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Re: orion Judah "the Essene"?
On Mon, 11 Aug 1997 RGmyrken@aol.com wrote:
> You raise good points, although from my reading the archaeology of 'Arak el
> Emir is somewhat problematic.
> -- Russell Gmirkin
This is how I see it. The only thing that makes Arak el Emir problematic
is the fact that many scholars do not read the excavation reports or are
not schooled in Archaeology or in classical architecture. If you can read
French read >>Iraq Al Amir; Le Chateau Du Tobiade<< by E. Will and F.
Larche. I cannot read French very well but there was no other book out
there that made this issue so clear. I actually read the whole thing
through. But what is best here is the Bibliography and the presentation of
the issues. Here was a very sophisticated analysis of the site with
comparative models of similar structures. It was a palatial estate. Even
the excavator P. Lapp in the 1960's realized that this site could never
have been the Fortress of Birta of the Zenon Papyrus. This was bad
conclusion made by early explorers in the late 1800's, that was disputed
even then, but some scholars are not updating their conclusions or are
making them without using or understanding the excavation reports or are
using out of date books as sources.
The problem with Qumran is that the excavation report has not yet
been published, nore has there been done a serious analysis of the remains
in terms of similar sites with similar architectural remains. There seems
to have been some kind of analysis on the chain of fortifications, but
many types of sites can look like a fortification, including a
ville, a temple, a fortified village or estate. This is not enough. Though
I doubt the fort theory, I cannot make a serious proposal without the
excavation reports. I have seen this mistake too often to just accept the
An example is Masada. Masada is not a fortress as much as it is a
fortified palatial estate, a retreat for Herod. It was designed for luxury
and security. It had limited military value, and I am sure that they
kept mosty a maintenance staff there and not a standing army (though an
army may have been present when Herod was present). Simply
because a site has defences for its inhabitants does not mean that it was
a military outpost. Even though there may be signs of military use, such
could have been temporary (as the use by the Romans in Qumran) or
secondary (as the case in Masada).