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Bar-Nathan and dating of Qumran cave pottery

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  • Greg Doudna
    I understand Bar-Nathan s pottery datings and I relied upon her Jericho pottery volume (2002) in my article in the Galor et al. Brown University conference
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 25, 2008
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      I understand Bar-Nathan's pottery datings and
      I relied upon her Jericho pottery volume (2002) in my
      article in the Galor et al. Brown University conference
      volume on Qumran archaeology (2006). Neither
      Goranson's ANE comment nor the Atkinson RBL
      review of my article (I have no access to
      Goranson's review), citing comments from
      Bar-Nathan about Qumran pottery published later
      than my article and Bar-Nathan's Jericho volume,
      refute my article as I see it. Nor do the comments from
      Goranson or Atkinson answer the central question
      of my article concerning whether archaeological evidence establishes, as a fact, that deposits of scrolls in the caves
      around Qumran occurred later than 1st century BCE.
      As an archaeologist himself, Atkinson would potentially
      be in a position to be the first archaeologist
      dealing with Qumran to respond to my article and
      say: "scroll deposits later than 1st BCE in the Qumran
      caves are not simply supposition, but an archaeological
      fact, and here is why [reasons A, B, C]". But neither
      Atkinson nor any other archaeologist has said this.

      Bar-Nathan's statement on Qumran cave pottery (published after my paper was written) quoted
      by Atkinson as constituting a "significant challenge" to
      my thesis is rather unusual and innovative compared
      to usual understandings of the dating of
      pottery in the Qumran caves. In contrast to
      de Vaux and Magness, Bar-Nathan dates practically
      all of the pottery in the Qumran caves to the six or
      eight years of the First Revolt. Bar-Nathan writes:
      "except for isolated vessels in Cave I, most of the pottery
      from the caves dates to the first century C.E.;
      more specifically, to the days of the Great Revolt,
      between 66 and 73/4 C.E. ... there is no necessary
      link between the jars found in the caves and those
      found at the site" (p. 277 of the Galor et al Brown
      University volume)

      Bar-Nathan elaborated further on this in her
      her still later (2006) Masada pottery volume (not cited
      by Goranson or Atkinson), where she makes
      passing comments to the scroll jars in the
      Qumran caves dating later than the inhabitants
      of Qumran (p. 71 ["the relationship between the cave
      with the scrolls and the settlement is not certain,
      especially on chronological grounds ... On the
      basis of the pottery, the cave is dated 66-73/74
      C.E., whereas according to Humbert 2003 the site
      was destroyed and its population dispersed
      ca. 60 C.E. It therefore seems that there is no
      correlation between the pottery in the caves and
      the settlement"]). In other words Bar-Nathan's
      argument is that the scroll jars are disconnected
      from the inhabitants of Qumran because they are
      not chronologically contemporary--all of the scroll jars
      in the Qumran caves are LATER (says Bar-Nathan)
      than the people at Qumran--they were deposited in the
      caves after the people at Qumran had left. Of
      course Bar-Nathan sometimes (though not always,
      as in p. 71 noted above) allows for an "exception"
      in the case of lamps found in Cave 1,
      which are indisputably (including by Bar-Nathan)
      independently dated positively and narrowly at
      Jericho, as well as at the site of Qumran, to
      late 1st BCE. But why are the
      datings of those particular Cave 1 lamps, found
      with the scrolls in that cave, "exceptional" in
      their dating compared to everything else which
      is less narrowly dated typologically and which
      Bar-Nathan says is all 66-73 CE, including right
      in the same Cave 1 with the same late 1st BCE
      lamps? Bar-Nathan never exactly says. She has
      an argument from scenario and plausibility, but
      still does not explain why the Cave 1 late-1st
      BCE lamps are an "exception" instead of
      unexceptional. (After all, Bar-Nathan herself reported
      that same kind of lamp, and a "Herodian" lamp,
      found in the _same loci in the same context_ dated
      late Herod the Great [late 1st BCE] at Jericho--
      the identical lamp mixture found in Cave 1.)

