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Re: yahad ostracon
Bob Schacht wrote:
> > The ostracon fascinates us because of the word YAHAD. We immediately
> >think of that which the sectarians call themselves in IQS, Serekh ha-Yahad. I
> >have been following the ostracon thread with great interest because of this.
> >My feeling, however, is that some of the listusers are unfamiliar with the use
> >of YHD in the DSS and wondering why the excitement. I hope this clarifies the
> Thanks, Jack & Philip. Here's my question. Doesn't your description of the
> interest in the ostracon carry the assumption that there was only one yhd,
> and that the yhd in the ostracon must be the same one as the yhd in the DSS
> (IQS in particular)? There are several issues here:
No, one cannot make that assumption. Until now, there was no concrete
archaeological or textual evidence that a "community" of Essenes lived at the
Qumran site and that those Essenes are linked to the DSS caches. One of
the arguments of the opponents to Qumran as the source of the DSS is the lack
of any textual material found at the site. This is not as telling to me since
scripture and the type of texts involved would have been considered sacred,
hence the Jewish practice of using genizoth, and scrolls, scraps and fragments
would not have been lying around or deposited in dumps. The proponents point
to the recovery of similar pottery vessels at Qumran to those in the caves as
well as the inkwells...given that inkwells are a rare find, only one other
found. Even the Hebrew etymology of the name "Essenes" deriving from the Greek
"Essenos" has been up for grabs. Some believe it is a form of "Jesseans" (as in
the Root of Jesse), others from the Aramic "HASA" for "the Poor" and Allegro
cites ASAYYA (healers). We also hear them called "The Covenanters," "The Way,"
and the "Evyonim" (Poor ones) speculating links with the Jewish followers of
Jesus who used the same self-designations. There is little doubt, however, that
IQS, Serekh ha-YAHAD, is an Essene work in which they use that term. An ostracon
referring to the YAHAD at the Qumran site may not be conclusive...but it is
another scrap of evidence that taken all together strongly suggests the Qumran
site as a community of Essenes...perhaps not represenative of the 4,000 or so
Essenes living throughout Palestine at the time...but ONE sect of them nonetheless.
> (1) How distinctive was the use of yhd? Was it only used on rare occasions
> to describe specialized communities of a certain kind? Or was it in general
> use in the period associated with the DSS for many kinds of communities?
I do not really know (is that allowed?), perhaps one of the DSS experts
like Jim Davila can shed some light on this. This particular Ostracon, however,
supposedly addresses a YAHAD at QUMRAN.
> (2) The proximity of the ostracon, in space and time, to the DSS (alluded to
Since one of the arguments for there being a YAHAD of Essenes at Qumran
responsible for the DSS caches is the proximity to most of the caves, the Ostracon
from Qumran couls be interpreted as being proximal to the DSS as well.
> Please excuse my ignorance if the answers to the above questions are obvious
> to everyone on this list.
And please excuse my answers if they are not sufficient. As an interested
layman, if I have made an error, I am sure I will hear about it. (g)