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Re: orion present-tense Essenes

Stephen Goranson wrote:

>I think you [Dave Washburn] hold that:
>A) Pliny located Essenes near Ein Gedi.
>B) Pliny described their post-70 CE status.
>C) Pliny described them in present tense.
>D) Pliny said they were at that location for a long time.

>Of course, I disagree with (A)

You are disagreeing with Pliny. He relates the Essenes to Ein Gedi. But I
think you are in effect arguing that Pliny's localization is somewhat
elastic. This may be so.

>and (B),

Of course, he puts it in the present tense and you have to interpret what he
says to suit your hypothesis. It is somewhat inopportune to talk in the
present about a group that may no longer exist when talking about the
destruction of Jerusalem and Ein Gedi. It suggests that Pliny had more
information than you give him credit for.

>but, if these are your views, I
>have questions. How did an Essene group manage to continue their long-term
>settlement (i.e., one which must have at least started before 70) through
>the war with Rome? Wasn't there destruction at Ein Gedi as well as at

Perhaps you find it hard to understand but a destruction at Ein Gedi doesn't
necessarily imply a destruction of a site that was nearby. When the Sioux
scalped Custer's dead, Yellowhair's yellow hair stayed on his head. It was
only the oppidum that was reported destroyed.

>Why have archaeologists and bedouin not found a suitable long-term
>site near Ein Gedi--or have they?

When the orchestra is at Qumran that's where the dancing happens. What would
you expect the bedouin to find in the Essene camp? Which archaeologists have
looked other than perhaps Hirschfeld who I heard had found an encampment
that may be related to a turn-of-the-era inhabitation.

Elsewhere Stephen asks:

>Why try to force the Essenes of Pliny's source away from Qumran?

The assumptions involved in this are at the heart of the problem: someone
has forced the Pliny passage to point to Qumran; it doesn't do so naturally.

* Qumran is at the north of the Dead Sea, arrived at from the north.
* It is much closer to Jericho, so connecting to Ein Gedi is not relevant.
* What can be gleaned from Pliny of the physical information points away
  from Qumran.

Given these problems locating Pliny's Essenes at Qumran, Stephen wants us to
accept one interpretation of the Pliny passage that suits the Essene
hypothesis when there is no convincing reason to do so.

No Pliny means no Essene hypothesis.

Ian Hutchesson