      No one else involved in Qumran studies to my knowledge
      holds or has endorsed Bar-Nathan's views on this,
      which is neither here nor there if there were evidence
      for it, but although I read Bar-Nathan closely, I failed to
      see evidence underlying Bar-Nathan's conclusions
      on these points apart from argument from
      plausibility. None of these comments gainsay
      Bar-Nathan's earlier brilliant and well-supported
      work on the Jericho pottery, which does not
      prove her unusual Qumran cave pottery datings
      and in fact, to my reading, argue against some of
      her Qumran cave dating conclusions.

      Notably, the only scroll jar of the Qumran
      type found at Jericho in Bar-Nathan's volume
      was found in ... a late 1st BCE context. That's
      100% of the sample in the Netzer Jericho excavations,
      dated in agreement with my suggestion of the
      dating of the scroll deposits in the Qumran caves
      using the identical jars, and in disagreement with
      Bar-Nathan's dating of all of those identical jars
      when found in the Qumran caves.

      In our article "Cleaning and Radiocarbon Dating of
      Material from Khirbet Qumran" by Rasmusssen et al
      in the Gunneweg et al (eds) COST Action G8
      Working Group publication volume (2005), our
      team reported on eight new radiocarbon datings
      of linen associated with scrolls in the Qumran caves
      (caves 1, 4, 8, and 11). All of them--every
      single one of them--dated significantly earlier by
      radiocarbon dating than a charred linen from
      Qumran locus 96 which dated compatible with
      the First Revolt fire which afflicted the buildings.
      These eight new linen radiocarbon datings were in
      agreement with an earlier AMS radiocarbon dating
      of Cave 4 linen at Tucson which I caused to happen
      in 1994 which produced a solid 1st BCE dating
      indication. If all of the Qumran cave pottery was
      66-73 CE as Bar-Nathan says, why did ALL of these
      linen radiocarbon datings in those same caves and
      in association with that same pottery come in so much
      earlier in radiocarbon datings?

      These are some of the reasons I do not agree with
      Atkinson's statement that Bar-Nathan's datings of
      Qumran cave materials associated with scroll
      deposits which differ from me constitute a serious
      challenge to the modest proposal of my 2006 article
      that the scholarly consensus idea of Qumran scroll
      deposits as late as the 1st century CE is an unestablished supposition, as distinguished from a confirmed fact. I am also unclear why Goranson assumes
      I do not understand Bar-Nathan's pottery datings.

      > e.g. G. Doudna (13 April message #8156) cited
      > R. Bar Nathan and claimed again a Qumran/
      > Jericho association and late first century BCE
      > deposit dates for (all?) the Qumran mss. A recent
      > review of the Brown Qumran conference volume
      > is not the first review (cf. BASOR 347 114-6, by me)
      > to ask, in effect, whether Doudna properly understood
      > Bar Nathan's pottery datings and her statement that
      > she accepts Qumran text deposits during the First
      > Revolt. Perhaps Greg would offer any corrections
      > he may have to the review by Kenneth Atkinson,
      > available (no subscription required) here:
      > http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=5905&CodePage=5905


      Greg Doudna
      Doudna Window Cleaning
      Bellingham, Washington

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    • dastacey62
      Greg Although I can not speak for Rachel I did have conversation with her last year. Pottery dating is not an exact science, as you know. It is worth spelling
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 28, 2008
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        Greg
        Although I can not speak for Rachel I did have conversation with her
        last year.

        Pottery dating is not an exact science, as you know. It is worth
        spelling this out because of comments I will make later regarding
        Atkinson's review. The largest assemblages tend to come from
        destruction levels or abandonments and if these can be attributed to
        an historic event they are assigned a date at which those types are
        present – which doesn't mean that some didn't exist several decades
        before or after the event. Of course after destructions some life
        continues somewhere. For the pottery from the period relevant to
        Qumran three historic events likely to produce a recoverable corpus
        have been useful, the earthquake of 31BCE, and the First and Second
        Revolts. Rachel, who as you know is at the cutting edge of ceramic
        research for the this period, and was excavating at, and is
        publishing, Shu'afat, a site apparently occupied only between the
        revolts. The immediately post 70 CE pottery has few dependable
        parallels and is not found in great quantities and Rachel is
        beginning to feel that pottery from this period may be detectable in
        more locations than heretofore considered (including Jericho). It may
        be that sub-consciously she is pushing a few pottery forms from
        around the time of the First Revolt a little later than entirely
        justified.

