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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 
blowback form.

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.

Best wishes,
Robert D. Leonard Jr.
Winnetka, IL
For private reply, e-mail to RLWinnetka@aol.com
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