Date of Award
Master's Essay - Restricted
Master of Arts (MA)
From the beginning man has looked up to the skies and his wonderings have produced, in time, an enormous field of physical sciences; and from the beginning man has looked inside and his meditations have produced a vast assortment of philosophies, theologies, and mythologies. Among the chief questions to be faced on the face of the external universe, and in the depths of the internal universe, are the problems of good and evil, of how they co-exist, and of how this conflict of forces will resolve itself. In a world of unscientific explanations both the cosmic and the individual universes were seen as parts of one whole; often one was considered reflector of the other. The probings of archeologists have brought to light of day early man's ways of coping with universal problems. The layout of cemeteries, and graves, in their sizes, shapes, and contents; pottery, in its textures, colors, and shapes; coinage , by its evidences of communal transactions, and its dating and inscription, all reveal the manner of life and therefore to some degree the answers given at the time to life's serious questions . But no item of archeological importance has been so valuable as t he writings of ancient peoples. By writing their thoughts men have passed on knowledge and influence over centuries in a powerful way . In tracing ancient writings, we today are able to ascertain to some degree how civilizations, and especially their views of life have carried strands of thought from the darkest, remotest days to the present . Dualism as a philosophical tenet has been one of these strands of thought. The easily observable division of the day into light and dark furnished a basic idea. That the identification of good with the day , and bad with the dark should grow is understandable. Fear of night, and lack of warmth would place night at the negative pole . Warmth , light and growth being enjoyable were plusses . From this grew an understanding of the world, of man, and what is in man, which would adapt itself to man peoples, in many times and places.
In the historical period in which the New Testament and the Qumran writings were being put down, varied philosophical and religious tenets of the time were affecting all men, from the very erudite and commercial classes, all the way to the simplest tillers of soil and slaves. An abundance of astrologies, mythologies and consequent religious practices were certainly part of the milieu of the men who at Qumran set themselves apart to live as God's elect, and of the men also who first wrote about Jesus of Nazareth. The Near East, being a natural commercial crossroads, readily became a natural cultural crossroads, and was most likely innundated (sic) by streams of every existant philosophy. A major philosophical strand running through the thought and writings of many documents of the period from the second century B.C. to the end of the first century A.D., was dualism. From the earliest times man has considered the differences in nature to be in conflict.
Lydon, Julia, "Dualism in Qumran and John" (1973). Master's Essays (1922 - ). 1392.