        However, I think you have to accept that the cave deposits date from
        between the time of Herod and the First Revolt, and that it is
        tortuous to try to fit all into the 1st cent BCE. Although
        cylindrical storage jars were found in Zealot contexts at Masada, and
        a recent one found in Ein Gedi, in a context with other (non-
        cylindrical) storage jars was found together with a 'Second Year'
        coin, the evidence from Jericho and from Qumran itself shows that
        their introduction was earlier: (the jar found sunk into the earliest
        floor in L2 was associated with a coin of Agrippa and there are
        several stratigraphic layers above that - which, incidentally, casts
        doubt on the idea of an end to occupation as early as 60CE).

        Unfortunately much of the pottery assigned a 31 BCE date is based
        on mistaken identity of earthquake damage at Qumran. This slightly
        misdated pottery was used by Lapp to date ceramics from other
        locations, which, in a circular argument, are often produced as
        confirmation of the Qumran datings. The large scale excavations at
        Jericho, with clearly defined stratigraphy and numismatics, has
        allowed for a `fine-tuning' of the pottery around 31BCE. Thus the
        very limited quantity of pottery published from L49 (only eight
        profiles) which includes bowls of the same type found in L86 should,
        according to Rachel, be dated, not to before the earthquake, but to
        the `first half of Herod's reign' (Bar- Nathan, Jericho Pottery pp203-
        204) It should also be bourn in mind that dating of an archaeological
        event must be made according to the latest material found. In the
        case of L49 this is a coin of Agrippa I. Although Atkinson claims
        that "there is no corresponding whole or restorable ceramic vessels
        contemporary with" my suggestion that, if the crack in pool L49 was
        caused by an earthquake it is more likely to be that known to have
        occurred in 48CE, he prefers to ignore the coin, which was found,
        according to de Vaux's field notes in the `lower level'. Moreover we
        have no idea how representative the eight published profiles were
        to the whole corpus found in the pool. (Magness' statement that "The
        coin of Herod Agrippa I found `close to the bottom' of the pool in
        L49 only provides a terminus ante quem for the construction of this
        pool, since it could have been lost or deposited in the pool any time
        after its construction" is untenable. If the pool was destroyed in
        31BCE surely it would have been filled in if only as a convenient
        dump for earthquake debris – after all de Vaux, and thus Magness,
        believe that the whole of the so called main building was
        meticulously cleared of such debris – not left inconveniently half
        open and useless for a further 70 years so that a coin could be
        deposited in the lower levels. Moreover an oil lamp (de Vaux '54
        Fig. 3:17) which surely must be dated to around the middle of the
        first cent CE was found in installation L52 only a metre distant from
        L49. which would indicate that, either the two pools were operating
        together or that L49 had been filled in and turned into a floor
        surface by the mid century.

        I have never heard of Kenneth Atkinson but am sure he's an
        intelligent man. Although you say he is an archaeologist, looking at
        his cv he is essentially a text person who, commendably, spent a few
        seasons working on excavations in Israel probably as a paying
        volunteer. In his review he rarely addresses himself to
        archaeological problems but relies upon Magness who makes many
        suppositions, largely textually, rather than archaeologically,
        based. They are merely suppositions not established facts.

        Briefly:- He states that "there is no clear archaeological evidence,
        or archaeological parallels, to support the thesis that Qumran was a
        center for the production of ceramics" which is odd as pottery kilns
        existed throughout the life of 2T Qumran.

