An Essenian Tradition in the Koran

The question that I propose to address is undoubtedly rather new. The question of the Jewish influence on nascent Islam is not. As early as 1833 Abraham Geiger' posed it dramatically in a small book, very remarkable for the period and, since then, it has been taken up again so many times. Suffice it to cite here the works of Hirschfeld,2 of Speyer3 or of Torrey.4 The author of a relatively recent study does not hesitate in concluding: "the influence of Judaism on Early Islam must have been very considerable, if not decisive."5 Our study thus rejoins all a line of research that goes way back.

One may remark nevertheless: Essenians have scarcely been touched on in this discussion. More precisely, they have been referred to by fluke, to the extent that one is believed to have revealed the influence of JudeoChristian sects on Islam in its early stages. Thus Renan believed that by its doctrine of the true prophet, Islam was connected to "Esseno-ebionism."6 It is thus through this channel of Judeo-Christianity that one imagined that the Essenians could have exerted their influence over Islam. We are not in any way thinking of excluding this possibility. Judeo-Christianity is one of the legitimate heirs of the Essenes. It could very well have played here this role of an intermediary. It is nonetheless true that, as far as the origins of Islam are concerned, one has scarcely thought of the Essenes as such. Without doubt, in the time of Renan, it would have been rash to conjecture direct relations between Islam and the Essenes, while the sources of information on the Jewish sect amounted to, essentially, the brief accounts in Philo and Josephus.7 Now that, through the discoveries of the Dead Sea, our knowledge of the Essenes has been totally revitalized, new possbilities present themselves to the critic. As early as 1950, Father Roland de Vaux noted in various Arab writers traces of the Essenians hidden under the name of Magharia.8 This lead has been followed since by several others.9 But it is possible, it is useful, it is, we believe, necessary to go further back. Can one see in the Koran itself some traces of strictly Essenian influence ? Certain preliminary probes give a glimpse of the riches of the terrain whose exploration should be carried out on an equal footing by a specialist in Qumran studies and an informed Islamologist.10

We shall deliberately limit ourselves here to one Essenian tradition that we should like to show was taken up again by the Prophet.

The point of departure for this research was provided by Psalm 151. Everyone is aware that the Hebrew Psalter comprises 150 psalms. The Greek version, called the Septuagint, has 151. This Psalm 151 is also found to be the first psalm of a collection of five psalms preserved in Syriac and attributed to David. M. Dupont-Sommer was so kind as to suggest, in 1958, that I study them. The Essenian character of the collection struck me immediately. In an article published some months later, I gave evidence of the Esssenian origins of these pslams from which I noted down the typical Qumranian expressions." In 1963 a young American scholar, J. A. Sanders, published the Hebrew text of Psalm 151,12 then, the following year, published the Hebrew text of the second and third psalms of the Syriac collection, all found in Cave 11 at Qumran.13 This discovery brought to bear an unexpected confirmation of the thesis I had maintained some years earlier. It goes without saying, however, that the original of the first three psalms being now known, my article needs several revisions and corrections.

Psalm 151 posed a special problem. On reading it attentively, such as it had been transmitted to us in Greek and Syriac, one noticed nothing there, in contrast to the four others, that reflected the mystical conceptions of the sect and its own particular vocabulary. I concluded: "This psalm contains nothing typically Essenian."14 This conclusion, perfectly legiti mate when only considering the Greek and Syriac texts, must now, however, be abandoned. The original Hebrew of Psalm 151 comprises, in effect, a certain number of phrases that are absent in the Greek and Syriac versions, without doubt because they had been deliberately edited out from the original Hebrew by a copyist, who had acted as a censor. These sentences find their best explanation in the Essenian origin of the psalm.' 5

Let us to quote this fundamental text:16 Psalm 151.

