[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion Hirschfeld implications

I would say that by now one of the burdens holding down Dead Sea Scrolls
studies has been dropped with the discoveries of Yizhar Hirschfeld above
Ein Gedi becoming public information. Pliny was always a problematic
connection though a welcome expedient in the early days. Hirschfeld's
site generally deals with the Pliny description more closely and takes
away the only claim the old school had regarding Pliny: "there is no
other site that is appropriate" -- well, clearly, in the vacuum one
could say this, but it's a vacuum no more. It seems to me, and has
always seemed, that the use of Pliny regarding Qumran was never

As to the claim that the texts themselves indicate that the writers were
Essene, I would think this is another example of argument from
ignorance. We know so very little about what other associations required
from their members, though we know that closed associations were well
known in the Greek world and that the Pharisees had requirements for
entering their order and maintained a separation from the communities
they lived in. The entry requirements were, it seems, being debated by
the Hillel and Shammaite schools, the latter requiring a much longer
initial phase before the neophyte was accepted into the community. If
the haburot were distinct organizations from the Pharisees, we have
further indications of entry requirements and separation. There is no
prima facie evidence from the scrolls to force us to conclude that they
were written by the Essenes.

Though the memory will linger on, I would think that the Essene hegemony
over Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship has simply folded with Hirschfeld's
discoveries. Or more succinctly: it's a dead letter.

Sorry, if this has already been covered. I won't post any more on the



J.J. Hays
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto!