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orion on R. Gmirkin's proposals

	Though I am not eager to prolong overmuch the dating threads 
and analysis of the various efforts to refuse or erase Essenes, at R. 
Gmirkin's request, a few comments:
1. I would date the mention of Judah the Essene closer to 104 or 103 
than 100. Menahem the Essene may predate 63 BCE, since Josephus places 
him alongside a very young Herod.
2. To demand of me that I demonstrate exactly which texts were composed 
or copied at Qumran is to ask something you know I cannot do. (M. 
Schoyen says he has a "scroll jar" with ink offsetting inside, but I 
haven't seen it.) Entirely too much has been made of this 63 date, 
especially now that we can agree that AMS does not point to it . By 
more than one method, many texts are dated before and after then. And 
the earliest and latest dates are not necessarily statistical 
anomalies, in the sense of bad tests. For most texts, much as we may 
wish to know, we simply do not yet know the date or place of 
composition. That Qumran/Ein Feshkha has an extraordinarily-large 
number of extant inkwells is just one indication that writing occurred 
there. If you now accept at least some Qumran-Essene link, the 
descriptions of Essenes preserving books and studying torah is another. 
Some texts give us the etymology for "Essenes" in self-designations.
3. Jodi Magness has observed that a continuity in use of loci indicates 
continuity of occupants, even after an earthquake and a later fire. Her 
work is excellent. Y. Meshorer's work is too, and it was a pleasure to 
read his abstract, after so much nonsense on coin dating had been 
written on orion. I heard Yizhar Hirschfeld's paper in Nov. He 
demonstrated that many settlements have towers and but demonstrated 
very little else. His focus on architecture excluded much other data. He
is a fine archaeologist who has previously done excellent work, but who 
has not done himself credit in this case, IMO. Aristocrats do not 
ordinarily design a pleasure villa by putting their living quarters (if 
such exist at Qumran--where are the fancy beds, frescoes, etc.?) next 
to a pottery shop, stable, storage rooms, etc. where imaginged "fringe" 
workers pursue industry.
4. The old idea that Pharisees (not Sadducees and surely not imaginary 
pseudo-Sadducees) and Essenes derived from I and 2 Maccabees' "Hasidim" 
has largely and for good reason been abandoned by scholars including 
(I'm relying on memory here so I may be wrong in this list) John 
Kampen, Fergus Millar, and Philip Davies. This old wrong theory, I 
suggest, also was intertwined with a wrong etymology for "Essenes," 
both of which slowed scholarly progress. 1 and 2 Maccabees are not good 
sources for Essene and/or Qumran history, and, of course, these texts 
were not found at Qumran.
5. The reading of the "Hymn to King Jonathan" is quite disputed. And 
if, say, he (Jannae) were considered a wicked priest, recall that that 
one was said to have started well but the fell from the truth.
6. That some Qumran texts (e.g., some pesherim and S) are Essene is no 
mere "assumption." They tell us they are Essene. 4QpNah (or 1QpHab or 
S) would have eventually been recognized as Essene (if I may 
hypothesize)  had it been found in the Cairo Genizah or the St. 
Petersburg Library or a Kansas City flea market. The Essene 
identification IMHO will outlive us all; it is ineluctable. Only 
"methods" which exclude Essenes a priori avoid this obvious conclusion. 
If we wish to be practical, we'll explore the more relevant questions, 
e.g., what are the implications, which texts, etc. The only things 
interesting about the anything-but-Essene views are the various 
historical causes that give rise to them. I have ideas on this, but 
orion-list may not be the place for them. 
7. I do indeed appreciate the fact that you showed an open mind toward 
AMS and toward Pliny scholarship. I haven't read your paper on dating 
of the texts you listed, so on that I'll wait and see.
Stephen Goranson (please note the spelling)
stephen goranson