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orion-list Toynbee's Triad of Historical Presentation
I appreciate David Hindley's creative efforts to put some perspective
on what kind of perspective professors and/or Orion participants
might employ in treating DSS history.
I am still uncomfortable with the third category as "fictional"
(whether this is Toynbee's phrasing or Hindley's is not too important
to me). I have never advocated this particular realm of endeavor.
But I find Hindley's breakdown of the other two categories (facts vs.
elucidation) a helpful one. When I can encounter someone who will
willingly go down in flames over a "fact" and yet not have any integrated
"elucidation" of these facts, I wonder (as I've suggested before) if
they are not "dying" for the wrong reasons. (Though, quite noble
this "death" would be!)
Obviously I am not suggesting that we should throw out the "facts".
But considering how easy it is for "facts" to really be interpretations,
it would be best if interpretations were colored and informed by some
well thought out "elucidations" or "scenarios" or "theoretical
before giving one's life for a "fact" which may not be a fact at all.
As Prof. Goranson so wisely put it, it is not sound methodology to base
an entire theory on a single Hebrew letter perceived to be inscribed on a
scroll. And I think the same can be said about certain other "facts" - -
like some radiocarbon datings, and any other countless items that seem
to be a "one time" instance of some unusual thought or idea.
Please, do not write historical fiction for my sake. But be willing to
all the dry little facts of our DSS work into workable scenarios that can
be tested by other facts as they make themselves known. This elucidation
will make your work that much more relevant.
On Sat, 8 Jan 2000 15:27:27 -0500 "David C. Hindley"
> David Suter wrote:
> >>What George [Brooks] is proposing is the writing of historical
> fiction -- a quite genuine enterprise, which would produce a good
> but not what most scholars are about in determining what can really
> said about the scrolls.<<
> Your use of the phrase "historical fiction" caught my attention, as
> reminded me of some statements by Arnold Toynbee in _A Study of
> (Vols I-VII abridged by D. C. Somervell, New York: Oxford U.P.,
> 1947, pp.
> In the cited passages, Toynbee essentially says that there are three
> different methods of viewing and presenting the objects of our
> and among them, the phenomena of human life.
> The first (1) is the ascertainment and recording of 'facts,' and
> that it
> is generally assumed that the ascertainment and recording of facts
> [nominally] the technique of history. The phenomena in the province
> this technique are the social phenomena of civilizations [in our
> represented by historical accounts, monuments and sectarian
> The second (2) is the elucidation, through a comparative study of
> facts ascertained, of general 'laws' [which in our case should be
> as "relationships"]. The elucidation and formulation of general laws
> relationships] is [nominally] the technique of science. The
> phenomena in
> the province of the scientific technique, as it relates to the study
> human life (i.e., the science of anthropology) are the social
> phenomena of
> primitive societies [which, in our case, could be restated as the
> about, and texts left behind by, persons and social groups]. All
> [must necessarily] pass through a stage in which the ascertainment
> recording of facts is the only activity open to them [and this is
> stage that most DSS researchers are at presently, it seems].
> The third (3) is the artistic re-creation of the facts in the form
> 'fiction.' Fiction is [nominally] the technique of the drama and the
> novel. The phenomena in the province of this technique are the
> relations of human beings. The drama and the novel do not present
> fictions, complete fictions and nothing but fictions about personal
> relationships [but also contain elements of history and cannot be
> from it].
> Toynbee notes that each of these disciplines (history, science and
> fiction) must make use of the techniques of the others in some way
> another. I would suggest that these three methods represent a
> that must be made in the application of any of these disciplines,
> with the emphasis being concentrated on one or the other method in
> In the world of Qumran studies, it seems to me that some researchers
> willing to jump to method three early in the process of comparative
> (that is, step 2 above). Yet it is really impossible to conduct
> method two
> without tentative (or "working") hypotheses to guide you, and so
> some stab
> at method three is necessary even early in the process of
> Even so, it appears to me that other researchers are not comfortable
> making use of the third method. Some of the very sharp reactions to
> re-creations proposed by Allegro, etc, demonstrated a degree of
> that, to me, seemed to far exceed the level of caution required for
> developing working hypotheses. Even the consensus model that would
> normally be associated with the third method, based on an
> of the groups that produced the Qumran finds as Essene, is
> What is more, it allows researchers who are so disposed to
> neutralize or summarily dismiss any relationship between the groups
> depositing literature at Qumran, and contemporary Judaism (including
> effect on the conditions that ultimately generated Christianity), by
> attributing it to a group with a fairly benign influence on
> Judaism if classical accounts are to be taken at face value. I am
> mystified as to the motivations which must be at work to generate
> resistance to the consideration of historical re-creations beyond
> "Essene" scenario and it's permutations.
> The pool of historical accounts about, or fragments of the
> originating from, or archeological evidence relating to, Palestinian
> religious and social groups (and their practices) is not so large
> hypothetical re-creations cannot be freely made, even without the
> of complete publication of critical research on every fragment or
> While I do not wish to generalize this tendency as some sort of
> (as did Baigent & Leigh), I think that we can all lighten up a
> little when
> new scenarios are suggested (and I am not saying this as a critique
> your position on these matters, David, but rather as a general
> observation). Still, many posts on this list (and in the secondary
> literature as well) seem excessively emotional, and that raises
> flags with me.
> For private reply, e-mail to "David C. Hindley"
For private reply, e-mail to George Brooks <email@example.com>
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