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Re: orion-list Kuhn and Popper

Dear Marcus Ward,

   The idea that we should expect the Dead Sea Scrolls sect to have been 
historically invisible, unmentioned outside the scrolls themselves, is a 
common assertion which is in my opinion based on highly circular reasoning.  
In fifty years, the field has failed to discover any meaningful correlation 
between events and personalities in the scrolls and in historical records of 
the Hasmonean Era (setting aside alleged correlations in the Nahum Pesher).  
As a result, the scrolls sect has been widely perceived (and there are 
variations of this) as a marginal splinter group, originally numbering as few 
as fifty or less according to some constructs, which - by hindsight! - one 
would not expect to be mentioned in historical sources.  
    Essentially, the current paradigm has adapted to its own inability to 
uncover supporting evidence, in my opinion.  This has led to a distorted view 
of the scrolls in which paradigm is essentially imposed on the texts.  
Sectarian texts which describe this invisible sect as conscripting armies 
numbering in the thousands -- organized by 10s, 50s, 100s and 1000s -- 
holding national assemblies and fighting wars are thought to be 
eschatological or to be idealizing.  References to the high priest and prince 
of the whole congregation as presiding over not only the sect but the nation 
and over a temple under sectarian control are similarly discounted.  And so 
    From my perspective, the failure to discover the history behind the 
scrolls, and the subsequent abandonment of any expectation of correlation 
between history and the effectively invisible scrolls sect, has led to a 
catastrophic lowering of historical standards in the scrolls field.  If one 
need not correlate historical data with the scrolls, there is no possible 
falsification of theories and there are no objective controls to constructing 
a history of the sect.  There is no possibility for the exercise of science 
in the Popper sense of testing and excluding falsified theories.  One may 
make up events at will with no need to test one's ideas.  Effectively, this 
lowering of standards has meant the cancellation of any attempt at historical 
discipline in the scrolls field, resulting in a study of the scrolls that is 
essentially without historical context, in a vacuum.  But within the current 
paradigm this is seen as entirely methodologically acceptable, and indeed the 
only possible approach to the scrolls.  
    To my mind this abandonment of historical discipline, an inevitable 
consequence of an incorrect dating of the scrolls sect to the Hasmonean 
period, is premature and unwarranted.  There is abundant historical 
correlation between the scrolls and the events of the Hellenistic Crisis and 
Maccabean uprising.  I'm currently on the final stages of articles showing 
the Nahum Pesher was indeed written under Demetrius I,  and that the serekh 
literature largely reflects national institutions briefly established by the 
Maccabees in 163 BCE.  From my research, and in the paradigm I am developing, 
the scrolls do visibly align in great detail with conventional historical 
records, just not in the Hasmonean Era.

    Best regards,
    Russell Gmirkin
For private reply, e-mail to RGmyrken@aol.com
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