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Anyway, back to this entire scholarly discussion of human beings transforming into angels. There are quite a number of them that side with Simone J. Joseph. I am sure there are various interpretations in the scholarly field, @Thomas. So let's hear it.Well, this is going to be interesting then. Please share your source(s).
The key source I will be using here is Simone J. Joseph's book titled Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins: New Light on Ancient Texts and Communities. It is recent scholarship. And, no, before anybody thinks about it, he is not a fringe scholar. You can look up his credentials here on his website. And, no, I will not be taking his words out of context like I mistakenly did with Seyyed Hossein Nasr. I have carved out some time this evening to specifically address this important topic.
The Essenes are not simply one group, but they are multiple groups in various camps throughout the land. You will see why this is a good place to start the discussion in a moment. These various groups are important to keep in mind because the Damascus Document emphasizes the new covenant and includes families with children (CD 7.6-7); on the other end of the spectrum there is the more rigorous group of priests, according to the author, represented in the Rule of the Community. He suggests there could include an inner circle of twelve celibate men in this group as well (1QS 8.10-11). The author says this "temple-like" group lived in Qumran. They are called Yahad. It is this group that envisioned their community replacing the Jerusalem Temple since they believe it became corrupt in the early 2nd century BCE over a host of different issues. They had a “union-of-communities living in ‘all of their residences’ (1QS 6.1b-8) in Judea.” This community design recalls the revelation of Law to the twelve tribes at Sinai, he says. The Yahad seems to have had two divisions: the priests (Aaron) and everybody else (Israel). Here we will focus on the priests and those angels.
In these ancient texts angels are called many different things, such as gods, Angels of the Presence, and priests in the heavenly temple. The Yahad anticipated “the restoration of ‘the glory of Adam’ (1QS 4.22-23; CD 3.20; and 1QH 4.15). In 4Q171 3.1-2 the ‘inheritance of Adam’ will be made available to the community. It is ‘a crown of glory with majestic raiment in eternal light’ (1QS 4.7-8),” and he adds it is “some kind of metamorphosis,” citing Geza Verme’s work the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls. He points to 1QS 4:25. Joseph says that “initiation – with its rigorous purification rituals, holiness, esoteric knowledge, and communion with angels – had as its highest goal the transformation of its members.” Here he adds a footnote directing the reader to James H. Charlesworth’s essay “The Portrayal of the Righteous as an Angel” and Elliet R. Wolfson’s “Mysticism and the Poetic-Liturgical Compositions from Qumran: A Response to Bilhah Nitzan.” He concludes that “[t]he idea that human beings could be transformed into angels or angel-like divine human beings developed in pre-Christian circles. A number of texts found at Qumran further attest to this growing tradition . . .”
Here is one of them:
[El Elyon gave me a seat among] those perfect forever,
a mighty throne in the congregation of the gods.
None of the kings of the east shall sit in it
and their nobles shall not [come near it].
No Edomite shall be like me in glory,
and none shall be exalted save men, nor shall come against me.
For I have taken my seat in the [congregation] in the heavens,
and none [find fault with me].
I shall be reckoned with the gods
and established in the holy congregation.
I do not desire [gold], as would a man of flesh;
everything precious to me is in the glory of [my God].