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was Qumran Cave 11 a Zealot library?

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  • Stephen Goranson
    The Qumran Cave 11 manuscripts--remains of a Zealot library? Such is the proposal in Pfann, Stephen J. Reassessing the Judean Desert Caves: Libraries,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 16, 2010
      The Qumran Cave 11 manuscripts--remains of a Zealot library?

      Such is the proposal in Pfann, Stephen J. "Reassessing the Judean Desert Caves: Libraries, Archives, 'Genizas' and Hiding Places." Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 25 (2007) 147-170 Available at

      A CTVC program (not yet scheduled, as far as I know) apparently will advocate this proposal, at least, based on descriptions at CTVC:
      and on Dr. Robert R. Cargill's website:
      http://robertcargill.com/ Feb. 3 and March 15 posts

      Some comments and questions:

      Tov characterized 11Q as most consistently written in Qumran scribal practice. Tov, Emanuel. "The Special Character of the Texts Found in Qumran Cave 11." In Things Revealed: Studies in Early Jewish and Christian Literature in Honor of Michael E. Stone, ed. E. Chazon, et al., 187-196. JSJSS 89. Leiden: Brill, 2004. What would a "Zealot library" look like (e.g. consistently produced?)? Would zealots defending the existing temple be hoping for its destruction to allow for a different temple? Were zealots known for their linens? Did Josephus say zealots took scrolls or something else?

      11Q29 Fragment Related to Serek ha-Yahad. An S-Qumran connection. Tigchelaar, Eibert J. C. "A Newly Identified 11QSerekh ha-Yahad Fragment (11Q29)?" In The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years after Their Discovery. Proceedings of the Jerusalem Congress, July 20-25, 1997, ed. L. Schiffman et al., 285-292. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society in cooperation with the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, 2000.

      11QSefer ha-Milhama.

      11QcrypticA Unidentified text. Did Zealots use crypticA? Who did (cf. 4Q)? How could that be bracketed off?

      Ada Yardeni observed that dozens of texts come from one "Qumran scribe," including texts from Caves 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8-- and Cave 11. Yardeni, Ada. "A Note on a Qumran Scribe." In New Seals and Inscriptions: Hebrew, Idumean, and Cuneiform, ed. Meir Lubetski, 287-298. Hebrew Bible Monographs 8. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2007. Unless she is mistaken, or unless one posits that zealots shared this scribe, how can her observations fit the 11Q as zealot hypothesis? Abraham Schalit in the Namenw├Ârterbuch zu Flavius Josephus p.34, 46, 66 noted that "John the Essene" is likely a misreading for John of Essa.

      Weston Fields DSS; A Full History vol. 1 (Leiden, 2010) gives reasons to be cautious about cave assignments of some purchased mss. If appreciable numbers of mss are incorrectly assigned, cave assemblages may be significantly affected. Caves that have few mss, such as 3Q, make arguments from silence even more iffy, and why ignore a probable 3Q pesher and angel texts? If the 3QCu burials are in the Sokakah Qumran area, then that's something possibly relevant with those in the area, if they were keeping things for a temple, not from a temple.

      Stephen Goranson
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