[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

orion-list "Scroll jars": inappropriate term

In reply to Joe Zias's post of January 8:

1. In Cave 7 the archaeologists did not find the Greek texts
inside the jar.  Why assume the texts had been inside the jar?

2. I am not as confident as you that the difference between the better-
preserved scrolls of Cave 1 and the less well-preserved scrolls
of Cave 4 speaks for itself.  I can think of other variables which
might merit investigation as possible explanations for cave-specific
differences in states of preservation, such as variables in exposure
to precipitation and humidity, whether scrolls were resting on dirt
or rock, and so on.  In _The Ancient Library of Qumran_, Frank 
Cross, commenting on his work on the excavated fragments of
Cave 4, thought at least some of the Cave 4 fragments were in bad
condition already at the time of their ancient deposit.  And
there are the stories from the 1950's of the Bedouin cutting large
pieces of Cave 4 material into smaller pieces to increase the
payments, which at least raises the question: if there had been
larger intact scrolls in Cave 4, would we know about it?   As for 
the seven big scrolls of Cave 1, can it truly be known on material 
preservation grounds alone that, e.g. 1QH or 1QApocGen spent 
the last 2000 years inside a jar, instead of outside a jar?  In the
absence of lab data from simulation studies, I don't see how.  
11QT, a very large and relatively well-preserved scroll, is generally
believed to have come from Cave 11, but excavators did not find
significant remains of "scroll jars" in that cave.  In my Dec 1999
QC monograph I proposed that the distribution of jars in the caves,
and the distribution of text deposits in the caves, represent two
distinct and not necessary chronologically simultaneous
assemblages which overlap spatially in several caves simply 
through random accident.  

3. It was de Vaux, not me, who suggested food storage as the 
ordinary function of the jars.  As to why the jars do not show up
more frequently in other Dead Sea sites, that is a good question;
I don't know.  Not a single one of this kind of jar was reported
found even at nearby En Feshka, which Jodi Magness has
argued was not inhabited until the Herodian period.  Why are 
these jars totally missing at En Feshka, if they are in common 
and routine use at Qumran--especially if the same people controlled
Qumran and En Feshka?  Yet according to Magness a few
exemplars of these jars do show up at Jericho (one published)
and Masada (unpublished).  Magness suggested this correlates
to the presence of sectarians at Jericho and Masada; I might
suggest it implies no more than trade, but no matter: it is
interesting that the jars seem to emanate in such large quantities
from Qumran.  It is easy to point to the scrolls which also are
associated uniquely with Qumran and draw a connection.  But
in your words, "whoa"--lets think about this before concluding
what is "known"--just as you have raised some interesting
questions concerning longstanding assumptions about the

Greg Doudna

For private reply, e-mail to Greg Doudna <gdoudna@earthlink.net>
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to majordomo@mscc.huji.ac.il with the
message: "unsubscribe Orion." Archives are on the Orion Web
site, http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.