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orion the first toll?

After having a little time to ponder the extraordinary find of Hirschfeld I
wonder if this is not the first toll of the bell announcing the death of the
Qumran = Essene hypothesis.
Of course now it must be decided if there is enough evidence to link the new
site above Ein Gedi with Pliny's description; and it must be determined
whether or not Essenes lived at that site.  But since it has never been
shown that Essenes lived at Qumran, and yet that site for years has been
associated with the Essenes- what is now to hinder us from identifying the
site near Ein Gedi as an Essene settlement- particularly since it clearly
fits in better with Pliny's description?

Looking forward to more news from this discovery,


Jim West, ThD
Adjunct Professor of Bible
Quartz Hill School of Theology