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

On December 29, Russell Gmirkin wrote:

<< Dear Robert Leonard,
 Thank you for your thoughtful and interesting reply to the possibility I 
 raised that the Copper Scroll may list treasures hidden by the former 
 Jannaeus partisans exiled from Jerusalem in 76 BCE rather than during the 
 First Revolt.
 > While no Herodian Era placenames (Masada, Caesarea, etc.) are mentioned in 
 >  the Copper Scroll, references to the Portico or Stoa (Column XI, Line 2) 
 >  the Colonnades (Column XI, Line 8) may refer to Herod's reconstruction of 
 >  the Temple.  Neither of these translations is universally accepted, 
 This is an interesting argument.  That these features are commonly 
 interpreted as referring to Herod's temple may however simply reflect the 
 widespread assumption that the Copper Scroll dates to a time when that 
 was standing.  In articles I have read I have seen no discussions of the 
 possibility of referring these lines to the earlier temple.  Since this 
 possibility that these lines refer to the pre-Herodian temple has (to my 
 knowledge) never been raised, it has not yet been excluded.  Assuming the 
 above translations are correct, and granted that Herod's temple contained a 
 Royal Portico and Colonnades, this only points to the Herodian period if it 
 can be demonstrated that the pre-Herodian temple lacked similar 
 features.  I would welcome further discussion on this point.>>

Please accept my apologies for this tardy response; my computer required 
servicing. You are certainly right that "Portico" and "Colonnades" may 
reflect circular reasoning based on the assumption that the Copper Scroll was 
written when Herod's Temple was standing.  Column XI, Line 2, contains a word 
similar to the Greek "stoa," portico, and this translation is accepted by 
Martinez and Wolters.  However, Lefkovits, in his thesis, argues for 
"ossuary," based on tractate Semahot of the Talmud.  Likewise, the word 
translated as "Colonnades" has the meaning of "stones" and has been variously 
translated as paving stones, thresholds, door sills, etc. as well as 
colonnades.  Either Herodian or pre-Herodian times can be argued.
 >> >  If there is thought to be any correlation between the hoarding 
 >  the Copper Scroll and recovered coin hoards from Israel in general, the 
 >  First Revolt is still the most likely.  There are a number of shekel 
 >  associated with the First Revolt, but none from c. 76 B.C.E. and 
 >  few from the Second Revolt.  An Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards, 1973, 
 >  the following hoards for Hellenistic Phoenicia - Palestine for this 
 >  El-Jib (Gibeon), Judaea, c. 75 B.C.E., 23 copper coins; Golan 
 >  (Gaulanitis/Trachonitis), c. 100-75 B.C.E., 40 copper coins; 
 >  Samaria, after 74 B.C.E., 22 copper coins, 1 shekel of Tyre.  A large 
 >  of shekels (200+) was recovered at Jericho, but the latest coin was dated 
 >  103/2 B.C.E.  I haven't checked for hoards published after 1973, but 
 >  be surprised if they change this picture very much.
 The First Revolt was of course unsuccessful and as a result many who hid 
 hoards died before retrieving their treasures.  This was not the case in 76 
 BCE.  The (Sadducee) former partisans on Alexander Jannaeus exiled to the 
 Judean fortresses in 76 returned to power under Aristobulus II in the years 
 67-63 BCE.  Doubtless they recovered their hoarded treasures.  Josephus, 
 13.427 states that "in barely fifteen days he [Aristobulus] occupied 
 twenty-two fortresses, and obtaining resources from these, he gathered an 
 army from Lebanon, Trachonitis and the local princes."  That is, Aristobulus 
 hired mercenaries for his revolt using funds provided by his loyalists in 
 fortresses to .  (At 13.429 the same word "resources" is applied to both an 
 army and "money in the various treasuries.")  The historical argument can be 
 made that the Jannaeus/Aristobulus partisans recovered the treasures of the 
 Copper Scroll and used some of this wealth to finance their uprising and 
 return to power.  One would therefore not expect the Copper Scroll treasures 
 to still be in the ground in modern times.>>
 I have since checked coin hoards published through 1994 (in the standard 
publication) and found one additional hoard:  "Israel, before 1992," c. 70 
B.C.E., c. 4000 copper coins.  Thus, of these four hoards that could have 
deposited c. 76 B.C.E., only one contains any silver, and that one only a 
single coin.  This is in sharp contrast to the dozens of silver hoards of the 
First Revolt period.  So, from this standpoint, 76 B.C.E. seems less likely 
than the First Revolt period for Copper Scroll-type hoarding of silver and 

Certainly the situation in 76 B.C.E. was much different from the wholesale 
slaughter and enslavement of the First Revolt, which left so many hoards 
unrecovered.  But even when the hoarder survives, many hoards cannot be 
located later.  Leo Kadman gives two examples in his paper on Jewish coin 
hoards, and even Pepys was unable to recover all the money he buried in his 
garden a few weeks later.  J. Frank Dobie, in Coronado's Children, recounts 
many anecdotes of lost mines and buried treasure.  We would expect to find 
some hoards from 76 B.C.E., and no doubt they include these copper hoards.  
While it is certainly possible that the entire treasure of the Copper Scroll 
was recoverd under Aristobulus II (from the second copy), this seems unlikely 
to me.

Best regards,
Robert Leonard
Winnetka, IL

For private reply, e-mail to RLWinnetka@aol.com
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