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Re: orion WHO SAYS "ESSENES"?
Stephen Pfann wrote:
> firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> > But even the documents that contain those terms exhibit a
> > significantly large number of hands, a number that is unlikely to
> > have stemmed from the small body of scribal activity that would
> > have been possible at Qumran.
> I think we may be in agreement here.
> 1) Except for those scrolls which exhibit patent community
> characteristics (physically and lexically), not all scrolls found in the
> caves were of Essene origin.
Last I heard, the big question was whether any of them were of Essene
origin. I agree, though, that they exhibit a lot more diversity than
has sometimes been reported.
> 2) Certainly not all scrolls of Essene origin were actually penned at
> Qumran (in fact, a large number of the characteristic community scrolls
> were penned during the interim period when the main community had moved
> away [to Jerusalem?])
I'd like to hear more about how you arrive at this conclusion?
Please develop this line of thought for me a little more, if you have
> 3) The number of scrolls derived from the mass of fragments
> (approximately one scribe per scroll) only represents a fraction of the
> scrolls which once existed among the group during its more than two
> hundred year history.
Again, I'm wondering about the basis for this conclusion...
> Turning the Dead Sea Scrolls into the saved Jerusalem library (pace Golb
> et al) of the Sadducees and Pharisees creates more problems than it
> solves. That is, unless we would like to paint the following outlandish
> The Jerusalem Temple Library decided to house and preserve a body of
> literature produced by, what was to them, a heretical sect (who
> condemned the Temple authorities and supported a conflicting calendar =
> more than 50% of the scrolls by count are characteristically of this
> group), along with some other scrolls. Yet they systematically and
> totally excluded any books of their own!
> Not a very convincing picture.
Agreed. But that's where interpretation of the "sectarian" scrolls
and their purported relationship (or purported lack thereof, if I may
seek to be non-committal) comes in. Part of the ongoing process of
interpretation is to determine just how "Essene," if at all, the
material in the scrolls is. If we begin by assuming that they are
Essene in the Josephus/Philo/Pliny sense, then the above scenario is
indeed unconvincing. But problems with the Essene hypothesis were
part of the reason Golb suggested this alternative. Schiffman has
also proposed other identifications, so it seems to me that when we
begin by assuming Essene origins we're assuming what we are setting
out to prove, i.e. circular reasoning. While it is true that the
Essene hypothesis is firmly entrenched in the literature, that's a
far cry from its being firmly established fact.
Just my observation on the state of things,
"Now I have $2736.15. Every time I count my $500,
I get a different amount."