The Qumran Community and the Gospel of John, Richard Bauckham.


The Dead Sea Scrolls Fifty Years After Their Discovery (ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Emanuel Tov and James C. VanderKam), Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem 2000, p.105-115.

It seems to have become quite widely accepted that the parallels between the Johannine literature of the New Testament (the Gospel and Epistles of John) and those texts from Qumran which most likely express the community’s own theology are probably the most impressive parallels between the New Testament and Qumran, and are so impressive as to require a historical connection closer than could be provided merely by the common Jewish milieu of late Second Temple Judaism. The hypothesis of some kind of influence from Qumran on John is widely accepted, whether regarded as indirect (e.g. R. E. Brown)1 or direct (e.g. K. G. Kuhn,2 J. H. Charlesworth,3 J. Ashton).4 But in my view this hypothesis is mistaken. It arose from a natural enthusiasm over parallels between the Scrolls and the New Testament when the Scrolls were first published,5 but the parallels in this case have not been assessed with sufficient methodological rigor.6 I do not think they amount to a case for influence or for any particular historical connection between John and Qumran. In this paper, I shall focus on the evidence for a connection to which most weight is usually given- the expression of dualistic thinking in light and darkness imagery in both the Qumran texts and the Fourth Gospel,7 and I shall add some remarks about the “Spirit of truth,” often regarded as the most striking terminological parallel between the Qumran texts and the Fourth Gospel.

The extent of the similarity between the dualism of the Qumran texts and the dualism of the Fourth Gospel has been debated, but even those who emphasize dissimilarities more than others seem to agree that the extensive use of light/darkness imagery to express a dualistic world view in both cases represents a very striking similarity.8 In assessing the hypothesis of a Qumran origin for Johannine dualism, it is therefore very useful to focus on precisely how this imagery of light and darkness is used in each case. This will enable us to avoid conducting a comparison at too high a level of abstraction.

The dualism of the Fourth Gospel is expressed in two different sets of images. One is the imagery of light and darkness (1-4–9; 3-19–21; 8-12; 9-4–5; 11-9–10; 12-35–36, 46; cf. 1 John 1-5–7; 2-8–11), the other is the spatial imagery which appears in the terms “from above” and “from below” (8-23), and “not from this world” and “from this world” (8-23; 18-36; cf. 15-19; 17-14, 16). The two sets of images, therefore, are the light/darkness opposition, and the above/below and God/world opposition. It is very important to notice that these two sets of images never combine or overlap in the Fourth Gospel; each is kept distinct from the other.

Of these two sets of images, the Qumran texts provide parallels only to the light/darkness opposition, which, of course, is found also in other Jewish texts. For the distinctively Johannine use of “the world” and “this world” in a pejorative sense, and the distinctively Johannine contrast of “from above” and “from below”, the Qumran texts provide no parallel at all.9 This in itself makes implausible the view that Johannine dualism as such derives from Qumran dualism. It would surely be hard to argue that the light/darkness imagery is the primary expression of Johannine dualism, and the above/below and God/world opposition constitutes a secondary development. The latter plays just as important a role in the Gospel as the former. Consequently, even if the Johannine use of light/darkness imagery derives from Qumran, this could not easily be understood to mean that Johannine dualism as such derives from Qumran.

But can the Johannine use of light/darkness imagery plausibly be held to derive from the Qumran texts? We should first recall two evident facts. First, the contrast of light and darkness is the most obvious of dualisms observable in the natural world, and has therefore acquired the metaphorical meanings of knowledge and ignorance, truth and error, good and evil, life and death in most and perhaps all cultural traditions. Secondly, these metaphorical uses of the light/darkness imagery occur relatively often in the Hebrew Bible and in Second Temple Jewish literature and so were readily available in the Jewish tradition to the authors of both the Qumran texts and Johannine literature. To establish a special connection between these it is not sufficient to point out that few of the other Jewish texts emphasize the light/darkness imagery to the extent that 1QS and the Fourth Gospel do.10 The fact that both 1QS and the Fourth Gospel make more prominent use of this imagery than most Jewish texts proves very little. If the imagery was available in the Jewish tradition, it would not be especially surprising to find two authors independently developing it more extensively than most other Jewish texts do. Only if the development in the two cases exhibited extensive similarities not attributable to common roots in the common Jewish tradition would there be any reason to postulate a connection. If, on the other hand, there were extensive dissimilarities in the two developments, and if the distinctive development in each case could be plausibly explained as a development of elements in the common Jewish tradition, then to postulate a connection between the two developments would be unnecessary and implausible.

