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Doudna on Qumran

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  • Joe Zias
    GD writes on those animal bones buried in Qumran the following: There is no need to invoke sectarian reasons for whythese bones would be enclosed in pottery
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 31, 2007
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      GD writes on those animal bones buried in Qumran the following:
      "There is no need to invoke sectarian reasons for whythese bones would be enclosed in pottery and buriedin the ground rather than left lying out in the open.Keeping rodents or larger vermin away is a fullysufficient explanation." I repeated this argument in G. Doudna, _4Q Pesher Nahum: ACritical Edition_(Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), pp. 730-731.

      If your reasoning is correct they why not use the same logic for Jericho, Masada, Ein Gedi, ...the list is long with nary a find and why bury them in a ceramic bowl, wasting the bowl. If you wish to keep the animals away, better dig down 2 meters like those buried in the cemetery and then cover them up with a stone pile, unless you do so, the hyenas will dig them up in a minute, or simply toss them in the steep wadi below. As to why they buried them, the question is an open one, but predation is not one of the possibilities.

      Joe Zias


      Joe Zias www.joezias.com
      Anthropology/Paleopathology

      Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
      Jerusalem, Israel



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • kessler_paul
      A number of points need to be made here. (1) It has been pointed out that some bones were stored in pottery. (2) The idea that these bones were buried for a
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 1, 2008
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        A number of points need to be made here.

        (1) It has been pointed out that some bones were stored in pottery.

        (2) The idea that these bones were buried for a religious purpose is
        pure speculation -- certainly there is no textual passage that
        describes Essenes or other sectarians as storing bones in pottery.

        (3) If one seeks a pragmatic explanation for the stored bones, the
        first point that comes to mind is that the people who stored them
        planned to USE them at a later point in time. The question then
        arises, what were the possible uses of bone.

        (4) Two explanations readily come to mind:

        The first is that the bones were used in the production of pottery.
        As is well, known, bone china is made of ground bone. A quick google
        search for "ground bone pottery" turns up the fact, for example,
        that "bone-tempered pottery is commonly found at Late Prehistoric and
        historic sites in both south and central Texas." I'm not an expert
        on pottery production in the ancient Near East, but clearly, given
        the large-scale production of pottery going on at Qumran, one needs
        to answer the question whether the stored bones could possibly have
        been intended to be used as part of that process, before turning to
        some far-fetched solution based on speculation about religious
        rituals.

        The second explanation is that the bones, again ground, were to be
        used in the production of cosmetics, as this is another well-known
        industrial use for bone. Here again, I'm not an expert, but I do
        recall reading somewhere (was it in Donceel?) that cosmetics were
        found and/or produced at Qumran, so obviously this question too needs
        to be addressed.

        (5) One final comment. I'm sure Joe Zias will correct me if I'm
        wrong, but to the best of my knowledge these basic questions were not
        even addressed by the experienced "biblical archaeologists" who found
        these bones. Instead, they came up with an outlandish, ritualistic-
        based hypothesis, freely speculating to make up for the absence of
        even a shred of concrete evidence to back it up. And now, following
        the publication of the Magen and Peleg report with its focus on
        pottery, they continue to insist that these bones somehow indicate
        that the site was inhabited by a religious sect. Surely this poses a
        fundamental issue regarding the power exercised by the Qumran-Essene
        theory over the imaginations of such researchers, apparently to the
        point of blinding them to what's right there in front of them.

        Paul Kessler (New York, NY)


        --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Joe Zias <joezias@...> wrote:
        >
        > GD writes on those animal bones buried in Qumran the following:
        > "There is no need to invoke sectarian reasons for whythese
        bones would be enclosed in pottery and buriedin the ground rather
        than left lying out in the open.Keeping rodents or larger vermin away
        is a fullysufficient explanation." I repeated this argument in G.
        Doudna, _4Q Pesher Nahum: ACritical Edition_(Sheffield Academic
        Press, 2001), pp. 730-731.
        >
        > If your reasoning is correct they why not use the same logic for
        Jericho, Masada, Ein Gedi, ...the list is long with nary a find and
        why bury them in a ceramic bowl, wasting the bowl. If you wish to
        keep the animals away, better dig down 2 meters like those buried in
        the cemetery and then cover them up with a stone pile, unless you do
        so, the hyenas will dig them up in a minute, or simply toss them in
        the steep wadi below. As to why they buried them, the question is an
        open one, but predation is not one of the possibilities.
        >
        > Joe Zias
        >
        >
        > Joe Zias www.joezias.com
        > Anthropology/Paleopathology
        >
        > Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
        > Jerusalem, Israel
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • dastacey62
        ... I am not sure that the bones need to be ground - just boiled up (think bones to thicken soup). Again I am not sure of the precise techniques but boiling up
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 2, 2008
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          > The second explanation is that the bones, again ground, were to be
          > used in the production of cosmetics, as this is another well-known
          > industrial use for bone. Here again, I'm not an expert, but I do
          > recall reading somewhere (was it in Donceel?) that cosmetics were
          > found and/or produced at Qumran, so obviously this question too needs
          > to be addressed.

