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orion-list Gmirkin, Goranson & Hannukkah
Professor Goranson's questions about the lack of literature
on Hannukkah or the Books of Maccabees not found with the
Qumran material are not new. At a prior time on Orion, it was asked
how this could be explained by ***any*** known theory, explanation,
elucidation (or what have you), considering the writers of the DSS
material would almost certainly, by anyone's imagination, have been
supporters of a nationalistic holiday like Hannukkah or of the heroes
of the Maccabeean literature. Prof. Goranson has not offered any
comment about this question. Instead, he picks up another stone
and contemplates its next trajectory.
To qualify my remarks, I suppose there are some theories
that are just **so** bad, that anyone should have the privilege of
severe problems in deduction and induction. But in other cases,
that might be raised are so difficult and pervasive that there are no
answers for anyone.
1) I invite Prof. Goranson to offer up **any** kind of theory to explain
what seems to cause such a problem for him. He has been personally
helpful in my research and considerations frequently before. I would
encourage a continuation of this generous trend.
2) I also offer up some scenarios (which I have mentioned before) which
I think do merit investigation:
A) The DSS may have valued Hannukkah so much that they, themselves,
**never** reduced it to writing. In a highly "oral" age, some things
increasingly transmitted orally the more important they are (sometimes,
is, of course, the Holy Scripture which is completely reduced to
The Books of Maccabees might the transcript of these oral histories,
by someone "less spiritual" than the DSS community, or someone outside of
the community that took the "oral only" rules less seriously.
B) The Scribes, per Talmudic sources, were known to write hymns, long
after the fact, to the heroes of the Maccabeean age. And since "scribes
write for a living" it is conceivable that the Scribes, a class in
with the DSS community within spiritual Judaism, are the ones that
both the importance of Hannukkah and the Maccabee material, with only
moderate interest offered by the rival DSS community. Michael Wise
describes the Teacher of Righteousness as someone who was not exactly
shy about his personal role in the DSS community. Perhaps the Teacher
of Righteousness had some serious issues about the content of these
or the nature of celebrating Hannukkah. Perhaps Hannukkah was just too
closely related to the now re-contaminated Temple, and thus served the
wrong purposes and the wrong interests.
C) If the latter Hasmonean family tried to use Maccabeean literature to
defend the "holiness" of their family, the DSS communities might have
blacklisted Maccabee books as too much in connection with people of
D) The Maccabeean literature is mysterious in general in that, being the
very epitome (in some regards) of Hebrew nationalism, why is it that it
was transmitted almost entirely by means of Greek translations (or even
originally written in Greek)? This is not a question that should be
to disqualifying some of Russell Gmirkin's theories.
I strongly suggest that throwing sticks of dynamite as large as the
Maccabee/Hannukkah question might do more than simply eliminate
one person's theory .... it is an explosive question that should be
by anyone in the Qumran studies arena. Am I the only one who can offer
some ideas on the issue? Certainly there are those far more qualified
I in this matter.
On Sun, 9 Jan 2000 10:26:46 -0500 Stephen Goranson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Dear Russell Gmirkin,
> 1) Good; I welcome agreement on "hasidim" in 4Q521.
> 2) While you may be persuaded that M (which you call "the Maccabean
> manual") and part of Enoch were written in summer 163 by "Hasidim,"
> are other views. Your proposed justification for absence of 1
> Maccabees at
> Qumran requires acceptance of some of your assumptions about Hasidim
> vis-a-vis Qumran, for example, that Qumran was a "predominantly
> library." I see no reason to accept such assumptions, nor the
> 3) If Qumranites had observed Hanukkah--however you prefer or
> propose to
> describe Hanukkah--they would, with great probability, have written
> it. It would appear in the circa 900 mss many of which focus on
> Your offered imposed distinction apparently misses the condition
> Qumranites would not accept new holy days from that government.
> There was
> not a concensus on orion about your proposal. I did not agree. And
> silent on list, cannot be assumed to have agreed.
> No Hanukkah at Qumran is an historical datum. Historians
> would do
> well not to try to dismiss it.
> Best wishes,
> Stephen Goranson
> For private reply, e-mail to Stephen Goranson <email@example.com>
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