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orion response to R. Gmirkin
Dear Russell Gmirkin,
It is difficult to take what you wrote lately seriously. According to it,
we should all be confident that George Washington cut down the cherry tree
and could not tell a lie. Why? Because it's in the "historical record"
(biography of Parson Weems). Even so the record shows no such thing as,
e.g., Maccabees using the War Scroll-type Roman-influenced organization.
The record as you construe it lately does not include a "teacher of
righteousness" at all anyway. Perhaps we should not accept this a
historical, then? 1,2 Macc, like other texts, has (have) biases. 1-2 Macc
is useful for study of Enoch, Jubilees, Daniel etc.--though with a very
different word-view than Daniel. But the pesharim are apparently later
texts. I have no objection to your proposing Onias III as TR. But to claim
that that appears from the historical record is simply not the case. And to
simutaneously downplay sectarian conflict during the rule of Alexander
Jannaeus, which is attested in Josephus, Rabbinic literature and Qumran
literature--and to present this a part of a putative even-handed
comparison--is very odd. Those who doubt C14 testing as unreliable can
ignore it or try to fix it; but to use it selectively is problematic. To
ignore the old saying that history is written by the victors and to try to
shoehorn Qumran texts into the word-view of Maccabees--texts absent from
Qumran--and with Hasidim/Asideans appears to have more to do with your
personal preferences than exemplary historical methodology, IMO.