          I am not sure that the bones need to be ground - just boiled up (think
          bones to thicken soup). Again I am not sure of the precise techniques
          but boiling up bones and off-cuts of hide (e.g. ears) can produce not
          only gelatin - useful for the production of cosmetics - but also glue.
          If some animals were slaughtered at Qumran, then bones would have been
          a valuable bye-product. Apart from its use in carpentry glue may have
          been used in the preparation of a writing surface on parchment.
          However, as far as I know (and perhaps some one out there has more
          expertise) such use of glue on parchment is only known from the
          medieval period onwards.

          David Stacey
          UK
        • Trudy Kawami
          .Animal bones have many uses including ivory-like combs, ornaments & inlay. For these purposes the bones need to be cleaned, dried & aged. Keeping them in
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 2, 2008
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            .Animal bones have many uses including ivory-like combs, ornaments &
            inlay. For these purposes the bones need to be cleaned, dried & aged.
            Keeping them in ceramic jars would not accomplish this. Bones for glue &
            gelatin are boiled out when they are fresh, so there would be no need
            for jars to bury them in. Bones have been used in ceramic production but
            not in the area & period under consideration. Bone china is another name
            for porcelain, a ceramic body unknown, even in China, at this period.

            There may well be an industrial purpose for the jars of bones, but it is
            not the above. By the way, which bones were saved? Long bones, joints,
            ribs? And what animal(s) did they come from? All bones are not equal and
            the answer to these questions could point to a meaning/use.

            Trudy Kawami_



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • dastacey62
            Trudy. According to Zeuner (Notes on QUmran PEQ 1960) the bones were mainly of sheep or goat with a few from cows. Most were found buried under large sherds or
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 2, 2008
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              Trudy. According to Zeuner (Notes on QUmran PEQ 1960) the bones were
              mainly of sheep or goat with a few from cows. Most were found buried
              under large sherds or in broken cooking pots, a few in complete
              cps."many must have gone into the jars as fragments." "All contained
              odd bones or articulated fragments only" The majority contained
              various bones from one animal but some from as many as four. "The
              maximum number of identifiable bones of any one specimen was twenty-
              two." "Where an individual was evidenced by one or two bones only,
              these were nearly always metapodials, bones on which there is no
              flesh to eat."
              It would appear from this that the bones were broken down and boiled
              up in the cps, a number of which were cracked possibly from the heat
              of the fire. Any odd bits of hide which may have been included
              originally did not survive (or escaped identification - as far as we
              are told no analyses were carried out to try to identify hide/hair).

              The production of glue seems probable to me.

              David Stacey
              UK

              --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Trudy Kawami" <tkawami@...> wrote:
              >
              > .Animal bones have many uses including ivory-like combs, ornaments &
              > inlay. For these purposes the bones need to be cleaned, dried &
              aged.
              > Keeping them in ceramic jars would not accomplish this. Bones for
              glue &
              > gelatin are boiled out when they are fresh, so there would be no
              need
              > for jars to bury them in. Bones have been used in ceramic
              production but
              > not in the area & period under consideration. Bone china is another
              name
              > for porcelain, a ceramic body unknown, even in China, at this
              period.
              >
              > There may well be an industrial purpose for the jars of bones, but
              it is
              > not the above. By the way, which bones were saved? Long bones,
              joints,
              > ribs? And what animal(s) did they come from? All bones are not
              equal and
              > the answer to these questions could point to a meaning/use.
              >
              > Trudy Kawami_
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • kessler_paul
              I only referred to bone china in the course of making a point; I also referred to prehistoric and historic bone-tempered pottery found in Texas. If people
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 2, 2008
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                I only referred to bone china in the course of making a point; I also
                referred to prehistoric and historic bone-tempered pottery found in
                Texas. If people living in what is today Texas had, in prehistoric
                times, discovered that ground bone could be used to temper pottery,
                surely one must inquire whether pottery-makers living at Qumran also
                knew of this trick and employed it. In addition, from what I
                understand ground bone is also used in various cosmetics.

                I hope people will agree with me that these (and other similar)
                avenues of inquiry make better sense than leaping to the conclusion
                that since the inhabitants of Qumran stored some animal bones in
                jars, therefore they were religious sectarians.

                Paul Kessler (New York, NY)


                --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Trudy Kawami" <tkawami@...> wrote:
                >
                > .Animal bones have many uses including ivory-like combs, ornaments &
                > inlay. For these purposes the bones need to be cleaned, dried &
                aged.
                > Keeping them in ceramic jars would not accomplish this. Bones for
                glue &
                > gelatin are boiled out when they are fresh, so there would be no
                need
                > for jars to bury them in. Bones have been used in ceramic
                production but
                > not in the area & period under consideration. Bone china is another
                name
                > for porcelain, a ceramic body unknown, even in China, at this
                period.
                >
                > There may well be an industrial purpose for the jars of bones, but
                it is
                > not the above. By the way, which bones were saved? Long bones,
                joints,
                > ribs? And what animal(s) did they come from? All bones are not
                equal and
                > the answer to these questions could point to a meaning/use.
                >
                > Trudy Kawami_
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
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