I shall argue first that the use of the light/darkness imagery in the Fourth Gospel on the one hand, and in the Qumran texts on the other, exhibits far more impressive dissimilarities than has been noticed in the scholarly enthusiasm for drawing conclusions from the comparatively unimpressive similarities. While this considerably weakens the case for influence from Qumran on John, it does not necessarily disprove it. The dissimilarities might result from John’s creative adaptation of the basic motif he borrowed from the Qumran texts. In order to disprove this possibility, I will show that the distinctively Johannine uses of the light/darkness imagery, which cannot be paralleled in the Qumran texts, can be paralleled to a significant extent in other Second Temple Jewish literature and can very plausibly be understood as rooted in biblical texts predominantly different from those which influenced the uses of the light/darkness imagery in the Qumran texts. Since what is distinctive in the Johannine use of the light/darkness imagery finds parallels in other Second Temple Jewish literature and sources in the Hebrew Bible, what the Johannine use has in common with the Qumran use is more plausibly attributed to common dependence on the Hebrew Bible and general Jewish tradition than to any closer relationship between John and Qumran.

Among the Qumran texts the light/darkness dualism occurs predominantly in the Rule of the Community (1QS), the War Rule (1QM, 4QM), and the fragmentary text known as 4QVisions of Amram (4Q543–548).11 Since the most impressive parallels with John have been seen in the passage about the two spirits in 1QS 3-13–4-26, I will focus on this passage, but add references to relevant material in the War Rule. The passage in the Rule of the Community uses three pairs of opposites synonymously- light and darkness, truth and deceit, justice and injustice. It depicts two angelic beings, the Prince of Lights and the Angel of Darkness, the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit, who are the sources of good and evil in the world. Both were created by God, though God loves one and hates the other, and has destined the one for triumph and the other for destruction. Meantime, they contend with each other in human hearts. Depending on the dominance of either, human beings are divided into the sons of light, truth, or justice and the sons of deceit. The influence of the two spirits in human life is correlated with the image of the two paths drawn from the wisdom tradition- people walk either in the paths of light or in the paths of darkness. Those two ways lead to different destinies at the eschatological judgment, again described partly in the imagery of light and darkness- the light of glory in eternal life and the darkness of the nether regions in which the wicked are punished and destroyed. The War Rule uses the light/darkness dualism not in this psychological and individual way but to depict the eschatological war in which Michael, his angels, and the sons of Light will defeat Belial, his angels, and the sons of darkness. The same cosmic dualism appears in different aspects in the two works.

Noteworthy differences from the use of the light/darkness imagery in the Fourth Gospel are-

(1) These Qumran texts exhibit a stereotyped and elaborate dualistic terminology, in which each term has its corresponding opposite- the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit, the sons of light and the sons of darkness, the paths of light and the paths of darkness, and so on. Apart from the terms light and darkness themselves, only one of these terms — “the sons of light” — appears in those passages of the Fourth Gospel which use the light/darkness imagery (12-36). This single coincidence of terminology cannot carry much weight- while frequent in the Qumran texts we are considering,12 it occurs only once in John and is therefore no more characteristic of John than of Luke, Paul, and the author of Ephesians, each of whom, like John, uses the expression only once (Luke 16-8; 1 Thess 5-5; Eph 5-8).13 The list of terminological parallels should not be expanded to include phrases occurring in John outside the passages using the light/darkness imagery, especially not when these are such commonplace expressions as “the holy Spirit,” “eternal life,” and “the wrath of God,”14 but not even in the case of the distinctively Johannine term “the Spirit of Truth,” which in John has no relationship to the light/darkness imagery. (I will return to this term itself later.) It is hardly credible that if the Qumran use of the light/darkness imagery influenced John, the highly distinctive terminology which virtually constitutes the Qumran use of the light/darkness imagery should have left such minimal traces in John.15

