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Re: orion Hanukkah civil holiday?; Etc.
Russell Gmirkin has not, in my opinion, presented a plausible
argument for absence of Hanukkah, while presuming its observance, in those
Qumran texts composed after 163 BCE, even if one accepts his dating of War
Scroll (which I have not yet found probable). And many of the relevant
texts were, I think, composed after that year. Furthermore, it is widely
recognized that later copies were not free of later changes, additions, and
deletions. Also, if he presents the rationale for the existance of
sectarian texts, including D and S, as serving a time when Hellenists
controlled the temple in the 160s, why would Qumran manuscripts include so
many examples from, say, a hundred or so years later? (Were there no
sectarians then?) And not one copy from the 160s. Datings which are
reasonable for Jubilees and parts of Enoch do not easily transfer to S, D,
M, pesharim, or MMT.
R. Gmirkin did indeed meet Martin Jaffee--but only half way,
backing off Hanukkah as civil-and-not-religious. Prof. Jaffee, in offering
to "sign," may have, in effect, prematurely wished Russell a "nice day,"
despite his signature quotation. :-) Admittedly, there is a difference
between a religious holy day mentioned in torah and other religious holy
days--but they are still all religious holy days, in which people who
accept them seek relationship with the sacred. This sentence from R.
Gmirkin (8 Jan) works against generally-accepted definitions: "By the same
token, holidays that are religious (in whole or in part) do not necessarily
thereby fall into the sphere of the sacred." But with no "sacred" there is
no "religion." Qumran manuscripts include mention of holy days both within
and outside of torah. But, remarkably, and tellingly, no Hanukkah.
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