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

On Thr, 16 Sep 1999 16:51:19 -300, risa@mail.hol.gr writes:
>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; 

   Now I know.  Agreed.  The only Q is the desert areas then, which,
   by my Atlas covers a lot of land.  We have, of course, the Dark Ages 
   find reported and since lost save for the mentions.

>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.

   You must know of the later efforts by the church to "expurgate"
   Origen as theological views shifted so we only know of his work
   in the majority of cases at second or third hand.  Further, his
   works were so thoroughly edited for just that reason, being seen
   as heretical, that the jar mentions may have been placed in them
   to show how far he was "reaching" for support...I don't know,
   except that what I have at hand shows floods of commentaries on

>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.

   That's an interesting problem. Do we have material dates for that
   scroll?  If it's otherwise early we then we really need evidence
   of where it lay with respect to its fellows, otherwise the
   marginal entries dating is suspect.  USWIM?  This point also
   rises from how heavily they were contaminated by "bat shit" (I'm
   too old to reform, expecially since I actually knew the sons of
   both Strunk and White)  - see below.

>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.

   I grew up in a locality settled by people who arrived on the
   coast after the Revolution.  They then had come up river in small
   towboats, so creating small settlements an easy walk from the
   next.  They then later centered in small towns about a dozen 
   miles apart, being a day's trip by horse and wagon between
   accommodation and a half day's trip away for weekly shopping. 
   The railroad and then the paved gravel road ended that.  But
   that's not very relevant except anthropologically, telling us the
   living patterns in detail.

>   > 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.

   That was MY understanding, save for the Dark Ages find I noted
   and the small finds catalogued by Origen and Jerome you have
   kindly brought forward.

>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.

   You mean that in 60 years there are NO dig journals surviving? 
   Good grief, I'm up to my eyeballs in relics of my grandfather, a
   physician, who died in 1913.  I still use his suture scissors for
   personal trimming, eyebrows, nosehair, nails...  The organic
   matter in bat shit would bias the texts towards the present.  I
   kept asking about later conrtamination, mostly thinking of the
   way smoker's contaminate everything around them.  This hitherto
   unmentioned source makes every date suspect as being TOO YOUNG.

>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.

   It just struck me that many people use bat shit for fertilizer. 
   So many of the fellows to this century's finds may have go out
   with the fertilizer and now are encouraging abundant plant life.
>Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L  risa@hol.gr

   Many thanks for the splendid review of matters I've not seen
   mentioned before.  As we say Down East, "That really changes the
   water on the beans."

Tom Simms
For private reply, e-mail to Tom Simms <tsimms@mailserv.nbnet.nb.ca>
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