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orion Into the Temple Courts

The Reverend Donald D. Binder, PhD has post to the internet an abstract,
acknowledgement, bibliography and introduction to a work he has produced
titled: "Into the Temple Courts."  He was kind enough to send me Chapter 7 of
his work entitled: "Sectarian Synagogues."  I was particularly interested in
this Chapter, because I have been wondering about the general notion that the
area along the western shore of the Dead Sea on a line between Jericho and En
Gedi was the home base of the Essene sect with Qumran serving as a central
synagogue for ritual bathing, prayer, and the study and production of sacred

Dr. Binder discusses a passage from Philo where Philo use the term synagoge in
connection with the Essenes:  "In these [the laws of their fathers] they are
instructed at all other times, but particularly on the seventh day.  For that
day has been set apart to be kept holy and on it they abstain from all other
work and proceed to sacred spots which they call synagogai.  There, arranged
in rows according to their ages, the younger below the elder, they sit
decorously as befits the occasion with attentive ears.  Then one takes the
book and reads aloud and another of especial proficiency comes forward and
expounds what is not understood." (Prob. 80-83).

Is there any excavated structure at Qumran that fits the description or an
area where people could sit arranged in rows, the younger below the elder?
Dr. Binder also notes that in the War Scroll the phrase "house of meeting"
appears (1QM 3.3-4) and another possible reference to a synagogue building is
found in the Damascus Document (CD 11.22-23).  

Mark Dunn