[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion Hasidim, Sadducees, Essenes & Qumran

>     (2) Yizhar Hirschfeld demonstrated at the Congress that layout of Qumran
> strongly resembles numerous other fortified manors, with a fortified tower,
> rectangular living quarters, and adjacent industrial complex.  So in my model
> I am compelled to downgrade Qumran from a fortress to a cleruchy, a
> quasi-military colony loosely connected to the fortress system, with royal
> land awarded the aristocratic commanders whose relatives/subordinates served
> as soldiers when required, especially in times of crisis, and otherwise
> farmed, conducted business, etc.

    The Zenon Papyrus discusses cleruchs near Ammon, as well as a tour in
Palestine. Though there were few if any mentioning of cleruchs outside the
Ammanitis, they certainly did exist. The composition of the cleruchy in
Bitra in Ammanitis was mixed, Hellenized, and Ptolemaic and run by the 
Tobiads who ruled that region as a principality, who defended the
periphery  from Nomads and Seleucids.This area also included good farm
land and was famous for breeding exotic horses.
    Keeping this in mind, let us look at Qumran. Qumran seems to have no
military or defensive value for the region as a whole. That region was
controled from the Ammanitis where the key fortification systems existed
such as the Citadel of Amman.This system went around the Dead Sea and
across to Jericho and the Decopolis. Qumran was on the shores of the Dead
Sea, would it be expected that an invasion of the region from across the
Dead sea into a desert wasteland then into the Judean Mts? No, most
invasions are from the north and into the Yezreal valley. I may not be
totally acurate here but I think you get the point. 
    Another key issue, cleruchs were used often to control the locals or
to defend the periphery. Qumran area was not very populated let alone
be a hotbed for  rebellion, nor was it ever on the outer fringes of the
Seleucid or Ptolemaic empires. Cleruchs were also paid with GOOD
agricultural land, again Qumran did practice some farming, but I would
still gamble to suggest that they still needed to import most of their
food.Cleruch's lands were partitioned and hereditary and never communal.
They also did not live communally, they usually built thier own homes
close by, married local wives and raised a family, just like everone
  Qumran had a very distinct way of life that was very Jewish unHellenized
and very communal. Even the hord of silver coins was typically Jewish.
Mercinaries and possibly cleruchs (Jewish or not) get paid with coins
similar to Alexander's drachms or tetradrachms and not Tyranian shekels
(used only by Jews in that region to pay the Temple tax, Jews had to
buy them, they did not get paid in them). 
   There is also no military culture found in Qumran, weapons, arrow heads
so on, except Roman arrow heads. There is no fortifications, glacies,
defensive walls or anything worth defending, like roads, passes and so on.
There is a tower,but observatories are also towers, and communication also
may have been important.

   I have to go now but in short there is nothing military about Qumran. 

 >     (3) The Hymn to King Jonathan and other
Sadducean texts at Qumram
> indicate the fortified estate was occupied by Sadducean aristocratic
> partisans of King Jonathan (Jannaeus) from 76-63 BCE, as per Jos., Ant.
> 13.410-417.
>     (4) But under Herod, royal and private estates were seized from his
> opponents (e.g. Sadducees) and awarded to his friends (e.g. Essenes).  I
> therefore now propose that an Essene occupation of Qumran began under Herod,
> and admit the possibility of later Essene documents after 63 BCE, i.e. late
> copies of revered Hasidim texts.
>     This model now accomodates both C14 data and Pliny's account on the
> Essenes below Jericho.  Let me solicit Steve Gorenson's opinion in
> particular, what evidence exists of Essenes at Qumran in pre-Herodian times?
>     -- Russ Gmirkin