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Re: orion "damascus"

>One of the proponents of associating "Damascus" with Qumran is F.M. Cross,
>_Ancient Library of Qumran_ (1960, 1980) 81-3. J. Murphy-O'Connor
>vigorously advocated associating "Damascus" with Babylon (several articles
>in RevBiblique [e.g., 1974, 215-44] and elsewhere). Various others
>(including, e.g., Samuel Iwry in Eretz Israel 9 [1969] 80-5) take
>"Damascus" more literally.  In CD, "Land of Damascus" reasonably reads as
>geography: "out of the land of Judah" (VI.5) and "to the land of the north"
>(VII.14). Among the texts to compare: I Kings 19:15 (cf. JJS [1992] 282-7).
>An exile of some Essenes to the "land of Damascus" could have occurred
>duing the reign of Alexander Jannaeus.
I must admit that  FM Cross's theory becomes  quite attractive when  one
wonders exactly WHITHER Saul of Tarsus was pursuing his quarry of "renegade
Jews"  when his life -- and ultimately that of millions  -- was changed for
ever by that vision on the road to  "Damascus."   One can at least imagine
that in Paul's time, a fugitive from Jerusalem with eschatological or
apocalyptic ideas  might be far more likely to escape through the desert
towards  not-too-distant  Qumran  (which, however,  does NOT require a
theory  that its inhabitants were proto-Christians) than to attempt flight
all the way north into Syria.  Besides,  would it have been worth anybody's
while to send Saul on a wild goose chase all that way?  BTW, does anyone
know who exactly were the  "brothers in Damascus" to whom Paul is
delivering letters patent from the Temple authorities?

Judith Romney Wegner jrw@brown.edu