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orion red ink & Neil Atlman on dating
Dear David Crowder,
The Pompeii wall painting double inkwell has been interpreted as
used for red and black ink because use of red and black ink is well known
at that time period and well known especially in Egypt and Italy, though
attested elsewhere also.
I wrote that third message on red ink because I have now read yet
two more articles in which Neil Altman makes incorrect assertions: in _The
Lutheran_ a second time, April 1996 and in the Massachusetts newspaper _New
Standard_ Feb. 7, 1997 (http://www.s-t.com/daily/02-07-97/c05op111.htm).
The latter is titled "Evidence is clear that Christian hands wrote the Dead
Sea Scrolls." To take one example from the latter (other than the bold
title), Neil Altman asserted that Epiphanius "wrote that the name 'Essene'
was used to designate early gentile followers of Jesus." But that is not
so. And it is doubly unfortunate, because Epiphanius does provide useful
information, including some that supports the etymology of "Essenes" from
Hebrew *'asah*, which is used as a self-identification in some of the
sectarian, Jewish, Essene Qumran texts.
Two other recent articles, including the Jan/Feb BAR discussion of
Qumran by four archaeologists and yet another publication in which it is
mistakenly claimed that "Essene" does not appear in any Semitic form in the
scrolls (without identifying what spellings the author would accept)
provide more assurance to me that the Qumran collection of manuscripts was
an ancient Essene collection. There are many important unanswered
questions, but whether the scrolls are ancient does not appear to be one of
If you and Mr. Altman wish to use Bibles which do not use Dead Sea
Scroll texts, that is no problem. If you wish to argue that Bible editions
ought not use Dead Sea Scroll information, you are surely free to do so.
But, in my opinion, it is not fair to use misinformation, for
example about red ink and about Epiphanius, to argue that Qumran
manuscripts are medieval in order to try to achieve those goals.
Happy New Year,
Durham NC firstname.lastname@example.org