BCC Papers 2/1: Brown, Orthodoxy

Encounters with Orthodoxy: Alexander Men, Modern Martyr

by Samuel Brown

PDF

With the publication of my translation of Alexander Men’s Son of Man,1 a three-year sojourn in the community of Orthodox Saints has drawn to a close. While I am glad to move on to other projects, my reminisces have taken a bittersweet turn as I think of the marked changes that have taken place in my soul and mind during this period. Over the course of the translation, I have been introduced to a theology and a post-martyrdom community that have altered my experiential understanding of Mormonism. This rich communion has made me a more committed Latter-day Saint and Christian.

I first met Father Men four years after his murder in 1990.2 It was my first trip to Russia, and I basked in their culture while I spoke passionately with locals about religion–theirs and mine. One friend, Lyuda, was physically nauseated by churches. She even refused to enter the famous ones while we went about touring. But she was just as revolted by the Russian LDS converts I introduced her to, unable to accept their departure from Orthodoxy, the emblem of Russian culture. I tried to learn why she felt as she did but ultimately just exasperated her. Just before I left, in desperation, she thrust in my face a pamphlet–ironically a Protestant publication–which contained a sermon by a father Alexander Men, pleading, “Read this. This is Russian religion.”

I read the sermon, entitled, “To Be a Christian,” and was taken by a sense of consummated longing, as I found a Russian who understood me spiritually. He preached about personality and identity, responsibility and freedom, personal spirituality and community obligation. I wanted more, but by then I had returned to the USA, and the pressing demands of education left no time to seek out additional material. Assuming that nothing would be available in America, I put my search on hold.

I returned the following year, alive with the search for the priest who knew my spiritual needs. I let everyone–LDS, Orthodox, Jewish, and atheist–know that I was trying to find works by Alexander Men. And all were pleased with my search, even the atheists and Latter-day Saints, allowing me to accumulate ten volumes in two weeks. I immediately devoured Son of Man–his introduction to Christ and Christianity–the work of which he was most proud. His presentation of the life of Christ was fresh and compelling, teaching me more, I felt, than the LDS commentaries I had read. And I began to speak with my Mormon friends about translating the work.

How passionately proud of Men were the Moscow Latter-day Saints. He almost seemed to represent a way for them to be true to their Saints, even as they became Saints in a foreign church. One soon-to-be-endowed family–a sociologist, an economist, and their precocious children–glowed with excitement as they gave me their own copy of Son of Man, inscribing it painstakingly: “We hope that by the power of the Holy Spirit your translation will be worthy of the original.”

Another church member felt the tension between the martyred Saint and the Latter-day Saints more acutely. A woman working for the church, a recently returned missionary, privately confided to me in anxious glances and stiff-lipped syllables that reading Men filled her with longing, an inexpressible desire to be united with the religion of her Motherland. She also ached for the restoration of mystical hymnody and iconography, hungry for the otherworldly character of Orthodox worship. Hoping that knowledge of my future translation would be somehow helpful, I shared with her the yearning for her Zion, for the time when her Prophet lived and spoke for the Lord.

I spent a month working at the sociologist’s laptop (taking turns with his wife as she finished her dissertation), pounding out a draft of the first five chapters. Men’s work, and my creative involvement in it, charged me spiritually the way the temple ceremony can on my better days. I relished his earnest witness that God is with us, that His loving intimacy is the primary feature of Christ’s religion. While the following argument was familiar, its religious and national context was not:

Of all the names by which the Creator is known in the scriptures, Jesus preferred the word Father. In His prayers it came out Abba, the way children addressed their fathers in Aramaic.

