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Re: orion news article
> Emanuel Hirschfeld is a serious and capable archaeologist, so there's no
> doubt he's onto something here; the question is: what?
> I've previously resisted the automatic assumption that the complex in
> Qumran was inhabited by "Essenes", so I'll be duly hesitant to identify
> Hirschfeld's find with them. If there was more than one settlement of that
> character in the vicinity it's possible that one, more, or none of them
> were known as "Essene settlements". The question is not what the fabled
> "Essenes" were, but what Pliny took them to be...
Agreed. At the same time, this discovery would seem to answer the
argument by those favoring a Qumran-Essene connection that there is
no other site in the vicinity that qualifies to fit Pliny's
description. The one-man rooms, agricultural activity and such seem
to fit extant descriptions of the Essenes far better than the
structures and perceived activities at Qumran, and its location makes
sense of Pliny's statement that Ein Gedi was "below" the Essene
settlement. So prima facie, identifying it as an Essene site makes
sense. However, it does bother me (consistently) that the reporter
(and most all reporters) simply assumes that Essenes inhabited Qumran
and wrote the DSS. That's the part that gives me the biggest
It will be interesting to follow this new find and see what else it
If you don't know where you're going, don't lead.