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Re: orion Red, green, blue inks

Dear David,

1) The article on red ink in _Archaeometry_ 1996 did *not* say that any
Qumran manuscripts have blue or green ink. In their introduction on page
97, Nir-El and Broshi simply remark that, compared to black ink, colored
inks have received relatively less scientific study. They simply go on to
study only this red ink, black ink being covered elsewhere, and blue and
green ink being, evidently, *not relevant* in the case of Qumran texts.

2) Your joke (aside from the blue and green mention) is *relatively* closer
to apparent truth, though, than Jim West's perhaps hasty response may
suggest. Yes, one reason the Mishna (completed about 200 CE) bothered to
prohibit use of Bible manuscripts which have red ink is because some
*earlier* Bible texts *did* have red ink, as the Qumran finds attest.
(Further, the red cannot be later insertions, as is obvious to anyone who
reads the red text in context.) Your joke also plausibly used the term
"Essenes." Some quite learned scholars who have looked for other possible
candidate groups for these *ancient* texts, including Martin Goodman and
A.I. Baumgarten, have, so far, come up with precious little such evidence.
If Jim West has good evidence, he is free to present it. Identities
matter--how else can identification occur? Some differences obtain within
Essene history. And the Greek sources are not perfect. Neither trying to
shuttle Essenes out of Qumran and off to a *later* site near Ein Gedi, nor
trying to string together speculations imagined to prove the Qumran texts
are medieval are really dealing with the historical questions and the
evidence at hand, in my opinion. At least your joke--putting Neil Altman's
misdatings aside--allows you to consider the ancient, Essene identity.

3) You and Neil Altman appear reluctant to recognize that these texts are
ancient. I only ask that you think twice before writing further newspaper
articles. Red ink is surely ancient. The so-called "Chinese" marks have
been better explained as otherwise by E. Tov and J. Treat. That there were
diverse views of messianism in the BCE centuries is well known, so the "Son
of God" text is not unimaginable; assertions that no Jew could use such a
phrase are baseless. Finally, I have looked at a print of a PAM photo of
4Q246--without any special equipment--and I do not see the markings above
and below the lines that you and/or Neil Altman have claimed.

Sincerely,       Stephen Goranson   goranson@duke.edu   Durham, NC