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Re: orion-list Orion-List 63 BCE & all that

On 1999-09-15 orion@mscc.huji.ac.il said:
   >I know of Origen and his Hexapla and so on and that he had a
   >great many sources from the time but does he cite Cave sources?

Origen added three columns to his Psalter - making it an Enniapla. He
is quoted as stating that the last (the third of the three additions
and the ninth of the total) came from a jar in the desert. There are
two possible reasons for this assertion: 1) it did, in fact, come from
a jar in the desert; or 2) scrolls and jars in the desert were well
enough known to add authority to this 9th version... and Origen was
looking for authority to add weight to his arguments with the Rabbis.
For further reading and/or specific refs, see:
   Crouzel, Henri. _Origen_. (_Orig'ene_) trans. by A.S. Worrall. San
        Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989.
   Trigg, Joseph Wilson. _Origen_. London;NY: Routledge, 1998.
There are also references to Origen's comment on the jar scroll to be
found in psalm commentaries from the early church, medieval, and modern
works... Jerome, in his numerous descriptions and discussions of Paula
and her (ideal) villages, refers to scrolls and caves in the desert. The
marginal entries on the Isaiah scroll are late - ca. 5th-7th century. The
break-in through the wall of Cave 1 after the public announcement of the
'find' indicates local knowledge of the caves.

Then, of course, there is also the point that we are not dealing with a
writing system (including script system) used only by an isolated sect, or
a peripheral religious party, but a system so well known and so closely
connected with Jesus/Judaism that it was adopted by early Christians - who
considered Babylonian, Greek, or Roman systems "pagan." We sometimes forget
that travel becomes difficult only after national boundaries are set and
"Passports" of some sort needed; outside of Egypt, they didn't have this
problem back then. To put things in perspective, it's less than a day's
travel on donkey-back from Jerusalem to Qumran; it's only eight (8) 4-door
American vehicles parked bumper to bumper from Cave 4 to the building site.

   > Further, is there any evidence recorded
   >in the journals of the cave clearances that the deposits were
   >accessed at any or several times over the millennia until finally
   >cleared?  Or, once more, like the treatment of the texts during
   >clearance, another example of possible answers to questions we
   >can't show for there's little or no documentation?

All the early works on the site that I have read assume that the caves had
rested unknown and unseen for nearly 2,000 years... but someone else may
have better information.

BTW, We could _possibly_ have gotten some idea of when a given cave was
last *inhabited, at least within the range of plus or minus a century, from
the depth of the bat guano - people clean out the dung if they are going
to live in a cave for while. Left undisturbed, bat colonies will stay for
many, many centuries, defecating in the same area, a point mentioned in
zoology text books and used to date Amerind sites/artifacts. (We can get
an idea of the increase or decrease in the size of the colony from the, uh,
soiled area... which, when calculated/dated, can indicate climatological
changes as well as other disturbances.) But this possible source of
information is now a moot point.

Incidentally, while bat dung is not as acid as bird dung (just ask any
Hollander who has had holes burned in his clothes by stork dung), it will
eventually eat through cloth and leather - particularly if it builds up
in an enclosed area, such as a jar. It gives a "tarred" look to skins/hides.


Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L  risa@hol.gr

For private reply, e-mail to "Rochelle I. Altman" <risa@mail.hol.gr>
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