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orion Stephen Goranson's attack on Golb

Stephen, neglecting to quote the Pliny text Golb is commenting on, writes:

>In his [Golb's] 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..."

The Pliny quote is:

"Lying below the Essenes was formerly the town of Engedi, second only to
Jerusalem in the fertility of its land and in its groves of palm trees, but
now like the other place [=Jerusalem] a heap of ashes."

Obviously, this text was written after the fall of Jerusalem. Perhaps the
previous section was based on earlier work as Stephen suggests, but he has
not shown that this is likely -- he has merely provided a possible
trajectory. It is in this context that he makes the following petty remark:

>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.

He then wants to tell us that though a text was written after 70, it does
not necessarily mean that all its information was gathered after 70. Duhh.
This might even be true, but it's up to Stephen to show that it is the case
here. Pliny is clearly talking after the fall of Jerusalem and the previous
passage about the Essenes was not in the past tense. He has not shown that
Qumran meets the criteria of the Pliny text. He has nothing to justify his
trivial remark about Golb.

>In this case the source is  from Herodian times.

This is still unsubstantiated, and Stephen, it seems, is incapable of
substantiating it, so he merely repeats it.

Ian Hutchesson