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Re: orion brief responses

Dear Jack Kilmon,

    You take a very honest and reasonable approach.  Historical texts may
contain gaps of information, and conjectures with reasonable foundation may
sometimes be appropriate and indeed the only alternative.  (For instance, I
don't disagree that SG's historical construct has a foundation many might
view as plausible, but reasoned conjecture is still conjecture.)  
    The question is whether these historical gaps exist and a historical
approach relying heavily on conjecture are required relative to our
sectarians.  Since the late fifties there has been a common, even dominant
presupposition that the sectarians built and occupied Qumran and that
sectarian origins need not be sought earlier than Qumran's foundation
(variously put between 150 and 100 BCE, modern opinion leaning towards a
later date).  Obviously, there is no evidence linking the Teacher of
Righteousness to Qumran - this is an obvious example of archaeological
conjecture, and I haven't seen this proposition seriously argued of late.
 But if Qumran archaeology is ultimately irrelevant to the earliest history
of the sectarians, then we are now free to look earlier than Qumran, in the
pre-Hasmonean period, for sectarian origins.  In that period one may identify
the major figures, factions and events in the pesharim, CD, etc., utilizing
only conventional history without having to postulate unrecorded events.
 This raises the question whether the field has been looking for the history
of the sect in the wrong period, and whether the constant recourse to
historical conjecture has been unnecessary all these decades.  

Best Wishes,
Russell Gmirkin