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Re: orion-list Essenes at Qumran: A Reality Check

Regarding the recent figure from Dietel that humans need 50 liters of
water to maintain good health, these figures include flush toilets which
take an enormous amt., showers, hand washing, teeth brushing  and some
drinking water.  The Bedouin inhabiting the area with a life style
similar to those of 2,000 BP would laugh at this. What some of you are
doing is
comparing life in the New World with that of Qumran, whomever was there
:-) two thousand years ago. Briefly, what I would suggest is that one
simply goes on line to a browser and type in 'water intoxication' to see
that it is impossible to drink/consume the amount of water cited without
fatal consequences. As one who regularly guides tourists to Qumran,
excavated in the area under question as well as having served as
a combat medic in the desert for 17 years I can personally state that
these figures are totally unrealistic as many of the other data that has
been coming through on these recent postings.  For example, the
assertion that the Dead Sea was 60 meters higher at the time of Qumran
than that of today is impossible due to the simple fact that the remains
of a Roman fort (Rujum el Bahar) is visible today in the flood plain of
the northern shore. During the PEF excavations in the 19th century, it
could be seen under water and they placed a pole there which prominently
marks the fort today. Did the Romans during the time of the Qumran
settlement build this fort under water or was the water line much lower
than that of today? 

Lastly, as  a non Qumran specialist and an outsider, in fact no one from
our 'Group' can even read the scrolls, I'm amazed at some of the
writings on this subject and the gross errors made by non specialists
trying to understand the site. It's specifically why, in my opinion,
that the waters of Qumran have been muddied. The doors of research are
open, however one must first enter and 'pay the dues' to understand some
of these complicated issues. Without this background many of the
correlation's which appear from time to time are not causally related.
Sound elitist, venture into a New Age church which I did a few years ago
in Fla. and go their bookstore and check out the topic Essenes, DSS,
Qumran. You will understand what I'm talking about. What we all want is
or should be science, not science fiction. Going into the issue with an
'agenda' is what some of this leads to. 

Joe Zias, Anthropology
Science and Archaeology Group at the Hebrew University
For private reply, e-mail to Joe Zias <zias@inter.net.il>
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