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Re: orion Ian H. on Aramaic and Hebrew; M. Stern on Pliny

Dear Stephen,

You wrote:

>Ian H. wrote of  Qumran "texts in two dialects of Aramaic and three
>dialects of Hebrew." I ask Ian  to describe these dialects, based on his
>reading of the texts, and to describe their significance.

Do you deny the existence of said languages and dialects among the dss?
(Would you deny that speech communities tend to use a single language within
that community? Would you deny that within religious written traditions
there is a tendency to use one language and a conservatism with regard to
change of that language: take Latin and Arabic as examples.)

>has Ian consulted the oft-recommended study of Menahem Stern on Pliny?

Have you shown the relevance of the oft-recommended Stern study on Pliny?
You've given very little hope for the Pliny text to refer to Qumran. The
geographical approach seems unjustified: there is no north-south
perspective, so a translation based on a geographical "below them/further
on" is specious.

Pliny may have used Agrippa as a source in this disputed passage. You have
shown a trajectory that is reasonable, but you are only left with the
possibility that Pliny is using a source (that he doesn't state here, but
some scholars think they can individualize) as your main proof for the old
Essene hypothesis, a situation that under normal circumstances would not be
acceptable. Too much is resting on it for its applicability to be so doubtful.

1) Qumran is basically to the north of the Dead Sea, not west.
2) Qumran is closer to Jericho than to En Gedi.
3) Qumran is not far from the shore of the "nocent" Dead Sea.
4) Qumran didn't have water to supply growth of palms.

No Pliny, no Essene hypothesis.

Ian Hutchesson