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orion On G. Doudna on ostracon 1
In the photographs and drawings I have seen so far, in line
8...lamed-yod-het-dalet is not only a plausible and reasonable reading, but
the best reading. I look forward to reading the article by Greg Doudna and
Fred Cryer, and those by others.
Opponents of the yahad reading have not, to my knowledge,
adequately dealt with the comparison of different photographic techniques.
The polarization method shown at the Nov 1996 SBL/ASOR was impressive for
ceramic materials. At the Jerusalem conference at which Prof. Golb had yet
another forum for his anything-but-Essenes views, at least one paper
(abstract), by Marilyn Lundberg, dealt with potential abuses of some
results of photo enhancing.
Great scholars can be wrong; in this case, evidently (and
reportedly) Joseph Naveh. I am on record as opposing, for example, the
etymology of "Essenes" which Prof. Cross has defended. I did not evaluate
the presentation by him and Esther Eshel uncritically. I read the dating
differently--and as yet additional Essene evidence.
To assert that "there is no 'yachad' and nothing identifiably
Essene in the ostracon" is to assert a falsehood, or, actually, two
falsehoods. The phrasing of such a denial--rather than merely fully
submitting an alternate reading and seeing how it, once published, also
withstands scrutiny--inevitably raises the question whether one who would
assert this is open-minded to precisely these possibilities, yahad and
The (apparently contradictory) alternate proposals raised deserve
due consideration upon publication. In the meantime, today, it is a fact
that I and some others (of what number, I don't know) read yahad and see an
Essene conveyance document --notice, no price is mentioned. This is a
conveyance which comports with the Qumran archaeological evidence,
including the 4QS scrolls, and with the descriptions of Essenes, notably
that in Josephus. I welcome scholarly discussion--and offprints : - ). But
declarations that I don't read what I do read are rather less than useful.
IMHO, whoever attempts to erase, for whatever reason, the history of
Essene Jews does us no service.