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orion As the French would say de trop

Please. The spirit of my communication based on Cole Porter was
lighthearted. To the extent I meant any criticism of others it was not of
anyone with whom I agree or disagree, but of ALL OF US!
I don't want to get involved in an extended discussion of the points on
which I may agree or disagree with someone else. I would encourage each
of us to ponder a question: what evidence would it take to make me change
my mind about ---- that I wrote in the past? Having set the challenge,
I'll give an example for myself. Having argued that Essenes and the Temple
Scroll are to be distinguished on the basis of defecation practice, and
having reserved judgement about Qumran, if some future expedition in the
area (of the sort that Eshel and Broshi carried out a few winters ago)
uncovers numerous shovels, all with remains of fecal material, I would
have to concede that the people at Qumran were the same as Josephus's
Essenes. On the other hand, by the criteria I proposed (about which one
may argue), if someone finds toilets at Qumran that would seem to place
the burden of proof against the conclusion that these folks were
Josephus's Essenes.
I think this is a useful exercise, and promotes a higher degree of
willingness to be open to new conclusions, than too many of us (again, no
one in particular!) show.
Last of all, to clear up any doubt, Joe Baumgarten and I have sat at least
twice in the past twenty years to see if we can find some point of family
contact. So far we have failed. 
Al Baumgarten