[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Essenes, again. (long)

Dear Moshe,


>>Cave 4's position is not a guarantee that the last
>>inhabitants of Qumran knew of it
>So how do you suppose the people got in in the first place?

Cave 4 is artificial: it was cut for a purpose. Thus the people who made it
obviously knew it was there.

>>There is no reason to assume that the same people who lived in Qumran prior
>>to Herod returned there. (It seems beyond belief that a community that lived
>>at Qumran removed all the documents from the site to bring them back on
>>another occasion, besides the probable reason for abandonment [military
>>attack] would have excluded such an eventuality.) There is nothing to
>>connect the texts with a first century group living in Qumran,
>>circumstantial evidence like physical proximity notwithstanding.
>>(Archaeologists walked over the tomb of Tutankhamen for a hundred years
>>without finding it. It was only a concerted effort to find that particular
>>tomb that went on for several years until it was found.)
>? Why do you assume that the documents were brought then taken away?

Actually I don't. I'm trying to show that there was a discontinuity between
those people before Herod and those after. (Incidentally, if they had been
Essenes before Herod, as Essenes had a good relationship with Herod, there
would be no reason for them to have abandoned the site -- and thus if the
destruction had been the earthquake they would simply have rebuilt and not
waited forty years.)

>(As to the tomb of T, in his time it was obvious where it was.)
Given the hatred Horemheb had of the "heretical" regime, he set out to
remove all traces. The tomb of Ay, the pharaoh responsible for burying
Tutankhamen, was badly damaged under Horemheb, while that of Tutankhamen
survived intact. (Other works by Tutankhamen were simply usurped, as were
those of Ay.) Therefore, the tomb obviously was not known. (Incidentally,
the rubble that filled the entrance to the tomb bore the seals of Ay, so he
clearly hid it.) People walking over it less than twenty years later didn't
know it was there.

>Ian have you sat with the descriptions in Josephus, and looked into Cd and
>other documents. I have and they are close enough to make the possibility that
>there is no relationship [with the Essenes] remote if not impossible.

We are too often swayed by circumstantial evidence. Can you say whether the
similarities you find are to a special restricted sect or whether the dss
represent a more general state of affairs from which the Essene preserved
what they did?

>>>We ALL interpolate backwards.
>>The dss are at the time we are trying to get at. They are contemporary
>>evidence. Use them -- before you interpolate, not after.
>Unless your assumption is that the group there disappeared totally from the
>scene before the time that Josephus could have heard of them (and hence they
>do not appear in his history) you must look to see where they are similar.

If MMT does represent the temple position, say of a Simon or an Onias, we
don't have a group at all at that stage. 

>From Josephus it seems pretty clear that from the time of the Maccabees to the
>destruction of the temple there were only 3 (4 if you seperate Zealots)
>religious groupings.

You should be aware that Josephus is only as good as his sources. He shows
little knowledge of the Pharisees and Sadducees and is politically
restrained from saying anything useful about the Zealots, if he knew much
about them. Whatever else that was around prior to Pompey's visit could
quite easily have gone into oblivion, if in fact we are dealing with a group
and not the mainstream.

>The similarities to Essene doctrines that we know makes
>it only logical to place them in that camp.

This is an argument from ignorance. "We don't know of any other situation to
explain the similarities, so it must be as I see them." You have a
hypothesis that doesn't cover all the facts.

>Following your logic, we must
>assume a group that came into existance and disappeared without anyone
>knowing of them.

If we have a group that is distinct from mainstream thought!

>>There is no good reason to assume that MMT was in fact "sectarian". Read
>>Greg Doudna's recent post on his rereading of MMT and tell us if you find it
>I think you misunderstand what he is saying, and what I am saying. He is only
>saying that he thinks the authors of MMT could have been in charge of the
>temple, and that they did not seperate themselves.

I have no trouble with this.

>(I have answered him that I
>think the wording used there could not have that meaning, and that a different
>word needed to be used to give that type of understanding).

(I haven't seen this posting. I'll have to check.)

>>>...Some of the Midrashic type texts like 4Q180-181 I consider in the
>>>middle (between non-sect and sect). They probably come from the sect, but
>>they may
>>>reflect universal beliefs.
>>This is only true if you want to sustain a sectarian interpretation.
>? It appears you have not understood what I mean by sectarian.

In this case what do you mean by "sectarian"?

>>No, I am arguing that there is no way to say that the non-biblical works are
>>sectarian. The historical information we have is scant and cannot sustain
>>the Essene hypothesis, nor can it indicate the differences between any sects
>>of the period of the dss if in fact there were sects (as against political
>>parties). We have no indication as to when the Essenes emerged. So everyone
>>on the Essene kick has simply been shooting from the hip.
>But you are argueing to ignore all evidence of similarity to know groups
>living shortly after that time,

This does not follow. Scholarship in this area has assumed the Essene
hypothesis, just as you do. It is not fact, but a house of cards built on
circumstantial evidence. I have not been arguing for another group (it may
be possible, the Essene hypothesis may be possible, it may turn out that
there was no sect behind the documents.)

>and assume that this group disappeared from
>history at an arbitrary period, without anyone ever knowing of them. That is
>just not logical.

Logic doesn't permit one to take an unjustified position as have the
supporters of the Essene hypothesis.

>Had there been no similarities to later groups, then there
>would at least be  a possibility of such a theory.

A man may look similar to his uncle or to his grandfather.

>However the similarities to
>the Essenes, lets one assume that some relationship exists. 

NO! Let's deal with the texts and see what they can reveal, instead of
twisting the texts to fit the hypothesis. If Greg is right with his
intepretation of MMT, then we have a prime example of a document being
waylayed by a sectarian hypothesis.

Though I doubt it, the Essene hypothesis may be correct. This does not mean
that we can afford to accept it blithely and then interpret everything in
that light. Let us assume for the moment that it is wrong: everything we
interpret to fit the Essene hypothesis will mean making the dss erroneously
fit the hypothesis and not making the hypothesis fit the dss. The dss are
our source material, not the Essene hypothesis. The further you push the
Essenes the further you go out on a ledge. That is not a safe position.


Ian Hutchesson