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The Community Rule, also known as 1QS. Was one of the first Dead Sea Scrolls to be reviewed by the American Society of Oriental Research (ASOR). It offers the code of conduct generally expected out of the people in the Qumran Community.
The Community Rule is divided into 5 sections:
- Introduction (1QS:1:1-3:11) which emphasizes the community and the covenant.
- Tractate of the Two Spirits (1QS:3:12-4:25) presents the dualistic nature of the sect.
- Statutes (1QS:5:1-9:11) series of laws that govern the sect
- Rules of the Master (1QS:9:12-10:4) defines rules for the leader of the community.
- The Hyman of the Master (1Qs:10:5-11:22) is a poem in the first person where the Master addresses God.
- Mentions the Sons of Light (members of the sect) and the Sons of Dark (other Jews). Any others are not mentioned so it seems as though the community was not concerned with Gentiles.
- The members of the group were volunteers who willingly submitted to the group and share their wealth.
- Warns not to deviate AT ALL from the Word of God which aligns with the Essenes being the most rigid followers of Judaism
- Offers guidance to not move the days around of the holy times (i.e. if a holiday occurs on the Sabbath you cannot change it)
- Discusses the requirements of the initiates to the group.
Tractate of the Two Spirits
- Discusses dualism - God has created a Spirit of Light and a Spirit of Darkness in each person.
- These groups are led by a "Prince of Light" and a "Prince of Darkness" respectively.
- May have drawn some of their beliefs from Zoroastrianism an ancient Persian religion.
- Explains the Essenes' belief in predetermination or predestination.
- Establishes that the priests are referred to as "Sons of Zadok" which forces leadership to be from the Jewish tribe of Levi. This might point to a disagreement with priests in Jerusalem.
- Discusses the coming of the 'Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel' - people of Israel expected a Messiah of Israel, but never is there an additional Messiah - Aaron (a priestly Messiah) until this scroll was found.
- Continues explaining the communal lifestyle of the Essenes such as eating together.
- Provides guidance on punishment by confinement for various offenses including:
- Speaking foolishly
- Interrupting another member while they are speaking
- Falling asleep during a meeting
- Exposing one's nakedness
- Spitting during a meeting
- Not using your left hand for peeing or pooping
- Discusses ritual immersion to clean yourself of impurity before even taking food in the community.
- Beliefs that immersion not only cleaned impurity but also cleaned sin and transgressions
- No references made to women in the text (This may imply that Essenes were celibate or did not allow women to partake in their rituals.