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Re: orion differing perspectives on Essenes (long)

In a message dated 97-09-12 14:50:25 EDT, you write: 
<<  When Yadin got the Temple Scroll near the end 
 of the Six Day War,  with instructions to build a temple, on land just then 
 back in  Israel's control, did he want to build a temple? Surely not. Not 
 only did Yadin think the Essenes were rather odd Jews, but he himself 
 wasn't particularly religious. Does politics enter into the differences in 
 accounting for the early discoveries between Sukenik and his son and Trever 
 and Brownlee, the latter two both politically pro-Arab? Of course. 
 	Some have tried to write on this subject. E.g., N. Silberman 
 recorded some reminiscences of interest, but failed as plausible history. 
 One of the most direct attempts is by L. Schiffman. Larry is not shy. He's 
 a great guy, good sense of humor, and he kindly sent me a copy years ago. 
 "Confessionalism and the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls" _Jewish Studies_ 31 
 (1991) 3-14.    But, despite several worthy and learned observations, this 
 is a problematic and biased account. He properly raises the issue of 
 "pluralism" within Judaism and Christianity. But there are unsupported 
 assertions (e.g., that debate on closeness of Qumran and the early Church 
 "had to do with internal issues of modern Christianity") and omissions 
 (e.g., K. Stendahl; insufficient notice of Joseph Baumgarten, etc.) It 
 properly raises issues of some Christians wishing either to distance from 
 or connect with Essene Jews, and adds post-Holocaust developments, but 
 doesn't plausibly join them together. Motives of Christians studying 
 Rabbinic literature (pre-1948) were more complex than suggested: e.g., 
 little Second Temple literature was available. The article sometimes 
 emphasizes the diversity within Judaism and Christianity, while at other 
 times (without justifying the switches) positing a Jewish and Christian 
 dualism. [E.g., Yadin,  Carmignac, and Brownlee--Jew, Catholic, and 
 Protestant agreed on Alexander Jannaeus as Wicked Priest; not all issues as 
 sorted out by prior commitment. And the idea that the "Essene hypothesis" 
 was promulgated by conspiracy of like-minded insiders is simply absurd.] 
 	Schiffman argues that the order of scroll discoveries influenced 
 the characterization, which lately emphasizes halakha. (Though, may I say 
 again, "halakah," strictly speaking, does not appear in the scrolls.) 
 Schiffman sees this as revealing their true Jewish character. Yet were the 
 first scrolls--Isaiah, pesher Hab., Gen. Apoc., hodayot, milhamah, serek 
 hayahad--not Jewish? Of course the legal texts are of essential importance. 
 But shall we assume with the author that his rather halakhocentric view of 
 Judaism is the only or true Judaism, ancient or modern? 
 	I'm not picking on Larry Schiffman, just responding to an ambitious 
 and learned and  flawed article. Also, I do not wish that we constantly 
 focus on a hermeneutics of suspicion. Much of Qumran scholarship 
 concentrates on the relevant data. 
 	But, I do suggest, that when a scholar, for whatever reason, 
 invites us to ignore evidence (e.g., of Pliny read correctly, or of 
 inkwells, etc.) or asks us erase Essenes  from history or to imagine Qumran 
 mss or archaeology to show what they do not (e.g., Judaism as a whole, or >>

It may be interesting that on  the day in 1948 May 14-15 when the State of
Israel was declared, the reading from the portion of the Torah was a metes
and bounds description of the Temple, i. e. so many cubits this way etc. I
know, I was the one who read it on my Bar Mitzvah, the 5th of Ivar  in a
little Synagogs in New York City. 
It seems obvious that is some kind of message. I ask the scholars to look it
up and verify that what I say is true and correct.
Steve Abramowitz