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Re: orion Hirschfeld implications
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Once again, emphatically no, at least not from the viewpoint of scientific
theory. It is a curious feature of human psychology, but one which has been
well studied recently, that people will continue to adhere to many of the
elements of a given hypothesis that has obtained currency for some time
even once it has been shown that the assumptions that originally gave rise
to the hypothesis were wrong, based on false data, or the like.
The gratuitous nature of the introduction of the "Essenes" into the
discussion of the DSS is shown by the number of times they were trotted
into the field in the 18th century to "settle" one or another problem
connected with Christian origins long before we knew of the Scrolls.
My point in connexion with the En Geddi find is simply that, if we had had
no previous knowledge of the DSS, we´d simply have assumed that Pliny was
talking about small sites such as the one Hirschfeld has discovered. I know
of very few scholars who place any great faith in Pliny´s or Josephus´
figures, or in those of any ancient source. This does not mean that I think
Hirschfeld has got it right; only, that I think -as I have all along
insisted- that the site (Qumran) should be interpreted on its own merits.