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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
      espoused
      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
      in
      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
      pressing
      need for labourers from outside, many of whom , initially at least,
      would have camped among the date palms. Some of those who were
      prepared
      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
      shepherding
      and local agriculture, may have been right up the Essenes street -
      they
      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
      of
      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
      in
      archaeology).

      Hirschfeld's 'site up in the hills' was probably only occupied
      seasonally when the crops growing in nearby, relatively remote,
      terraced
      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
      shall
      never know. (My grandfather left school at age 10 and his first job
      was
      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
      add,
      to discourage the birds from eating 'my' ripening cherries.)

      David Stacey
      UK


      --- 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
      Sea,
      > and that that "below them" (infra hos) lies En Gedi, "now, like
      > Jerusalem, an ash-heap." This certainly does not seem to
      correspond
      > 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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