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BAR errors on Essenes

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  • goranson@duke.edu
    Several errors appear in an article in the March-April issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, available online (bib-arch.org), Spotlight on Scroll Scholars:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21 4:31 AM
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      Several errors appear in an article in the March-April issue of Biblical
      Archaeology Review, available online (bib-arch.org), "Spotlight on Scroll
      Scholars: Dissecting the Qumran-Essene Hypothesis" by Edna Ullmann-Margalit.
      Two of the errors:

      1) According to the BAR article:
      "And what are we to make of the fact that, in describing the Essenes, he
      [Josephus] does not discuss predestination, a central tenet of the Scroll
      community?"
      But Josephus does.
      Here, for example is what Kaufmann Kohler wrote in the Jewish Encyclopedia about
      a century ago (before the Qumran discoveries):
      "The Pharisees held that not all things are divinely predestined, but
      that some are dependent on the will of man; the Sadducees denied any
      interference of God in human affairs; while the Essenes ascribed everything to
      divine predestination ("B. J." ii. 8, § 14; "Ant." xiii. 5, § 9)."

      2) According to the BAR article:
      "For example, regarding the Scroll-Essene connection, what are we to
      make of the fact that the term 'Essenes' occurs not even once in the entire
      corpus of the scrolls?"
      But it does.
      Even if one disagrees with me (and James VanderKam, Philipp Melanchthon, and
      many others writing both before and after the Qumran discoveries) that the
      Hebrew self-designation is present (in the Qumran pesharim, 'osey hatorah),
      anyone making such a claim (with no citation either in the article or in her
      book) should at least reveal what spellings she would accept.

      Stephen Goranson
      http://www.duke.edu/~goranson



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