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Re: orion-list Essenes at Qumran: A Reality Check
The figures are "unrealistic," if and only if one does not pay attention
to what is written. I did not make an unqualified statement. One can get
by on less, IF one is sedentary; as I *stated*. One can make it thorugh
the day on much less, IF one adapts one's life-style to the climate, as
do the Bedouins. Nevertheless, one still will need to make up the deficit
at the next water source. The figure I gave, 32 liters per person per day,
is a conservative average of sedentary time and *physical labor* time --
which I also stated. At 40 and more Celsius, 32 liters is not an exagger-
ation -- and the Essenes who are described as doing physical labor in fields
(not to mention carrying around shovels and digging little holes to bury
their fecal matter, both of which are more physical labor), would certainly
need that much.
I hesitate to mention it, but this material on human physiology, water to
bone, and water requirements, etc. really is elementary; it was covered in
my secondary school Biology textbook. In any case, happy to oblige with a
bib. I have included my physiology-biochem textbook (which I still have <G>),
a book I read so I could test a friend for her RN finals, and two books that
caught my eye at the library. (Probably because I was living in yet another
arid climate at the time: Metro Phoenix, AZ.) You can then calculate the
water requirements yourself.
Adolph, Edward F. et al _ Physiology of man in the desert_. NY: Hafner
Pub. Co., 1969; 1947. (With lots of information on the effect of an arid
environment on humans, body temperatures, water needs for metabolic
requirements, and so on.)
Bell, George H., J. Norman Davidson, and Harold Scarborough. _Textbook of
physiology and biochemistry_. Fwd by Robert C. Garry. 2d ed. Edinburgh,
E.&S. Livingstone; Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins, 1953.
Poulton, E. C., _Environment and human efficiency_. Springfield, Ill.,
Thomas, 1970. (Note: focus on Physiological stress, including heat stress.)
Selkurt, Ewald E., ed. _Basic physiology for the health sciences_. Boston:
Little, Brown, 1975.
Yes, I do take it to reductio ad absurdum -- and this was quite on purpose;
the argument that Qumran had to be the site of Pliny's "Essene" settlement,
after all, is absurd and has been repeated ad nauseum. The point, of course,
is that sufficient water could not have been brought in from an outside
source for people who lived the life-style attributed to the Essenes, not
even for so small a number as 80 souls -- which I *also* stated. The rainfall,
with care, is sufficient for, at most, 120 men doing a sedentary job. There
neither was nor is water to waste in that environment.
A read through the Adolph will fully illustrate why the Essene life-style
as decribed is not adapted to the climate.
PS: If those are "ritual baths," where did they store their drinking, cooking,
and agricultural water?
Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L email@example.com
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