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Re: orion The Diverse Cemetery of Qumran

Thanks for the following post, the content of which is indeed 'very
helpful'.  I understand also that the graves in the main Qumran cemetary
contained virtually no personal belongings (consistent with communal style
of living?).  My question is whether this (burial with no personal
belongings) was standard pratice with 2nd Temple Jews in Jerusalem or
perhaps unique to Qumran.

Vernon Chadwick
Charlotte, NC

-----Original Message-----
From: Office <csec@netvision.net.il>
To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il <orion@mscc.huji.ac.il>
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 1998 2:51 PM
Subject: orion The Diverse Cemetery of Qumran

>The issue over the cemeteries needs to be clarified.
>As I pointed out in my paper at the FALL ASOR MEETING (this should be in
>print soon), the cemetery at Qumran had been carefully segregated into
>two sections, representing different settlements:
>1) The main cemetery: exclusively a male CELEBATE group (from the
>2) The peripheral cemeteries lie on five lower but adjacent hillocks:
>containing FAMILIES of men, women and children. (from camps of married
>Essenes). Unlike those typical graves of the main cemetery (there were 4
>atypical, intrusive round or rectangular ones), some of the corpses of
>the peripheral hillocks were carried and buried in coffins. (showing
>that they had to be carried a distance).
>Both forms of society, celibate and married, existed among this
>community according to the ancient sources (Josephus etc). This also can
>be inferred by the separate rules found in the scrolls themselves (1QS
>and CD).
>Why the diversity in the cemetery of Qumran?
>The Temple Scroll states that every cemetery was to contain the dead
>from four settlements.
>"For you shall set apart places within your land (in) which you shall
>bury your dead; between four cities you shall allot a place to bury
>them." 1QTa XLVIII 12-14
>The Qumran cemetery (as all others) by law (if the Temple Scroll should
>be taken seriously) needed to include the deceased from three other
>settlements. Some were likely a longer distance away than others.
>Therefore the query concerning the wooden coffins may be quite simple to
>- The celibates of Qumran needed no coffin for the distance they were
>- Some of the married folk needed to be carried from a more distant camp
>to be interred at Qumran.
>I hope this is helpful,
>Stephen Pfann