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Re: orion-list Pliny Qumran analysis
Replies to three posters in this thread:
1) Russell Gmirkin. Your message on Marcus Agrippa might considerably
mislead some readers. Pliny lists not only "dimensions" but many other
topics as well, including ethnological ones, as your selective description
obscures. M. Agrippa not only made a map but wrote a commentary. And his
writing was not limited to this. Without reiterating here the bibliography
in my 1994 JJS article and essay on orion's web site (and adding to it): it
is the demonstrated view of scholars of Marcus Agrippa that Pliny certainly
used him as a source beyond those occasions where he explicitly named him.
That Pliny names names when giving measurements does absolutely nothing to
remove Agrippa elsewhere. Rather than repeat here other arguments for
Marcus Agrippa as the source, let me ask: which author listed by Pliny for
book 5 might you propose could possibly be more suitable?
2) Dave Washburn. Your comments on the ostracon omit much. Briefly,
omissions include noting the Cross and Eshel response to Yardeni. For my
part, even if one brackets off the last word of line 8 as a questioned
reading, other text of the ostracon (e.g., "in the second year" and other
connections with serek hayahad) indicate its Essene provenance. I am sorry
that you were misled by Norman Golb.
3) Greg Doudna, Further response on your questions,though hypothetical
questions can be helpful or not, and they can be tendentiously selected.
First, it is certainly a natural reading of Pliny to indicate
Qumran and environs, or more generally, an area (a little west of the
shore) south, downstream, of where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea
[reluctantly, as Pliny's (or Agrippa's) text depicts it] and north of Ein
Gedi. Adjacent to Jericho does not fit; adjacent to Ein Gedi does not fit;
far inland does not fit. As to pre 1948 views, they varied--but it was not
a big issue. There was considerable--textual--discussion of Essenes, but
little archaeological discussion of Essenes (a little on the gate of the
Essenes and offhand remarks by a handful of people who came to the Dead Sea
with other concerns in mind--no big endeavor to find Pliny's location).
Many archaeological sites in 1948 received little attention. A burial was
opened and correctly described as unusual in type. Yes Dalman guessed maybe
it was a fortress. But it was unexcavated then. We know more now; we know
better now. In other words, why attempt to require that it be universally
accepted as an Essene site--it *was* in the area--before scrolls and before
Second. Perhaps the answer is no. But again, so what? Are you
suggesting you require obvious anti-Jerusalem architecture or suchlike? It
was destroyed, probably shortly after Herod the Great died. Maybe then
someone saw it as anti-Jerusalem.
Third, The link certainly suggests itself. Perhaps I do not have
much practice for bracketing off and pretending away all other evidence. On
the corollary, again: of course some of these Essene Jews would have been
in Jerusalem some time. Josephus gives us examples explicitly, unless we
will that away also (while, as some do, still quoting Josephus on Sadducees
and Pharisees); most probably, some Essenes made the trip from Qumran to
Jerusalem or vice-versa. Isn't the idea to *include* all reliable evidence?
Norman Golb used such misleading (and non-falsifiable?) hypotheticals. (And
his book, and translations of it, errors and all, is still being sold.)
Rather than make believe that a different sequence of scroll finds would
have left Essenes out of it, I suggest considering that today there is more
evidence than ever before about Essenes.
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