        He refers to Zeuner's 1960 article in which he claimed that "the
        sediment that washed into Qumran's pools… was not conducive to the
        manufacture of ceramic vessels". It should be clarified that Zeuner
        carried out only four tests, of which two were from L75 a pool now
        convincingly identified as a wine press and nothing to do with
        pottery manufacture. He did not attempt to actually make any ceramic
        vessels with clay from Qumran whereas both Magen and Peleg, and
        Marta Balla, have successfully made experimental vessels and
        published photographs of them.

        He shows an obvious bias in that he only refers to the results of
        Yellin's NAA pottery analyses and not to the contradictory ones of
        Gunneweg and Balla (neither of which, incidentally, are corroborated
        by the petrographic results published by Grunneweg).

        Perhaps because Magness failed lamentably to address the unglamorous
        issue of aqueduct technology in my DSD article Atkinson also
        completely ignores what is not a supposition but, as near it can
        ever be, an archaeological fact. Water channels, in occupied built
        up areas, run beneath the floor (as Jericho so copiously
        demonstrates, particularly in Area F: as Masada demonstrates with,
        inter alia, the channel feeding cistern 1907 from near the snake path
        gate, the channel beneath the floor of the Western Palace feeding
        cistern 547, the channel beneath the floor of room 1210 which
        directed runoff water into cistern 1911 and/or 2006; and as the
        channels beneath the floors in the Great Temple and the Paradeisos
        reveal in Petra). Sub-floor channels are constructed differently from
        free-standing channels in that their walls, as retaining walls, are
        only plastered on the inner face, exactly as is the channel running
        beneath L116, 115, 114 etc at Qumran. They are NOT built completely
        blocking doorways. Although Magness claims that some low ridges
        associated with the earlier floor `provided passage above and across
        the line of the "main" aqueduct' she overlooks the fact that the
        ridges nowhere near reach the top of the channel as it now exists
        without the added height of the cap-stones which would originally
        have sealed it. Moreover she fails to find any possible steps to go
        up from L114 into L115, or from L115 up to, and down into, L116.
        When I specifically asked to be told of any parallel "main aqueduct
        on a Hasmonean of Herodian site crossing an inhabited, built up area,
        standing proud of its floor and thus creating a considerable
        impediment, c. 60cm high and 1.50m wide, to movement around the site"
        none was offered. Instead I was wishfully told that "the walls of the
        main aqueduct apparently did rise above the floors…. This seems to be
        true…..

        Atkinson does not address this issue at all and, with it, the fact
        that the aqueduct was not built until after the deposit of the
        pottery in L114 which can date at it's earliest to 31BCE. Neither
        L49 nor L77 were built until after the construction of the channel.
        Although it may be inconvenient to his dating of Qumran, relying
        heavily on Magness, the issue will not go away by ignoring it.

        David A. Stacey
      • Greg Doudna
        David, when you write I think you have to accept that the [Qumran] cave deposits date from between the time of Herod and the First Revolt, and that it is
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 28, 2008
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          David, when you write "I think you have
          to accept that the [Qumran] cave deposits date
          from between the time of Herod and the First
          Revolt, and that it is tortuous to try to fit all
          into the 1st cent BCE"

          (a) do you mean all the cave deposits, or, all the
          cave scroll deposits? My argument concerns
          the question of evidence for post-1st BCE scroll
          deposits in the caves, not non-scroll related
          deposits in the caves.

          (b) does your "between the time of Herod and the First
          Revolt" include the time of Herod? If so, how is that
          evidence of post-1st BCE scroll deposits?

          (c) do you hold that it is tortuous to date all of
          the scroll deposits in Cave 1 to the time of Herod
          (1st BCE)? Why?

          (d) what, to you, is the single strongest archaeological
          argument or indication establishing the existence of
          post-1st BCE scroll deposits in the caves around
          Qumran?