This choice was of profound significance…

Only Christ speaks of a Father Whom every human soul may find access to, should it so desire. The Gospel brings people the gift of God-sonship. On those who accept it is Christ’s covenant fulfilled. They come to know that with the Creator of the Universe we may speak one to one, as with Abba, as with a loving Father, who awaits our reciprocating love.3

Affirming the importance of Gethsemane, Men added an insight about Christ’s suffering that struck me powerfully–Christ may have been occupied with our sins of religious chauvinism:

To us is not given to penetrate the depths of the mortal struggle to which the old olive garden was witness. But those to whom Christ is revealed in love and faith know the most important thing–He suffered for us. He absorbed into Himself the pain and curse of centuries, the gloom of human sin, experienced all the terror and hell of God’s absence. Night, devoid of hope, engulfed Him; Christ willingly descended into the abyss so that by entering it He might take us out of it and into unfading light… What was carried past His thoughtful gaze? Images of the future? Persecution, wars, violence? The apostasy of His followers, their ingratitude and lack of faith, their hardheartedness and Pharisaism?4

Father Alexander’s arguments and insights combined wisdom and scholarly competence with a humble, compassionate delight in the love of God. The process of reaching for meaning in Men, of bridging gaps that divide nations, religions, and worldviews nourished me, as did the content of Men’s book.

I returned to the States and continued, as time permitted, to work quietly on the translation. After completing the first several chapters, I realized that I needed to obtain English language rights for the book, and set out looking. A cultural historian of Russia from Washington State who was also intensely interested in Men and his legacy placed me in contact with an old friend and colleague of Men. He in turn referred me to the Alexander Men Foundation, overseers of Men’s literary estate. I sent them an e-mail, indicating that I was one-third done and asking whether I could receive permission to publish the work. Their response was enthusiastically affirmative. They had long been wondering how to ensure translation of the work, and the publisher was waiting and ready for a manuscript. Delighted at the simplification of the publication process, I began translating in earnest, completing a draft of the last portions in several intense months.

The Foundation was pleased with my regular progress updates, and the more excited they became, the more I urgently I felt the need to admit my heretical religious affiliation. My eventual confession was met with polite but considerable concern about my ability to prepare an unadulterated product. Their reluctance is certainly understandable. I have since imagined with a smile the concern on the part of the LDS Church if a devout Russian Orthodox linguist decided to translate Talmage’s Jesus the Christ into Russian. Initially, I was offended, then amused, then pensive about my responsibilities as translator. I became extremely careful to distinguish what I wished Men would say from what he in fact did say, a helpful exercise for me personally.

Their initial statement of concern was followed by a specific, very detailed interrogation of my theology. We spoke of approaches to deification–I called it “apotheosis”; they called it “Theosis”–and realized that the primary difference was not whether the event would take place, but what form it would take. While faithful Mormons are destined to be “gods,” the Orthodox are destined to be “God,” as He swallows up distinction and separation. I found in this teaching a robust notion of atonement: Christ’s incarnation made possible the absolute and complete union of humans with God. This close exploration of Trinity and Unity made it easier for me to understand why the earliest Latter-day Saints were reluctant to part with the notion of the indivisible God, why Book of Mormon language should be so suggestive of One God rather than many.

We discussed several other areas of difference and concord. Some Orthodox teachings were beautiful to me, others seemed artificial or even silly. In the end we made curious Christian bedfellows, but we decided to proceed regardless, the Orthodox Bishop who served as liaison praying that “the Holy Spirit Himself will guide us [that it might] be a blessing beyond expectation for both of us.”

To a certain extent they were right that a Mormon is a dangerous translator.5 My best efforts to eliminate the peculiarly LDS influence from the translation were not uniformly successful. My deficit was summed up in controversy over the Russian tainstvo, “ritual,” from a root meaning “secret.” The LDS have used it to translate the familiar term “ordinance” in church publications, and I readily appropriated that translation. Important it is that ritual is ordained, i.e. follows a prescribed mode in its repeated enactment. But my Orthodox friends corrected me early in the editorial process: it is more literally “mystery.” What mattered to them, even linguistically, was the mystery of it, the mystical profundity of these ritual activities. And for us, it seemed, it matters that they are prescribed. And Men educated us both, presenting these spiritual objects as mystical modes of uniting us with God, not just “contracts,” but rather transformations.

