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Re: 1000 scribes, calendar

Moshe Shulman on the "Essene hypothesis":

>There are two points in the
>identification.  1. The proximity to the community (especially cave 4)
>indicates that they were USED by the people there.
Hell, this is flimsy, Moshe. You have *no evidence at all* to suggest that
the last residents of the buildings -- the post-Herodians -- knew anything
about the contents of cave 4. Cave 4 was only found in modern times by the
foraging of the Ta'amireh -- it had not been seen at all by the
"archaeologists" until they caught the Ta'amireh plundering it. You cannot
assume that the last residents were aware of its presence.

You haven't established what you assume, ie a community, if you mean
anything more than inhabitants of the Qumran buildings.

>2. The content in many
>cases agrees with what we have with regards to the Essenes.
The texts were probably written well over a hundred years before Josephus's
rendition of his Essenes. There are differences between what he writes and
what is found in the dss. There are differences among the dss so one cannot
assume a coherent body of texts.

>Even Schiffman who
>(I think correctly) has posited a Sadducee connection, will admit that these
>people correspond (or are similar to) what we call Essenes.
How on earth can Schiffman say anything about Sadducean theology? What are
his ancient *contemporary* sources? Or is he interpolating backwards?

>The only texts for
>which there is some small relevance to discuss origins would be those that are
>particularly 'sectarian', and even those could have been written in other
>places since the Essenes appear to have had various communities.
What criteria do you use for "sectarian" when analysing the dss? Can you say
from the ancient sources which were and were not?

> Is there
>anyone who assumes that the book of Deuteronomy, Isaiah or Ben Sirach were
>only used by a small group of people? So the place of origin of these works is
>irrelevant (though it certainly is worth a number of papers in scholarly

Unfortunately, Moshe, this does seem *to me* to be too arbitrary -- too many
conclusions with too little evidence. When one doesn't know when the texts
were written exactly (though before 60 bce seems a good indicator, thus
ruling out a direct connection with the last inhabitants of Qumran), and
when one doesn't know what the religio-political climate was in the century
before 60 bce, other than the few glimpses given in Josephus and the
Maccabees books, one has no way of supporting the weight that has thus far
been put on the Essene hypothesis.


Ian Hutchesson

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