discovered by the editors that Theodore Herzl, the acclaimed Zionist Thinker, used regularly to spend his summers at Alt Aussee. In Hydra, not only are Levin's adventures there described, but from there the last stages of his relationship with Suzanne Fisher are worked out before he finally returns to Paris one last time where the book reaches a climax.
This is Eisenman's original, ground-breaking work in which he criticizes the archaeology and paleography of Qumran as it had been developed by 'the specialists' up to that time and rather offers his own hypothesis-starting with the fact that it was impossible to consider that the Maccabees were the so-called "Wicked Priests" at Qumran, primarily because everything known about them agrees, for the most part, with the doctrines and positions emanating from the documents known at that time to emanate from the area known as "Qumran" along the Northwestern part of the Dead Sea and which, for that reason, we call "The Dead Sea Scrolls."

In addition, he shows rather that the Establishment against whom the Qumran Scrolls were in an almost homogeneous manner directed was rather that of the Herodians and the Priests that owed both their appointment and authority to them and the Roman Governors that in due course either replaced or ruled either through or in conjunction with them. He also starts in this work to build his case for the fact that the individual came to be understood in Early Christian History as "James the Righteous" and called by everyone "James the Just"-that same individual known by everyone as as "James the Brother of Jesus"-had very much in common with "the Righteous Teacher" described and alluded to in many Dead Sea Scrolls documents. That is why this book, originally published in the early 1980s, was subtitled "A New Hypothesis of Qumran Origins."

It was necessary to subject both the archaeology and paleography of Qumran-upon which the so-called "Establishment" or "Consensus of Qumran Scholars' had all based both their theories and chronology to thoroughgoing criticism. This he has done, as only someone who originally studied math and physics, could do, in a meticulously masterful fashion. No one has 'laid a glove' on his analysis since. At the same time and in parallel fashion, he starts to suggest that the 'opponent' of this individual in Early Christian History, Paul, had about the same amount of characteristics with the individual these same Qumran Documents are constantly referring to as "The Spouter of Lying," "the Liar" or "Man of Lying," or "the Scoffer" or Jester" (not someone to be taken seriously)-but, of course, this is not the same individual as "the Wicked Priest" whom prestigious Qumran 'scholars' on the highest level insist upon saddling him with because they saw "the Wicked Priest" and "the Lying Spouter" described in Qumran Documents as the same individual.

Eisenman lays out here in very clear terms that the two individuals denoted as "the Wicked Priest" and "the Lying Spouter" were two distinct and absolutely separate persons-this again, despite what some 'scholars' attempt to foist on him in order to try to make him look ridiculous . No, on the contrary, in doing so, they only make themselves look ridiculous. Eisenman is very careful here - "the Spouter of Lying" is an internal opponent of "the Righteous Teacher" at Qumran. "He denied the Law in the midst of the whole Congregation" "The Wicked Priest - certainly no 'Maccabean'/'Hasmonean' - was rather an Establishment and probably Herodian High Priest, meaning, appointed by the "Herodians" and their Roman Overlords.

It was this individual who was responsible either for the destruction or the death of "the Righteous Teacher"-a situation very much paralleling a number of such similar situations described, albeit rather tendentiously, in the New Testament and, of course, by Josephus. Anyone who picks up this short Book with its copious footnotes (much of the argument being conducted there, so his gainsayers would, of course, had to have first had a look at these before criticizing him-which usually they have not) will not be disappointed. It is and was his first salvo in the ongoing and running battle he has been conducting with "Consensus" and "Establishment Scholars" ever since and - to his credit - with no litt

Robert Eisenman’s War Territory Nation: Israel, the Arabs, and the Jewish People develops ideas conceived of while he was living in Israel’s “Occupied Territories” after The Six-Day War for five years and in the U.S.A. thereafter after The Yom Kippur War.

There are seven pieces in all, the last Cyprus: Aphrodite’s Isle being rather an autobiographical story, but all overlap in the areas of History, Politics, Sociology, and Religion. Though each deals with somewhat different subject matter, all provide the same insights and understandings. Moreover, the reader will see that all are still absolutely valid today as almost nothing has changed, particularly the situation in the so-called “Occupied Territories”, but also on Cyprus.

Just as Theodore Herzl's Jewish State was conceived of as the solution to “The Jewish Question” and subtitled as such(unfortunately Hitler picked up the same language after that), so too “Why we Must Stop Being Jews and Become Hebrews Again” and “The Problem with Rabbinic Judaism” deal with the “Question” a hundred years later in the light of the new configuration of circumstances after the destruction of the mass of European Jewry and the Establishment of the State of Israel. However, just as Herzl was contemplating a physical transformation of the Jewish People, Eisenman is contemplating a Spiritual.

"Arab Class Structure and the New Terrorism", "The Assassination of Feisal", and “The Nuclear Threat to Israel” deal with the ever-present Arab-Israeli Struggle and the Middle East generally. Cyprus: Aphrodite’s Isle, while an autobiographical story as noted, portrays how the author was thrust into the midst of the struggle between the Greeks and the Turks there, but reflects the same general ethos and perception.

The solutions being considered are radical but, with the memory of the Holocaust and the possible future destruction of the Jewish People in mind, it is hoped that such questions as the destruction of Israel, the Arab mindset, the relevance of Judaism to the Modern Jew, the future disappearance of Diaspora Jewry, and the use of nuclear weaponry in the Middle East in general are faced up to with honesty and fairly as in the end what is finally being contemplated is the future survival of the Jewish People and, with it, the associated survival of the State of Israel.

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