With the theological controversy resolved, the translation moved forward quickly. As I continued my work, the wisdom and sincerity of Men’s preaching continued to impress me. But I began to be affected in another way: I observed at close quarters the effect of his life and death on his spiritual community. Through this group’s relationship with its founder, I have come to appreciate the spiritual legacy of our murdered prophet, Joseph Smith.

Bishop SERAPHIM Joseph Sigrist6 was my first real contact with the community. He had become involved with the Men community through contacts within Russian Orthodoxy. Holding the blood-soaked New Testament that had failed to protect Men from his assailant moved him as no prior relics had. His enthusiastic devotion to Orthodoxy and Christianity generally were refreshing, as was his direct manner.7 He handled the question of allowing a heretic to translate Men’s work. To help educate me, he sent several beautiful icons and challenging works on Orthodox belief at his own expense. Most importantly, he introduced me to the group of Christians within and without Russia who cherished the memory of the compassionate priest. They were academics and custodians, poets and babushki, heretics and the simply devout. From all walks of life, they had converged on the preaching of this one man who brought them the good news of Christ in a manner they could understand and accept.

Shortly after my introduction to this society, the sixth anniversary of the martyrdom of Father Alexander was observed in Moscow. A report of the memoriam that was held described a woman saved from suicide by a waking vision of Men, a small group in Russia emboldened by vivid dreams of Father Alexander, and a community of spiritual children hungry for their absent father. A later report of a birthday celebration in his honor included a Venezuelan Catholic priest healed of metastatic cancer by praying to Men, musical and dance numbers created in honor of the dead saint, and a sacred but heady delight in Men’s legacy. These people were alive with charismatic, miraculous religion the way our religious forebears appear to have been. The more I reflected, the more I felt connected through this community to the Saints of the mid nineteenth century. The parallels between Men and Joseph Smith became patent in my mind, and Men’s inexorable draw became much clearer: he was, in several critical respects, an incarnation of the Mormon Prophet.

Both had led their people “out of obscurity and out of darkness,” Joseph from troubling sectarian controversy, Alexander from the atheistic dogma of Marxism-Leninism. Both the Russian and the American were intensely charismatic, drawing around them throngs of people intoxicated by their preaching and enamored of them personally. Each was something of a rebel, a religious free-thinker who resisted ecclesiastical strictures. They disrupted, in a holy way, the normal course of religion in their respective lands. Civil authorities and bigoted men sought to suppress and persecute them and through them their followers. In response, both preachers proclaimed the need for religious toleration.8 They shared a fascination with the time of the patriarchs, each claiming Jewish genealogy (Men’s mother was Jewish; Smith claimed lineage from Joseph) and engaging in careful study of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. Each translated portions of the Old and New Testaments, although Joseph Smith’s was a distinctive translation. 9 Combined with all their spiritual wisdom was a boyish exuberance: Smith’s playfulness is well known, and Men was loved for his cheering renditions of folk songs on guitar and his voluble laughter. Neither was a stranger to good jokes. Perhaps most importantly, both preached a proximate God. Men searched the depth and breadth of Christianity for signs of the intimacy of God, as did Joseph Smith. And although Smith was perhaps more taken with visions and certainly claimed more authority, both sought the nearness of God through personal spirituality. They claimed that God was currently and passionately concerned with the fate of humanity and the individuals that comprise it. And, finally, these passionately beloved saviors on Mount Zion were snatched from their spiritual progeny in a dark and unexpected instant by assailants who were never brought to justice.

Finally, as I have participated in the loss of Father Alexander, I have begun to experience the world of post-martyrdom Mormonism. In five years of work in the primary sources of Mormonism, I have never really appreciated the pathos of the years of exodus and adjustment. Now I think I feel it. We had taken on the world, brazenly confident that our cause would win, that God would allow us imminent victory. And here we lay broken. But it wasn’t just that. God had been with us, had walked among us. We had touched and seen and heard his angel, the Prophet. Hollow, sad, disconsolate, we (and they) struggled to restore the presence of God, the Eternal which had failed to protect our prophets and had vanished with their deaths.

