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orion D. Washburn's invitation
Dave Washburn , who provided no evidence of a fort, invited me to "read
Golb." I have, his book and several articles. Prof. Golb attempts to evade
some facts, e.g., that Pliny located Essenes where Qumran is, that Essene
texts were found there with Qumran material culture, and that the remains
Additionally, Golb errs in asserting that the broad range of Jewish
texts are present at Qumran. E.g., Pharisee texts are not (and there is no
use of the word "halakah," but there are negative puns against it). Also, I
and 2 Maccabees are not.
In his book (18-19) he quoted part of Pliny's encyclopedic text,
which used over 100 sources, then remarked, "This statement could only have
been written *after* Jerusalem had been destroyed...By this token the
Essenes...could not have been identical with the group of people living at
Qumran, who in and after A.D. 70...were Roman soldiers..."
It is my experience that Prof. Golb has been, for whatever reason,
more careful in his use of sources in his work on medieval texts. Surely,
if he consults M. Stern, Greek and Latin Texts on Jews and Judaism I 466-7
and commentary, he will realize what he must have known already
theoretically, namely, that just because part of a text was written after
70 does not necessarily mean that all its information was gathered before
70. In this case the source is from Herodian times.
Debate is fine, and, in my opinion, it can be a help in seeking the
most plausible historical reconstruction, as long as one does not require
a higher threshold of evidence for positions other than for one's own.
Stephen Goranson email@example.com