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Re: document uniformity

Dear Fred,
The question is, how were the prohibited practices understood at Qumran, 
or by whoever wrote the "divinatory" texts you refer to? I need not 
remind you that in the Middle Ages mainstream Bible commentaries seem 
to condone astrology. Just as modern scholars (yourself included) don't 
have a firm understanding of nahash, `onen, and qosem, what their 
etymology, primary meaning, and usage are, it is doubtful whether anyone 
in the post-biblical period knew precisely what they were. This lack of 
knowledge would permit great  freeedom and flexibility in what is 
prohibited and what is permitted. SO until we have a halakhic pesher on 
the texts from Deuteronomy in question, we must not assume that the 
prohibitions were understood to pertain to the practices attested by 
the documents.

On Sat, 9 Nov 1996, Frederick Cryer wrote:

> The documents hardly demonstrate any uniformity of doctrine. Consider 
> that they include a brontologion, a horoscope, and a single text of 
> physiognomical omen lore. Deut 18,9-22 expressly forbids various 
> forms of magic and divination, and Deuteronomy was the runaway 
> "bestseller" of Qumran, with fragments of 29 mss. The conclusion 
> seems obvious that the collection included materials the collectors 
> did not expressly approve of, but which they felt they should have 
> some knowledge of. This is in stark contrast with Mesopotamian 
> collections, in which divinatory and other magical material in fact 
> *predominates* in many contexts.
> Fred Cryer