Mountains and hills, trees and herds! The author of the Qumran psalm took his inspiration here undoubtedly from a canonical psalm, Ps. 148:7-8:

It is important to recognize the biblical source of the Qumranian psalm, but the essential is elsewhere. As Sanders saw perfectly well and as DupontSommer has magisterially demonstrated, there is in these lines-the trees appreciated my words and the herd my poems-a clear allusion to the legend of Orpheus charming the trees and the herds18 with songs from his lyre. It is this David-Orpheus that we meet again on the frescoes of the synagogue of Doura19 and in the miniatures of numerous Christian psalters.20

Perhaps we should even ask in the future if the use of the Orphic myth among the Essenians is limited to the revival of a single theme: that of "Orpheus among the animals."21

We can now open the Koran.22 David has an important place in it. He appears in the procession of the servants of God,23 and is, most often, accompanied by Solomon.24 It is true that the father and the son are united to one another by a common wisdom. David, for the Koran, is first of all a man of wisdom. Thus we read in Sura XXXVIII.20: "We made his kingdom strong, and gave him wisdom (hikma), and discriminating judgment." Similarly, in Sura XXI.79: "We made Solomon understand the case, and to each of them We gave judgment and knowledge."

This continuous underlining of the wisdom of David is a little surprising. According to rabbinical literature, in fact, the wisdom of David was decidedly inferior to that of his son. Let us note, nonetheless, that in the psalm scroll discovered at Qumran, David comes through as being a sage [HKM:] to whom God has given "a mind of intelligence and judg- ment."25 This initial encounter of the Koranic text and the text from Qumran is certainly not fortuitous.

Another important trait is retained in the Koran: David, adversary of Goliath. 26

Evidently, in the Koran, David also appears as the bard of God, someone to whom God has given the Psalms.27 A sura of the second Meccan period deserves to hold our special attention: XXXVIII. 18-20:

Bear with what they say, and remember our servant David so full of power and ever penitent.

We made the mountains subject to him, glorifying with him the Lord evening and morning,

And the birds gathered together around him, all were obedient to him.

This theme is taken up again in Sura XXI.79:

We made Solomon understand the case, and to each of them we gave judgment and knowledge. We caused the birds and the mountains to exalt us, along with David, and We were doers.

Likewise, in Sura XXXIV. 10:

Assuredly, We gave David grace from Us. "0 Mountains and birds, echo his psalms of praise!"

The allusion to Psalm 148 is undeniable:

The scholars, moreover, did not miss this allusion.28 But there is more in the Koranic text than a simple allusion to Psalm 148. The idea is that all of creation, subjected to David, with him give glory to the Lord. This interpretation so unusual-and which seems unknown in the rabbinical tradition-is the one that, without any doubt, appears for the first time in the Qumran psalm. The mountains that sing with David, these are the mountains attracted by Orpheus, and these birds gathered around David, these are the ones which charmed the son of Calliope.

Thus, as in the Qumran psalter, it is David-Orpheus who sings in the Koran.

Our exegesis finds astonishing confirmation in Islamic tradition. The features of David-Orpheus are going to appear, in very pronounced relief, in certain texts inspired by the Koranic passages that we have pointed out.

In the ninth century C.E., Tabari, the great Arab historian, commenting on Sura XXXIV, writes:

When the sons of Israel rallied round David, God revealed the Psalms to him, taught him ironwork and softened the iron for him, and ordered the mountains and the birds to sing along with him when he sang.

They say that God did not give to any of his other creatures a voice comparable to his. When he recited the Psalms-they say-the wild beasts came so close to him that one could take them by the neck; they listened with rapt attention to his voice. The devils have only fashioned flutes, luths and harps based on the diverse tonalities of his voice.29

Do we not find there Orpheus, the divine bard, such as Virgil describes, "charming the tigers,"30 or such as Ovid shows him, "seated in the middle of a circle of wild beasts and a multitude of birds"?31 There are numerous monuments decorated with figures that represent Orpheus playing the lyre. Around him are assembled the most diverse kind of animals, the lion, the tiger, the serpent; birds among which we recognize the peacock, the eagle, the dove.32 Should we perhaps point out that in the Arabic text of Tabari there is no mention of birds? They are found, however, in the Persian version of his chronicle: "God had given David a beautiful voice, so that he sang the psalms with melodies of such beauty, that no one had ever heard its like. Now, when David began singing the praises, the birds of the sky would come and place themselves around his head and listen."33

