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Re: Qumran and ignoring evidence

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  • dastacey62
    ... Of course not all the scrolls were ... If it is admitted that not all the scrolls were penned at Qumran it is surely necessary to conclusively prove that
    Message 1 of 42 , Jan 1, 2008
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      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, goranson@... wrote:

      Of course not all the scrolls were
      > penned at
      > Qumran--though Qumran now has more inkwells than any other published
      > site in the
      > area and era--

      If it is admitted that "not all the scrolls were penned at Qumran" it
      is surely necessary to conclusively prove that any scrolls at all were
      penned at Qumran. Even proof that some were written by Essenes would
      not prove that they were penned at Qumran. As at least one of the
      inkwells excavated at Qumran (as against those that acquired that
      provenance as an 'added value' by the antiquities trade) has been
      identified, by Gunneweg, as having been made locally it is possible
      that ink wells were part of the pottery production that nobody disputes
      occurred at the site. The discovery of five inkwells at Shuafat has, as
      I'm sure Stephen knows, been announced in a preliminary publication and
      it is possible that a fragment of another has been found during further
      excavations there (Bar-Nathan pers. com.).

      Stephen does make one observation that should be considered more fully:-

      In fact, in most periods of history, Qumran
      > was uninhabited, because it is not strategically located.

      Uninhabitated perhaps, unvisited certainly not.
      Winter temperatures near the Dead Sea are mild, so mild that,
      according to Josephus, "the people are clothed in linen even when snow
      covers the rest of Judea" (War 4:473). The warmth encourages plants to
      grow after any significant fall of winter rain (for pictures see
      Roitman 1997 frontispiece; Netzer 2001 Pl XVI (top) and 2004 Pl XIV;.
      Yadin 1966: 34). They grow rapidly to complete their life cycle before
      the searing heat of summer and provide welcome fresh grazing for
      flocks brought down from the hills. Evidence for such `trans-humance'
      of both sheep and goats was still clearly visible around Jericho up to,
      at least the 1980's, particularly in a wet winter. In the early years
      of the last century Masterman noted that "Early in the year, in January
      and February, Bedawin descend into this part of the plain (near `Ain el-
      Feshka) and flocks of goats and sheep and also camels may be seen on
      all hands. The Bedawin at this time inhabit caves in the hills around,
      The `Ain Feshkhah oasis itself has been tenanted for some eight months
      now by two men (natives of Abu Dis) who are in charge of a large herd
      of cattle, belonging to the Sultan, which thrive in the reeds. The men
      collect and dry rushes, which are sold for basket work" (PEFQS 1902:
      The movement of animals down from the hill country to the winter
      grazing on the Dead Sea littoral was an essential part of the local
      economy and had been since time immemorial. "This cycle assures the
      animals of a favourable climate and readily available grass, fodder,
      and water in each season of the year" (Har-El EDSS 2000: 13). After the
      construction of a water cistern in Qumran in the Iron Age shepherds
      would have gravitated to it for fresh water for themselves and their
      flocks. Even after the abandonment of the Iron Age fort there is no
      reason to suppose that the cistern ceased to collect water or that the
      shepherds would not have occasionally cleaned it of erosive dirt. The
      shepherds would have traded dairy products and meat with the villagers
      of Jericho and Ein Gedi who would have been well aware of the existence
      of the cistern at Qumran at the foot of a path up to the Buqeia.
      When the Hasmoneans began to expand the agricultural potential of
      Jericho they, too, would have been aware of the cistern and would have
      wanted it's water within their control. Although normally the
      flocks "returned to the mountains in summer for the birthing and
      shearing seasons" (Har-El 2000: 446) the expansion of labour intensive
      agriculture in both Jericho and Ein Gedi would have necessitated a
      considerable influx of labour which, in turn, would have greatly added
      to the market for what the shepherds could produce. It would have been
      in the interest of the Royal Palace at Jericho and its dependent
      workforce to ensure that some lambing, kidding and shearing took place
      nearby rather than in the hills because, "the fleece provided the only
      fabric for winter clothing… the animals' wool was used to weave rugs,
      tents… and sacks for the transportation of grain; the hides were used
      to make harnesses and shoes, while the skins of lambs and kids provided
      vessels for water.. oil and wine… as well as the parchment on which the
      Holy Scriptures were written… " (Har-El 2000: 14).
      The presence of flocks around Qumran in the winter would have helped
      feed seasonal workers exploiting the water gathered there. The potters
      would have timed their arrival in Qumran to coincide with that of the
      flocks; the water was fresh, the available dairy products supplemented
      any dry food they brought with them, the temperatures were bearable,
      driftwood on the Dead Sea was at its most plentiful and the dung from
      the flocks would have supplemented the fuel supply for the kilns . The
      potters could probably have made a year's supply of domestic pots for
      the local market in 4-6 weeks and would then have left Qumram.
      Some animals would have been slaughtered and there is evidence that
      leather goods were being made at QUmran. In cave 8, on the marl
      terrace "beaucoup de fines lanières et des languettes de cuir" (Baillet
      et al 1962: 31; Roitman 1997: 13, 34) were found; and in three caves
      near to the site "leather in various stages of being worked" was
      recovered. In one, named by the excavators `the Cave of Leather', was
      found "a large quantity of tanned skins… The skins were in various
      stages of being worked and some were even being prepared as products
      such as thick pieces to be used as sandal parts and thin pieces to be
      used as parchment" [Atiqot 41 (2002) pt II: 171-172, X /35 Cave of
      the Balsam Oil Juglet (although three lamps found here are said to
      belong to the second century CE, the parallels that are given place
      them firmly at the time of the 1st Revolt, as does the coin found with
      them); 172, X/42 Cave of the Rock;. 172-173, X/51 Cave of Leather.]. In
      the IAA's exhaustive investigation of caves from north of Jericho to
      south of Ein Feshka such leather was only found near Qumran.

