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Re: orion Ostracon/N. Golb
> Of course the work of Ada Yardeni and Joseph Naveh are highly
> respected--certainly by me. But somehow Golb neglected to mention that the
> work of F.M. Cross is also highly respected (Naveh wrote in an
Indeed there is much to respect in Cross's work on paleography of the
Qumran texts. (And I like Esther Eshel and am feeling for her right now.)
But that is not the point. The point is the yod isn't there in the line 8
word which has been read as "yachad". This is not an ambiguous
matter of competing legitimate possibilities. The yod reading was an
unfortunate mistake. You react so strongly against Golb that you
are failing to see the correctness of what Golb is pointing
to--which is that the letter is a nun/gimel, it is not a photographic
trick, and anyone with the IEJ photo and two eyes can verify it.
When I saw Golb's photo in Jerusalem, I was stunned--I too had not
previously noticed the nun/gimel vertical line with the left foot, but
studying the IEJ photo in the aftermath of Golb's presentation it is
clearly there and is clearly the actual letter. There are many
"shaded" regions around the ink lines of the actual letters in the
ostracon and this is one such case. These shaded regions are not the
letter itself in the other cases, and the same is true in this case. Notice
in the photograph that the shaded region transcribed by Eshel as
two lines making an inverted-V is filled in with the same shading
through the whole area of the inverted-V. I see no mystery in what
went wrong. Cross and Eshel--as I too before Golb's talk (so I can
understand the mistake)--misunderstood the shaded region as the
letter, rather than the vertical stroke within the shaded region which
is the actual letter. But that the vertical stroke with the clear left foot
is the letter--either a nun or a gimel--is not an ambiguous issue. It can
be evaluated by anyone in five minutes by looking at the IEJ photo.
It was an unfortunate error, and from the reports the error is in the
process of being corrected.
> Prof. Golb has been denying the link of Qumran with Essene Jews
> with a tenacity not seen since the era of the learned Solomon Zeitlin,
> editor of JQR, as Golb well knows. I suggest to the University of Chicago
> Professor of Jewish History and Civilization that it is unseemly, writing
> in late twentieth century, to encourage people to deny occurances in Jewish
> history for which there is abundant evidence.
I must earnestly protest this rhetoric, particularly that of the
last line. I was hit with a similar line from SG directed at me and
did not know how to react. To react is to flame, not to react is to
leave in the air a connotation. Notice the subtext . . . "Essene Jews"
(not simply "Essenes") . . . "the late twentieth century" (i.e.
post-Holocaust) . . . "to deny occurrences in Jewish history for
which there is abundant evidence" (sort of like Holocaust deniers) .
. . SG, it is totally inappropriate to link your views on the Essene
connection to an issue of antisemitism and historical revisionism.
S. Talmon has been questioning the Essene assumption for decades as
unnecessarily filtering perception of what may really have been going
on. Schiffmann has a point in suggesting the Essene connection has
served Christian ideological interests in interpreting the scrolls.
I imagine Golb could perceive the denial of the Jerusalem origin of the
Qumran cache of literary texts as a denial or marginalization of a
major event in Jewish history. You might also consider that the
Essene claim implies a negation of other Jewish groups' connection to
the yachad of the only first century BCE Judean manuscripts
in existence. (Do you know that the texts and the yachad do not
precede the naming of the groups? I don't.) So there are different
ways this Essene emphasis can be interpreted. Please SG, no more
of this kind of rhetoric. Return to discussion on the basis of data,
as you often do. That is productive discussion--not this other
University of Copenhagen Dead Sea Scrolls Initiative