Thursday, 10 April 2008

Rules of the Community

The Community Rule is the name given to a manuscript discovered at the Qumran Caves. It probably dates from around 100 BC and details the rules of life in a Jewish splinter community. Some of the more eye-opening ones are:

If any man has uttered the Venerable name [i.e. YAHWEH] even though frivously, or a result of shock or for any other reason whatsoever, while reading the Book or blessing, he shall be dismissed and shall return to the Council of the Community no more.

Whoever has interrupted his companion whilst speaking [shall do penance for] ten days.

Whoever has lain down to sleep during an Assembly of the Congregation [shall do penance for] thirty days.

Whoever has guffawed foolishly shall do penance for thrirty days.

Whoever has drawn out his left hand to gesticulate with it shall do penance for ten days.

1 comment:

Dave Clancey said...

Brilliant - but surely there must be more. How about 'whoever does not guaffaw at the ministers joke shall do pennance for 20 days'