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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.

Have you seen a layout of the area, and the proximity of the caves (especially
#4) to the Qumram area? The appearance of the area after 1500+ years bears
little if no resemblance to what it looked like when it was in use. I seem to
recall reading that there was a path to the caves that was found. Which would
add to the connection. In any case, if, as you seem to claim, the people
living there did not know of the caves, then how could someone else have known
of them who was not in the area? The only argument (which seems quite weak) is
that they caves were known, but that someone else used them, and not the
people of Qumran. That would require a good deal of evidence.

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

I mean nothing more then the people who lived there.

>>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.

Ian, do you think that the 'Essenes' always had one type of belief/halacha and
that they did not change over time? That there are differences does not mean
they do not reflect a single group. The question is what the differences are
and how significant. Maybe you can mention what you consider to be a
'difference' so significant that it would demolish the association with either
Qumran or the 'Essenes'?

>>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?

We ALL interpolate backwards. Maybe if the IAA will release the video that the
Moreh Tzeddik made of 'Life in Qumran' we will have all the answers. But until
then, we must use whatever information is available and compare it to what we
find. Are you familiar with his arguments, and the liturature on which he
basis them?

>>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?

My criteriah is quite simple. 'Sectarian' means a text that is used exclusivly
for a particular sect. For example: 4QMMT is clearly a sectarian text as we
see from it a particular 'sects' POV on various halachic matters. I consider
all Biblical texts as non-sectarian. Likewise with extra-Biblical texts like
Ben Sirach. Some of the Midrashic type texts like 4Q180-181 I consider in the
middle. They probably come from the sect, but they may reflect universal
beliefs. (Certainly many of these types of texts have their counterparts in
later Rabbinical liturature).

>> 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.

Would you provide for me a single reason as to why I should consider the
possibility that during the period of time the Qumran community existed that
the books of Deuteronomy and Isaiah were sectarian? That appears to be what
you are arguing. 

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   |        \/ /  \/ /       |     Moshe Shulman       |
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