      In a forthcoming article I look at other possible seasonal industries
      making use of the water garnered at Qumran (wool scouring, dyeing,
      fulling, glue-making (by boiling up bones and scraps of hide in pots.
      remnants of the process were buried near by), rope manufacture, etc etc
      The concept of seasonality is a supposition based on local realities.
      Plants spring-up rapidly on the Dead Sea littoral following winter
      rain; sheep and goats are brought down from the hills to graze upon
      them. At Qumran the seasonal collection of fresh, soft water made it
      possible to process wool and leather derived from the flocks, produce
      pottery for local consumption, and perfumes, cosmetics and medicines
      derived from the specialised flora and minerals of the area. The
      products were in demand but the processes which produced them were
      smelly, smoky, or both, and best carried out well away from the Royal
      Palaces in Jericho. It is probably too late to expect that scientific
      analyses would detect surviving evidence for these industries in
      sediments that have now been exposed for over fifty years. We can only
      hope that, one day, some previously unknown pool or drain is located
      from which sediment can be retrieved and analysed.

      David Stacey
    • Dierk van den Berg
      The material culture in ancient Judaism was not group-specific !!! Herein I have to agree with Zangenberg et al. In so far Joe has an inspired dream, but
      Message 42 of 42 , Jan 14, 2008
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        The material culture in ancient Judaism was not group-specific !!!

        Herein I have to agree with Zangenberg et al. In so far Joe has an
        inspired dream, but that's already all.
        Whether or not a KhQ skeleton once belonged to an ancient terrorist
        (and that is what is actually behind the idealizing "Essene" legend)
        or not, we cannot extract simply from the bones, neither by means of
        logic nor with all my heart.

        NB to reach primary school, myself had to cross the local WW-I
        cemetery first, though this doesn't make me Wilheminic, isn't

        Dierk v/d Berg
        Nijmegen, Holland

        --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Joe Zias <joezias@...> wrote:
        > Paul Smith asks the following :
        > What do the Qumran cemetery facts
        tell us about the origin and the
        > provenance of the scrolls?
        > The answer is very little but the cemetery tells us an enormous amt
        of info about the people living there who were IMHO , Essenes, who
        fished ,herded, potted ...and in order to get to three scroll caves
        on the plateau one had to cross into their site whether one liked it
        or not.
        > 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]
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