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Re: Are 1000 scribes too many? was Re: DSS Scribes

With respect to the suggestions by Moshe Schulman and others as to 
the putative "high turnover" of residents in Qumran:
What we are witnessing here is a classical example of the ad hoc 
embroidery on an hypothesis that has no other function than to "save 
the appearances", i.e., to make room in the hypothesis for data which 
are uncongenial to it. The example used by Thomas Kuhn in his fine 
study of *The Copernican Revolution* is the addition of cycles and 
epicycles to the planetary motions specified by Ptolemaic astronomy, 
after observation showed that the strict Ptolemaic model was unable 
to account for planetary movement in detail. Such an adjustment made 
it possible to continue to adhere to the Ptolemaic scheme, but at the 
cost of making the model more complex than the competing theory of 
Here we have a single didactic "given" which a number of scholars are 
unwilling to abandon, namely the idea that whatever society dwelled 
in the settlement was responsible for the production of the scrolls 
found in the caves. At every turn, new information makes this view 
increasingly problematical--not, I hasten to say, impossible. But at 
the moment it is astonishingly complex, and I urge scholars to ponder 
whether it is worth adhering to, or whether it might not be a better 
idea to rethink the basic model.

Fred Cryer
Assoc. Prof./Research
Univ. of Copenhagen