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Re: Essenes, again. (ever longer)

Dear Moshe,

Still continuing...

>>>>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.
>Since it is that type of cave, where is it more likely that the people using 
>it came from, within a few hundred yards, or miles away?

Moshe, you have some difficulty understanding this position: there is no
necessary connection between the later inhabitants of Qumran and the dss;
the last documents seem to relate to before 60 bce, so there is nothing in
their contents to relate them to the people who used Qumran after Herod's
time; people before Herod are almost certainly responsible for the
depositing of the dss; whether these latter were permanently at Qumran I
cannot tell you.

Please stop rehashing the circumstantial evidence. It's spread far too far
already. You aren't going to get any more mileage from it.

>>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.)
>Since we do not know the reasons why it took so long (it could have be 
>monetary), it is neithjjer a plus or a minus to any hypothesis.

The length of time makes any continuity unlikely.

>>>(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.
>So what does that have to do with this particular case?

Simply that your assumption here has little basis. You cannot assume by
simple proximity that there was any knowledge of cave 4 at all on the part
of the post-Herodian inhabitants.

>>>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
>>>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?
>Josephus mentions specifically what differentiates these groups. These points 
>of difference are what we are talking about.

You are trying to relate what Josephus wrote post 90 ce to documents that
were at least 150 if not 280 years prior to his writing. Josephus vaguely
knows something about the few sects he has heard about. (Onee gets almost no
idea what theological or practical differences there were between Sadducees
and Pharisees.) Is it more than serendipity that his Essenes have certain
precepts in common with what may have been mainstream thought two hundred
years previously?

>>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. 
>This assumes that the writers of MMt were in charge of the temple, which is 
>not what it appears to say. (Even with Greg's comments.)

What's wrong with Greg's interpretation of the text?

>>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.
>What do you mean by, 'he shows little knowledge of the Pharisees and 
>Sadducees'? I suppose that you living 2000 years after these people knew more 
>then he did living together with them?

He shows a lot more knowledge of group that is not seen by later writers as
important than he does of the big two -- simply by volume. His knowledge of
the Pharisees and Sadducees is little in comparison.

>>>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.
>I have asked for some 'facts' which would be clearly contrary to this and have 
>yet to see it.

Let me quote you:
>I believe VanDerKamp book has some of these in them. Take some time to look 
>into this.
Though Vanderkam does support the Essene hypothesis, he does give some
problematic areas. You might read Schiffman's "Reclaiming..." to get his
lowdown from the Sadducean hypothesis.

(I'm still at work, otherwise I would give a few references...)

>>>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!
>However this is not the case. There is clear similarity to one of the groups 
>we KNOW existed at that time.

Moshe, show me some evidence that the Essenes as a group existed from prior
to Onias's exile through to say 100 bce. Have you got a better TR to offer
than Onias III? or a better wicked priest than Menelaus? Both protagonist
and antagonist fit the descriptions in the docs reasonably well. An MMT
produced during Onias's time would be pretty mainstream to me.

>>>>>...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"?
>A Pharisee text is sectarian, as it is only for Pharisees. Likewise CD and MMT 
>relate beliefs that deal with a particular sect.

Have you got any second century bce Pharisaic texts up your sleeve?

If what Shammai said was applicable to his school and not to that of Hillel
was his school really a sect according to your ideas?

>>>>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.)
>Ian, I have not stated my hypothesis in this area. I have just related the 

I don't think anyone has seen your statement of the facts.

>>>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.
>So you think it is unjustified to assume that people who have similar beliefs 
>might just be the same group?

If the group is the general body of practicing Jahwists then the notion of
"group" as you are using it has no significance.

>>>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.
>And if I had wings I would not have to pay plane fare anymore. (Maybe B. 
>Theiring is right?) 

(-: Your choice of reading material doesn't help your thesis!

>Have you read MMT?

Have you read MMT without interpreting it through your Essene
presupposition. (I'm just asking for a suspension of the presupposition for
a few readings.) Bad habits are hard to let go of.

>>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, if they are not Essenes, then they are a precursor of them because we 
>cannot ignore the similarities.

If the beliefs in 170 bce were reasonably coherent then they are the
precursors of all the sects of Josephus's time. You are just committed to
the Essene hypothesis. Schiffman is committed to his Sadducean hypothesis.
Has he got less going for his hypothesis? But then a hypothesis is just that.


Ian Hutchesson