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Re: orion-list peacemakers, etc.
David Suter wrote:
<< ----Original Message-----
Sent: 12/23/99 9:02 PM
Subject: Re: orion-list peacemakers, etc.
Frankly, I would assume that most of the hoards recovered were private
property and not religious property; I have not determined what portion of
the total monetary stock would have been held by religious bodies (the
Temple, Essenes, Christians, etc.). I would be interested in any suggestions
on this point.
My suggestion is that the discussion of the copper scroll and the hoard of
coins found at Qumran needs to get beyond speculation and take account of
work on the economy and the use of money in first century Judea. A possible
starting point would be Hanson and Oakman's Palestine in the Time of Jesus,
which started some of my students to thinking in a course I was teaching on
the Scrolls last spring. A discussion of the use of money in the first
century should limit some of the choices that are getting batted around
here. The temple treasury seems to have served both to support the
religious establishment and as a bank for more commercial purposes (1 or 2
Maccabees -- I forget which off of the top of my head -- notes that a threat
to the temple treasury would deprive the Tobiads of their property). It
strikes me that, whatever one might conclude about the collection of the
scrolls as a whole, the treasure implied by the Copper Scroll, if real,
could only be associated with the temple. The hoard found at Qumran
likewise strikes me as unusual -- a representation of wealth of some sort
rather than ready cash for commercial transactions -- but then I'm violating
my own complain about speculation.
Saint Martin's College>>
Thank you for these references. I agree, we need to understand what the
resources of the Temple were before we can judge whether the Copper Scroll
treasure is likely to be real or not. And you are absolutely right about
understanding the use of money in Second Temple times; I don't think that it
has been appreciated by all DSS scholars that these treasures of silver are
in reality hoards of coins, primarily shekels of Tyre. This is why a study
of recovered hoards of Tyrian shekels is so useful in judging the nature of
the Copper Scroll.
The hoard at Qumran is not particularly unusual, except for its size--it took
three containers to hold all of it, and it is the third or so largest hoard
of Tyrian shekels ever recovered. Many similar hoards have been found,
mostly by plowing or irregular excavation, so unfortunately the details are
hazy in most cases.
This subject deserves more study than I have been able to give it up to now,
and I think that I need to prepare an exhaustive analysis, as there is only
so much that can be presented in these brief posts. I'll consult the sources
you mentioned when I do. Thank you!
Robert D. Leonard Jr.
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