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Re: Sects

At 02:46 PM 5/22/96 -0400, you wrote:
>If different manuscripts represent different sects, then does this not imply
>different occupants of Qumran- or must we understand that all the differing
>views were "imported" to the caves (but by whom and why?).
>Jim West
>Professor of Biblical Languages
>Petros TN 37845

I know this is an "old" thread, and I'm a bit disappointed that there wasn't
more response, so I'll throw in some thoughts of mine to stir the pot with. 

First, different manuscripts per se don't imply different sects, unless the
community had some thought police who felt it necessary to control what was
read. More probative would be evidence regarding which manuscripts had been
copied at Qumran, vs imported from somewhere else. This is partly a
paleographic exercise, requiring identification of different scribal hands,
and dating by means of writing styles. That is, manuscripts worthy of being
copied should reveal sectarian tendencies more than manuscripts imported
(for perhaps a variety of purposes).

Is your question really about the simultaneous presence of more than one
sect at Qumran? If so, I would look for:
(1) Differences in manuscript provenance (e.g., different sects stored their
manuscripts in different caves.) As an extension of this argument, I would
also look for differences in the type of jars the manuscripts were stored
in; however, a lack of differences might be meaningless.
(2) Differences in scribal hands (It would be odd for one scribe to belong
to more than one sect).
(3) Differences in manuscript contents given (1) and (2) above.

Does this help any? These are just some thoughts of a lay amateur, as you
can see from my signature below. Meanwhile, if you have come to any
conclusions of your own,  I would be interested.

Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
Research Specialist, Sr.
American Indian Rehabilitation Research & Training Center
P.O. Box 5630
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5630
Voice phone (520) 523-1342
FAX (520) 523-9127