The person of David-Orpheus is found again even in Sufism. In the eleventh century Hujwiri, a Persian author, treating the principles of hearing, wrote in his Kashf al-Mahjub:34

You must know that the principles of audition vary with the variety of temperaments, just as there are different desires in various hearts, and it is tyranny to lay down one law for all. Auditors (mustami`dn) may be divided into two classes: (1) those who hear the spiritual meaning, (2) those hear the material sound. There are good and evil results in each case. Listening to sweet sounds produces an effervescence (ghalayan) of the subtance moulded in Man: true (hagq) if the substance be true, false (basil) if the substance be false. When the stuff of the man's temperament is evil, that which he hears will be evil too. The whole of this topic is illustrated by the story of David, whom God made His viceregent and gave him a sweet voice and caused his throat to be a melodious pipe, so that wild beasts and birds came from mountain and plain to hear him, and the water ceased to flow and the birds fell from the air. It is related that during a month's space the people who were gathered round him in the desert ate no food, and the children neither wept nor asked for milk; and whenever the folk departed it was found that many had died of the rapture that seized them as they listened to his voice: one time, it is said, the tale of the dead amounted to seven hundred maidens and twelve thousand old men. Then God, wishing to separate those who listened to the voice and followed their temperament from the followers of the truth (ahl-i haqq) who listened to the spiritual reality, permitted Iblis to work his will and display his wiles. Iblis fashioned a mandoline and a flute and took up station opposite to the place where David was singing. David's audience became divided into two parties: the blest and the damned. Those whe were destined to damnation lent ear to the music of Iblis, while those who were destined to felicity remained listening to the voice of David. The spiritualists (ahl-i ma°ni) were conscious of nothing except David's voice, for they saw God alone; if they heard the Devil's music, they regarded it as a temptation proceeding from God, and if they heard David's voice, they recognized it as being a direction from God.... 35

So, then, from the mountains and the plains the wild beasts and birds came to listen to David, and at the sound of his voice the water ceased to flow, and the birds fell from the sky. Under the features of this David, is it not Orpheus who is once again revealed to us? For proof I only want the text of Seneca:

At the sound of the voice of this poet the roar of the rapid torrent stopped, and forgetting to follow its course, the water lost its impetuous spring; when the rivers stopped thus the distant Bistonians thought the river Hebrus had dried up at the home of the Getes. The forest itself brought to him its birds and the dwellers of the wood came to him: those who were flying about in the air, on hearing his melodies, fell betrayed by their force.36

All the traits applied by Seneca to Orpheus in Hujwlrl are attributed to David. Not only are the wild beasts and the birds charmed by the words of one (David) and the other (Orpheus), not only do the rivers stop flowing for one (David) and the other (Orpheus), but further still the birds fall from the sky at the feet of David and Orpheus, who, here, are but one.

Not only do Tabari and Hujwiri reproduce the portrait of DavidOrpheus, but on one point they have even modified it. It is just that all borrowing is never mechanical and implies appropriation and transformation. While there was not the slightest allusion in the suras from which they drew their inspiration to an instrument of music, the one and the other mention one. They attribute to the devils the invention of the flute, the harp and the lute. The explanation for it is no doubt to be found in a certain austerity that rejects the instrument in order to keep just the human voice. But, in our context, this explanation is not entirely satisfactory. The Arab and Persian authors must have known of a tradition that attributes the gift of the harp or the cither to the divine bard. In fact, we know that Orpheus, without having invented the harp, had perfected it in adding to it one or two cords, taking thus in any case the number of the latter to nine, in harmony with the number of Muses.37 Perhaps even the author of Psalm 151 made of David the inventor of the harp, when he shows David fashioning with his own hands his instrument.

The fact that the allusions to the legend of Orpheus are even more clear and precise in the tradition than in the Koran poses a very delicate problem. One could admittedly think that the commentators, having recognized in David the Thracian poet, had added to the portrait of the Koranic David-Orpheus. This explanation cannot be rejected outright, but it remains insufficient. To take here only the case of Tabarl, we could show that this compiler had access to truly Essenian sources and that he had very likely known Pslam 151.

