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Re: One Thousand Scribes
>If the Qumran site was not a "residence" but instead a
"headquarters" or place to go for purification, every Essene in
the country could have been required to go there. It may very
well have been a transient Essene "motel." <
I read the BAR article advancing this hypothesis, but found myself unconvinced
for practical reasons recognizable by every orthodox Jewish woman who must trek
to the mikveh once a month for ritual purification.
Qumran is simply too far away for men who would have had to purify themselves
after every nocturnal emission (if they followed Lev. 15-16 or some equivalent
rule of their own). Particularly in the case of celibate men, I'm betting that
that phenomenon occurs considerably more than once a month!
They could have built their mikveh anywhere outside the city walls, if it was
intended as nothing but a mikveh! Why on earth would they trek all the way
from Jerusalem to Qumran just to take a dip (even if the procedures took
several days, their motel could still have been built closer -- it takes too
long even by car today!).
It makes no sense that this was the only (or even the primary) purpose of
the buildings at Qumran. The mikveh was obviously there because the people
were there for some other primary reason, and had to build it because of their
strict purity rules.