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Thank you for your many interesting comments. At the risk of rehashing old
debates (since I am new to this forum), in light of your comment above, is
the testimony of the DSS valuable only for the viewpoint of an extremist
sect, or does it also have value for understanding mainstream Judaism ca.
30-70 C.E.?


     Yes and no. The material is very much earlier. Though it reveals alot
about later sectarian development, it is as mainsteam as it is "extreme".
They do though reflect the ways of their times.      Certainly with the
mention of Alexander Jannaeus (d. 76 BC) in 4Q448, we are dealing with
"normative" beliefs of a much earlier period than 30-70 BC. Certainly
Christians and Rabbis would have been mentioned otherwise. And since
Jannaeus was mentioned and praised, he was not part of the R. Teacher/W.
Priest drama. He was later. But Schiffman relates in his book that the the
DSS are very spread out date wise (pp 31-35). 
     As I said the scrolls should have been tested as separate loci, and all 
tested w/ C14. And the jars by TL method. We would see a better coorelation
between the age of the scroll as opposed to the jar it was found in. As far
a I know there was no C14 test done on the Habakkuk commentary, for example. 
But Schiffman does stress the reliability of the paleographic age of these
     I believe the DSS reflect mostly a value system(s) of the Maccabean
period. But looking at Schiffman's chart on p. 33 (adapted from BAR 17
(Nov/Dec. 1991), we are dealing with material spanning from about 400 BCE to 
150 AD, via select C14 dates on certain scrolls. 
     I would ask "Why were not all the scrolls tested and why only the C14
dating method, and no TL dating on the jars?" Though these tests cost, the
money can be easily raised. These test are not that expensive considering
the value of the finds. Even if the tests, though not likely, would cost
several million dollars, it is money well spent. If prehistorians can do it
on Neolithic remains on their small budgets, why can't Biblical historians
come up with these funds?      I hear they are going to use genetic tests on 
the skins to see if they can match goat and sheep skins, so as to better
sort the fragments. Is this cheaper? Why hasn't the most fundamental battery 
of tests been done first? I am very frustrated with much that has not been
done date wise concerning the scrolls.  
  But I should say again that the dates, 30-70 AD would reflect the latest
"stratification" of the scrolls. For normative Judaism of that period I
would consult early Rabbinic literature such as the Mishnah and the Pirke

Lechem ben HaAri

AKA: Brad Harrison
Phila. Pa
BA MA Gratz College