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Mark Dunn: orion Palms/water etc. 2.
>On July 17th, Ian provided a list that said: "1) Qumran is basically to the
>north of the Dead Sea, not west."
Consider "ab occidente" again. In the context of the Dead Sea, we are asked
to believe that the Pliny passage refers to Qumran to the west of the Dead
Sea. Qumran was accessed from the north, from Jerusalem and Jericho. It was
in sight of the northern point of the sea. For a geographer it's strange to
think of Qumran to the west of the Dead Sea. (Would you normally think of
Norway as on the west of Europe or even the west coast?) However, Ein Gedi,
which was accessed from Jerusalem by going south and then east, was clearly
on the west of the Dead Sea.
>[and IH also asserted] 4) Qumran didn't have water to
>supply the growth of palms. [ Again, I am not sure where this conclusion
>comes from. How much water does it take to grow a date palm?
We are obviously not talking of a single palm, are we, Mark? We are talking
of a place where palms were plenty, but people weren't.
>I thought IH
>agreed that there it was cooler and wetter in the area during the period of
>occupation - perhaps not in the summer but at least on an annual basis. I
>also thought IH agreed that the site had an elaborate water system.
Oh, elaborate it is, but it comes down from the rocks and straight into the
compound. If you look at the site, where can you imagine these palms to have
been, given that it was a restricted plateau with a cemetary a little too
close (for the law) to the compound to the east and a ravine to the west?
The palm tree reference seems quite inappropriate.
It was elaborate, because there was no natural water supply (as in Ein
Feshkha, Ein Ghuweir, or Ein Gedi), and water had to be obtained somehow.
That required a costly exercise of hacking through bare stone. Obviously,
Qumran wasn't placed there for its natural resources.
>Josephus provides what appears to me to be a description of an elaborate
>irrigation system used, in part, for growing date palms for an area of at
>least nine miles around Jericho...
>Isn't it possible that there were plantations of palm-trees at
>Qumran which, as IH points out, is not too remote from Jericho?
Look at a terrain map and tell me where. If we are to make any sense out of
Pliny here, then the palms need to be close enough for someone to have got
the image of them living among palms.