This psalm, let us recall, consists of two parts. The first is perfectly perserved: We quoted it earlier. Of the second part, we only possess fragments of the first two lines:

Beginning of the great [de]eds [?] of David, after the prophet of God had anointed him.

While I [heard] a Philistine who defied the [Israeli lines ... ].

The subject of this second part of the psalm is thus the battle between David and Goliath. So, in the same psalm, David appears under the features of the poet of Greek mythology and those of the adversary of Goliath. If the original Hebrew of this second part of the psalm is unfortunately lost, the version of the Septuagint, the Syriac version, and the Vetus latina allows us to restore it in part. The text of the Vetus latina is particularly interesting. One reads (Ps. 151:6-7):

In a manuscript in Augsbourg to which Dupont-Sommer has drawn attention with his usual perspicacity, we find after: "I went to meet the stranger, and he cursed me with his idols"-that is to say after verse 6-a verse that does not figure either in the Septuagint version or the Syriac one, or in the other manuscripts of the Vetus latina: "And I hurled against his forehead three stones, by the strength of the Lord, and I felled him."38 This sentence is obviously inspired by the account in 1 Samuel 17; it is evident that it is well placed in the psalm between verse 6, which shows David advancing to meet the Philistine, and verse 7, which shows him severing the head of his adversary: between these two actions, the psalmist could hardly avoid showing David striking Goliath from his sling. Dupont-Sommer rightly concludes then that "the manuscript of Augsbourg restores to us, here, it seems, something of the original Hebrew."39

One point to note: the book of Samuel talks of five stones that David gathered in a torrent, and it was with only one stone that he killed the Philistine. According to rabbinical tradition, these five stones were amalgamated into one.40 According to the tradition retained in the Augsbourg manuscript, and thus without doubt the original Hebrew of Psalm 151, it is with three stones this time that David killed Goliath. Now, this Midrashic Essenian tradition is the same one that Tabari knew and which he refers to and explains in his commentary on the Koran for the battle of David and Goliath (Sura 11.252). Let us note at once that in his commentary, Tabari, just like the author of Psalm 151, makes of David-Orpheus the adversary of the Philistine: "David said to his father:... I do not hurl stones from my sling against something without bringing it down; ... I penetrated between the mountains and I found a lion lying down; I mounted it and I held it by its ears; it did not get up; ... I walk between the mountains and I sing; then there does not remain one mountain that doesnot sing with me."41 Tabari presents David in this way: "David was a stocky man, of pale complexion, with sparse hair. He had a pure heart. His father said to him: `My child, we have prepared a meal for your three brothers, so that they can find the (necessary) strength to fight the enemy; take it to them. As soon as you have taken it to them, come back to me quickly.' He said, `Yes.' Then he left carrying the meal of his brothers, his sack, in which he put stones and his sling which he used to defend his herd of sheep, slung over his shoulders. On the way, a stone said to him: `O David, take me, put me in your sack; you will kill Goliath through me; for I am the stone of Jacob.' He picked it up and put it in his sack and continued walking.; another stone said to him: `O David, take me, put me in your sack; you will kill Goliath through me; for I am the stone of Isaac.' He picked it up and put it in his sack and continued walking; a third stone said to him: `O David, take me, put me in your sack; you will kill Goliath through me; for I am the stone of Abraham.' He picked it up and put it in his sack and continued walking."42 The time for the combat came: "David put the three stones in his sling. He said in putting the first: `In the name of my father Abraham' ; the second: `In the name of my father Isaac'; the third: `In the name of my father Israel.' After having whirled the sling round, the stones became just one."43

But let us leave Tabari and Hujwiri there. Their testimony confirms our exegesis, which discovers a David-Orpheus in the Koran. How do we account for this strange presence in the holy book?

"We made the mountains and the birds exalt us with David." It is right that we recognized there an echo of Psalm 148. But there is more here, as we have seen, than a simple recollection of the biblical text, however clearcut it may be. The Koranic texts take up again the Qumranian interpretation of Psalm 148-interpretation confirmed in Psalm 151: all of creation glorifies the Lord with David, the new Orpheus. That is to say that the Prophet [Muhammad] had known Psalm 148 elucidated by an Essenian exegetical tradition. This does not necessarily imply-but does not exclude eitherthat he had knowledge of Psalm 151 itself. We are thus led to inquire into the character of the Psalter that Muhammad could have known.

