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Re: orion "damascus"

On Fri, 2 Jan 1998, Tom Simms wrote:

>    According to the account (Acts), if Paul went to syrian Damascus, well
>    beyond Mount Hermon, he would be in another Governor's territory.  A High
>    Priest's warrant in Syria would be of no more use than in Alexandria.  (I
>    don't need to give a lecture on the competing ambitions of fellow gover-
>    nors.)  Qumran was in Judea.  The warrants would work in Judea, honor or
>    not.  To refuse was to invite Roman troops to become instant family guests.

It seems to me that it is speculative enough to identify Qumran as 
Damascus on the basis of CD, but then gratuously to introduce that 
identification into Acts is a bit much.  A close reading of CD makes it 
quite difficult to support the identification of Damascus and Qumran, 
since in going to the land of Damascus the community implied by CD is 
leaving Judah (which to me would seem to rule out Qumran) and seeking 
refuge in the north, in the land of Damascus (see CD vi.5,19; 
vii.13-14,19).  In the 3rd or 2nd centuries BCE, the advantage of the 
north is that it is beyond the authority of Jerusalem, making it a 
meaningful place for a band of dissenters to flee, as CD seems to 
presuppose.  Qumran doesn't make nearly as much sense in that regard.  If 
CD means "Judah" literally, and there is no hint in the text that it does 
not, then the burden of proof rests on assigning a figurative meaning to 

For that matter, as long as you're looking at a Bible Atlas, take a 
closer look, and I think that you'll notice that Damascus is more or less 
immediately on the other side of Mount Hermon from Banias (Caesarea 
Philippi) and Dan (unless your atlas is one of those that for some 
unknown reason, seem to be rather vague on the details of Mount Hermon).

David W. Suter
Saint Martin's College
Lacey, WA 98503