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Qumran, the last refuge of the dilettante ?

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  • Joe Zias
    Some of the latest info./postings are woefully out of date, not years,but decades. To use Golb as a source, the 1996 edition is but one example. The cemetery
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 2, 2008
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      Some of the latest info./postings are woefully out of date, not years,but decades. To use Golb as a source, the 1996 edition is but one example. The cemetery postings are even more out of date. Rather than going into detail over all the Kessler/ Somsell, info. I suggest that those interested in the cemetery read my article in Dead Sea Discoveries 2000 in which I show that the women and children, aside from one grave, are all Bedouin. Took me 30 seconds to figure out what a younger colleague did in 15 and one year to read all the articles over the last 50 yrs about the woman and children amongst all those celibate males and how we males discriminate in the world of biblical arch. I brought this up as a reminder at the SBL conf. in Boston as to how 50 yrs. or research was wasted by those with no experience in burial practices/physical anthropology. Rather than taking it gracefully, the end of the lecture had the making of a Jerry Springer show. Things finally quited down
      when most of the experienced scholars realized that if one doesn't have the back ground, one shouldn't do the walk. You may impress a few, but those who understand the world of biblical arch. are not easily fooled. Another area which shows what happens when one has no experience or minimal experience is the belief that as only 30-40 skeletons were excavated out of ca 1,000, that it's not a good sci. sample. Well, each adult grave is either male or female and 34 males out of 35 in a random sample is not enough , as some contend, try flipping a coin 35 times, when you come up with 34 heads, go back on line. Or figure it out mathematically. Given 10-15 burials it would have been statistically significant.
      I could go on and on as to what happens when outsiders try to figure it out, for brevity I'll end with this. The German school once contended that the mikvot were not mikvot as there was but an inlet source but no outlet source to empty the water. I then contacted Ronnie Reich, the expert on mikvot who laughed and told me that of the ca 1000 mikvot discovered in the Holy Land, none had an outlet. Seems the folks there in EU were looking at medieval mikvot where they were placed in the water table, water in water out. For the time being, I'm 'out.

      Joe Zias


      Joe Zias www.joezias.com
      Anthropology/Paleopathology

      Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
      Jerusalem, Israel



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    • Jean-Fabrice Nardelli
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 2, 2008
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        <<Another area which shows what happens when one has no experience or minimal experience is the belief that as only 30-40 skeletons were excavated out of ca 1,000, that it's not a good sci. sample. †Well, each adult grave is either male or female and 34 males out of 35 in a random sample is not enough , as some contend, try flipping a coin 35 times, when you come up with 34 heads, go back on line. Or figure it out mathematically. Given 10-15 burials it would have been statistically significant.† I could go on and on as to what happens when outsiders try to figure it out, for brevity I'll end with this<<

        For all his authority, M. Zias's logic in the passage I have put inside daggers baffles me. I shall compare what a famous Classical scholar wrote (A. E. Housman, M. Annaei Lucani Belli ciuilis editorum in usum edidit A. E. [Oxford, 1926], p.xvii) : "we arrive at evening upon a field of battle, where lie 200 corpses. 197 of them have no beards ; the 198th has a beard on the chin ; the 199th has a false beard slewed round under the left ear ; the 200th has been decapitated and the head is nowhere to be found. Problem : has it a beard, a false beard, or no beard at all ?". I hope M. Zias will not have us believe that, in this case, the 200th body had a beard, either fake or genuine !

        J.-F. Nardelli,
        Université de Provence



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