(2) Conversely, expressions characterizing the Johannine use of the light/darkness imagery have no parallel in the Qumran texts- “the true light” (1-9; cf. 1 John 2-8), “the light of the world” (8-12; 9-5), “to have the light” (8-12; 12-35–36), “to come to the light” (3-20–21), “to remain in the darkness” (12-46; cf. 1 John 2-9), and the contrast of “day” and “night” (9-4; 11-9–10).

(3) Important features of the way the light/darkness imagery functions in the Qumran texts are entirely absent from John. For example, essential to the Qumran usage are the two spirits of light and darkness represented by the Prince of Lights and the Angel of Darkness, Michael and Belial in the War Rule. They do not appear in John’s use of the light/darkness imagery where Christ himself is the light, but the devil, who in other parts of the Gospel is “the ruler of this world” (12-31; 14-30; 16-11) and “the father of lies” (8-44), is never related to darkness.16 Secondly, neither the conflict of light and darkness within the heart of the individual nor the conflict between the two categories of humanity, the sons of light and the sons of darkness, appears in John, where 1-5 is the only verse to make any use at all of the image of conflict between light and darkness. Thirdly, the use of light and darkness to characterize the alternative eschatological destinies of the two classes of humanity is absent from John,17 even though this was common in Jewish eschatological imagery (e.g. Tob 14.10; Pss. Sol. 3.12; 14.9; 15.10; 1 Enoch 1.8; 5.6–7; 46.6; 63.6; 92.3–5; 108.11–15).

(4) Within the Johannine use of the light/darkness imagery, the central image is that of a great light coming into the world, shining in the darkness of the world, giving light to all people so that they may come out of the darkness into the light, and be able to walk in this light instead of stumbling in the darkness (see 1-5, 9; 3-19; 8-12; 11-9–10; 12-35, 46). This dominant image of a great light shining in the darkness is not at all the dominant image in the Qumran texts’ use of light/darkness imagery. At one point the War Rule envisages the time when, following their defeat of the Kittim, the sons of light will shine in all the edges of the earth giving light until the end of all the periods of darkness when God’s own glory will shine for eternity (1QM 1-8). But this is virtually the only instance of the image of light shining in and dispelling darkness.18 It is subsidiary to the dominant image of conflict between light and darkness where very often the metaphorical force of the words light and darkness seems to have been largely lost and they function simply as names for opposing cosmic principles, interchangeable with truth and deceit, justice and injustice. In the Fourth Gospel the light/darkness imagery is always used to convey specific visual images of light and darkness, of which the central and dominant one, the great light shining in the darkness of the world, finds a parallel at Qumran only in one line of the War Rule.19

(5) Finally, the difference in the imagery corresponds to a difference in the meaning conveyed by the imagery. In the Fourth Gospel the central image of the light shining in the darkness has christological and soteriological significance. Christ is the light of the world, come into the world so that people may come out of the darkness into the light. At Qumran, on the other hand, the imagery of light and darkness is used to portray a conflict between cosmic hierarchies of good and evil, contending in the heart of the individual and on the heavenly and earthly battlefield of the eschatological war. There is no thought of people moving from “the lot of darkness” into light.
In summary, the similarity between the use of light/darkness imagery in the two cases is almost entirely limited to the basic symbolism- light and darkness symbolize truth and error operating on a cosmic scale. The particular development of this symbolism in each case diverges widely. Characteristic terminology, dominant imagery, and theological significance all differ to such an extent as to make the influence of Qumran on the Fourth Gospel unlikely.

