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Re: Golb's theory
Since it is Professor Golb's theory that I originally espoused
(essentially to gain feedback and criticism of a book I'd just got around
to reading) then it seems only fair to allow him to respond.
(Quoting from page 363 of Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1995)
"The calendars also show a wide variety of practices among the
intertestamental Jews. But where the one exhibited in America shows the
process of intercalation, i.e. of calendrically harmonizing the lunar and
solar years, others appear to support the author of the Book of Jubilees
in insisting on a strictly solar calendar. The investigation of the
calendars continues intensively; much more study will be needed before we
can venture to form hard, definitive conclusions as to whether it is
appropriate to refer to any calendar as strictly "sectarian." What we have
in most of them is a system of computation of the yearly cycles that was
slightly more primitive than the particular lunisolar system eventually
adopted by rabbinic Judaism."
In other words we can form no complete understanding of the notion of
Jewish calendar at the time of the scrolls' production and thus can
correspondingly form no sectarian understanding of calendar either. While
I appreciate that Professor Golb's proposal seems to sidestep the main
issue, it would seem important to note his comments.
In addition, it would seem relevant for the upholding of a Temple Library
that; detractors from a view in its infancy (that is in this instance a
lunar calendar) may be expected and anticipated, not necessarily within a
sectarian context, but in the Temple establishment itself perhaps; and
secondly that in such a literate society one might expect to find such
criticism documented and held in a central archive (i.e. a Temple
This would then allow and provide for the multiplicity of ideas present
within the scrolls and the ensuing difficulty of bringing together a
coherent picture of any one community.
I would welcome comments and criticism of this proposal
Department of Theology
University of Durham
P.S. My copy of Golb's book has the scroll of Isaiah printed the right way
up. I guess I'm just lucky!