In the Koran, the only specific quotation from the Psalter indeed of the entire Old Testament is found to be a quote from Ps. 37:29. One reads, in effect, in a sura of the second Meccan period (XXI.105): "Our righteous servants shall inherit the earth." The verse from the psalm is taken up again in VII. 128 "Moses said to his people: `Ask for help from God and be patient! The earth is God's, and He gives it to those of His servants whom He chooses. The issue ultimate is to the godfearing.' But this verse of Psalm 37 has scarcely occupied the attention of the rabbis, who cite it rarely.44 On the other hand, it had certainly received in the Essenian milieu a special interpretation. Already, the verse of the psalm is cited in the book of Enoch (5:7): "And for the chosen, there will be light, and joy and peace, and they will inherit the earth."45 But there is more. The discoveries at Qumran have given us a Commentary on Psalm 37. Verse 29, quoted in the Koran, falls unfortunately in a gap. Fortunately, verses 9b and 11, with a very similar meaning, have been preserved for us, as well as their commentary. Here is the text:

But those put their hope in God, those are the ones who will inherit the earth (v. 9b). The explanation of the latter is that those are the Congregation of His chosen ones, who carry out His will ... But the humble will possess the earth and rejoice in a perfect happiness (v.11). The explanation of this verse concerns the Congregation of the Poor, who accept the time of affliction and will be delivered from all the snares of Belial, and then they will rejoice in all the pleasures of the earth, and all affliction will be expelled from the flesh.46

The communal and eschatological interpretation of Psalm 37 given by the Qumranian Commentary thus prefigures and prepares that held by the Koranic text.

Would Muhammad have gotten these traditions, and others still, from a group of Jews, precisely-in a word, let us admit it-from the Essenians, in Mecca first, perhaps in Medina afterward?

The hypothesis is permissable. We have been inquiring for a long time into the origins of the Jews that Muhammad had met in Arabia. Who were they? Where did they come from? When they did they arrive? This immigration undoubtedly stretched out over the course of centuries. Some Jews could have settled in Arabia early on, right from sixth century B.C.E.47 Others, and the idea is Noldeke's, would have arrived much later, fleeing the Roman legions, which in 70 C.E., under the command of Titus, were to take possession of Jerusalem.48 Among these refugees, there were certainly some Essenians who had abandoned the site of Qumran. Certain others fled into Transjordan and mixed with the Judeo-Christians,49 others emigrated to Arabia. Up to the 7th century C.E., they kept their traditions alive, and were able to exercise an influence over nascent Islam.

Thus, we are faced with a problem whose elements are totally new: what is the part of the Essenians in the origins of Islam? Here again, the manuscripts of Qumran will thoroughly disperse the obscurities and will decidedly bring some illumination.


1. A. Geiger, Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? (Bonn, 1833), reprinted in The Origins of the Koran, ed. Ibn Warraq (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1998).

2. H. Hirschfeld, Judische Elemente im Koran (Berlin, 1878); Beitrage zur Erklarung des Koran (Leipzig, 1886); New Researches into the Composition and Exegesis of the Koran (London, 1901). [See also: A. Katsch, Judaism in Islam (New York, 1954); D.Sidersky, Les Origines des legendes musulmanes dans le Coran (Paris, 1933); H. Speyer, Die Biblischen Erzahlungen im Qoran (Hildesheim, 1961); B.Heller, "Recits et personnages bibliques dans la legende mahometane," REJ 85 (1928): 113-36; "La legende biblique dans I'Islam," REJ 98 (1934): 1-18; P. Jensen, "Das Leben Muhammeds and die David -Sage," Der Islam 12 (1922): 84-97; I. Schapiro, Die haggadischen Elemente im erzalenden Ted des Korans, vol. 1 (Leipzig, 1907); H. Schwarzbaum, "The Jewish and Moslem Versions of Some Theodicy Legends," Fabula 3 (1959-60): 119-69; C. Gilliot, "Les "informateurs" juifs et chretiens de Muhammad. Reprise d'un probleme traite par Aloys Sprenger et Theodor Noldeke, " JSAI 22 (1998): 84-126.]

