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Re: orion Hirschfeld's Excavations
Dear Mark and orion,
I share your interest in rainfall variation, etc., but I found parts of
your post baffling. I asked questions about *how* accessible Qumran and Ein
Gedi were to one another. That's all. Of course a jar could be conveyed,
easily or not, from one place to the other. And I asked if the PAM numbers
for inscriptions could be provided. Should the jar have said "near
En-Gedi"? ; - )
Also, you appear to attempt to correct another non-issue. Whenever
did I write what you characterize as follows: "Are we then asked to believe
that M. Agrippa--this powerful military man interested in forts--would be
relating information to Pliny about the purification practices of the
Essenes [...]" Though I did indeed write that Agrippa was a powerful
military person--does anyone doubt that?--I have not written about any
relation, real or imagined, between ritual purity issues and whatever
Pliny's text tells us about the Dead Sea water. (And, your previous
account of the history of scholarship on Agrippa and Pliny is not all in
the sequence in which it happened.)
Then, you present my supposed views as inconsistent with Yizhar's
datings of Qumran--which, to add to exasperation--are not relevant to what
I have claimed, in this case. I claim that Agrippa wrote in 15 BCE (and
that Pliny read this text after Agrippa was long dead). Yes, Qumran was
sizable in 15 BCE; Yizhar and I do not disagree on that. Yes, Ein Gedi,
though destroyed in c.40 BCE was *still* in ruins in 15 BCE. This
information comes from archaeological reports of Benjamin Mazar and others
(bibliography below)--and from studies of toparchy lists.
I claim Pliny is largely a compiler, based on my reading of parts
of his text and of several Pliny scholars' essays which thus characterize
him. Sure, he has areas of personal experience and opinions, such as his
patriotism, which he adds in; but, usually, he his reporting written
sources, which he lists in the beginning of the work, sources of various
Yes, I think Qumran and some of the scrolls (e.g., S) are
Essene--for reasons beyond and without Pliny, which I'll not retype now. If
Yizhar, it turns out, has found another, apparently smaller, Essene
settlement, so be it. The huts, pottery, and one glass piece, are not yet
persuasive to me; but I'm open to future reports.
As to misconceptions about the relation of destruction, Jerusalem,
Jericho, and Ein Gedi, I have written on orion, giving elements of
pre-Qumran scholarship and my own interpretation, which addresses this.
Masada, I recently addressed. As Avital recommended, I'll refer you to the
archives. I also wish people who dismiss the knowability of infra as futher
along/downstream/south in this case would read Ch. Burchard and K. Sallmann
(bibliog. in archives) and read the other two sections which link Agrippa
and infra in this sense.
Just as I think it will save us all a lot of time if everyone who
wishes to write on Qumran archaeology will at a minimum give de Vaux's book
and other views a careful reading, I suggest that it is a good time for
consulting what is already known about Ein Gedi, in order to put the news
Perhaps, a good starting place is "En-Gedi" in The New
Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 2, pp.
399-409, by B. Mazar and others. It includes further bibliography. BAR has
had something earlier by Yizhar; also, the current issue of BAR, by the
way, indicates his project went looking for Essenes, rather than merely and
putatively happening upon them.
Consider Mazar p. 400, "The settlement must have been administered
by a central authority that dealt with the construction of terraces,
aqueducts, and the network of strongholds and watchtowers." The relation of
the proposed in-and/or-near Ein Gedi Essenes and the perfume factory to
other residents needs to be addressed. It may not be irrelevant that
Yizhar's Qumran interpretation (which I doubt) includes Essenes as
proposed possible "fringe workers." Finally, you asked about a topographic
map. Though no doubt better ones exist, 'Atiqot 5 (1966) page 14 has one.
Of course, to a large extent, we will have to wait for Yizhar's report.
Perhaps, as he is on the faculty at Hebrew University, he will help orion
convey his report to us. Thanks, orion.