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orion Cave 4 again
While re-reading Schiffman, "Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls" (so far
an exercise in frustration), I once again came across the "standard
theory" that the holes in the walls of cave 4 were used to hold
shelves on which the scrolls rested. Over time, so the story goes,
the shelves rotted away and the scrolls tumbled to the floor, where
they were eventually found in the jumbled mess that awaited
discoverers. This idea raises a few questions in my mind:
1. Is it really reasonable to suppose that (presumably) heavy wooden
planks would rot away before sheets and rolls of leather did, leaving
only the leather items behind? It seems to me that the leather would
have rotted away long before the wood did, but I'm willing to be
2. Were any scraps of wood that might have come from these shelves
found among the scroll fragments on the floor of the cave? If not,
what explanations do the theorists have as to why not?
3. In tandem with #2, if the holes had wooden pegs in them to support
the shelves, there should have been some wood scraps, fibers or other
debris left in the holes. Was there?
4. On a slightly different tangent, we are told that cave 4 was
hollowed out by human hands. Does this mean that the cave was
already there and someone enlarged it, or that the whole thing is
man-made? I've never been clear on that.
Scholarese, n. A dialect that consists entirely of
multiverbal circumlocutions and polysyllabic verbiages.