3. H. Speyer, Die Biblischen Erzahlungen im Qoran (Hildesheim, 1961).

4. C. C. Torrey, The Jewish Foundation of Islam (New York, 1933), reprinted in The Origins of the Koran, ed. Ibn Warraq (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1998).

5. S. D. Goitein, Jews and Arabs (New York, 1955), pp. 60-61.

6. E. Renan, Marc-Aurele (Paris, 1899), p. 83 n. 1.

7. See however, A. Sprenger, Das Leben and die Lehre des Mohammad, 2 (Berlin 1869),vol. 1, p. 18-21 [Josephus, (War 2.8.119-61; Antiquities, 13.5171-2; 15.10.371-9; 18.1.11, 18-22); Philo (Quod omnis probus 12-13 [75-91]; Hypothetica, in Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica 11.1-18); Pliny the Elder (Natural History 5.15.73); C. Julius Solinus, Collectanea Rerum Memora- bilium (for the latter see, C. Burchard, Revue Biblique, July, 1967]

8. R. de Vaux, "A Propos des manuscrits de la mer Morte," Revue biblique, 57 (1950): 417-29.

9. E. Bammel, "Hohlenmenschen" Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 49 (1958) 77-88; P. Kahle, The Cairo Geniza (Oxford, 1959), pp. 24-25; N. Golb, "Who Eere the Magariya?" JAOS 80 (1960): 347-59; "The Qumran Covenanters and the Later Jewish Sects, " JR 41 (1961): 38-50. On another point see H. Nibley, "Qumran and "The Companions of the Cave"," Revue de Qumran 5 (1965): 177-98.

10. I intend to carry out this research in collaboration with my colleague from Strasburg, T. Fahd. Let me point out two articles by E. F. F. Bishop, "The Qumran Scrolls and the Qur'an," Muslim World 48 (1958): 223-36; "Qumran and the Preserved Tablet (s), " Revue de Qumran 5 (1965): 253-56. The force of C. Rabin's remarks in Qumran Studies (Oxford, 1957), pp. 112-30, is diminished by his paradoxal hypothesis of the Phariseean origin of the Qumran texts.

11. M. Philonenko, "L'origine essenienne des cinq psaumes syriaques de David," Semitica 9 (1959): 35-48.

12. J. A. Sanders, "Ps.151 in 11 QPSS," ZATW 75 (1963): 73-86.

13. J. A. Sanders, "Two Non-Canonical Psalms in 11 QPs," ZATW 76 (1964): 57-75. One can now read the original Hebrew of the three psalms in the definitive edition of J. A. Sanders, The Psalms Scrolls of Qumran Cave 11 (Oxford, 1965). The publication of the Hebrew text of Psalm 151 has given rise to quiet a number of studies. Let us cite, among others, J. Carmignac, "La forme poetique du Psaume 151 de la grotte 11," Revue de Qumran 4 (1963): 371-78; W. H. Brownlee, "The 11 Q Counterpart to Psalm 151, 1-5," Revue de Qumran 4 (1963): 379-87; I. Rabinowitz, "The Alleged Orphism of 11 QPss 28, 3-12," ZATW 76 (1964): 193-200. The most important is that of A. Dupont-Sommer, "Le Psaume CLI dans II QPs a et le probleme de son origine essenienne," Semitica 14 (1964): 25-62. We shall quote Psalm 151 in this scholar's translation.

14. Philonenko, "L'origine essenienne des cinq psaumes syriaques de David," p. 37.

15. See Dupont-Sommer, "Le Psaume CLI dans II QPs a et le probleme de son origine essenienne," p. 29

16. [Philonenko gives Dupont-Sommer's translation. But there was a certain amount of controversy about this translation; see introduction for the details.]

17. [Cf. Geza Vermes's English translation: Psalm 151 A: Hallelujah. Of David, son of Jesse.]

18. Sanders, "Ps. 151 in QPSS," pp. 82-84; The Psalms Scroll of Qumran Cave 11, pp. 61-63; Dupont-Sommer, "Le Psaume CLI daps II QPs a et le probleme de son origine essenienne," pp. 37-40, 42-43, 56-61; David-Orphee (Paris, 1964).