We will now show how the use of light/darkness imagery in the Fourth Gospel has its own sources in the Hebrew Bible and parallels in Second Temple Jewish literature. These sources and parallels explain precisely the ways it diverges from the Qumran texts’ use of such imagery and make the hypothesis of influence from Qumran on John entirely redundant.

(1) The opening verses of the Prologue to the Gospel are an exegesis of the opening verses of Genesis, and the first appearance of the light/darkness imagery in the Gospel (1-4–5) constitutes an interpretation of the light and darkness of the first day of the Genesis creation narrative (Gen 1-3–5).20 In this way the Johannine Prologue belongs to a Jewish tradition of theological exegesis of the Genesis creation narrative which often devoted particular interest and speculation to the work of the first day and to the primordial light which appeared on that day (e.g. 4 Ezra 6-40; LAB 28-8–9; 60-2; 4Q392 1-4–7; 2 Enoch 24-4J; 25; Aristobulus, apud Eusebius, Praep. Evang. 13.12.9–11; Philo, De Op. Mundi 29–35).21 Most instructive for our purposes is Joseph and Aseneth 8-9 which addresses God

who gave life to all (things)

and called (them) from the darkness to the light,

and from the error to the truth,

and from the death to the life.

This shows that to associate the contrast of light and darkness in the Genesis creation narrative with the contrasts of truth and error, life and death, as the Johannine prologue implicitly does, one did not need to be influenced by Qumran.22

(2) The image of a great light shining in the darkness of the world in order to give light to people, which as we have seen is marginal in the Qumran texts but central and dominant in the Fourth Gospel’s use of the light/darkness imagery, has several kinds of sources in the Hebrew Bible and parallels in Second Temple Jewish literature. We note first the image of a prophet or teacher as a light who by his teaching of truth gives light. For example, Samuel is described as a “light to the peoples” (LAB 51-6, echoing Isa 51-4).23 The Aramaic I.evi text from Qumran (a pre-Qumran work, not to be attributed to the community itself), depicts the teaching of the ideal priest of the future as an eternal sun which will shine to the ends of the earth, such that darkness will vanish from the earth (4Q541 9 1-3–5; cf. T. Levi 18-2–4).24 That John was aware of such usage is proved by his depiction of John the Baptist as “a burning and shining lamp” (5-35).25

(3) Familiar in Jewish literature is the image of the Torah as a light which shines to give light in which people may walk. This image has biblical sources (Ps 119-105; Prov 6-23; cf. Isa 2-3, 5; 51-4). Two points are worth noticing about this image. First, it seems particularly prominent in Jewish literature contemporary with the Fourth Gospel (LAB 11-1; 19-4; 33-3; 4 Ezra 14-20–21; 2 Bar 17-4; 18-2; 59-2). 2 Baruch, in the context of extensive use of light and darkness as symbols of good and evil, truth and error (53, 56–72), says that “the lamp of the eternal law which exists for ever and ever illuminated those who sat in darkness” (59-2), while 4 Ezra says that without the law “the world lies in darkness and its inhabitants are without light” (14-20). Secondly, when this image is used the law is sometimes said to be a light for the world (Wis 18-4; LAB 11-1; cf. Isa 2-3, 5; 51-4). This language about the law is remarkably close to what the Fourth Gospel says about Jesus Christ as the light of the world, paralleling the central image in the Gospel’s use of light/darkness imagery in a way that the Qumran texts so notably fail to do. It therefore seems likely that the Fourth Gospel deliberately claims for Jesus what the Jewish literature of its time claimed for the law. Just as Jesus is the true bread from heaven, by comparison with the bread Moses gave (6-32), and just as Jesus is the true vine by comparison with Israel as the vine (15-1), so he is the true light (1-9) by comparison with the law given by Moses.