Men himself (I wonder how prophetically) placed in prose the sentiments I have learned from his community when he described the emotional state of the post-crucifixion Christians:

[E]ven more than fear of persecution and pangs of conscience, they were haunted by the thought that the Son of Man had been taken from them. He, Who walked with them along the green hills beside the lake, Who was so good and powerful, [Who] promised to bring His disciples into the Kingdom of God, now lay breathless. They would no longer hear the familiar words “truly, truly I say to you,” would not see again the hand breaking bread. The disciples were in despair: why did God desert Him, desert them all?… But did this mean that Jesus was not the One they had taken Him for? Not the Savior of Israel and the world? And, consequently, was their faith in Him in vain; did Peter merely speak empty words when he said “You are the Messiah”? This was decisive, irremediable ruin. Their hopes and dazzling dreams were crushed. Never had people experienced a more onerous disenchantment. What remained for them to do? Run, run as fast as they could from this beastly city! Return to Galilee to their own homes and boats. Forget about the Man Who had Himself been deceived and led His simple followers into delusion…

Sad as it may be, I am united with other Christians by the loss of a shepherd. Watching a community search for direction without its loving pastor has connected me to the early LDS and the Christian community generally. I feel more acutely my own loss and appreciate its significance as a binding force among humans. And I am grateful to Father Alexander for unknowingly and posthumously teaching me.

No longer buried in the process of translating and editing, I return again to my status as an outsider to his community. I am enveloped by quotidian worries, tasks, and goals. Perhaps it has to be that way. But there are six more volumes in the series of which Son of Man was the conclusion, and sometimes, maybe, I think I’ll tackle one of them.

_______

 

1 Son of Man, Torrance, CA: Oakwood Publications, 1998, translation of Syn Chelovecheskij, Moscow: Slovo, 1992.

2 Men was hacked to death by an unknown assailant with a hatchet not far from his house just outside Moscow. It was Sunday morning, 9 Sept 1990, and he was on his way to lead services in church. He managed to drag himself home before expiring on the threshold. An investigation was called and closed inconclusively a couple months later. Many believed it had been sponsored by either the KGB or anti-Semites in Russian Orthodoxy. An accessible general biography is Yves Hamant, Alexander Men: A Witness for Contemporary Russia, Torrance, CA: Oakwood Publications, 1995. On the specifics of the murder and ensuing investigation see David Remnick, Lenin’s Tomb: the Last Days of the Soviet Empire, New York: Random House, 1993, pp. 357-66; Sophia Coudenhove, “Book Based On Murder Published,” St. Petersburg Times, 179 [22 July 1996]: 7 (http://www.spb.su/times/179-180/book.html).

3 Son of Man, p. 58.

4 Son of Man, p. 179, italics mine.

5 But perhaps not the worst. By the report [personal communication] of Anna Maria Canepa Mordacci, an Italian Orthodox translator, the Italian translation of Son of Man created quite a stir when errors in translation caused portions of the book to be deemed heretical.

6 Orthodox priests assume a new name at the time of ordination. In this case, Joseph chose to be named for an 18th/19th century Russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov. Ironically the priest who introduced young Alexander to Christianity had also assumed that name.

7 Two examples of his directed questioning. When asking me about possible trips to Russia, Seraphim asked point blank: “Are you married? (one assumes that Mormons who do not mythologize are or proximally will be!)” In our exchange about the LDS religion, he noted, that his study of Brodie (whom he called a “Jacqueline Mormon”) and others led him “to conclude that if I were LDS I would take a somewhat mythological approach to my faith rather than literal.”

