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Deposit of the Scrolls (long)

When and why did the Scrolls go into the
caves?  Some thoughts:

(1) There are two material assemblages in
the caves.  De Vaux confused them and thought
they were identical but the two assemblages
are distinct, though both involve caves, some
of which are the same caves.  One assemblage 
gives evidence of swollen numbers of refugees 
and high population at Qumran in the c. 66-68 CE 
range.  People camped out, people living in caves, 
people no doubt from places like Jericho and 
Jerusalem trying to hide and live.  These are the 
inhabited caves, the tent remains, the cooking vessels.
The dating to the 60's CE is indirectly supported
by lamps datable to mid-1st CE plus historical/
literary texts giving a Revolt context for the
swollen Qumran population at this time.
    The second material assemblage is the Scrolls
    with the large number of cylindrical jars and 
    in some cases linen and leather thongs in 
    association.  The date of this assemblage is 
    not linked to the date of the refugees assemblage 
    above, even though some caves figure in both 
    assemblages.  The Scrolls/jars assemblage (I say) 
    is earlier, and was already there when some of 
    the caves were entered by later refugees setting 
    up camp in some of the same caves as well as
    in different caves.  The dating of the Scrolls
    assemblage is the key issue.  How does one date
    it?  What methods does one use?
The Scrolls assemblage consists of the texts and
cylindrical jars in Caves 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 11.
Caves 7, 8, 9, and 10 however are to be severed from
relevance to the Scrolls assemblage.  Texts in these
caves were personal texts belonging to people of
the refugee material assemblage.
(2) The Scrolls assemblage represents a hiding and a
one-time deposit.
    The argument in favor of this assertion (as opposed
    to a number of deposits over time for whatever
    reason) is that e.g. the pesharim are scattered
    across caves at random, when there are scribal and
    number-of-copy (one only, in all cases) reasons
    to consider these copies as a single collection
    that was split up in the process of a single
    hiding.  There is no difference in type or kind 
    of texts between the various caves (after the 
    caveat noted above) of the Scroll assemblage 
    which could date one cave's deposit later than 
    another's, and likewise there is no systematic 
    difference in the random mix and match of the 
    Scrolls jar types.  The evidence for preservation 
    of the texts and the scattering in a number of 
    caves is consistent with a hiding.
The last argument that the Scrolls assemblage is a
one-time hiding is that one of the Scrolls, the Copper
Scroll, may reflect or describe the very hiding which
put all of the Scrolls in the caves.  Two points about
this text, 3Q15, ought to be noted.  (a) it is not
dumped as trash because if it was trash it would 
have been salvaged for its metal content and would
never have made it to the cave.  Therefore it was still 
in use when it went into Cave 3 (its use being 
continued preservation of a list which was still 
worth preserving).  (b) it cannot be considered a 
religious text preserved (even though no longer in 
use) for sacred reasons--it is an economic text with 
nothing sacred about it.  Its only reason for 
preservation in the cave was functional--to 
preserve the list itself.  Arguments which sever 3Q15 
from the rest of the Scrolls assemblage seem 
methodologically suspicious to me, as if for the purpose
of ad hoc harmonization with preexisting constructions.
Instead, 3Q15 should be seen as part of the assemblage 
and when this is done it in turn reveals indirectly
the function of the whole assemblage, which is a 
one-time hiding.   

(3) The hiding operation in its intention I reconstruct
hypothetically as follows:  All of the scrolls were 
intended to be deposited in jars in the outlying caves.  
But the task was either _interrupted_ or the workers 
_ran out of jars_.  The large number of 
texts in Cave 4 (and Cave 5?), *obviously from the same 
assemblage of texts* because of the many crosslinks and 
overlaps of texts, never made it to the intended 
destinations in caves farther afield. 

(4) There are two major, big-ticket arguments I see
for the date of the Scrolls assemblage deposit being 
significantly earlier than 68 CE.

    (a) Over 150 cylindrical "scrolls jars" of varying
    types in perhaps two dozen caves away from the site
    of Qumran reflect the original extent of the Scrolls 
    assemblage.  Some identical jars were found at the 
    site of Qumran.  De Vaux's notes, while difficult 
    to interpret in many cases, reveal these jars 
    already buried and in use _by early 1st CE_, and no 
    evidence of production or manufacture of this kind of 
    jar at any time later than this.  The 68 CE 
    theory seems to unnaturally materialize a second
    batch of over 150 such jars out of thin air over 
    a half-century after identical jars were already sunk 
    into floors at Qumran, with no evidence for manufacture 
    of this type of jar at the site of Qumran 
    at this date.  The known jars at Qumran
    of this type argue for a date nearer the beginning of
    the 1st CE, and if the relatively few jars at Qumran,
    usually buried in floors in corners of rooms, are
    in fact _secondary uses_ of Scroll assemblage jars,
    then the time these jars were sunk into the floors
    is itself later than the Scrolls assemblage 
    deposit.  (But this last point is unclear, since the 
    temporal and primary/secondary relationship between 
    the jars in the caves and at the site is unclear--
    apart from clearly being related in some manner.)       
    (b) The dateable referents in the texts cease after
    around mid-1st BCE.  By the 68 CE theory, where are
    the 1st CE calendar texts, cryptic allusions,
    names of procurators, emperors or Herods?  If it
    was only ten texts, could be accident.  But 800
    texts and _nothing at all_ demonstrably 1st CE?  
    This has the appearance of information... 
(5) Nature of the hiding, and two possible scenarios.
    The 4QMish(c) text has the mid-1st BCE names of 
    Shelamzion, Aemilius (Scaurus), and Hyrcanus.  The 
    "Aemilius kills" reference reveals an anti-Roman 
    _tendenz_ to this text.  This is informative and 
    suggests either (a) an opposition at the 
    same time Romans are in power, or (b) some period 
    subsequent to 62 BCE when the Romans were not in 
    power.  (The text itself will have been composed 
    later than 62 BCE but not a lot later--for if in 
    the 1st CE where are more recent 1st CE names 
    among the scatter of names in this text?)

The hiding is of very specific kinds of things: religious 
texts and (per 3Q15) temple wealth.  Two dates or scenarios 
to consider:
        1. The reign of Antigonus 40-37 BCE,
        anticipating Herod's arrival and conquest.
        2. The revolt in 4 BCE, which seems to have 
        involved fortress commanders and factions
        if not the rulers of the temple, which was 
        suppressed by Varus. 

Question: is there evidence or convincing reason why 
the 68 CE date should be preferred to one of the earlier 
dates above?  De Vaux said "68 AD" (and it seemed to 
make sense at the time) and everyone said, "And so it 
is".  But was it?    

Greg Doudna