(4) John’s image of Christ as the light of the world is also, more directly, a form of messianic exegesis of prophecies in Isaiah. It reflects Isaiah 9-1[2] (“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined;” cf. John 1-5; 8-12; 12-35), the references to the Servant of the Lord as “a light to the nations” (Isa 42-6–7- “a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness;” 49-6; cf. John 9), and the picture of the light that will rise over Zion, in the midst of the darkness that covers the earth, and attract the nations to its brightness (Isa 60-1–3; Tob 13-11).26 These passages, which play no part in the light/darkness dualism of the Qumran texts, readily supply the central Johannine image of the great light shining in the darkness of the world to give light to people, as well as the christological-soteriological significance which this image bears in the Fourth Gospel.

(5) In setting Jesus’ declaration “I am the light of the world” (8-12) at the Feast of Tabernacles John associates it with the light symbolism of the festival, just as Jesus’ invitation to drink (7-37–39) relates to the water symbolism of the festival. The great lamps which blazed all through the night in the temple at Tabernacles (m. Sukk. 5-2–4) symbolized the perpetual light that God himself would be for his people in the eschatological age (Isa 60-19–20; Zech 14-7; cf. 1 Enoch 58-6; Rev 21-23–24).

In summary, the dominant picture of light and darkness in the Fourth Gospel results from a creative exegetical fusion of Jewish speculation about the primordial light of the first day of creation and messianic interpretation of the prophecies of eschatological light.27 This understanding of the sources of the light/darkness imagery in John accounts for its actual character and significance in a way that the hypothesis of influence from Qumran cannot do.

I have omitted the phrase “the Spirit of truth” from this discussion of light and darkness dualism in Qumran and John because, while it occurs in the context of the light and darkness imagery in 1QS (3-19; 4-21, 23; cf. 4QCatenaa [4Q177] 4-10), in the Johannine literature it does not. Its three occurrences as another term for the Paraclete in John 14–16 (14-17; 15-26; 16-13; cf. 1 John 4-6) relate rather to the courtroom language of witness and judgment (15-26–27; 16-8–11; cf. also 1 John 5-6–9), prominent in John but absent from 1QS 3–4. Nor is the context in John especially dualistic. The devil is mentioned (16-8), but in the political image of “the ruler of this world” — not as an evil counterpart of the Spirit of truth. Only in chapter 8 is he called “the father of lies” in whom there is “no truth” (8-44), but here the contrast is not with the Spirit of truth but with Jesus as the one who speaks truth (8-45–46).

There is therefore little except the term “Spirit of truth” itself to suggest a connection between its occurrences in 1QS and its occurrences in John. The coincidence of terminology is far less remarkable when we remember that genitival phrases connecting the term “spirit” with an abstract noun are common in the Old Testament, early Jewish literature, and the New Testament. Among the more common expressions are “spirit of power” (Isa 11-2; Sir 48-24; LAB 27-10; 1 Enoch 49-3; 71-11; 2 Tim 1-7) and “spirit of wisdom” (Deut 34-9; Isa 11-2; 1 Enoch 49-3; 61-11; Wis 7-7; Eph 1-17). But there are many others (cf. Num 5-14, 30; Isa 28-6; Zech 12-10; Sir 39-6; 1 Pet 4-14; Rom 8-2,15; 2 Cor 4-13; Heb 10-29, and the lists in Isa 11-2; 1QSb 5-25; 1 Enoch 49-2–3; 61-11; 1QS 4-3–4; 2 Tim 1-7). Such expressions can be used of a human disposition, especially as God-given, and in Qumran usage they can designate angels (1QM 13-11–12; 1QH 11-22; 4QShirShabbf [4Q404] 17-3), but they can also designate the Spirit of God with reference to a particular aspect or effect of the divine activity.

The phrase “spirit of truth” is therefore a natural formation within this general terminological phenomenon. In fact, it occurs twice in early Jewish literature outside the Qumran texts. In Jubilees 25-14, when Rebecca is about to give her blessing to Jacob, we are told that “a spirit of truth descended upon her mouth.” In Joseph and Aseneth 19-11 Joseph kisses Aseneth three times, imparting to her first “a spirit of life,” secondly “a spirit of wisdom,” and thirdly “a spirit of truth.” The meaning is probably that he conveys to her the divine Spirit in three of its effects (cf. John 20-22).

