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Re: orion myths, etc.
> Thanks for your response. But de Vaux was not the first to see the Essene
> identification. Brownlee, Trever, Sowmy, Sukenik, and others preceded him.
> Still others whom de Vaux surely did not control, e.g., Dupont-Sommer and
> Allegro, also recognized Essene evidence. I take your word that you don't
> think overthrowing the "Essene hypothesis" is ineluctably part two of the
> so-called "liberation" of the scrolls--but some other folks certainly and
> avowedly do think so.
The connection was widespread, to be sure. However, it became
cemented by the influence of De Vaux and the team. I agree that some
take the approach you describe. At this point, I would merely point
out that the greatest temptation, when faced with a new discovery
such as a massive cache of manuscripts in some caves in the middle of
nowhere, is to try and associate the unknown with something already
known. I think this is what happened with the DSS. The first
question that would naturally spring to anyone's mind is "where did
these come from? Who put them there?" (Okay, that's two questions.)
The immediate next step is to start combing through any information
known about groups from the approximate time period - in this case,
the Essenes form a likely prospect - and see if anything of the known
matches up with anything of the unknown commodity. The doctrinal and
cultic similarities with what was already known about the Essenes
were few and fairly cursory, even based on the Manual of Discipline.
Ian has pointed out several times that the Essenes reportedly were
celibate whereas there's much about marriage and man-woman relations
in 1QS, to say nothing of the women and children found in the
cemetery at Qumran. There are differences in the length of
initiation period between the reported Essenes and 1QS. And the list
goes on. However, the Essenes were the only known commodity that
bore discernible similarity to whoever 1QS addressed, and so the
identification began. From there it got elevated to canonical
status. This last part is the part that bothers me. The early
identifications are excusable, but as more material came to light, as
the site was excavated and it was learned that there were women
there, that there was no true "scriptorium" and that the location of
the cemetery violated ceremonial laws, in addition to the impossible
number of scribal hands and all the rest, the hypothesis should have
been put to the test. Trouble is, it wasn't.
> Of course I regard Pliny as evidence for a Qumran-Essene link (and
> Bob Kraft did not support the "hills above En Gedi" mistranslation, nor
> does the text, nor does Pliny secondary literature). (Ian opposed the link
> even when he thought the word under contention was "hos" rather than
> "infra.") But I do not call Pliny the "linchpin." Archaeology is important.
> Even more important evidence is the fact that the texts (more precisely,
> some of them, e.g. S and some pesharim) tell us they are Essene.
Can you elaborate on just how they tell us they are Essene?
> On a merely technical misunderstanding: the message you mistakenly
> sent to me, I did not delete, but returned it immediately to you for you to
> forward to the list (which you may wish to do; I assumed you realized
> that). I didn't wish to confuse the list with a message coming from me but
> with your views.
Oops. I didn't read the header closely enough and deleted it. Oh
well. Basic pneumocephaly on my part, yet again.