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some mistaken dates and numbers

1)G. Doudna wrote (24 Nov): "no inkwells seem to be attested
before the late Herodian, c. 60's CE period," (apparently trying
to separate the Qumran mss from the Qumran site and history). But
this is false. Inkwells, inkpots, and inkstands (of various shapes
and materials) are known for many centuries earlier. See, e.g.,
BASOR 289 (1993) 37-38 [Gezer, eighth-century BCE]; AJA 63
(1959) 275-7, pl. 71 [Sicily, Hellenistic]; Qedem 33 (1992) 194f
[Jerusalem]; SBF Lib. Ann. 30 (1980) 388 n.60; Class. J. 62 (1966)
109-10. Also, the Qumran inkwells have not been reliably dated in
such a narrow range as c. 60s.

2) Philo (quod Omnis 75) and Josephus (Ant. 18.20) reported that
there were more than 4000 Essenes (at a given time; they used a 
source, perhaps from first century BCE). But N. Golb mistranslated,
writing that Essenes "numbered no more than 4,000 souls in the
first century A.D." (The Christian Century, Dec. 9, 1992, p. 1138).
M. Wise wrote similarly: "...the entire group of adherents numbered no
more than some 4000" (Thunder in Gemini, p. 124). Rather, the
number estimate (hypertetrakischilioi) represents a minimum, not
a maximum. Philo's other estimate of the number (over time) of
Essenes (Apology for the Jews, in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. 8.11.1):

3) G. Doudna (12 Dec) invited: "Try to understand the point. The
point is the miniscule [sic] number of confirmed overlaps of
scribes producing multiple texts, which is not what one would
expect from scribes in one location producing texts for internal
	My response: I disagree.
A) What you "expect" (or claim in retrospect) differs from what I
B) "Confirmed" overlaps do not equal actual overlaps. Some
fragments are such poor samples that overlaps cannot be recognized.
(Aside: why such confidence in this aspect of paleography hand in
hand with such skepticism on dating estimates by paleography?)
C) Some mss were brought to Qumran and others were sent away.
Both actions reduce the number of overlaps. So there was *not* only
"one location" involved. Furthermore, "producing texts for internal
consumption" is your (straw man) description, not mine. I see no reason
to limit the possibilities to Qumran scribes working only for Qumran
readers. I think Qumran Essene scribes worked for Essenes in various locations
(and vice versa); "internal consumption" would apply to some texts, if one
understood it as internal among Essenes, in various locations.
D) Many texts were lost (destroyed by various means). Given the
poor condition of so many, the forces of nature, and the years
available for humans removing some (perhaps reflected in earlier
reports), it would not be out of line to suggest that as many
Qumran texts were lost as were found, if not more. (Plus others may
yet be found.) This reduces the number of existing overlaps. The
Wise-Abegg-Cook book has the virtue of at least recognizing this
issue, though only to dismiss it. their p. 23 dismissal: "Even
allowing for the fact that some of the scrolls would have perished
before being discovered in our century..." But they are not
specific: what number of lost texts would make the overlap
observations not remarkable? Surely, such a threshold must exist.
	Given the many Essenes extant over much time, the locations
involved, the difficulty of confirming scribal hand counts, and the
probable loss of hundreds if not thousands of relevant texts, it
appears that one would do well not to overplay the significance of
numbers of scribal hands. The hands are of more interest for seeing
certain texts linked in time and perspective.

4) My estimate of over 99% for the probability of at least one
first century CE Qumran ms takes into account that the mss so far
tested (again probably) represent a reasonable cross section of
over 800 mss. Even limiting to the 19 so far tested, 4QpPs a, by
itself, gives a 2-sigma reading (95%) for 5-111 AD. If one accepts
68 CE or so as the latest deposit time, the first-century
likelihood increases. If one adds the 1Q cloth C-14 test, the number
increases. Of possible related interest: At SBL '96, J. Magness, if I
recall correctly, dated Kh. Qumran "scroll jars" to period II, which
began, in her view, sometime after 9/8 BCE. (Also, Ian H. misreported
the C-14 evidence, as well as the coin evidence, etc.)

5) The large number of texts indicates ownership by a large group.
The chances that the texts belonged to a phantom such as
 Boethusians or Herodians--
not to mention a completely unknown group--are vanishingly small. The
texts reject Pharisee halakah (and the word inself). The texts are
incompatible with Sadducee views on resurrection, predestination, and
angels. External and internal evidence identifies the Qumran collection
as Essene.