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Re: Josephus's inkwells
>Greg Doudna writes:
>> By the way, what are the implications of Josephus's seal
>> found in association with De Vaux's Qumran
>> inkwells being in Greek?
>Well, if one follows maximalist canons of biblical archaeology, we
>would have to conclude that Josephus "probably" wrote the Qumran
>scrolls before he got on to bigger projects with the help of a
>proper patron: perhaps this was during his Essene days. The small
>discrepancy that he was supposed to be in prison at the time Qumran
>was destroyed can be easily explained away by assuming that one of
>his scribes was using his writing room after his arrest. This, I
>submit, is an argument that stands as well as any that connects the
>scrolls with the inkwells.
>Thomas (L. Thompson)
This is an extremely amusing explanation of scrolls origins in light of
the Josephus seal and inkwells found at Qumran. It is easy to construct
amazingly bad interpretations of history based on archaeological evidence.
For instance, in attempts to correlate the occupation levels of Qumran with
the sectarian writings, it is widely proposed that Qumran was founded by
the charismatic Teacher of Righteousness and twenty (!) or so disciples
ca. 150 BCE, and after the death (!) of the Teacher of Righteousness,
the "Essene" population at Qumran exploded to several hundred due to
an influx of Pharisees (!) ca. 100 BCE. This construction would be even
more amusing if it weren't apparently the current standard model.
(I hesitate to cite bibliography here as I don't intend to flame specific
just illustrate a point about adventuresome archaeological interpretations.)
However, returning to Thompson's indirect criticism of archaeologically-based
constructions of history: in my reading of Doudna's interesting postings,
I didn't get the impression Doudna was proposing the Josephus seal at Qumran
belonged to Josephus the historian. Perhaps a clarification is in order?