[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: orion-list Essenes, Zias article, etc.
In a message dated 99-12-09 12:28:02 EST, you write:
<< I will be happy to read your new article when it is available. Judah
Lefkovits' three-volume NYU dissertation (to be published by Brill) is
surely a wonderful mine of information and proposals, though, perhaps we
can agree, there are still many questions about which reasonable people can
differ. If you consider some unspecified amounts to be exagerated (or
decoys?), then that would appear to make rather less than sure your
assertion of the amount suposedly too big for the entire Essene movement,
to which members over decades gave all their property. Also, didn't the
Romans capure wealth from the temple? I have suggested that some copper
scroll items may have been cancelled out (after being retreived) by the
Greek letters appended at the ends of some early-deposited items and then
relisted in different lots, reducing the total. The copper scroll assets
may have been deposited over a long period of time; not necessarily all at
once. I suggest this was not current temple property, but intented for a
future temple, or future temple administration. (Perhaps some of the hoards
you mention were also Essene.) I agree with you that the list, found in
Cave 3 with other sectarian texts, is authentic.
Let me hasten to add that I have not claimed that any Copper Scroll treasure
has definitely been recovered, merely that the sizes of actual shekel hoards
of the period are in the weight range for the treasures using the kaf kaf =
karsh proposal of Dr. Lefkovits, a fact unknown to him when he made it. I
think that this tends to confirm his suggestion. While Dr. Lefkovits'
dissertation has not yet been published by Brill, I consulted it in microfilm
Regarding my belief that some of the treasures are much exaggerated, I
estimated the total weight to be 302.469 talents of gold and 2,304.6188
(sorry about the decimal places, but you'll see why) talents of silver. Of
the gold, 300 talents is a single treasure--an impossibly huge amount, in my
opinion--and the silver treasures include one of 900 talents, one of 600, and
one of 400. Most of the others are fractions of a single talent. The
largest shekel hoard, Isfiya, weighed about 7.8 kg, or about 0.366 talents,
and the total weight of all 39 hoards that I studied came to 5.06 talents.
We can speculate as to how to adjust these large figures, but 2,300 talents
is on the order of magnitude of the total monetary stock of Judaea at this
time. Such a sum can only have come from the Temple treasury itself, not
from a minority sect like the Essenes.
You are certainly correct that the Romans captured wealth from the Temple; in
my paper I cited Josephus, Wars 432, specifically mentioning the recovery of
coin hoards from caverns beneath Jerusalem where some of the Copper Scroll
treasures are said to have been concealed. The triumph of Vespasian and
Titus (134, 151) describes the large quantity of gold and silver recovered.
Also, the Tenth Legion was garrisoned in Jerusalem for over half a century
after the war, and the troops probably conducted their own treasure hunts.
However, these early recoveries simply explain why all these treasures are
not being found today, and I don't see how it affects the hypothesis that
they were deposited by the Essenes.
I have no opinion as to the significance of the Greek letters in the Copper
Scroll. Many theories have been advanced, and maybe they are abbreviations
for the names of persons reporting where they deposited the material they
were given, but all is speculation.
The treasures may well have been hidden over a period of several years. The
Copper Scroll is simply a summary.
Robert D. Leonard Jr.
For private reply, e-mail to RLWinnetka@aol.com
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.