          Sorry for the mistaken description of Atkinson. Your
          aqueduct argument is very interesting and sounds
          convincing to me. I am not sure if you see implications
          in this on the dating of the scroll deposits in the caves;
          I don't immediately. A minor detail: I don't think a coin
          of Agrippa I was found in association with the cylindrical
          "scroll jar" found by de Vaux in locus 2; rather two coins
          found under the broken floor next to that buried jar were
          identified one from Antigonus Mattathias (coins otherwise
          routinely assumed by de Vaux and other archaeologists
          interpreting Qumran to be diagnostic of 1st BCE human
          activity when found elsewhere) and the other identified
          as from 5/6 CE. (The Humbert-Chambon 1994 volume of
          de Vaux's excavation notes, for these coin identifications.)
          Other coins found on top of the locus 2 floor, such as
          from Agrippa I and First Revolt, are presumably from any
          time later and without necessary association with the
          date of the jar's deposit (installation in the floor). In my
          Galor et al Brown University volume article I cited the
          original interpretation of this locus 2 jar by de Vaux in 1952
          as what specifically established, in the scholarly consensus
          mind, that the scroll deposits in the caves were "firmly,
          beyond any question" dated to the time of the First Revolt,
          when in fact it does not at all, and it appears de Vaux
          later recognized this (though by then de Vaux believed
          the First Revolt scroll-deposit dating [as opposed to
          1st BCE] was correct on other grounds, though he never
          explained directly). In any case thanks in advance for
          your answers to my four questions above.

          Greg Doudna


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        • dastacey62
          Greg, First off - it is spring, my garden requires urgent tlc and my time is limited. So, briefly:- of course I included the time of Herod. I haven t time to
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 29, 2008
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            Greg, First off - it is spring, my garden requires urgent tlc and my
            time is limited.

            So, briefly:- of course I included the time of Herod. I haven't time
            to go cave by cave but stick to the generalisation that not all the
            deposits should be forced into the time of Herod. Why must they be
            one event? Deposited at different times for different reasons.

            My re-Dating of the aqueduct does not directly effect scroll
            deposits. However, as it implies that throughout the Hasmonean period
            the site was only seasonally occupied, it is, perhaps, unlikely to
            have attracted the deposition of scrolls which seems more probable
            once some minimal permanent occupation was required and made possible
            by the building projects of Herod.

            Re L2. I wrote without checking, but when I do (in Pfann's
            translation) I see coin no. "112 (northwest corner on the pavement):
            AE Herod Agrippa I". The jar was in the NW corner and, as you say,
            must predate that coin. It won't, however, pre-date the construction
            of L2 and the 'Main Building' which was only feasible once the 'main'
            aqueduct was built which can be no earlier than 31 BCE. But
            cylindrical jars in use for a century from time of Herod until First
            revolt (evidence from EIn Gedi/Masada).

            David Stacey
            UK
          • Greg Doudna
            David S.--do I understand correctly that your reasoning goes something like this? (a) the type of jars associated with the scroll deposits flourished in the
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 29, 2008
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              David S.--do I understand correctly that
              your reasoning goes something like this?

              (a) the type of jars associated with the scroll deposits
              flourished in the Jordan river valley region from the
              time of Herod to c. First Revolt. (STATEMENT OF
              FACT)

              (b) Therefore, the scroll deposits at Qumran,
              which used that type of jars, also must have
              occurred not just in some subset of the total time
              of use of those jars in the region, but throughout
              the whole time of use of those jars. (INFERENCE.)

              (c) While it is conceded that the above analysis
              in "b" does not apply to any single cave considered
              in isolation--the texts associated with scroll jars
              in a single cave might have been deposited in toto
              in a time frame far less than the entire range of
              time of use of that jar type ... it is
              insisted that the analysis of "b" necessarily DOES
              apply to all of the cave scroll deposits around
              Qumran considered IN AGGREGATE.

              That is, since the Jericho SJ2B wide-mouthed
              cylindrical jars came into use in the region c. beginning
              Herod the Great, therefore at least one of the
              Qumran cave scroll deposits, or subset thereof,
              necessarily occurred c. beginning Herod the Great.

