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Re: orion news article; Pliny
It will be interesting to hear more about Yizhar Hirschfeld's excavations.
Yizhar's work on Byzantine Judaean monastic sites, among others, has been
important. But, for now, at least one assertion in the Associated Press
article should be corrected.
The article, after mentioning pottery dated to A.D.70-100 and a
glass perfume bottle, states:
"Most convincing for Hirschfeld, however, is a description of the Essene
settlement by Pliny the Elder, a Roman officer who visited about A.D. 75
when the Romans were crushing a Jewish revolt."
That statement is false. Pliny did not visit Judaea, and Pliny's
account of Essenes was not based on his experience, but on a source from
the time of Herod the Great.
The reason some scholars previously thought Pliny had been in Egypt
and perhaps Judaea (an 1884 study in Hermes of an inscription from Aradus
by Th. Mommsen) has been thoroughly discussed by classics scholars. These
scholars have shown that Pliny did not visit Egypt or Judaea.
Much relevant bibliography and analysis can be found in G. Serbat,
"Pline l'ancien: Etat present des etudes sur sa vie, son oeuvre et son
influence, ANRW II 32.4 (1986) 2069-2200, esp. 207 and in M. Stern, Greek
and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (1976) I: 466. Pliny did hold posts
in Europe, but not in Judaea.
>An article appeared on Nando Times
>Nicolas B. Tatro, "New site of Dead Sea Scroll sect found, says
>researcher." Hebrew University archaeologist Yizhar Hirschfeld claims
>that a site near Ein Gedi was built by the Essenes.