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orion Re: Date of Scrolls Deposit--55 BCE?

I welcome the opportunity to respond to these fair questions raised 
by Stephen Goranson:

1) On a substantial number of texts being copied just before 
deposit, has it occurred to anyone just how bizarre the notion, going 
strong now these decades after discovery of the scrolls, of a model of 
200-300 years production for these texts is?  I would not be surprised 
if over fifty percent of the text copies at Qumran were produced 
within the ten year period prior to their deposit in the caves.  I 
don't doubt the existence of a few old-time scrolls or books in any 
collection, but the bulk might be considered contemporaneous and 
at the late end as a first guess unless there is evidence showing 
otherwise.  I have presented this in a seminar here and in a 
forthcoming article.  I call it "the single generation hypothesis", 
in which I propose that most of the scrolls copies come from a 
single generation which ended with the scrolls deposit in the caves.  
The diversity in the texts would be accounted for because this was 
a collection.
2) On the 4QpPs(a) carbon date (5-111 CE two-sigma reported from 
Tucson) this is indeed data, but is this the tail of a bell-curve, 
contamination, or a true date?  If the last, then a pre-BCE deposit 
date for the texts is falsified--and we're all ahead because we know 
more.  I don't buy it, on present information, for two reasons.  
First in any battery of 14C dates the data points at the outer ends are 
suspicious in principle.  They tell you where to redate and look 
further but the solid information is in the overlaps and in the 
repeated confirmations.  The second reason is I think the pesharim 
copies must be contemporary and pHab 14C dated in the 1st BCE, 
inconsistent with the pPs 14C date.  I suspect the true date of 
pPs is reflected in the 14C date for pHab, rather than in the 14C 
date on itself.  Future data can and undoubtedly will decide this 

(3) The non-retrieval of the mss.  The proposal would be that Qumran 
was abandoned or evicted either at the time of Pompey's orders to 
withdraw from the fortresses or Gabinius's later "destruction" of the 
fortresses to prevent their being used as bases for rebellion.  (The 
later history of Qumran, with partial use made of the ruins and site 
by groups would be a totally separate issue.)  A serious hiding of 
wealth and texts (if these hidings are part of the same event) seems 
to me to require a number of persons somewhere under a dozen to be 
fully accounted for and accomplished.  If this less-than-a-dozen are 
killed, captured, exiled, or don't care, the texts remain 
unretrieved by them and are retrieved inconsistently only by accident 
of later finders (which happened).  Of course the non-retrieval of 
the mss is a question for 68 CE no less, so the question is hardly 
diagnostic of a date.

(4) On "Qumran has not been shown to be a fortress", I think Bar-Adon 
did show it, as much as can be shown in terms of comparisons with 
sites and purpose of construction (and broadening the notion of fortress 
to mean simply state-sponsored strategic site for control--thick walls 
for a siege may be a nonissue).  Assuming the use of boats the site gives 
a view and control of the Dead Sea.  The original purpose may have 
been shortlived however.  With Roman arrival in Palestine there was 
much coming and going in these sites, people ordered to leave, etc.  
Furthermore the site of Qumran itself doesn't show a community 
gradually building up a complex, but a complex from the start which 
was abandoned and only partially reused.  Who the later users were, 
post-Pompey, is anyone's guess and would have no necessary 
connection with a fortress or military use of the site.  

Greg Doudna
U. of Copenhagen