              And, since those jars continued to be
              used in the region as late as the First Revolt,
              therefore at least one of the Qumran cave
              deposits, or subset thereof, necessarily
              occurred as late as the time of the
              First Revolt.

              In this way, a particular, highly specific and perhaps
              secondary use of a certain pottery type, when found
              in the caves of Qumran, must--not: plausibly can be,
              or might be, but must--be presumed to date to the
              same range of time as the entire range of flourishing
              of that particular pottery item in all of its primary
              and secondary uses, however unrelated.

              Just for clarity here, do I have your reasoning
              right?

              Or do I misunderstand, and you would not
              insist on necessarily 0% compression from total
              time range of use of the jars for all purposes
              in the region to total time range of use of the
              jars for scroll deposits in caves around Qumran,
              but would allow some compression ... just not
              down to an unacceptably narrow 20-30 years
              in the time of Herod (way too short a time
              for 10-20 caves to have 1000-2000 texts put
              in them)?

              (Yet some archaeologists dealing with
              Qumran, e.g. Qumran co-excavator Lankester
              Harding writing with "beyond doubt" certainty
              in the original Discoveries in the Judean Desert
              Volume I in the 1950s, thought it just obvious
              that all of the Qumran cave scrolls were
              deposited in the space of a few months or years
              [at the time of the First Revolt], a considerably
              more compressed time period than the 34-year
              reign of Herod which is unacceptably too compressed
              for these deposits in your estimation. What underlies
              these archaeologists' varying perceptions
              of minimally necessary time frames for
              people to put texts in caves?)

              I do not assume the texts were all deposited
              as one event. I suppose an ongoing process
              of depositing texts, not intended for recovery,
              which ended at some point. The question is
              the date of the end of this process. Everyone
              else focuses on First Revolt, end of what has been
              called "period II". I am focusing on what
              Magness dates as the end of "period Ib"
              (end of Herod's reign). The question is what is
              your evidence, or basis for reasonable confidence,
              that the end of these text deposits extends into
              1st CE as you say. Not whether it is possible
              that they did, but your basis for certainty or
              confidence on this matter. Thanks,

              Greg Doudna
              POB 4395
              Bellingham, WA 98227 USA


              > I haven't time to go cave by cave but stick
              > to the generalisation that not all the deposits
              > should be forced into the time of Herod.
              > Why must they be one event? Deposited
              > at different times for different reasons.

              (and earlier)

              > I think you have to accept that the cave
              > deposits date from between the time of
              > Herod and the First Revolt, and that it
              > is tortuous to try to fit all into the 1st
              > cent BCE.



