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inkwells and Pliny
Dear Greg Doudna,
I think you have asked some good questions and I respect diligent work, but
on inkwells and Pliny, you (at least as represented by Fred Cryer) and I
First, your post on Qumran inkwells as belonging to Josephus, while
witty, was, of course a straw man, designed to be refuted. Do you
imagine this refutes anyone in the real world?
How can one ignore inkwells as evidence of scribal activity? Sure,
they could have been used for juggling instead, but how likely is that?
Why expect to find scrolls in the ruins, which had been burned and sometimes
flooded? Can you imagine what a 2000 year old reed pen would look like?
Do diggers notice such remains? Masada preserved text, in part because,
being a fort, it had casemate walls.
On ioudaios 29 1995 you wrote "...if Pliny is speaking of
post-70 Essenes." I do now note the "if." If I previously misrepresented
your view, I apologize.
On orion 7 Mar 1996 F. Cryer wrote: "As Greg Doudna has been
pointing out, the AMS results on the documents have recently consistently
been coming up in the range 2nd-1st century BCE, with none or virtually
none that *require* a CE date. That would distance the mss from the
evidence pertaining to the Essenes by as much as 2-3 centuries." This
last sentence is surely false. If one pretended Pliny visited Qumran,
the difference of his source alone (and ignoring the "virtually", etc.)
would be less than one century. If my circa 15 BCE Pliny/M. Agrippa
date is accepted the difference disappears. And in any case there are other sources besides
Pliny. I've been trying to note earlier sources of Philo, etc.
You wrote somewhere (if I recall correctly) that my assertion
that Qumran had unusually many inkwells failed to take into account that
Qumran had been one of the "most intensively" dug sites. I think that you
did not take into account my statement that Qumran is a fairly small site.
You can dig somewhere very intensively, and not find inkwells. i gave the
example of Sepphoris, a big place, settled for longer and by more people
than Qumran. Sepphoris has been dug for longer, by more people than
Qumran. More pottery has been recovered at Sepphoris than Qumran. Who
would doubt that some writing took place there. But still (as far as I
know) Sepphoris has fewer inkwells (none that I know of). My other
example was Dura-Europos, which even has a scribal (actuary) house--
complete with a splash of ink on the wall and a portrait of a scribe!
Still no inkwells! The setup you and Prof. Golb seem to require has
not been found in Jerusalem; perhaps no texts came from there?
Best wishes, sincerely,
Stephen Goranson uNC-Wilmington
home: 706 Louise circle j, Durham NC 27705