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Re: inkwells and Pliny

To Stephen Goranson:
First, I have nothing to do with Fred Cryer's postings,
did not know about it in advance, and it was not based
on any discussion or prearrangement with me.  Fred's
a friend but I speak for myself.  On your
post on Pliny and after checking one of your references
so far I can see that you are right.  My only delay in
answering was, er, trying to come up with a face-saving
way of saying so, but evidence is evidence and you 
showed it--that is, that Pliny's description reflects
some earlier source.  This would put his Essenes as
neighbors of Aristobulus II's "sadducees" who according
to Josephus were expelled from Jerusalem and given the
Judean desert fortresses mid or late first BCE.  The
question of who controlled and inhabited Qumran during
its stages of settlement history is a live one.

On inkwells: my post on Josephus's inkwell, while I
enjoyed the humor of the name, was all grounded on
reported evidence and a serious observation: there is
a name and it is in Greek attached to a user of the
inkwells c. 68 CE.  You surely know De Vaux found
an inkwell at Ayn Feshka of exactly the same kind as
one of the ones in the Josephus seal room at Qumran.
What do inkwells mean?  If you are going to say that
the owner of the seal with the Greek name was one of
the scribes writing scrolls, what was the use of the seal?

Golb's point about the large number of scribal hands
as inconsistent with the concept of full-time scribes
at Qumran cranking out scrolls (did almost all of 
these scribes have a scribal lifespan of only one text?)
is something which has hardly been satisfactorily 
answered.  That does not mean every one of Golb's
positive answers are correct, but Golb's questions will
be remembered as the right questions.   On 68 CE as
the deposit date of the texts (instead of earlier),
the only evidence for the 68 deposit is an argument
from scenario.  It would be an advance to the field if
there was evidence which could move this from an argument
from scenario into something that could be considered
known or established.  The Qumran field is
afflicted with confusing plausible scenario with 
perceived facts.  Even while registering disagreement
with the conclusion you argued in your inkwell article,
I sincerely appreciate your informative postings to
Orion and published articles.  Best,  Greg Doudna