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orion Jars and 1a & 1b dates
Last evening I reviwed several hundred pages of earlier posts relating to
pottery and scroll jars. I'm not sure if you have some particular post in
mind when you suggest that I should read prior posts nor am I sure that I
understand your comment that there "are a number of buried jars at Qumran."
By that do you mean that there are a number of jars burried in floors (such
as the one I am curious about) or just that there are a lot of burried jars -
which I assume is a given?
On the question of the significance of the 9/8 BCE date, if it would help, I
note that in a 10/14/96 message IH suggested a long period of abandonment
which he speculated, referrring to Schiffman, might have begun with an attach
by Parthians in 40 BCE, or during the Antigonus/Herod struggle in the period
SG quickly responded by citing J. Magness and advocating the 9/8 BCE date.
He speculated about a possible destruction not before passover 4 BCE citing
A. Kushnir-Stein in Scripta Classica Israelica 14 (1995) 73-86. In subsequent
posts (such as 5/29/97) SG often relied on J. Magness and pointed to paralles
to Q jars from Herodian Jericho as supporting the notion that the jars
appeared during the reign of Herod the Great. In other messages (such as
5/28/97) he argued that M. Agrippa, governor of Syria, was Herod's guest at
Jericho in 15 BCE and is the likely source of Pliny's report about Essenes.
G. Doundna pointed out in a message on 5/27/97 argued that there is no
evidence of 1b ending after 63 BCE. His message points out that there is
evidence of a fire in 68 CE, but not a single place in the Humbert and
Chambon publication of De Vaux's excavation notes in which the two alleged
fire levels exist as 1b and then II on top of one another.
It was about that time that Sigrid P. asked IH to summarize his arguments,
which he did in several subsequent messages.
In a 11/11/96 post, F. Cryer recommended dropping the term "scroll jars" and
simply sticking with the term jar because the former prejudges the data and
dictates an historicising scenario. FC discussed the relative length and
width of the jars and reminded us that the Q jars are hardly unique as to
type and pointed out that in BASOR the jars were called "provision jars." I
agree with this comment unless there is some evidence that scroll were
commonly kept in jars about this time. It would seem to me a pretty strange
place to commonly store a scroll.
I do not find anything in this material that speculates about why a jar(s)
(provision or scroll) was buried in the floor as described. Was it to keep
food cool? What type of food would that be? Was it as a hidding place?
For what? Assume for the sake of argument that it wasn't put there until
sometime after 31 BCE, why would someone want to burry a jar in the floor at
that particular time. Say, for example, the Essenes are occupying Q, Jericho
is prosperous, the Essenes are tight with Herod and busy cranking out scrolls
and planning the great war against the Romans to come. What do they keep in
the jar burried in the floor. Ink?
Once I was speculating that many of the scrolls came to Q from Jericho about
the time that Herod and his (and Roman) troops came to Jericho to attack it
only to find it had been deserted. If the jars are from Jericho (which seems
more likely to me), perhaps those folks who left Jericho took their scrolls
with them in jars? This, of course, presumes an occupation after 63 BCE and
leaves room for the 4 BCE date advocated by SG. This might also explain
other scrolls reportedly found in other caves near Jericho. Moreover, this
does not preclude a date for production of most of the corpus prior to 63
To SG, I'll try to find the time to look for portion of J discussing Herod's
last days. I do remember (I think) that he was soaked in oil as some sort of
treatment. I'll look and let you know what I find.