The explanation of the coincidence of terminology between 1QS and John is therefore that “truth” is a key concept and term in both, and “spirit of truth” a natural formation in a Jewish context. We need no elaborate explanations of the way the term borrowed from Qumran usage could come to be used in a different way in John.28 It is much easier to suppose that the term was formed independently in the two cases.

In conclusion, there is a curious irony to be observed. It was the publication of Qumran texts which effected a shift in Johannine scholarship towards recognizing the thoroughly Jewish character of Johannine theology. In retrospect this appears to have been a case of drawing the correct conclusion from the wrong evidence. There is no need to appeal to the Qumran texts in order to demonstrate the Jewishness of the Fourth Gospel’s light/darkness imagery. This can be done more convincingly by comparison with other Jewish sources already available long before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

1. R. E. Brown, “The Qumran Scrolls and the Johannine Gospel and Epistles,” in idem, New Testament Essays (New York/Ramsey- Paulist, 1965) 102–131; idem, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament,” John and the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. J. H. Charlesworth; New York- Crossroad, 1990) 7–8; idem, The Community of the Beloved Disciple (New York /Mahwah- Paulist, 1979) 30–31.

2. K. G. Kuhn, “Die in Palästina gefundenen hebraïschen Texte und das neue Testament,” ZTK 47 (1950) 192–211.

3. J. H. Charlesworth, “A Critical Comparison of the Dualism in 1QS 3-13–4-26 and the ‘Dualism’ Contained in the Gospel of John,” John and the Dead Sea Scrolls, 76–106. He clarifies and develops his position in J. H. Charlesworth, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel according to John,” Exploring the Gospel of John- In Honor of D. Moody Smith (ed. R. A. Culpepper and C. C. Black; Louisville, Kentucky- Westminster John Knox, 1996) 87–89, where he suggests that Essenes would have memorized 1QS 3–4, that some entered the Johannine community after 70 CE, and so had some influence within the Johannine school.

4. J. Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel (Oxford- Clarendon, 1991) 232–237.

5. Cf. B. Lindars, John (NT Guides; Sheffield- JSOT Press, 1990) 49- “Initial enthusiasm overstressed the importance of these similarities.” For a minimalist view of the significance of the Scrolls for understanding John, see C. K. Barrett, The Gospel according to St John (2nd ed.; London- SPCK, 1978) 34.

6. This is also true of those scholars who conclude that these same parallels show John’s dependence on first- century Jewish forms of thought which Qumran exemplifies but which had wider currency (e.g. J. Painter, The Quest for the Messiah [2nd ed.; Edinburgh- T. & T. Clark, 1993] 50–52). Here too there is no sufficiently careful assessment of the alleged parallels themselves, as well as of the relationship of the Qumran texts, on the one hand, and of John, on the other, to comparable material in other Jewish literature.

7. For a survey of other similarities, see Brown, “The Qumran Scrolls.”

8. Charlesworth, “A Critical Comparison,” 100–101, after stressing the differences in the dualistic theologies of QS 3-13–4-26 and John, writes- “After full account is taken of all the dissimilarities in theological perspective, we must ask whether in the realm of symbolism and mythology there exists between John and the Rule an underlying interrelationship of conceptual framework and literary expression. We may reasonably hold that the dualistic opposition between light and darkness is not something each developed independently, but rather something that betokens John’s dependence on the Rule.”

9. It has rarely been noticed that the best parallels to these Johannine usages are in James (1-17, 27; 3-15, 17). Since there are no other resemblances between James and the Johannine literature, these parallels are best explained by common dependence on a Jewish terminology which does not seem to have been preserved in extant Jewish texts.

10. Even in the extent to which they use the light and darkness imagery, John and the Qumran texts are not uniquely comparable. The sustained use of the metaphor of light and darkness for good and evil, truth and error through some 132 verses of the apocalypse of the clouds in 2 Baruch (chapters 53, 56–72), represents a more extensive use of the imagery than do the sixteen verses of the Fourth Gospel which use the imagery.