8 Interestingly, as I was preparing the final draft for the printer, the Russian Federation adopted xenophobic legislation banning the activity of foreign churches. Men and his spiritual offspring are the people who set the stage for the quiet indifference to this legislation which has allowed us to continue our activity in Russia. I relish the irony that a Mormon (me), now an officially outlawed heretic, carried the message of peace from the very Orthodoxy responsible for the ban on foreign religions.

9 Both also spent much energy exploring the relationships between ancient Hebrew worship and the current model. Men is particularly noted for a carefully thorough sermon on the evolution of current Christian worship from the Temple and synagogues. Smith was passionately concerned with tracing early Mormon practices to a biblical original.

Comments

  1. A reminder to all that BCC Papers offers fast publication of miscellanea from established scholars (Samuel Brown’s paper took one week from submission to publication) as well as an opportunity for peer review from junior scholars and bloggers, etc.

  2. Sam,
    I enjoyed this essay, thanks. I just now bought The Son of Man at Amazon, and look forward to reading it.
    In your footnote 7, I chuckled at the reference to a “Jacqueline Mormon.”
    That calls to mind other possibilities: A “Jacques (or Jacques Cousteau) Mormon,” a “Jock Mormon,” etc.

  3. Christopher Smith says:

    A beauiful essay. Thank you.

  4. Fascinating.

  5. Outstanding.

  6. Joshua Madson says:

    Look forward to reading the book. gr8 essay

  7. Samuel Brown says:

    Thanks for the kind words. It really was a privilege to participate in honoring Fr. Men. The one thing I left out of the essay is the fact that I was so scared of introducing Mormon heresy that I opted for a very literal translation, for those of you about to read it. In addition, Men intended this as a broad introduction to Christ’s life for the uninitiate. Happy reading.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    Thank you for sharing this fascinating experience with us, Sam.

  9. Sam,

    It’s been several years since I thought about this translation. It was very interesting to read the thoughts about your work.

  10. Dear Samuel Brown,

    I did not spend a l ong time understanding the essay since my reason for finding it was due to query I entered “Jesus the Christ in Russian” and this article appeared. Am I to understand that such a translation actually exists? ANd if so who is the author and can I speak to that person? I am very interested in obtaining such a translation if possible.

    Thank you,
    Boyd
    (Palmyra, NY)

  11. Jay Mann says:

    MANUSCRITOS DO MAR MORTO (QUMRAN)

    Numa manhã de inverno de 1946-1947, três pastores beduínos (nômades do deserto) da tribo Ta’amireh, que estavam com seu rebanho ali, quando à procura de algumas cabras, percebe duas aberturas na rocha. Ao tampar pedras pela abertura da rocha, ouve barulho de cerâmica quebrando. Dois dias após entrou na caverna, encontrando uma série de jarros. Assim começaram a ser encontrados os manuscritos.

    Os trabalhos de escavações iniciaram em 15 de fevereiro de 1949 e terminou em 21 de março de 1958. Onze grutas, seis escavadas no flanco do terraço e cinco na base da falésia.

    O primeiro manuscrito do Mar Morto foi encontrado no Cairo, Egito. Foi recuperado em 1897 numa guenizáh, local em uma sinagoga onde se guardam cópias de textos sagrados em desuso. O Documento de Damasco (ou Fragmentos Zadoqueus). A obra é dividida em uma Exortação e uma lista de Estatutos. Foi escrito por volta de 10 a.C..

    Os manuscritos bíblicos encontrados em Qumran abrangem toda Bíblia hebraica, exceto o livro de Ester e, são aproximadamente mil anos mais antigos do que o mais velho códice.

    Um dos primeiros manuscritos retirados das grutas próximas ao sítio de Qumran foi a Regra da Comunidade. Este documento de onze colunas apresenta poucas lacunas e está em bom estado de conservação. Na gruta 4 foram descobertos também outros manuscritos fragmentários da mesma regra.

    A comunidade do Mar Morto (ou Qumran) foi estabelecida ali no século II a.C., que sobreviveu por cerca de dois séculos ou mais.

    A maioria dos manuscritos está em pergaminho, o restante em papiro.