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            • dastacey62
              -Greg The pottery found in the scroll caves seems to cover the period from c. 31 BCE to 70 CE. I can not prove that they were deposited throughout that
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 30, 2008
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                -Greg
                The pottery found in the scroll caves seems to cover the period from
                c. 31 BCE to 70 CE. I can not 'prove' that they were deposited
                throughout that period. Can you 'prove' that they were all deposited
                in time of Herod?
                My suppositions:- many of the scrolls represent geniza deposits which
                unlikely to have been deposited when site only seasonally occupied in
                Hasmonean period. Most, particularly cave 4 etc, probably deposited
                in time of Herod. Copper Scroll most likely deposited at time of
                revolt together with some 'active' parchment scrolls
                Best I can do
                David Stacey
                - In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Greg Doudna <gdoudna@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > David S.--do I understand correctly that
                > your reasoning goes something like this?
                >
                > (a) the type of jars associated with the scroll deposits
                > flourished in the Jordan river valley region from the
                > time of Herod to c. First Revolt. (STATEMENT OF
                > FACT)
                >
                > (b) Therefore, the scroll deposits at Qumran,
                > which used that type of jars, also must have
                > occurred not just in some subset of the total time
                > of use of those jars in the region, but throughout
                > the whole time of use of those jars. (INFERENCE.)
                >
                > (c) While it is conceded that the above analysis
                > in "b" does not apply to any single cave considered
                > in isolation--the texts associated with scroll jars
                > in a single cave might have been deposited in toto
                > in a time frame far less than the entire range of
                > time of use of that jar type ... it is
                > insisted that the analysis of "b" necessarily DOES
                > apply to all of the cave scroll deposits around
                > Qumran considered IN AGGREGATE.
                >
                > That is, since the Jericho SJ2B wide-mouthed
                > cylindrical jars came into use in the region c. beginning
                > Herod the Great, therefore at least one of the
                > Qumran cave scroll deposits, or subset thereof,
                > necessarily occurred c. beginning Herod the Great.
                >
                > And, since those jars continued to be
                > used in the region as late as the First Revolt,
                > therefore at least one of the Qumran cave
                > deposits, or subset thereof, necessarily
                > occurred as late as the time of the
                > First Revolt.
                >
                > In this way, a particular, highly specific and perhaps
                > secondary use of a certain pottery type, when found
                > in the caves of Qumran, must--not: plausibly can be,
                > or might be, but must--be presumed to date to the
                > same range of time as the entire range of flourishing
                > of that particular pottery item in all of its primary
                > and secondary uses, however unrelated.
                >
                > Just for clarity here, do I have your reasoning
                > right?
                >
                > Or do I misunderstand, and you would not
                > insist on necessarily 0% compression from total
                > time range of use of the jars for all purposes
                > in the region to total time range of use of the
                > jars for scroll deposits in caves around Qumran,
                > but would allow some compression ... just not
                > down to an unacceptably narrow 20-30 years
                > in the time of Herod (way too short a time
                > for 10-20 caves to have 1000-2000 texts put
                > in them)?
                >
                > (Yet some archaeologists dealing with
                > Qumran, e.g. Qumran co-excavator Lankester
                > Harding writing with "beyond doubt" certainty
                > in the original Discoveries in the Judean Desert
                > Volume I in the 1950s, thought it just obvious
                > that all of the Qumran cave scrolls were
                > deposited in the space of a few months or years
                > [at the time of the First Revolt], a considerably
                > more compressed time period than the 34-year
                > reign of Herod which is unacceptably too compressed
                > for these deposits in your estimation. What underlies
                > these archaeologists' varying perceptions
                > of minimally necessary time frames for
                > people to put texts in caves?)
                >
                > I do not assume the texts were all deposited
                > as one event. I suppose an ongoing process
                > of depositing texts, not intended for recovery,
                > which ended at some point. The question is
                > the date of the end of this process. Everyone
                > else focuses on First Revolt, end of what has been
                > called "period II". I am focusing on what
                > Magness dates as the end of "period Ib"
                > (end of Herod's reign). The question is what is
                > your evidence, or basis for reasonable confidence,
                > that the end of these text deposits extends into
                > 1st CE as you say. Not whether it is possible
                > that they did, but your basis for certainty or
                > confidence on this matter. Thanks,
                >
                > Greg Doudna
                > POB 4395
                > Bellingham, WA 98227 USA
                >
                >
                > > I haven't time to go cave by cave but stick
                > > to the generalisation that not all the deposits
                > > should be forced into the time of Herod.
                > > Why must they be one event? Deposited
                > > at different times for different reasons.
                >
                > (and earlier)
                >
                > > I think you have to accept that the cave
                > > deposits date from between the time of
                > > Herod and the First Revolt, and that it
                > > is tortuous to try to fit all into the 1st
                > > cent BCE.
                >
                >
                >
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              • Greg Doudna
                David, thanks for acknowledging a lack of certainty on archaeological grounds that any scrolls were deposited in the Qumran caves later than 1st BCE, and
                Message 7 of 7 , Apr 30, 2008
                • 0 Attachment
                  David, thanks for acknowledging a lack of certainty
                  on archaeological grounds that any scrolls were
                  deposited in the Qumran caves later than 1st BCE,
                  and beyond that, for your (reasonable, in my view)
                  supposition that the vast bulk of the Qumran scroll
                  deposits probably occurred BCE, not CE. Comments:

                  (1) On the Copper Scroll, I presume it must be some
                  form of argument from hypothetical scenario of hiding temple
                  wealth at the time of the First Revolt (as opposed to
                  hypothetical scenarios that could be imagined for
                  earlier occasions) that indicates to you that that
                  particular text was deposited significantly later
                  than you suppose was the case for most of the other
                  scrolls. I know of no archaeological grounds justifying
                  singling out the Copper Scroll for this particular
                  dating (you did not cite any).

