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Re: [ANE-2] David Stacey's observations/inkwells/use of term "sectarian"

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  • Bradley Skene
    Dr. Zias, As an outsider to the list, with no special knowledge about the DDS (the extent of my knowledge is having read a later edition of the Vermes
    Message 1 of 42 , Jan 1, 2008
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      Dr. Zias,

      As an outsider to the list, with no special knowledge about the DDS (the
      extent of my knowledge is having read a later edition of the Vermes
      translation released shortly after the monopoly was broken, and perhaps one
      or two articles a year for the last 20 years in the specialist journals
      that looked interesting), I hardly want to offer an opinion on the matters
      now under intense discussion here. But I want to ask you a question,
      precisely because I have come to respect your work here as a debunker.

      Theories are usually tested by their predictions. You obviously think the
      Essene theory is confirmed by the particulars known of the cemetery. But
      doesn't the theory of a military out-post/seasonal factory, also predict no
      children and few women? So why do you consider these facts to argue
      decisively in favor of the Essene theory?

      Can you directly address the issue of the female bodies discovered in the
      excavation of the cemetery there, and also the problem that so many definite
      statements are made about the lack of wounded or female bodies in graves,
      when, evidently, only a tiny fraction of the graves have been excavated?

      Is there some textual or other evidence to suggest that Essenes in
      preference to other Jews would align graves north-south? If few graves have
      been excavated, how do you there is not a mixture? Some south-north, some
      north-south? If someone were adding new graves to a cemetery, might it not
      be reasonable to think they would orient the graves the same way as existing
      ones, so that the uniformity of orientation might not have any special

      Turning to the inkwells--What evidence convinces you that the site housed a
      scriptorium? Surely the presence of 4 or 5 inkwells (even setting aside the
      contention of the recent excavators that it would be natural to find ceramic
      inkwells in a ceramics factory) is not sufficient.

      Could you state in brief outline form what you considered the strongest
      evidence or arguments in favor of the Essene hypothesis are? This perhaps
      needs to be done for less expert list members who have been barraged lately
      with objections to the older theory.


      Bradley Skeen

      On 1/1/08, Joe Zias <joezias@...> wrote:
      > Whereas David Stacy may be one of the few dissidents out there with
      > something to say, due to his years of field experience in the desert, there
      > is a article coming out or out by Emile Puech in the Festschrift for
      > f.garcia.martinez, on Qumran which should put things to rest. It deals
      > with the ostraca discovered by James Strange.
      > As far as the remarks about Shufat being akin to Qumran, on the basis of
      > some inkwells which are not from the same period, when they find an all male
      > cemetery, no children, all of whom died young with no signs of violence,
      > buried north-south, then I may walk along the road to Damascus for a bit.
      > Joe Zias
      > silverman_mark <silverman_mark@... <silverman_mark%40yahoo.com>>
      > wrote: This is fascinating--seems like some real fresh air in DSS research.
      > However, when it comes to inkwells, the response from the
      > Qumranological "heartland" to the news from Shuafat is clear: we now
      > have proof (to be presented to the public on Discovery or maybe BBC)
      > of a second Essene motherhouse that was located at Shuafat. Indeed, as
      > there are even more inkwells here than at Qumran, Shuafat may well
      > have been the true center for these urbane men of the desert, Qumran
      > just serving as their central library and for part-time scrolls
      > maufacturing. Without a doubt, some wood slabs that once served as
      > writing tables will eventually be found in the area, plus maybe (with
      > a little luck) even some Essene feces(sent out--to judge by recent
      > procedures--to be varified as such in some lab in Europe)....clearly
      > compelling evidence for those who have argued for some time
      > now--initially in response to the very serious methodological and
      > historical problems Golb claimed to have identified--that in fact the
      > Essene population was vastly larger, more widespread and dynamic than
      > we have until now believed.
      > I have a query for any intellectual/ancient historians who may be
      > reading this--in the DSS context, what do we really mean by
      > "sectarian"? If Golb is right, and--preassumptions placed aside(pace
      > Dirk)--a careful inductive analysis of the texts reveals a number of
      > ideological-religious currents, Judaism of the time thus apparently
      > being in a state of extreme fracturing and flux--then is "sectarian"
      > simply synonymous with "non priestly"? In a situation where the
      > priests, whatever their remaining political power, de facto
      > represented one of a number of ideological currents, does it make
      > sense to speak of "sectarian" at all? (the Essenes, o.k.-some of them
      > lived apart in the desert; they eschewed wealth and were celibate
      > etc.--but otherwise...?) I'd really be interested on responses to this
      > question.
      > Many thanks,
      > Mark Silverman
      > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>, "dastacey62" <
      > DAVID.STACEY63@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <ANE-2%40yahoogroups.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:
      > > 166).
      > > 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 lani�res 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
      > > UK
      > >
      > Joe Zias www.joezias.com
      > Anthropology/Paleopathology
      > Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
      > Jerusalem, Israel
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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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