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orion-list Bar-Adon #1

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	With the forbearance of the list I will overuse my quota again
	today and post twice.  First will be this one with my comments,
	and the second will be simply the full and complete English 
	summary (nothing omitted) of the article by P. Bar-Adon, "The 
	Hasmonean Fortresses and the Status of Khirbet Qumran", in 
	_Eretz Israel_ 15 (1981).

	There are basically only two theories in discussions concerning
	the reason Qumran was founded or built.  The first, from de Vaux
	and followed today by a declining number of working archaeologists
	(I know certainly of only Magness, the leading apologist
	for de Vaux's Qumran sectarian-origin theory; probably Hanan 
	Eshel would be a second), is that the site was founded by _religious
	sectarians_.  That is, religious sectarians on their own, not
	part of any state enterprise, chose the site, built the buildings,
	did the civil engineering, and lived in splendid isolation for c.
	more years, burying their own dead in an expanding cemetery,
	etc. etc.

	The other is that which was first argued (so far as I know) by
	Bar-Adon.  Bar-Adon proposed the shocking idea that if numerous
	_other_ sites which are of the same architectural type in the Dead
	Sea region and which appear to emerge into existence at about
	the same time are rightly considered evidence of a region-wide
	state enterprise, then--just maybe--Qumran--which is in the middle
	of the others and has identical features in principle (with the
	of scrolls in caves and a large cemetery), was also part of the 
	same regional process--an activity done by a state.  It is not
really important whether Bar-Adon's initial argument is correct in every 
	detail.  Bar-Adon took at face value de Vaux's assertion of a 
	Period Ia, whereas many today find Magness's analysis convincing 
	that de Vaux's evidence does not support the supposition of the 
	existence of a Period IA or any start of habitation earlier than 
	c. 100 BCE, in the reign of Alexander Jannaeus.  The reign of 
	Alexander Jannaeus actually corresponds better to Bar-Adon's 
	analysis than his own John Hyrcanus dating does, in terms of
correspondence with Josephus.  (Josephus has Jannaeus actively 
	exerting control around and across the Dead Sea.)  Also, Bar-Adon's
attempts to work the Essenes into the picture are distinct issues 
	and not central to the state enterprise founding argument.  But on 
	his central argument--that Qumran was founded by a state, by the
	Hasmonean state--that has such an elementary correspondence to
archaeological experience that we find statements such as these reflecting a
paradigm shift in understanding.  (And it seems to
	have started from Bar-Adon):

		"We have to see Qumran as an integral part 
		of the Hasmonean plan to settle and fortify the
		Jordan valley" --A. Drori and Y. Magen 

		"The problem is we all bought de Vaux's version 
		hook, line, and sinker"--Jonas Greenfield, 
		in support of the Hasmonean-state founding
		interpretation, _Jerusalem Post_ (cited at 
		Wise, Abegg and Cook 1996: 24)

	J.-B. Humbert, editor of de Vaux's notes, gave a 
	detailed analysis citing and endorsing Bar-Adon's 
	state-founding interpretation in "L'espace sacre a Qumran", 
	_Revue Biblique_ 101 (1994): 161-214, esp. 161-175.

	Finally, in addition to the luminaries above who have
	concluded that de Vaux was wrong on his
	sectarian interpretation of Qumran's founding, Humbert 
	makes the curious statement in his article, on page 162, 
	in reference to de Vaux's statements of certainty not being
	convincing based on the evidence, "et j'ai des raisons 
	de supposer que lui le savait bien", ("and I have reason
	to believe that he knew it well").  Humbert does not say
	what he meant by this, or elaborate further.  But Humbert
	has better access to de Vaux's papers than any other
	living person, and Humbert's article is otherwise careful,
	considered, and well-documented.  Humbert also argued 
	in his study for correcting the date of Qumran's start from 
	Bar-Adon's time of John Hyrcanus to Alexander Jannaeus.  

	This is an account of a paradigm shift--not one that is still
	in formation, but which has essentially already transpired
	(though not completely).  De Vaux's sectarian founding of
	Qumran lacks positive evidence and is on the ropes.  The
	best current minds working with the materials, with the
	notable exception of the energetic J. Magness, have 
	abandoned de Vaux's construction of Qumran's origin.  
	However, as a former teacher of mine once said, "Never 
	underestimate the power of scholarly conservatism"--that 
	is, ideas, once in circulation, tend to survive with blind 
	adherence in some quarters long after the original bases 
	for the ideas have been discredited.

	Greg Doudna

For private reply, e-mail to Greg Doudna <gd@teol.ku.dk>
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