Saturday, February 27, 2010

the problem with teenagers?

I've always assumed that I hate the mall and other locations teeming with teens and post-teens who drink Mt. Dew and still live with their parents simply because I'm getting old and irritable. I have no desire to deny my age or my temperament. But according to the Damascus Document (an ancient Jewish text included among the Dead Sea Scrolls), perhaps my distaste for all things pubescent has spiritual roots as well. Cecilia Wassen discusses the Damascus Document's exclusion of youths, among other classes of the unclean, in her essay, "What Do Angels Have against the Blind and the Deaf? Rules of Exclusion in the Dead Sea Scrolls" (Common Judaism: Explorations in Second-Temple Judaism, edited by Wayne O. McCready and Adele Reinhartz [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008], 115–29). She says,
Unlike [the War Scroll], [the Damascus Document] does include youths in its list of excluded categories. This exclusion may reflect an underlying fear of demonic affiliation. A youth has not been formally initiated yet, according to the prescriptions in [the Damascus Document]. It is revealing that the angel Mastema (an alternative name for Belial or Satan) is said to turn from a person when he takes the oath at the entrance; as the ritual reads, "On the day when a man takes upon himself an oath to return to the Torah of Moses, the angel Mastema shall turn aside from him if he fulfills his words" (CD XVI 4–5). Menahem Kister explains that the entrance ritual in itself was seen as a ritual of exorcism. Hence, youths, as not full members, were viewed as potentially being under the influence, or possession, of evil powers until the moment of their entrance (CD XVI 4–5). (127)


1 comment:

My Visual Bookshelf