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orion Into the Temple Courts
Paul V. M. Flesher appears to be firm in the opinion that there was no
synagogue located at Qumran. Binder seems to at least allow for
interpretation of loc. 4 and loc. 77 as serving the functions of a synagogue.
Binder points to De Vaux, Archaelogy and the Dead Sea Scrolls, 11 (ct. Milik,
Ten Years of Discover in the Wilderness of Judea, 48-49) for the view that
loc. 77 functioned as an assembly hall with a circular paved area at the
northwest end of the hall which "clearly served as the base of a wooden podium
of lectern that was probably used by the Guradian or one of the priests."
Binder postulates a dual function for loc. 77 as a dining room and synagogue
and looks to Josephus' description of the daily rountine of Essenes as
supporting this view. (BJ2.128-132).
It seems to me that if one assumes that Qumran was part of a larger
social/political/economic corridor along the west coast of the Dead Sea from
En Gedi to Jerricho, then it is likely that there was some central synagogue
(or alternate to the temple) somewhere in this area.