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orion observations

	Strabo, as noted,  was mistaken concerning the origin of
circumcision. Perhaps it is the case that Strabo, or his source, associated
circumcision with some Hasmoneans because of the military expansion and
some forced conversions of that time.
	Solomon Zeitlin was quite a learned scholar. Yet he persisted for
more than 20 years in declaring that the Qumran texts were not ancient, but
a "hoax." Other scholars apparently suggest not using Josephus on Essenes,
while citing him on all else.
	When an orion contributor writes, e.g., "Forget the Essenes," I
take that as an indication that that writer is disinclined to consider
evidence which might indicate presence of Essenes.
	Some inscriptions come to scholars with no provenance. Qumran
ostracon 1 was found in an archaeological dig. According to the director,
James Strange, the locus had no pottery later than Qumran period II (which
dates, approx., to the 1st 7 decades of 1 CE). This lends support to the
Cross/Eshel paleography date. The archaeological data for this Essene site
is not "extraneous."
	It is not "extraneous" to notice the parallels and shared language
between the ostracon and 1QS and 4QS and Josephus, subjects which have not
been adequately addressed in some orion posts.
	Of course I can not yet fully evaluate the proposed readings of
Greg Doudna (and those of Fred Cryer which may differ) until they are fully
presented. GD wrote, e.g., that line 7 letter 2 is an aleph not a he. We
haven't gotten to the subsequent questions, e.g., which produces a better
sense? In line 8 GD raised the issue of syntax and meaning, though,
unfortunately, used a translation which is not that of C and E. GD accepted
the reading of the first word, but for the second word proposed the niphal
of 'xz, "to be seized, etc." But how he translates this line I have yet to
read. Is a niphal, which takes no direct object, likely here for a proposed
deed of sale?
	One can compare earlier and later deeds of sale,  e.g., the later
Murabba'at Hebrew papyri 22, 29, and 30 (dated to the 130s CE), which
appear to be quite different than the proposed reading of Qumran ostracon 1
as a deed of sale. In addition to the date formula, and the price, one
could add the witness signers, etc.
	Reasonable people can, of course, disagree on the reading of this
letter or that, though the way in which other scribes of the time formed
letters is surely not "irrelevant." I suggest it is also reasonable to
explore, at least, the relations of the text with Serek ha-yahad and
Josephus and the archaeology, which are not only quite near in time and
space, but, also, I think, in meaning.
Stephen Goranson