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orion DSS and language

As Jim West said, I do not have a stake in this discussion - but I thought
that I would remark about my impression of what others think about first
century Judea, Palestine etc. and how that contrast with my impression - or

It is my impression that this area was quite cosmopolitan in nature.  As
mentioned before, and by way of only one example, the area around Jericho was
likely much more attractive economically and socially than it is now or has
been for some time.  There were irrigated date palm growing for a span of many
miles north and south of Jericho.  The area east and west of Jericho was
irrigated.  There were balsum and ceder trees throughout the area.  There was
a major east west trade route just south of Jericho.  From at least En Gadi to
Jericho there were substantial areas in cultivation.  Besides being a major
marketplace for select agricultural goods, Jericho produced items like pottery
on an "industrial" scale.  There were apparently some large villas - not to
mention Herod's "winter" palace - near Jericho.  And it appears to me that
travel was common throughout the area - and probably the travel restrictions
less than they are today.  It appears to me that travel to the east and west
was frequent and that governments to the east traded as far east what is now
India and governments to the west as far west as what is now Britan - or
farther.  Remember that it was about this time that the port at Ceasarea - I
believe - was constructed and that its construction included pouring
underwater concrete that is considered superior to the concrete used in our
age.  A primary ingredient for tha concrete was pumice transported by ship
from volcanos west of modern Italy.

While this area was geographically distant from Rome,  it seems likely to me
that Jim's thoughts on the development of language skills is more likely to be

Some of the things mentioned above are why I have a hard time picturing the
site at Q as some remote monestary like place.  If someone wanted to be
isolated, he could easily move into the hills west of Q and achieve more
isolation.  But with the elevation of the Dead Sea being probably 70 meters
higher than today, Q could not have been too far removed from the mainstream -
even if the occupants were Essenes producing scrolls commercially or

Mark Dunn
Northeastern Illinois University &
Illinois Wesleyan University etc.