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Josephus's inkwells

Of five Qumran inkwells only De Vaux's three carry locus
and context information.  Of De Vaux's three, two came
from Locus 30 and one from Locus 31.  The two from Loc 30
were among destruction debris that fell from the second
story room with the long plaster benches.  Locus 31 is a
small sort of annex room on the second floor next to
the larger room of the first two inkwells.  All three
inkwells were interrupted in use by the destruction by
fire of c. 68 CE.  So far, so good.

But there is another relevant item of evidence which has 
not been adequately appreciated.  In the same debris in
Locus 30, same context, was found a seal inscribed in Greek
with the name "Josephus" (De Vaux, _Revue Biblique_ 61,
1954, p. 229).  Someone named Josephus was using these
inkwells.  The room heretofore called "the scriptorium"
should therefore more accurately be called "Josephus's
scribal room" and the inkwells called "Josephus's inkwells".
This is what the material evidence speaks.

However it is totally unwarranted to leap to the 
conclusion that these inkwells prove that Josephus
wrote any of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  None of the texts
in the caves are stamped with this seal of Josephus.  
No firm evidence, as distinguished from argument from
plausible scenario, has been demonstrated that the
scrolls were produced at Qumran, or as late as 68 CE.
Josephus's inkwells are not such evidence.  

Greg Doudna  :-)
Guest, University of Copenhagen

> . . . an extensive production and reproduction of manuscripts
> (exceptional are still the 5 (or 6?) ink-wells and the library 
with multiple copies) - . . .  the interpration of the "scriptorium" 
and the "tables" > are not so bad...          

> Uwe Glessmer
> (University of Hamburg)