[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
orion Into the Temple Courts
On 03/29/98 Stephen Goranson asked "whether those who argue in favour [sic] of
considering Qumran as possibly having a synagogue (room - not a separate
building?) or study-house would take that possibility, if accepted as
suggesting that writing and copying texts would be a likely activity at the
same site?" I took it, perhaps incorrectly, that SG believes that the
existence of a synagogue does suggest the related writing and copying of
texts. Perhaps, SG can say whether that is what he actually intended?
Are those fair assumptions? I don't know what evidence connects synagogues
with writing and copying. It does seem reasonable to me that writing and
copying scripture might take place in or around a synagogue, if one assumes
that synagogues actually existed in the period of say 70 B.C.E. to 70 C.E. and
if one also assumes that synagogues had functions beyond worship. It seems
reasonable to me that such synagogues did exist (perhaps at Qumran ), but did
they have functions beyond meeting, reading scripture, ritual bathing, and
eating a communal meal? Is SG's suggested link to writing and copying
supported by evidence? Is another possible function associated with a
synagogue that of serving as a library?
Assume that the answer to SG's suggestion is "yes". A synagogue of a sect of
Essens at Qumran would probably include, or have associated with it, the
functions of writing and copying scripture. So, then who among that sect is
producing or accumulating the non-sectarian texts found there? A reasonable
answer might be that the Essens were not themselves producing such texts, but
they were collecting or accepting them from some other place where such texts
were written and copied. Other synagogues? In other words, Qumran's variety
of scrolls might be typical of (a blue print for) what would have been found
at the synagogues of other sects during that time period if the synagogues and
their texts had survived.
Now assume that a synagogue of a sect of Pharisees at Jericho would probably
also include, or have associated with it, the functions of writing and copying
scripture - as suggested by SG's question. So, then who among that sect of
Pharisees is producing or accumulating non-sectarian texts likely to be found
if Qumran is a blue print. A reasonable answer might be that the Pharisees
were not themselves producing such texts, but they wre collecting or accepting
them from some other place where such texts were written and copied, i.e.,
synagogues of sects other than Pharisees.
Sometime before its destruction by an earthquake, the Pharisees are chased out
of their Jericho synagogue by Herod. The Pharisees aren't around Jericho to
rebuild their synagogue. Therefore, after the earthquake Herod builds his
palace on the site. When the Pharisees were chased out, what happened to the
texts they wrote, copied, collected and accepted? Did those scrolls go into
caves near Jericho? Did they get distributed to synagogues in the same
general area of Jericho (such as Qumran) where a sect of Essens lived that
enjoyed the favor of Herod?
I suppose what I am saying is that I don't know why the assumption implicit in
SG's 04/02/98 message on this subject would be valid, i.e., that a Pharisee
synagogue would have only Pharisee texts but an Essene synagogue would have
texts from sects of than the yahad. For what it is worth.