Mahabharata, Myth and Reality: Differing Views by Gupta SP and Ramachandran KS

By Gupta SP and Ramachandran KS

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Davies, The Damascus Covenant: An Interpretation of the “Damascus Document” (JSOT 25; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1983), 1-47. 10 See J. M. Baumgarten, “Cave IV, V, VI Fragments Related to the Damascus Document (4Q266-273 = 4QDa-h, 5Q12 = 5QD, 6Q15 = 6QD,” In The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations. Damascus Document, War Scroll, and Related Documents (eds. J. H. Charlesworth with J. M. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck]; Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995), 59-79; idem, “Damascus Document,” EDSS 1:166-70.

J. ” RevQ 1/1 (1958): 81; See also, J. Neusner, Rabbinic Literature & the New Testament: What We Cannot Show, We Do No Know (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 1994). 67. 69 70 THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT 41 proach to inanimate objects, as we have seen above, it stands to reason that the author/redactor would have followed the lead of Num 19:14 and ruled that a person entering a house containing a corpse would have been rendered unclean. Furthermore, if the author/redactor of the Damascus Document subscribed to this ruling, then it is also reasonable to assume that he would have believed in the necessity and efficacy of the Red Heifer rite to cleanse an individual from corpse contamination.

Num. 126. THE DAMASCUS DOCUMENT 37 According to this passage, when a man or woman dies in a tent their corpse releases an invisible yet powerful form of impurity that is 58 trapped by the roof of the tent. Subsequently, any person or object coming under the roof of a contaminated tent would have contracted corpse impurity for seven days; the only exception to this rule being sealed vessels whose lids would have prevented a vessel’s interior and contents from becoming contaminated (Num 19:15). Once rendered impure, the only way that a person or object could be cleansed was to be sprinkled with water containing the ashes of the Red Heifer (Num 19:18).

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