                  (2) On your proposal that the residents of Qumran
                  deposited some scrolls actively in use at about the time
                  of the First Revolt--or alternatively had some scrolls
                  with them in active use in caves in which they
                  were living at the time of flight or abandonment
                  or death at that time--while that is conceivable,
                  there are two factors weighing somewhat against
                  this as I see it--beyond a lack of positive
                  evidence for it. Namely:

                  (a) there is an undisputed example of biblical texts
                  in use at the time of the First Revolt: the biblical
                  texts at Masada. Although the following point has been
                  made and published by Talmon and Tov and
                  is no secret to those who follow Talmon's and Tov's
                  scholarship on the Dead Sea biblical texts, yet
                  the point has not received sufficient attention,
                  and Ian Young's 2002 Dead Sea Discoveries article
                  on this point has been wholly ignored: the biblical
                  texts at Masada are more closely like medieval MT
                  than the biblical texts at Qumran, including more closely
                  like medieval MT than the MT-class biblical texts at Qumran.
                  The only way this makes sense as a non-chronological marker
                  is the explanation assumed by Talmon and Tov, who assumed
                  that the First Revolt Qumran text deposit construction
                  was a given, a simple and uncontrovertible fact, around
                  which any empirical data or findings must be interpreted:
                  they assumed different types of people or different
                  sects with different interests, at the two sites, owning the
                  two differing descriptions of biblical manuscripts at exactly
                  the same time. Young argued for interpreting the
                  typologically earlier Qumran biblical mss similar
                  to the way typologically earlier writing styles or
                  typologically earlier pottery, etc. are commonly
                  understood: as suggesting a chronologically earlier
                  selection process for the biblical mss. at Qumran
                  than reflected at First Revolt Masada.

                  (b) among the texts found in the caves at Qumran,
                  there is not a single unambiguous (that is, which
                  most of today's scholars find convincing) allusion
                  to even one 1st CE date, event,
                  person, circumstance, ruler ... anything at all securely
                  internally datable to the 1st CE. Argument from
                  silence, but this is a rather strange dog not barking
                  here.
                  Contrast to dozens, perhaps hundreds, of allusions
                  to 1st BCE, agreed by virtually all scholars, "common
                  as dirt" among the so-called "sectarian" Qumran
                  cave texts.
                  (3) On your question of can I prove all scrolls were
                  deposited BCE, in the time of Herod--no. But I can
                  argue it. But this argument is not being heard because
                  of a prior filtering perception that it is an archaeologically
                  illegitimate argument, since the dating of most if not
                  all of the Qumran text deposits to as late as
                  1st CE/First Revolt is supposedly well established as a
                  fact by archaeologists who all accept it, even though
                  no archaeologist working with Qumran today seems willing
                  to identify specific positive grounds for certainty that
                  scrolls were deposited in Qumran caves that late.

                  In any case thanks for your analyses.

                  Greg Doudna
                  Bellingham, Washington


                  > The pottery found in the scroll caves seems to
                  > cover the period from c. 31 BCE to 70 CE. I can
                  > not 'prove' that they were deposited throughout
                  > that period. Can you 'prove' that they were all
                  > deposited in time of Herod?> My suppositions:- many of the scrolls represent
                  > geniza deposits which unlikely to have been deposited
                  > when site only seasonally occupied in Hasmonean
                  > period. Most, particularly cave 4 etc, probably deposited> in time of Herod. Copper Scroll most likely deposited
                  > at time of revolt together with some 'active' parchment
                  > scrolls> Best I can do> David Stacey
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