    Além dos manuscritos hebraicos, foram encontrados gregos e aramaicos. Os gregos são fragmentos de Êxodo, Levítico, Números e Deuteronômio. Há fragmentos dos Targuns de Levítico e Jó.

    Os manuscritos concordam com o texto massorético e, indicam a existência de “protomassoréticos” entre os séculos I-III a.C..

    Onze grutas , seis escavadas no flanco do terraço, cinco na base da falésia.

    Os lotes mais significativos provêem das grutas 1Q, 4Q, 11Q.

    4Q, o maior número de manuscritos de sete grutas, estas agrupadas em áreas próximas ao Qirbet Qumran. As outras quatro grutas, estão agrupadas em áreas ao norte.

    Na 1ª gruta, sete manuscritos. Várias obras sectárias. Dois manuscritos do livro de Isaías, um terceiro é comentário de Habacuque. Os quatro últimos rolos receberam nomes de acordo com seu conteúdo: Apócrifo de Gênesis, Regra (ou Manual de Disciplina), Regra da Guerra dos Filhos da Luz contra os Filhos da Trevas, e Hinos.

    OS ESCRITOS

    O PRECEITO DA COMUNIDADE (1QS)

    Descoberto na caverna 1, as onze colunas deste manuscrito, relativamente bem conservadas, foi publicado pela 1ª vez em 1951. Importantes fragmentos de outros manuscritos do Preceito, contendo algumas versões diferentes, também forma encontrados nas cavernas IV e V.

    O manuscrito principal leva a marca da modificação editorial. Principalmente a seção que abrange as colunas VIII-IX foi submetida a alteração e é consideravelmente resumida em um dos manuscritos fragmentários.

    O Preceito da Comunidade é provavelmente um dos documentos mais antigos da comunidade; sua composição original pode datar de 100 a.C..

    Contém trechos de cerimônias litúrgicas, estatutos referentes a iniciação no grupo, à vida comum, organização e disciplina, um código penal e uma dissertação poética sobre os deveres fundamentais do Mestre e seus discípulos.

    PRECEITO DE DAMASCO (CD)

    Fragmentos extensos fora recuperados de três cavernas de Qumrã. Duas cópias incompletas deste documento foram encontradas em 1896-7, em meio a uma grande quantidade de manuscritos jogados num depósito (guenizá) de uma velha sinagoga do Cairo, Egito.

    Datando do século X e XII respectivamente, os manuscritos encontrados no Cairo.

    O titulo Preceito de Damasco deriva das referências na Exortação à “Nova Aliança” feita na terra de Damasco. É sugerido que este documento tenha sido escrito por volta de 10 a.C..

    O PRECEITO DA GUERRA (1QM, 4QM)

    Este manuscrito da caverna 1 apareceu pela primeira vez em 1954, com as dezenove colunas muito mutiladas.

    Muitos fragmentos de mais seis manuscritos foram descobertos na caverna 4 e publicados em 1982. Alguns deles refletem basicamente o texto da caverna 1.

    Trata-se de um escrito teológico, e a guerra mencionada simboliza a luta eterna entre os espíritos da Luz e das Trevas.

    A data de sua composição deve ser situada provavelmente nas últimas décadas do primeiro século a.C., ou no início do primeiro século d.C..

    PERGAMINHO DO TEMPLO (11QT)

    Descoberto em 1956 na caverna 11, este documento só emergiu semi-clandestinamente durante a “Guerra dos Seis Dias”, em junho de 1969.

    Este é o manuscrito mais longo de Qumran, com mais de oito metros e meio de comprimento. Existem fragmentos deste documento nas cavernas 4 e 11. Na sua forma original consistiu de sessenta e sete colunas.

    A maior parte do Pergaminho trata do Templo, edifício e mobília., cultos, especialmente os sacrifícios nos sábados e festas.

    A maior parte da legislação depende direta ou indiretamente de Levítico, Êxodo, e especialmente de Deuteronômio.

