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Re: orion Focus of DSS research

At 08:09 AM 9/16/97 -0600, you wrote:
>From one "amateur" to another, your suggestion is
>a good one! "To the things themselves!" [Husserl].

The suggestion that we look to the scrolls instead of the authors and their
social location seems a good one, on the surface; but I would suggest that
if we hope to understand the scrolls we must understand who wrote them and
why.  If we do not come to terms with these questions than the others will
be unanswerable as well.

For example, any sentence taken from a historical context can be grossly
misued or misunderstood.  "Judas hanged himself" says one text in the NT.
"Go therefore and do likewise" is another.  If these texts are ripped from
their context and combined then the most idiotic sense ensues.  Likewise, if
we do not know when or why a Qumran text was written we will be at a loss as
to what it means.

Along with the "amateurs" I think we should focus on the content; but in
disagreement with the last several posts I think we must also focus on the
context- or else we will simply be shooting in the dark.

>Elmer Smalling


Jim West, ThD
Adjunct Professor of Bible
Quartz Hill School of Theology