Abstract

Are Tamid and Middoth Polemical Tractates?

Meir Bar-Ilan

This paper will examine the nature of these tractates in the light of various sectarian rules.

The difference between the sages and the sects in relation to the Temple is examined in the following areas:

  1. performing bodily functions on the Temple premises;
  2. entry of mourners and the excommunicated to the Temple Mount;
  3. entry of blemished priests to the Temple;
  4. wood for the Temple altar;
  5. the Water Gate;
  6. the location of the Sanhedrin in the Chamber of Hewn Stone.
These were matters of dispute between the sages and the Qumran sect and other sects. The various halakic disputes make it possible to understand how the people of Qumran were able to consider the Temple ritually unclean at the same time as the sages considered it clean: 'relative cleanliness' was the issue, i.e., some declared it unclean and others clean.

In this light it appears resonableto see Tractates Tamid and Middoth as compositions of a polemical nature, intended to reflect the halakhic views of the sages concerning the Temple Mount and worship, in contrast with sectarian views.

The electronic address of this file is:
https://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/abstamid.html

last updated: December 23, 1996