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6951Re: Qumran inkwells and other facts

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  • dastacey62
    Jan 3, 2008
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      As far as I understand it, the Essenes were ordinary guys who
      a particular philosophy of Judaism. They lived in small towns and
      villages throughout Judea, were employed as agriculturalists, rural
      craftsmen, shepherds, bee-keepers etc and had an interest in the
      healing power of herbs.
      When, starting in the Hasmonean period, there was a rapid expansion
      the growing of very high value balsam (and perhaps not quite so high
      value dates) in Jericho and Ein Gedi, there would have been a
      need for labourers from outside, many of whom , initially at least,
      would have camped among the date palms. Some of those who were
      to rough-it in return for certain work were as likely to have been
      Essenes, whose skills as agriculturalists and rural craftsmen would
      have been welcome, as anybody else.
      Seasonal work in Qumran , associated with the products of
      and local agriculture, may have been right up the Essenes street -
      had the skills, and may have appreciated 'living apart' for a period
      (in the autumns of my mis-spent youth I often gathered with gypsy
      travellers and other 'outcasts' to help harvest the hops and apples
      Kent. We had a symbiotic relationship with the farmers who needed us,
      our eccentricites were tolerated, we could, if we worked hard, earn
      good money, which, in my case, helped subsidise my poorly paid life

      Hirschfeld's 'site up in the hills' was probably only occupied
      seasonally when the crops growing in nearby, relatively remote,
      fields would have been daily targeted by ibex and hyrax who could
      easily destroy a year's work overnight. Whether these animal scarers
      were youngsters from the village or passing Essene 'refugees' we
      never know. (My grandfather left school at age 10 and his first job
      to walk the hours of daylight around corn fields with wooden clappers
      to scare the birds. I myself once spent several exhausting weeks
      camping in a cherry orchard trying, rather unsuccessfully, I might
      to discourage the birds from eating 'my' ripening cherries.)

      David Stacey

      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "kessler_paul" <kessler_paul@...> wrote:
      > On "northwest of the Dead Sea": Pliny says merely that they are
      > a "throng of refugees" living among the palm trees near the Dead
      > and that that "below them" (infra hos) lies En Gedi, "now, like
      > Jerusalem, an ash-heap." This certainly does not seem to
      > to a military fortress/commercial-industrial site, and many places
      > closer to En Gedi come to mind (including the the site in the hills
      > above En Gedi excavated by Hirschfeld).
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