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orion 5 brief responses
Well, let me attempt some brief responses on several items of old but
1) To Jack Kilmon. I differ in reading the letters in line 8 of the
ostracon, but I find your reading--even if I accepted the
letters--problematic. In part, I base this on the lack of any demonstrated
connection between Essenes and balsam yet. Further, it may be the case that
both Pliny's source and the ostracon predate Hirschfeld's site.
Additionally, BDB, Jastrow and especially Koehler-Baumgartner (1995)
incline me against "bottling." I don't see the verb. The noun, based on
these sources, and an analogy with Qumran orthography made in the latter,
would probably have an added waw either before or after your proposed
aleph--which is *not* like all other alephs, as Yardeni's drawings show.
Further, this would be a leather bottle. K-B gives references to Dalman,
Yadin (Bar Kokhbah Finds), etc., which "flesh" this out. The Psalms 56 use
is much disputed (see, e.g., ICC and Anchor Bible commentaries) , and who
knows what type bottle God would use anyway ?
Further, some useful balsam bibilography, in which ceramic (rather
than glass or leather) features prominently: J. Patrich and B. Arubas, "A
Juglet Containing Balsam(?)..." IEJ 39 (1989) 43-59; BAR 22 (Sept 1996) and
letter after; "Balsam" in E.J. and Anchor Bible Dictionary; and the B.
Mazar excavation reports. Note that Josephus and Pliny, who both wrote of
Essenes and balsam, treated these subjects separately.
2) To Mark Dunn. I did not find your scenario fully "reasonable." One
reason: What you wrote of David Suter declaring differing groups used
Qumran is not what he wrote, to the best of my knowedge.
3) To Sigrid Peterson. I have written that I disagree with your translation
and interpretation of Pliny. And for more than one reason. Perhaps if you
post your translation of the entire passage, we could discuss it more
4) To Jim West. Experience suggests that if I were to attempt to dialogue
on sociological matters, the participation of Al Baumgarten would be
useful. I'll leave it at that for now. P.S., Albert, I hoped you or someone
would comment on my remarks on Yardeni's reading.
5) On the Newsday article. First, let me stipulate that newspapers do not
always quote accurately, and that, in fairness, English is not Dr.
Hirschfeld's first language, and that, yes, there are issues of context.
But let me quote a sentence I would question from this article, which
carries the title "Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?" I question other
assertions in the article, but here is just one sentence: "If the scrolls
are from a site like Qumran, then the scrolls are part of Christianity."