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Re: orion 1st BCE generation



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    Steve Goranson raises a number of points to which I respond.  I apologize
for the length of the posting.
    First, Doudna^s single generation hypothesis, as I understand it, relates
to the possibility that the library found at Qumran was physically produced in
perhaps a single generation during the first century BCE.  But this hypothesis
by itself says nothing at all about when these texts were composed.  That is,
many scrolls may be late copies of older texts.  Certainly this is the case
for the books of Enoch, Jubilee, TestLevi, etc.  Such older texts (among which
I would include 1QM, CD, and others) have no real relevance in dating the
scribal production of the copies found at Qumran.
    After reading Broshi^s articles, I do find Greg Doudna^s reading of 4Q468g
more convincing.  The text associates the figure in question with the deaths
of gibborim, i.e. elite troops.  Peitholaus as a Jewish military commander in
the 50^s BCE (and possibly earlier!); his name is a better fit with 4Q468g.
Further, the suggestion that Ptollas (or Poplas) was a military commander
under Archaelaus has no real basis in Josephus other than speculation based on
proximity in the text. Ptollas was one of three companions of Archelaus to
Rome.  Neither Ptolemy nor Nicolas, the other two, was a military figure:
there is no reason to believe Ptollas was either.
    Hanukkah clearly was not a religious festival on a par with those in the
HB.  Hanukkah acquired increasing religious significance after the destruction
of the Jewish temple and nation in 68-72 CE. Can you cite any evidence of the
alleged religious character of Hanukkah that is not anachronistic for the
period we are considering (i.e. second or first century BCE)?
    4Q448 has been subject to varying interpretations (pointed out by
Christophe Batsch) I believe prompted in large part by the scandal of the
allegedly anti-Hasmonean scrolls corpus containing a text with aparent high
praise for Jannaeus.  I think 4Q448 can be sensibly viewed as pro-Hasmonean,
however. 
    It is not at all clear that the "calendar issues^ in the Qumran mss" can
be attributed to a "profound disagreement with the Hasmonean administration of
the temple" as you suggest.  The solar calendar of Astronomical Enoch dates
back to 200 BCE or earlier.  The calendar controversy probably has its roots
in the Hellenistic Crisis (on the evidence of Jubilees, Dan. 7:25).  The
calendar dispute is transferred to Hasmonean times only by the unsupported
hypothesis that Jonathan or some other Hasmonean ruler made calendar changes
that were unacceptable to the sectarians (as e.g. in J. C. VanderKam,
Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls:  Measuring Time,  [Routledge, 1998] 113-16
-- otherwise an excellent book). Calendar references in CD, pHab, etc. can
only be interpreted as anti-Hasmonean under the hypothesis that these texts
were composed in the Hasmonean Era (rather than during the Hellenistic Crisis
as I propose).  Your argument is thus circular unless you can produce a text
where calendar polemics are unambiguously aimed at the Hasmoneans.  4QMMT is
indicative only of a difference of opinion between its authors and the
Pharisees. 4QMMT, while not pro-Hasmonean, contains no hostility for the
Hasmonean ruler to whom it was sent, but rather was written in the hopeful
expectation that the recipient, a Hasmonean ruler (probably John Hyrkanus I),
would side with MMT^s faction on calendar (and other) issues.  So where is the
evidence that calendar issues reflect hatred of the Hasmoneans?
    The current model of anti-Hasmonean bias in the scrolls and Hasmonean Era
origin of the scrolls sect ultimately rests on the unfortunate assumption that
the Nahum Pesher refers (explicitly) to Demetrius III and (implicitly) to
Alexander Jannaeus.  I have postponed publishing my own conclusions on pNah in
order to avail myself of Greg's excellent and groundbreaking text work on
pNah, of which I have some advance knowledge.   But pNah certainly will not
have symbolized Jannaeus by an Angry Lion, for all the sectarian texts
rigorously adhere to the system of symbolism in the Animal Apocalypse, where
Jews are symbolized by clean animals and Gentiles by wild predators.  This by
itself excludes the current regnant interpretation.  
    The case for dating the War Scroll to 163 BCE, based on both military
evidence and historical allusions (see my articles in DSD), provides a new and
more rigorous foundation for historical conclusions regarding the origins of
the sect.  However, if you can provide an alternative interpretation of the
military data and other evidence pointing to 1QM as the war manual of the
Maccabean army, I'd be interested to read it.  Till then, I would suggest that
any theory on the background of the scrolls which ignores 1QM can no longer be
taken seriously.

    Cordially,
    Russell Gmirkin