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orion new Qumran Essene ostracon

A few more notes to contribute to discussion of the new ostracon:
1) line 1 "In the year two L". Greg Doudna suggested Murabba'at P.115 leads
to "usual expectations" (despite day and month being given in deeds
overwhelmingly before the year) that this year would be followed by day and
month "in the line 1 lacuna." But P. 115 is in Greek. It is later--not
therefore irrelevant, but earlier texts are more important if one is
looking for precedent. The very long date formula it uses involves Caesar,
his consuls, and Roman and Macedonian months--but not a Jewish month.
Though Jewish names appear, it is not a deed but a remarriage text. But, if
for conversation's sake we credited it with special relevance, still, isn't
the ostracon line 1 lacuna too small to include, after "in the second year
of," the X era on Y day of Z month?  I guess we haven't settled on line
lengths, but I suggest that is too long. Cross and Eshel are right on p.20,
"The date formula is unusual." In note 8 on the same page, they use the
phrase "a regular formula of deeds." This, of course, gets to my main
disagreement with the IEJ article. If one looks for precedent, in differing
but overlapping and cumulative ways, Cross, Eshel, and I are pointing to
Serek ha-yahad.
2) line 2. I didn't have time to check out Greg Doudna's 19 Aug suggestions
before his 22 Aug post took a rather different view, though without
entirely specifying which of the previous proposals he reconsidered. (Some
in the 19 Aug post are questionable, though they suggest that Greg allowed
for some variations in letter shapes.) I do not take back my reaction that
I was initially impressed with the open-mindedness of the 19 Aug post, but
I agree with the 22 Aug post on line 2: that Cross and Eshel give the best
reading:  natan Hony. Natan is one of the indications of a gift (future
gifts include wills, as noted).
3) "In Jericho." If Qumran was in the Jericho toparchy, then "in Jericho"
could refer to the official place of record--and if that part of the old
formula applies--(like, e.g., an American county seat) and/or the location
of the property; i.e., the trees may or may not have been in Jericho the
4) The links with Serek ha-yahad are not confined to one line and include
"second year," "gave," and (if one accepts the reading) "to the yahad"
(LYXD appears many times in both 1QS and 4QS but nowhere else besides the
ostracon?). Greg's suggestion in line 12 "by his hand" as refering (cf. S)
to Hony writing this draft text (as I had suggested to Philip Davies) is
quite interesting; but what about those unidentified letters? The three
signers idea is hard to see. Importantly, the beginning of line 8, which
reading which has not been challenged on orion, provides a strong link to
S, as C and E write. They cite a piel example of the root ML) in 1Kgs 1:14,
though Qimron's Grammar lists this root in list 3 with "words not attested
either in BH or in MH." Why? Is he noting a usage subset?
5) Does anyone know the loci (and/or the previous identification) of the
coins Y. Meshorer redated to 70-72 CE (from Ascalon)? Meshorer's
identification of coins is surely top quality, but his archaeological
conclusion, could, perhaps, be weaker, depending on the find information.
6) For whatever reason, the IEJ article did not mention War 2, though it
did cite Strugnell's important JBL article on Ant 18. Whether "the second
year" refers to the beginning and/or end of that period might merit further
discussion. Comparing the years in S and Josephus has been much discussed
(bibliography in Todd Beall's 1988 book).
Stephen Goranson    goranson@duke.edu