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orion request for clarification
To the moderator; Dear Avital,
1) You wrote on the orion list that you agree with a statement in which Jim
West called the Essene identification of Qumran a "dead horse," though, to
the best of my knowledge, this identification is very widely held among
2) Albert Baumgarten wrote that because some sources display "fuziness" and
aren't insiders they aren't ideal. But historians are often, perhaps
usually, faced with less-than-ideal sources to work with. And Philo,
Josephus, Pliny, and Epiphanius are rather good sources, as sources go.
And, in the view of many, some Qumran texts (not to mention archaeology)
are insider sources of remarkable quality.
3) Fred Cryer wrote that "we don't even know if the Essenes and the DSS
were contemporary phenomena," which is plainly false.
4) More than one post has said something about no new evidence, yet it
appears to me that we live in a time of a flood of new evidence and new
possibilities for connections with old evidence. Not all posts take
advantage of this situation (by using both old and new evidence), but many
Are statements about Essenes--false ones at that--which come from opponents
of the Essene identification with Qumran to be welcomed on orion while
proponents of the Essene identification are asked to be silent? Thank you.