19. E. R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period (New York, 1964), vol. 9, pp. 89-104.

20. See for example, L. Reau, Iconographie de fart chretien (Paris, 1956), vol. 2, p. 55. Note the strange miniature of the Stuttgart Psalter reproduced in G. Bandmann, Melancholie and Musik (Koln-Opladen, 1960), p. 143.

21. Here, I must draw attention to a hymn attributed to David and preserved in the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum of Pseudo-Philo. I have tried to show the Essenian origin of this text in an article entitled: "Remarques sur un hymne essenienne de charactere gnostique," Semitica 11 (1961): 43-54. In this hymn, David, through the song of his harp, overcomes the evil spirit, come from Tartarus, who was tormenting Saul. The allusion to Orpheus, conqueror by his lyre of the masters of hell, is evident. One can find there a supplementary confirmation of the Essenian origin of the hymn.

22. [M. Philonenko uses R. Blachere's French translation for his Koranic quotes (Le Coran [Paris, 1957]). I have used the translations of Dawood, Rodwell, Pickthall, Arberry, Yusuf Ali; for bibliographic details on these translation see the introduction.]

23. Suras IV.161; VI.84

24. Suras XXI.79; XXVII.15; XXXIV.10-11.

25. 11 QPs a 27, p. 4.

26. Sura 11.252

27. Suras XVII.57; IV.161

28. Cf. R. Bell, The Qur'an (Edinburgh, 1937), vol. 1, p. 311 n. 3.

29. Tabari, Tarikh, ed. M. J. de Goeje (Leiden, 1881-1882), 12, p. 562. I owe this translation of Tabari as well as the passage cited further down to my colleague and friend T. Fahd.

30. Virgil, Georgics, 4, 510.

31. Ovid, Metamorphosis, 10, 143-144.

32. Cf. A. Boulanger, Orphee (Paris), pp.149-55.

33. Tabari, Chronique, I, 91, ed. H. Zotenberg (Paris, 1867), vol. 1, p. 426.

34. [I have used R. A. Nicholson's English translation of All b. `Uthman al- Jullabi al-Hujwirl, Kashf al-Mahjub (London 1967) pp. 402-403.]

35. Hujwiri, Kashf al-Mahjub, ed. Zukovski (Leningrad, 1926), pp. 524-25. M. G. Lazard, professor at the School of Oriental Languages, Paris, willingly translated this Persian text for me. I thank him heartily here.

36. Seneca, Hercule sur l'Oeta 1036-1047, trans. L. Hermann, ed. Guillaume Bude.

37. Cf. J. Coman, Orphee, civilisateur de l'humanite (Paris, 1939), p. 27.

38. See Dupont-Sommer, "Le Psaume CLI dans II QPs a et le probleme de son origine essenienne," pp. 52-53.

39. Ibid., p.53

40. Cf. M. Grunbaum, Neue Beitrage zur semitischen Sagenkunde (Leiden, 1893), p. 192.

41. Tabari, II, p. 278, 1.12 sqq.

42. Tabarl, II, p. 275-276,1.22 sqq.

43. Tabari, II p. 278, 1.23 sqq.

44 See Strack-Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud and Midrasch (Munich, 1956), vol. 1, p. 199.

45. Cf also Matt., 5:5.

46. Translation by A. Dupont-Sommer.

47. Cf. Ben-Zvi, "Les origines de 1'etablissement des tribus d'Israel en Arabic," Le Museon 74 (1961): 143-90.

48. T. Noldeke, Beitrage zur Kenninis der Poesie der alten Araber (Hanover, 1864), pp. 52-53; cf. C. A. Nallino, "Ebrei e Cristiani nell' Arabia preislamica, " in Raccolta di scritti editi e inediti (Rome, 1941), vol. 3, p. 101.

49. Cf. O. Cullmann, The Significance of the Qumran Texts for Research into the Beginnings of Christianity, in K.Stendhal, The Scrolls and the New Testament (London, 1958), p. 282 n. 32.

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