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orion Babatha's Story

There is an interesting article in the March/April 98 BAR entitled: "Babatha's
Story" by Anthony J. Saldarini.  It discusses items hidden in the Cave of
Letters in the walls of Nahal Hever, a wadi three miles south of En-Gedi.
Among the items discovered were a "beautiful jewelry box, bowls and knives, a
frying pan, a mirror, clothing, sandals, cloth and jugs."  The article states,
in part"  "Babatha's documents refer to date-palm orchards, houses,
courtyards, a trust fund of 400 denarii, a loan of 500 denarii, and other
loans, depositis and contracts  The cave where the archive was found also
contained expensive clothes and personal items, such as cosmetics and
utensils.  These items of luxury contradict the common belief that the Dead
Sea area was barren, inhabited only by austere sectarians such as those at
Qumran 60 years earlier.  Babatha's and Judah's families were probably typical
of the more prosperous residents of the area."

I thought this was interesting because of the recent discussion of the western
shore of the Dead Sea.

Mark Dunn