    Pode ser datado no II a.C., dizem que fragmentos não publicados da caverna 4 podem ser datados da metade do século III a.C..

    4Q181

    O primeiro fragmento de um documento da caverna 4 que seu editor deixou sem título. Descreve de modo semelhante ao Preceito da Comunidade, os respectivos destinos dos amaldiçoados e dos escolhidos.

    HINOS. (1QH)

    Este manuscrito sofreu bastante com a deterioração. Foi contado vinte e cinco composições semelhantes aos Salmos bíblicos. Os dois temas fundamentais são exaltação e conhecimento.

    Com relação a data, o máximo que se pode dizer que esta coleção atingiu sua forma definitiva durante o último século pré-cristão.

    MANUSCRITOS DOS SALMOS ( 11QPsª )

    Encontrado na caverna 11, incompleto, contém seis poemas.
    Os próprios salmos pertencem provavelmente ao século II a.C. no máximo, mas podem ser também do século III a.C..

    AS PALAVRAS DAS LUZES CELESTES (4Q504)

    Preservadas em três manuscritos fragmentados da caverna 4. São ordenanças para os dias da semana, repletas de reminiscências bíblicas.

    É datado dos meados do século II a.C..

    O PERGAMINHO DE COBRE 3Q15

    Descoberto em 1952. Devido a sua oxidação, foi necessário cortá-lo em 23 tiras, após minuciosa preparação. Foi constatado que se tratava de 3 folhas de cobre, cada uma medindo 30 por 80 centímetros, duas das quais tinham ainda seus lados unidos por rebites, constituindo o maior dos dois rolos. Parece que os dois rolos deviam estar primitivamente fixados um ao outro por essas duas extremidades. O pergaminho é feito de um cobre de extraordinária pureza, com cerca de 1% apenas de estanho.

    O texto gravado, em caracteres hebraicos quadrados, sobre essa tira de cobre, que tem, no total, um comprimento de 2,40 metros. Estava ali uma lista de sessenta e quatro locais de tesouros ocultos. Não tem introdução, nem ornamentos, apenas enumera um após outro, normalmente começando com uma frase preposicional, seguida de uma das localizações, depois a quantidade dos objetos de valor é informada. A maior parte do material oculto constitui-se de ouro e prata. As quantidades são grandes, sendo medidas em termos de talentos.

    Entre as muitas peculiaridades do chamado “Pergaminho de Cobre”, é a existência de grupos de duas ou três letras gregas que se seguem a sete dos lugares. Tais grupos, KeN, XAG, HN, Qe, DI, TP e SK, não são palavras ou abreviações conhecidas

    KITTIM

    Ligado ao final da história de Qumran, temos os Kittim, que trataremos resumidamente. O termo Kittim em sua origem descreve os habitantes de Kition, uma colônia fenícia em Chipre. Josefo já diz que são os que viviam em todas ilhas e a maioria dos países marítimos. Já em 1º Macabeus o autor identifica-os com os Macedônios. Sua identificação está baseada na suposição que a Pérsia é identificada com o reino Assírio. Tendo a Assíria conquistado a Pérsia.

    Outra identificação que é feita, está no livro de Daniel, onde os Kittim poderiam ser identificado com os Romanos (Daniel 11:29-30). O autor do livro dos Jubileus parece identificá-los com o povo que viveu na área da Grécia.

    Os Kittim são mencionados em sete rolos dos manuscritos do Mar Morto (Qumran), seis são escritos sectários. No Rolo ou Preceito da Guerra, são descritos como o maior inimigo da comunidade, sendo mencionados oito vez em 1QM. No Comentário de Habaquq , o posicionamento é neutro.

    Geza Vermes ressalta que o Comentário de Habaquq , o comentarista diz : “isto significa que eles fazem sacrifícios a seus estandartes e adoram suas armas de guerra” (1Qp Hab. Vi,3-5). Segundo Vermes este costume de adorar os signa era característico da religião dos exércitos romanos, como confirma Josefo em seu relato da tomada do Templo de Jerusalém por Tito em 70 d.C.