11. Cf. also 4QSongs of the Sageb (4Q511); 11QApocryphal Psalmsa (11Q11); 4QCatenaa (4Q177). The light/darkness dualism does not appear in the Hodayot or in the Damascus Rule (though the title “the Prince of Lights” is used for Michael in CD 5-18, as in 1QS 3-20). For other significant occurrences of light/darkness imagery in the scrolls which seem more distant from the way this imagery is used in 1QS and 1QM see 4Q462 9–10; 1QMysteries (1Q27) 1-5–6; 4QMysteriesa (4Q299) 5-1–3; 4QCryptic A (4Q298) 1-1; 4Q471 4-5.

12. 1QS 1-9; 2-16; 3-13, 24, 25; 1QM 1-1, 3, 9, 11, 13; 4QCatenaa (4Q177) 2-7, 4-16; 4QFlor (4Q174) 1-8–9; 4QSongs of the Sagea (4Q510) 1-7; 4QDamascus Documentb (4Q267) 1-1. The term does not seem to appear outside the Qumran texts and the NT, but cf. 1 Enoch 108-11–14, where “the good who belong to the generation of light” (11) are contrasted with “those born in darkness” (11, 14), and the two groups have eschatological destinies of light and darkness respectively (12–14).

13. Charlesworth, “A Critical Comparison,” 101, misrepresents the matter when he claims that “the expression ‘sons of light’ is characteristic only of Qumran and John.”

14. The first two of these three phrases are included by Charlesworth, “A Critical Comparison,” 101–102, in his “four shared linguistic formulae which suggest a strong correlation between John and 1QS 3-13–4-26,” while the third occurs in his “seven additional shared literary expressions.” Cf. also Charlesworth, “The Dead Sea Scrolls,” 73–74, 82; C. A. Evans, Word and Glory- On the Exegetical and Theological Background of John’s Prologue (JSNTSS 89; Sheffield- Sheffield Academic Press, 1993) 147. Another such expression listed by Evans and by Charlesworth, “The Dead Sea Scrolls,” 75, is “to do the truth” (1QS 1-5; 5-3; 8-2; John 3-21; 1 John 1-6), but again this is a common usage (Gen 24-49; 32-11; 47-29; Josh 2-14; 2 Sam 2-6; Ezek 18-9; Neh 9-33; 2 Chron 31-20; Tob 4-6; 13-6).

15. Of the other “shared literary expressions” listed by Charlesworth, “A Critical Comparison,” 102, only three deserve mention as arguably instances of the light/darkness imagery- (1) “to walk in the paths of darkness” (1QS 3-21; 4-11) and “to walk in darkness” (John 8-12; 12-35; cf. 1 John 1-6; 2-11); (2) “the light of life” (1QS 3-7; John 8-12); (3) “blindness of eyes” (1QS 4-11) and “the eyes of the blind” (John 10-21; cf. John 9). On these the following comments should be made- (1) Both expressions are biblical- “to walk in the paths of darkness” (Prov 2-13), “to walk in darkness” (Ps 82-5; Eccles 2-14; Isa 9-2[1]). 1QS uses the former twice (1QS 3-21; 4-11) and the latter once (1QS 11-10), whereas John uses only the latter (John 8-12; 12-35; cf. 1 John 1-6; 2-11). The difference is significant. The usage in 1QS derives from the wisdom tradition (in 1QS 3-21; 4-11 the phrase corresponds verbatim to Prov 2-13) and is part of the picture of the two ways. By contrast, the two ways terminology makes no appearance in the Fourth Gospel, whose use of light/darkness imagery seems uninfluenced by the wisdom tradition. Its use of the expression “to walk in darkness” probably derives from Isa 9-2[1] (see below). (2) The phrase “the light of life” is a biblical expression (Job 33-30; Ps 36-13[14]), which also occurs in later Jewish literature (1 Enoch 58-3). In 1QS 3-7 it derives from Job 33-30, in John 8-12 probably from Ps 36-13[14]. (3) The phrase “blindness of eyes“ (1QS 4-11) occurs in the following list- “blasphemous tongue, blindness of eyes, hardness of hearing, stiffness of neck, hardness of heart.” Clearly blindness here has no particular connection with light and darkness, as it does in John 9.

