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orion-list Doudna/Hutchesson hypothesis (was Re: ane Herodian-era writing of biblical) history?

Gregory L. Doudna wrote:
>But whereas our proposal that all Qumran text copying activity itself
>does not postdate mid-1st century BCE is new and controversial and
>awaits critical reaction, it is almost standard or even commonplace to
>observe Qumran scholars remarking that composition of new texts
>seems to have ceased c. mid-1st BCE (e.g. Stegemann has the latest
>text composition at Qumran being 1QpHab which he dates 54 BCE;
>Laperrousaz in the recent 2000 Paris volume, _Qoumran et les
>manuscrits de la Mer Morte_ marvels at the lack of post-mid-1st BCE
>compositions at Qumran, etc.). [....]

Previously Mr. Doudna asked that we carefully supply references. I think
Stegemann did not write what Doudna claimed. For example, in his The
Library of Qumran... (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 1998) S. did write (p131)
that the original pesher Hab was written "very soon after this occurrence
of the year 54 BC." Then: "...1QpHab, is at least a third-hand copy and
comes itself from the time around 50 BC." But Stegemann dates other texts
later. E.g., on a random flipping of pages, 4Q477 "...is from the last
third of the first century BC." (p. 135); The 3QCopper Scroll he dates to
AD 70 (p. 72).

	I was invited by Z. Kapera, Qumran Chronicle editor, to send a
response to the Hutchesson and Doudna articles, which I have now read. I
began taking notes, which was getting to be a lengthy process, but I put
this aside when a different and IMO more positive archaeological
opportunity arose. Hutchesson and Doudna have asked for critical response,
and I may get back to it, but it is discouraging to see that such little
use of information already conveyed to them has been considered; old
already-corrected errors are repeated. The denial of evidence--or the
ignorance of evidence, as in the case of Stegemann's views, cited above--is
not encouraging.

	For example, in Hutchesson's article (p.178) he wrote "There are no
signs that cave 4 was ever known in antiquity after the time of the
placement of the texts in the cave...," which he proposed was 63 BCE. Such
is improbable on the face of it, given the proximity of the settlement; the
excavators did ignore the marl terrace in 1951, but by 1952 the bedouin had
entered. But, further, if one reads de Vaux's contribution to DJD VI (1977)
9-13, one sees a presentation of pottery from cave 4 which is later than
the IH assertion. Did IH did not read that or does he disagree with de
Vaux's pottery dating? It turns out that Mr. IH (p191-2) does dismiss
pottery dating by Prof. Jodi Magness. And so does Mr. Doudna. And so does
Prof N. Golb in a third Essenophobic article in the long-delayed Cambridge
History of Judaism vol. 3 (1999) 822-51.

	Let's take the latter two as an example. Of the experienced ceramic
expert and dirt archaeologist Prof. Magness, Golb (p. 838 n24) asserts, in
defense of his "luxury" "fort" Qumran: "J. Magness discusses Qumran pottery
as well, but appears to be unaware of the rich materials examined by
Donceel and Donceel-Voute, drawing the conclusion, from various inferior
pieces described by her, that a sect espousing or practising poverty
inhabited the site." Mr. Doudna also dismisses Prof. Magness on pottery
types including luxury types, and chides her (p31-33) for failing to see
that (in his view) *lack* of pottery types including luxury types indicates
no one lived at Qumran for a century or more after 63 BCE! Knowing her work
on Qumran, I say these three articles make a very poor showing on pottery

	Hutchesson dismissed M. Wise on there being several mishmarot texts
as "interesting" but not the only possibility (p179), without noting Reed,
the concordance, Wacholder-Abegg, S. Talmon's preliminary publications on
several mishmarot texts.... Why dismiss or ignore multiple copies? Perhaps
because fewer copies would come relatively closer to IH's proposed imagined
mishmarot as a unique logbook filled in up to the moment of total

	Mr. Doudna did not respond on ane about his mixing "single event"
with "single generation" and "archaeological assemblage" as was corrected
by radiocarbon scientist Dr. Jull. On orion Doudna sought the "single
event" and noted that "about c. 50 BCE" one could draw a line and touch all
but two date ranges. That, strictly speaking, is not true, unless one
imagines a line drawn by a magic marker (i.e., a band) at "about circa" 50
BCE. But even were one, for conversation's sake, to accept the "single
event" tendency here, is it again necessary to point out that this is later
than 63 BCE?

	I may get back to a review of the articles, after I'm up to date on
the more interesting development. But if one presents a hypothesis and asks
for response, at least, IMO, that response should be considered before
continuing to spread misinformation about these significant Qumran

Stephen Goranson

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