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Re: orion Response to F. Cryer

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Dear Fred,
[snip, agreed info]
> So far, there are about 18
>readings in the first half of the first century BCE. There are about 5
>outliers in the first CE.
I could be mistaken, but I think the number 18 is incorrect. It's from zero
to 14, on a quick look, with 6 quite likely, and others possible. Calling
those 5 outliers without calling any of the earliest dates outliers may be
(or sound) prejudicial.
[snip, agreed]
> In fact, I have designed a test here in
>Copenhagen together with  Greg Doudna and the head of the National Museum
>of Copenhagen to do just that. [snip]
This sounds like a interesting idea. Best wishes. I await your results.
> please do stop flogging the
>old dead horse of Pliny
Sorry, but I consider Pliny important, not only for Essenes, but for the
toparchy list, etc., so I do not accept your invitation to ignore Pliny.
>Urging what is at best a tertiary source against the documents themselves
>and the archaeological situation is an odd understanding of historical
>method. Do read the late Moses Finley´s *Evidence and Models*, and give it
>a thought.
I am not urging Pliny "against" archaeology and Qumran mss. I consider them
all important, the latter more direct, and all coherent with the "Essene
hypothesis." Thanks for the book recommendation.
> [snip] it is entirely possible that a group of "Essenes",
>whatever they may have been, once lived in the structures in question at
>some point in the first century BCE.
Yes, and first century CE till 70 or so, IMO.
>Whether they had anything whatever to
>do with the documents, which may well have been in place long before,
>remains incapable of demonstration.
IMO there are different kinds of demonstration. Those who demand a high
level in this case sometimes do not demand as much for other
reconstructions. See, e.g., the unanswered review of N. Golb in DSD 4
>Such a group would hardly have been so
>diverse as the picture I painted in my previous post, [snip]
But you did not inform me: which language, etc., are you declaring Essenes
did not or could not have used? That a movement as large and long-standing
as Essenes (plus owning older books, e.g., some biblical copies) is not
anomalous in the level of diversity and/or consistency manifest at Qumran,
in my experience of study of religious movements.
>And, yes, I have looked at
>the ca. 850-odd documents, and no, there are no autographs among them, not
>even among the so-called "sectarian" documents, which is where, on your
>hypothesis, one would *have* to find some.
Again, how do you know? Can you teach me how to tell? Not even Naveh's 4Q
"writing exercise"? And was each copy of Serek hayahad (and of the
pesharim) copied without change from a lost exemplar? At what point do
changes count as autographs? Anyway, actually my hypothesis requires no
such thing as a given number of autographs. Perhaps you are relying on
Golb's characterization. I think and wrote that it's possible (not
necessarily the case, but possible) that business documents were kept
mostly or entirely separate. I consider it probable that the Tyrian coins
(temple dues) were buried by the Essene mebakker, who died before returning
(probably in 8 to 3 BCE), and had not written down the location (and idea I
must say, proposed in the fifties, even though that may make you dismiss it
out of hand). The later copper scroll, I have speculated elsewhere, may be
a written locator spurred by that earlier loss. There are some unanswered
questions about cave 4 contracts, etc. But most of these documents may have
burned in Kh. Q., or been taken away, or are in a collapsed cave. There is
no Essene-removing consequence from Golb's observation. In fact, it points
to the probability of a communal group with centralized administration, not
lots of personal "paperwork" collections, except, maybe, the ostracon.
>I suggest we discontinue the topic for the present, as this discussion
>seems to be leading  nowhere.
Despite some discouraging moments, I still have some hope for dialogue with
those who have different perspectives and different sources of information.
For example, I might not have learned even more about M. Agrippa in Pliny
and the date of En Gedi's destruction, unless I was prodded by skeptics to
look at the evidence for Essenes again. I did, and it is stronger. So I see
some progress. Some good flow of ideas is already happening on orion IMO; I
simply think orion has greater potential, if more learned people choose to
contribute. Again, best wishes on your experiment and research.
Stephen Goranson      goranson@duke.edu
>Frederick H. Cryer
>Assoc. Prof. for Research
>Univ. of Copenhagen
>Faculty of Theology
>Købmagergade 44-46
>1150 København K.
>e-mail: fc.dss@pop.teol.ku.dk
>fax: (045) 35 32 36 52