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orion-list evidently not 63 BCE

	It seems to me that C14 has already excluded--at least, practically
speaking--the proposal that all Qumran mss were deposited in 63 BCE. Five
manuscript date ranges are fully afterward. Greg Doudna referred us to a
footnote he wrote, which does raise the question of possible contamination
by castor oil (p449 n44). Yet that same note endorsed use of acetone
cleaning. Four texts were so cleaned. And two of those, thus cleaned, are
among the totally after 63 date ranged ones (4Q266 D; 4Q258 Sd). So even
when the test followed his preference, he still rejected it. Further, all
but one of the remaining test date ranges straddle 63 BCE. So one would
have to expect every one of these also to fall before 63. Isn't that a lot
to ask?

	Paleography, though hardly flawless, seems to me against the
proposal. Doudna's critique of F.M. Cross offers an alternative--one
generation production--which appears to me less probable, paleographically,
and text-critically. Also, that critique wrongly characterized the
archaeological publication on Gezer, which a casual reader might suppose is
the essay's clearest dispute with Cross.

	Internal text references to history are few at Qumran. Yet even
Doudna proposed one after 63 BCE. Gmirkin argued that name could have been
pre 63, in an unattested earlier battle. Yet what about allowance for
Peitholaus (or Broshi's suggestion) or Aemilius or supposed-code-named
Pompey or reconstructed iffy Gabinius later? Or, who is Ptolemy in Puech's
volume? Who was rebuked in a 4Q ms? Or, what about I. Knohl's Tarbiz
proposal that the "son of god" text may be in reference to Augustus? If he
is right (I don't know yet), then that would mean post 1 January  42 BC
when the Senate declared his father divinized. (Neil Altman wrote in a
newspaper again, (Montreal) Gazette, 11 Dec. 1999, that the "son of god"
text has to be post-Christian, but with no argument credible to me.)
There's more on names and titles to talk about. (And, since I have a
negative view about Norman Golb's book as inaccurate and a source of false
myth, let me hasten to mention that he has a very interesting article with
a proposal of a name in a Bar Kochba ms; I haven't worked with it enough to
evaluate it carefully yet--it was announced on ane only yesterday; and
involves a hard-to-read text--but it seems at first look a quite
interesting hypothesis:
If Golb turns out to be right, the name was long under-appreciated.)

	Archaeology, to my knowledge, does not indicate a 63 BCE end of
habitation at Qumran. A long abandonment of Qumran in late first century
BCE is quite improbable, to the best of my knowledge. Also, J. Magness, on
orion, noted that the jar type associated with scrolls is not attested
earlier than Herod the Great. Essenes lived there then.

	Some of the above I've written before, with more detail and

	I'm all for full publication of Qumran archaeology; I wrote that
more than once in Biblical Archaeologist; and asked about it in the 70s at
Ecole Biblique. I was all for scholarly access to texts; and said so, e.g.,
in RQ 1978. But there are some false myths about Qumran history in
circulation. And I know that all of us, certainly I, have written some
things that were mistaken.

	While searching for something else on the web, which, to
understate, includes some unreliable info, I saw an essay quoted, said to
be by Greg Doudna, titled "Showdown at Big Sandy," which was said to no
longer represent the author's views. It concerns interpretations in Bible
prophecy of Ephraim and Manasseh:

	Dr. Doudna, your dissertation abstract proposes unusual
interpretations of Ephraim and Manasseh in 4QpNah. Would you care to
comment on whether you see a connection between, not the content of these
two writings (if, indeed, the earlier one was yours), but the
anti-consensus views (given each community involved) in both?

	Greg, I have found many of your posts to orion quite helpful, and
the result of good research. But the 63 BCE proposal, as far as I can see,
is gone. There are, in my opinion, more constructive matters for us to
focus on.

best wishes,
Stephen Goranson

For private reply, e-mail to Stephen Goranson <goranson@duke.edu>
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