Qumran Community Leaders

            A number of authoritative figures are presented in 1QS and the Damascus Document. There is currently no scholarly consensus concerning the relative status and precise historical context for the various positions and people that are listed below:

Moreh ha-Tsedeq (the Righteous Teacher or Teacher of Righteousness): This teacher is considered to be the founder of the community. A “Moses-like” figure, he was the highest lawgiver. His office was not inherited after his death.

Mevaqqer (Examiner): This key figure is discussed extensively in both 1QS and the Damascus Document. He was responsible for examining newcomers (see 5Q13 frg. 4.1; CD XV 11), he controlled discussions during the community meetings (see 1QS VI 11-13), and he kept stock of the common storehouse (see 1QS VI 20).

Paqid(Overseer): Most likely second in authority to the Mevaqqer, his main roles seem to have been examining and judging all those who desired to become members of the sect (see 1QS VI 14). Some scholars have argued that the Paqid and the Mevaqqer are the same person since the former serves as the “head of the community” and the latter as the “head of the Many,” terms that are often used interchangeably.

Maskil (Master): The Master is a learned teacher responsible for instructing the “sons of Light” and the novices. In 1QS III 13, he teaches about the “nature of all the sons of man,” and in 1QS IX 18 he teaches “the mysteries of wonder and truth.”

ha-Kohanim (the Priests): The most respected men of the community, priests presided over all sacral ceremonies. They marched first in the communal meeting procession and were the first to taste of the pure food and wine at communal meals. Related terms include “sons of Aaron” (Aaron being the progenitor of the priestly line in Torah), and “sons of Zadok” (Zadok having been designated by Solomon as the legitimate high priest in 1Kings).

Zeqenim (Elders): The elders are mentioned only once (1QS VI 8), so it is impossible to determine their specific role. However, they are listed as following directly after the priests in the procession of the community meeting.

ha-Rabbim (the “Many”): This term designates the general membership of the Community, presided over and subject to the authority of the senior-ranking members noted above. The general rules for their orderly conduct are detailed in the IDamascus Document and the Rule of the Community.