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Re: Josephus's inkwells
> If there are no inkstains in the inkwell, how does one know for sure that it
> was an inkwell? It may have the potential of being an inkwell, but that's
> beside the point.
With respect for Jay Treat's report of seeing
no ink stains in one of the inkwells, first, Jay
also said he could not see all of the inside,
and second, one of the Locus 30 inkwells found
by De Vaux had dried ink according to De Vaux's
report. Here is De Vaux in 1954 (Rev Bib 61, 212),
on both the ink and the Josephus seal (my
"There has been recovered, among the debris,
two inkwells [in Locus 30] which are of a
type known in the Roman period from discoveries
in Egypt and Italy. One of them still
contained dried ink. Is it not suitable to
consider the tables and the inkwells as the
tools of a scriptorium? . . ."
On the seal (p. 229):
"In locus 30, period II, a seal of baked earth
was found, inscribed with the name JOSIPOS
[Greek letters] . . ."
I tried to find a photo of the Josephus seal in the
Brill microfiche set but could not locate it. There
was a photo of this seal published in the Baigent and Leigh
book, presumably from the Allegro photographs (maybe
it is in George Brooke's edition of the Allegro
There is of course no basis to connect this seal
with Josephus the historian of the same name.
But there is a very good basis to connect this seal to
the inkwells, since they were found in the same locus
and same destruction layer. These inkwells are attached
not to undated texts in the caves in Hebrew, but to
someone going by the Greek name of Josephus in that room.
Goranson's BAR article of a few years ago tried to argue
that (a) the large number of inkwells found at Qumran
compared to other sites proved (b) probability of
scroll-production activity. The fundamental problem
with this logic is that Qumran is one of the most
thoroughly dug sites ever excavated. There are more
of everything from Qumran--coins, jars, and inkwells.
De Vaux also reported finding an inkwell of the same kind
at nearby Ayn Feshka. These inkwells--and the seal--
potentially give some kind of information about what
was going on at Qumran and Ayn Feshka in c. 68 CE. But
inkwells from 68 CE are not evidence of 1st century BCE
or the texts in the caves unless the connection and
dating can be established from evidence as opposed to
scenario. Far from lacking ink, these inkwells have
produced huge inkblots--as in Rorschach. However,
underneath the inkblots, there is some real ink. But
what does it mean?