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Re: orion Where were "they"?
It may be that Essenes were involved in balsam production. But this has not
yet been shown. Yizhar Hirschfeld has a long way to go to present a
persuasive case. For example, if the perfume factory was in the town, does
his group qualify as being alone with palm trees? Why are those who blanch
at terms such as "scriptorium" and "monastery" when used of Qumran remain
silent when Yizhar speaks of "cells" and monasteries? Why do those who
(incorrectly) asserted that Pliny was the only Qumran-to-Essene link now
apply a lighter standard of evidence to Yizhar's site, which admittedly
relies on what Jerusalem Post called the thread of Pliny, and an unlikely
translation of Pliny at that? I am eager to read and see more evidence from
Dr. Hirschfeld, but some posts--the most extreme being by "John J. Hays"
(i.e., Ian H.)--demonstrated quite remarkable disregard for the careful
methodology previously counseled.
The number "more that 4000" is from Philo's and Josephus's sources,
not from Pliny. The more than 4000 presumably lived throughout a wide area,
including, e.g., Jerusalem. And, who knows, maybe Ein Gedi, at times? But
Hirschfeld's site, so far, appears too small and too brief (and too late?)
to be Pliny's Herodian source's site. Plus, recall that Dio describes an
Of course Essenes existed before the time of Herod the Great.
Pliny's source, from the time of Herod the Great, describes them as
long-established. Serek hayahad is surely Essene and surely pre-Herod. One
can consider the dating of Qumran communal archaeology. Josephus wrote of
Judah the Essene in 104 BCE.