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Re: orion Hanukkah civil holiday?; Etc.
Notes on some overlapping threads;
With more than 850 manuscripts, most of which are religious, the
absence of Hanukkah is striking and, this, together with presence of
anti-Hasmonean texts, and the absence of 1, 2 Maccabees copies, in my
opinion, suggests that Qumranites did not observe Hanukkah. It would be
convenient if we had an intact, dated scroll which began, "Dear Reader, the
following are all religious (and/or "civil") observances we authorize;
there are no others:...." But we do have many texts with festivals,
including joyful, non-torah prescribed ones, e.g., 4Q502, whether that is a
marriage ritual (Baillet), a golden age ritual (J. Baumgarten), a new year
festival (Satlow), a celibacy celebration :-) or something else. The
numbers of calendar texts (see, e.g., Daniel Falk's 1998 book for a
sampling of the range) make this absence significant.
The opposite situation obtains with historical personal names,
which are so few that the absence, so far, of, say, Julius Caesar or Pompey
or Herod is not striking. A. Baumgarten's "Invented Traditions of the
Maccabean Era" in the Hengel festschrift, Geschichte-Tradition-Reflexion
(1996) vol. 1, 197-210 (on the half-shekel tempel tax and Shema recitation)
is worth reading, for one thing, to see examples of mixed reception of
Hasmonaean innovations. In the Hanukkah Anthology (Ph. Goodman ed.), which
R. Gmirkin recommended to some of us, S. Grayzel wrote (p.22) that, since
Hillel and Shammai are said to have argued about the order of lightings,
Hanukkah was not prevalent just before their time. Is this a safe
On 4Q448. After rechecking photos (including PAM and Library of
Congress exhibit color catalog), I think that column B begins with an ayin,
not with a shin. The latter G. Doudna advocated (and N. Golb's book, etc.);
the former is read by Eshel, Yardeni, Harrington/Strugnell, Qimron,
Lemaire, Puech, Abegg, and various others, including in the fine article by
E. Main. 4Q448 apparently speaks against Alexander Jannaeus. Some glee at
the presumed collapse of the oft-ill-defined so-called "consensus" appears
to have been misplaced. If one wishes to write clearly about supposed
"consensus" views: please consider that some old ideas have persisted and
rightly so; others have not. It is not all or nothing.
On 4Q468g. Both Broshi's and Doudna's proposals are worth further
consideration, in my opinion. Both present some difficulties. And even if
one assumed Peitholaus, what side would he have been on at the time--since,
according to Josephus, he switched?
On the other PAM 43.400 suggestion by Doudna of a mostly-restored
"Aristobulus." The aleph seems OK. Doudna suggested aleph-resh-samek; the
other letters before the lacuna are not clear. But "Aristobulus" would more
probably, in any case, be spelled starting aleph-resh-yod-samek.
Furthermore, this fragment may not belong to the same ms as 4Q468g.
The relevant known historical names are too few for statistical
claims. Jonathan, Shelamzion, Aemilius, Hyrcanus, Antiochus, Demetrius.
Broshi's article, by inference, does not accept E. Puech's reading
of 4Q523 as including "Jonathan" (RQ 17  241-70 and DJD XXV). Has
anyone else argued this point pro or con? (Puech wrote that 4Q448 and 4Q523
both referred to the first Jonathan, but one possibility is that he rightly
got the name but not the individual.)
Of course there are a few more names, if we allow non-famous people
and ostraca, including the "yahad(?)" ostracon, which is of Herodian date.
I assume here that S. Talmon's reported introductory remarks
including that "possibly Shim'on ben Shetah" was in the not-yet
then-published texts has not been affirmed (Biblical Archaeology Today
1990, pub. 1993, p.377).