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Re: Copper Scroll (was Re: orion-list Essenes, Zias article, etc.

In a message dated 99-12-10 11:11:56 EST, Stephen Goranson wrote:

<< Thanks for your comments. Detailed evaluation of your article must
 await a reading. (Please send the citation to the orion bibliography when
 available.) I will be interested to read, for instance, which items you
 propose match Josephus text. Lefkovits may be right about the karsh
 proposal, but this IMO is not certain, rather, a matter under discussion.
 Again you asserted that only the temple and not Essenes could have the
 amount you calculate. But that assertion is not self-evident. Long-lasting
 ascetic groups sometimes amass great wealth. Again you did not convey why
 to assume that none of the coin hoards you discuss can have been Essene. If
 you have no opinion on the Greek letters, and allow a possible long period
 of deposits (and also removals?), then my proposal, which incidently
 reduces the total, may be worth considering. In any case, I assume that
 there is more to learn about this text.

Dear Stephen Goranson,

Thank you for your comments.  In my paper, I made no effort to match 
individual Copper Scroll treasures to Josephus, just to recovered hoards of 
silver shekels of the period 30 B.C.E. to the fall of Masada.  However, 
Josephus (Wars, Book 6, 429-32, Whiston translation) wrote:  "others they 
made search for underground...a great deal of treasure was found in these 
caverns."  Copper Scroll treasures (Milik's numbering) 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 17 
contained silver coins and appear to have been concealed underground in 
Jerusalem, in cisterns or other underground chambers.  Of course, the 
"treasure" taken by the Romans must have been primarily privately-owned and 
not religious property like the Copper Scroll treasures [this has been 
disputed, but I will not discuss it here as it is irrevelant to my study], 
but possibly one or more of these six treasures were included.

All of my calculations assume that Lefkovits' proposal in re karsh is 
correct.  If it is not, then no coin hoard is as large as the smallest 
treasure, and the total is very much higher.

To appreciate the size of the Copper Scroll treasure we need to compare it to 
the annual revenues of the Temple or the total monetary stock of Judaea at 
the time.  Arye Ben-David, Jerusalem und Tyros, 1969, calculated the revenues 
of the second Temple as 450,000 Tyrian shekels annually.  If we assume this 
to be correct, the total annual receipts were only 296 talents.  But the 
Temple had large expenses, so only a portion of this would have been retained 
for the treasury.  If they were able to save 10% every year, it would take 
77.8 years to accumulate 2,300 talents.  It could thus be argued that 2,300 
talents was not utterly beyond the means of the Temple by the time of the 
First Revolt--but surely the Essenes, as a small minority sect, could never 
have approached such a sum.  And if we argue that Qumran was the world 
headquarters of the Essenes, and that the Copper Scroll treasure was Essene, 
then we are left with the Essenes concealing 0.366 talents in their 
headquarters and 2,304.62 talents of silver--plus another 302.5 talents of 
gold--elsewhere.  This is the basis for my conclusion that the Copper Scroll 
was not prepared by the Essenes.

However, this subject deserves further study than I can give it in this brief 

Regarding the coin hoards, there is of course no way to determine the 
religious beliefs of those concealing them, and I made no attempt to do that.

If your suggestion that the Greek letters indicate removal of the treasure is 
correct, which is certainly possible, then almost 960 talents of silver 
should be subtracted from the amount.  You could then argue (and perhaps 
have) that these 960 talents became, say, the 400 talents of treasure 30 plus 
the 600 of treasure 59.  This would reduce the total to around 1,344 talents. 
 I still think that this is far beyond the means of the Essenes.

Thank you again for your helpful comments.

Best wishes,

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