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Re: orion Ostracon/N. Golb

Greg Doudna wrote that anyone "with the IEJ photo and two eyes" will
necessarily read a nun or gimel and not a yod. He, of course, can speak for
his eyes and the interpretative process which is also involved in his case.
What he (and apparently some others, though let's let them speak for
themselves)  do not accept--though it is a matter of public record--is that
some who do have eyes, and various photographs, and, in some cases, direct
and prolonged contact with the ostracon itself have seen and concluded
differently. Why choose to be oblivious to this simple fact? I do not
object to anyone presenting their reading--I have repeatedly welcomed such.
But blanket declarations of what others are allowed or not allowed to see
is something other than scholarship.
	I am no expert on the "N"-shaped het. But I have been looking  at
more examples, including. e.g., in Murabba'at  18, a papyrus text
internally dated to 55/56 CE. (One can see it via DJD 2 or Cross 1961
figure 5--a figure also reprinted with thanks and acknowledgement by Joseph
Naveh in _Early History of the Alphabet_.)  I'm just lately looking at
4QEcclesiastes (in BASOR 135 [1954] etc.) with its variety of het shapes.
Previously I was told by some that I could not read a het here in line 8.
But the more I look into it, the more reasons appear to consider a het the
best reading, in my opinion. I don't ask others not to consider a aleph (or
any other letter) instead. There are some variations in letter shapes here.
Perhaps now that the het is appearing more plausible, after all, now I'm
told I do not have permission to see a yod.
	Greg Doudna objected to my use of the collocation "Essene Jews."
(I've used these two words before.) To the best of my knowledge and in my
opinion Essene Jews lived, during Second Temple times, in various
locations, including Qumran.  Greg can sort out for himself, if he wishes,
why that collocation sounds offensive to him. Would the term, for example,
"Sadducee Jews" offend Greg? I don't know. Neither terms appears offensive
to me.
	Greg's writing that "he is feeling for" Esther Eshel "right now"
sounds patronizing to me. It sounds like Greg is certain that his view must
be right. With all due respect, I suggest that is unjustified. Again,
please allow me to recommend the review of Prof. Golb's book by L. Grabbe
in DSD, with its cogent and timely observations on methods of presenting a
case. By all means, please, let me read, e.g., Ada Yardeni's learned views,
and those of Norman Golb, and you. Then, please, allow me, and other
readers--including museum curators--to make up our own minds.
Stephen Goranson    goranson@duke.edu