    No Pesher de Isaías, os Kittim são mencionados somente na interpretação de Isaías 10: 33-34. No Pesher de Isaías (10:28-34) narra o caminho que o inimigo marcha do nordeste para Jerusalém conquistando varias vilas. Quando o inimigo já muito próximo de Jerusalém, Deus esmagará ele e Jerusalém será redimida. No Pesher de Isaías 10, na coluna 2 linha 27 lemos: ‘quando ele vier do Vale do Acco lutar em Fil[istia]’. O inimigo avançará em Jerusalém vindo do nordeste. A redenção de Jerusalém teria sido explicada como ato divino. Neste Pesher podemos identificar os Kittim com reino Helenístico.

    Em 1º Macabeus, 4Q247, Rolo da Guerra e o Pesher de Isaías, podemos identificá-los como reinos Helenísticos.

    A COMUNIDADE

    A composição da Comunidade segundo a Regra da Comunidade (1QS VIII): “ Segundo o programa da Comunidade (haverá) doze homens e três possuidores de sacerdócio perfeitos em toda revelação em dependência de toda Lei, (destinada) a praticar a verdade, justiça, direito, amor benevolente e modéstia de conduta, cada um para com seu próximo, a conservar a fidelidade no país, com firme disposição e espírito contrito, e a expiar a iniquidade, praticando o direito e (suportando) angústia da purificação pelo fogo (fornalha), e a caminhar com todos em atitude de verdade e segundo a divisão do tempo”.

    Este é o resto fiel que obedece à Lei de Moisés e a todas as revelações particulares a Levi e a seus descendentes. Em semelhante projeto existe contestação das instituições religiosas de Jerusalém (templo, expiações, recusa do novo calendário litúrgico).

    A nova Comunidade constituirá o verdadeiro templo, no qual poderá desenvolver uma liturgia segundo a vontade divina. Viver nessa Comunidade implicará, comportar-se sempre em perfeito estado de pureza como no Templo ou até como no Santo dos Santos do Templo.

    Os três objetivos do grupo são: estabelecer a aliança segundo os decretos eternos, expiar em favor do país e dar aos maus sua retribuição.

    A Comunidade de Qumran foi solidamente estabelecida ali no século II a.C. que sobreviveu por cerca de dois séculos ou mais.

    A Comunidade, os sacerdotes eram descritos como “filhos de Sadok”, um sumo sacerdote do tempo de David.

    O ingresso na Comunidade se dava conforme consta na Regra da Comunidade (1QS VI): “Todo homem nascido em Israel, que livremente pleiteie o ingresso no Conselho da Comunidade, será examinado pelo Guardião à frente da Congregação quanto a seu entendimento e a seus atos. Se ele estiver apto para a disciplina, será admitido na Aliança para que possa ser convertido à verdade e deixar toda a falsidade. E ele (o Guardião) o instruirá em todas as regras da Comunidade. E mais tarde quando (o postulante) se postar diante da Congregação, todos deliberarão sobre seu pleito, e conforme a decisão do Conselho da Congregação ele ingressará ou será dispensado.”

    A cerimônia de admissão é marcada pelo compromisso do postulante, que o obriga a converter-se a Lei de Moisés, com as interpretações dada pela Comunidade, conforme diz a Regra da Comunidade (1QS V).

    LDS manuscripts

  12. Jay Mann, la vraie question est pourquoi vous avez laissé ce commentaire ici.

  13. I just want to type zut alors on a blog comment.

  14. Samuel Brown says:

    Boyd, I think you are looking for Talmage’s book translated into Russian. I know nothing about that. Honestly, though, you may find that Men’s book serves a similar purpose. Obviously he didn’t Mormonize Bible scholarship, and he is a bit more liberal theologically than Talmage, but he nevertheless gives a reasonable, faithful summary of Jesus’s life.

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