16. Contrast 1 Cor 6-14–15 and Acts 26-18, both of which are closer than John to Qumran usage.

17. In John 8-12 (cf. 12.35) “walk in darkness” refers to living in ignorance and error, not to eschatological destiny.

18. Cf. also 1QS 4.2 where the spirit of truth is said to enlighten the heart of the individual.

19. Cf. also 1QMysteries (1Q27) 1-5–6- “When those begotten of iniquity are delivered up, and wickedness is removed from before righteousness, as darkness is removed from before light, and just as smoke ceases and is no more, so wickedness will cease forever; and righteousness will be revealed as the sun throughout the measure of the world” (trans. D. J. Harrington, Wisdom Texts from Qumran [London- Routledge, 1996] 70). But here light and darkness appear as a simile, alongside the alternative simile of smoke, not in the way they appear in the dualistic light/darkness language of 1QS and 1QM. This text shows no other trace of light/darkness dualism. The passage in 1-5–6 is close to the imagery in 1 Enoch 58-5–6 (and cf. 4Q541 9 1-3–5; T. Levi 18-2–4), and so provides general Jewish, not specifically Qumran, background to 1 John 2-8.

20. Gen. 1-3–5 may have played some part in the formation of the light/darkness dualism at Qumran. 11QApocryphal Psalmsa (11Q11) 1-12–13 makes explicit allusion to Gen. 1-4 in connection with the light/darkness dualism. 1QS 3-25 (God “created the spirits of light and darkness”) may reflect the Genesis creation account, though allusion to Isa 45-7 is also possible. However, the other Jewish parallels to John’s interpretation of Gen 1-3–5 are more impressive. Note that unlike 1QS John does not say that God created the darkness.

21. Genesis Rabbah 3-8 interprets the light and darkness of Gen 1-3 as the deeds of the righteous and the deeds of the wicked. This later passage again shows how a Jewish exegete did not need to be influenced by Qumran in order to find good and evil symbolized by the light and darkness of the creation narrative.

22. Qumran is hardly likely to have influenced Joseph and Aseneth. Against alleged affinities between Joseph and Aseneth and the Essenes see R. D. Chesnutt, From Death to Life- Conversion in Joseph and Aseneth (JSPSS 16; Sheffield- Sheffield Academic Press, 1995) 186–195.

23. Cf. also Sir 24-32, 2 Bar 18-2.

24. Cf. now R. A. Kugler, From Patriarch to Priest- The Levi-Priestly Tradition from Aramaic Levi to Testament of Levi (SBL Early Judaism and its Literature 9; Atlanta- Scholars Press, 1996

25. The second half of this verse is strikingly similar to 2 Bar 18-2- “dirt not rejoice in the light of the lamp” (i.e. the lamp of the law which Moses lighted).

26. These passages are interpreted messianically and applied to Jesus in Luke 1-79- 2-32; Acts 26-23; Rev 22-16; Barn 14-6–8.

27. According to one rabbinic interpretation of Gen 1-3, recorded in Genesis Rabbah 3-6, the light created on the first day is not the ordinary light of day but “has been stored away for the righteous in the age to come” (with reference to Isa 30-26). This shows another Jewish exegete connecting the primordial and eschatological light as John did.

28. The proposals of H. D. Betz, Der Paraklet (Leiden- Brill, 1963) and G. Johnston, The Spirit/Paraclete in the Gospel of John (SNTSMS 12, Cambridge- Cambridge University Press, 1970), are summarized and critiqued in G. M. Burge, The Anointed Community- The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition (Grand Rapids- Eerdmans, 1987) 16–23.

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