[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

orion perspectives, Essenes

Indeed I should have credited the idea that *all* Qumran mss came from the
Jerusalem temple to K.H. Rengstorf rather than N. Golb. If J. West's "...he
never claimed that the scrolls came from the Temple library, but rather..."
(which allows ambiguity) is read to mean he did not *include* the Temple,
that's a mistake. E.g., Golb in Qumran Chronicle 2.3 (1993) 180: "...that
the scrolls are remnants of various libraries in Jerusalem...and
undoubtedly--as Prof. Rengstorf suggested in the 1960's--the library of the
Temple itself."  Yet for several reasons, some noted by A. Dupont-Sommer
and L. Grabbe, that hypothesis is quite doubtful.
	Dave Washburn responded to my "'halakah,' strictly speaking, does
not appear in the scrolls" by asserting "the term appears and so does the
literary genre." Again: the term "halakah" in the Rabbinic and presumably
Pharisaic sense appears in Qumran texts *zero* times.  This fact, and the
absence of Pharisee texts, together with anti-Pharisee texts (e.g.,
4QpNah),  excludes any hypothesis that claims Qumran mss represent all or
most contemporary Jews. And Essenes were not a "narrow splinter sect," to
use Dave's (Golb-influenced?) phrase. Essenes were apparently more numerous
than, e.g., Sadducees. (Again: Josephus and Philo wrote 4000 at one time;
Philo wrote "myriads" over time.)
	Actually, anyone open to considering my post before reacting to it
will see that I was less interested in particular inadequate hypotheses
that in motives for such responses such as wishing to remove Essenes from
Qumran and (by denying evidence) locate them in neverland. By the way, I
just yesterday got the library copy of Lena Cansdale, Qumran and the
Essenes: A Re-Evaluation of the Evidence. I have not finished reading, but
I have had to stop writing down errors. It's not her fault (but the
publishers) but even the gold letters on the spine misspell Essenes (as
she--or the typesetter--does misspell the Greek versions of the name and
the Aramaic proposed etymologies)! Talk about aversion to Essenes. And yet
again (pp. 26-27) the text of Pliny is misrepresented!  (But I haven't
finished the book, and evidently a lot of research went into it.)
	The term "status quo" is hardly apt for Qumran studies generally,
or my views specifically. Too much new is happening for that, such as all
the texts now being accessible and the find of the new Qumran Essene
ostracon.  I sometimes disagree with scholars Dave (for whatever reason)
derisively calls "mainstream," e.g., with Vermes on the Wicked Priest, with
Cross on etymology of "Essenes," with de Vaux on some dates, etc.
	I hope some orion readers noticed the actual main subject of my
post. I do not imagine that I covered this complex subject of varieties of
Jewish, Christian, and other presuppositions on Qumran adequately--indeed,
no publication I've seen has--but, at least, it was an attempt to address
Stephen  Goranson   goranson@duke.edu