Qumran and Vicinity: The Caves as a Key to the Enigma

By Claude Cohen-Matlofsky
Institut Universitaire d’Études Juives (IUEJ)
Elie Wiesel, Paris
Co-director “Séminaire Qumrân de Paris” Sorbonne-EPHE
May 2017

This essay is, for the most part, an excerpt from my article currently in press with the full title: “Qumran and Vicinity: an Interpretation of the Scroll Caves, their Contents and Functions”. Although we might never be able to solve the Qumran enigma or understand properly the ‘Qumran phenomenon’ as I like to call it, I would like to give it a try in the following lines.

The Qumran vicinity caves, including the newly discovered one (or rather re-discovered),[1] are indeed the key to the enigma in my judgement. Therefore in my study[2] I establish the grounds on which one can no longer deny the link between these caves and the site of Qumran. Finally I expose my view on the functionality of these “Qumran vicinity” caves by revisiting both the theory of “the school of scribes” and that of “the Jerusalem Temple library”.

Indeed, in contrast to the other Judean desert caves, the Qumran caves were mainly a refuge for sacred manuscripts. I argue that hand-worked archaeological material like lamps for instance, other than the manuscripts, that were found at the entrance, or inside of some of these caves, may be related to the task performed by the people who came to deposit the manuscripts in the rocky hollows, or perhaps left by people who were occasional merchants, taking a rest in these marl crevices.

As for the topography, the manuscripts caves are located 1km North and 1km South of the site of Qumran. This implies the undeniable participation of the site in their hiding/storage. I would add that the site of Qumran has to be understood both as a scroll jars manufacturing facility and a school of scribes during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Therefore, by contrast with the wealth and variety of the materials found in the other Judean desert caves, the paucity of the material other than manuscripts in the Qumran caves is indicative of the particular functionality that these caves must have had. In light of the only published material that we have at our disposal,[3] in my judgement it would be hard to argue against the position that purpose of the Qumran caves were mainly for the hiding and storage of sacred texts.

There is no doubt that the concern for long term conservation was behind the deposit of the manuscripts in the Qumran caves, especially in 1Q and 11Q. The ancient teams behind the hiding (in the case of the “Jerusalem Temple library theory”) or the storage (in the case of the school of scribes at Qumran) of the manuscripts in the Qumran caves, probably discarded all other material from these caves in order to create a “sacred space for sacred manuscripts”.

The Qumran caves were linked to the site of Qumran for industrial activities such as pottery and textiles, along with manuscript preparation (in some instances). The peculiar orthography, morphological features and scribal practices lead me to reconsider the theory of a school of scribes at Qumran.

The most recent cave discovery led Robert Cargill write:

“Gutfeld and Price’s recent discovery of curing jars, leather, textiles and a blank piece of parchment is but the latest piece of evidence supporting the theory that Qumran was, in fact, a place of scribal activity, and perhaps even of scribal implement production”.[4]

Indeed the piece of parchment found in this cave, which is not inscribed and thicker than usual, could have been “a parchment in process”, being prepared by the scribes for copying. The Qumran caves under consideration in my article (1Q to 11Q), except for 11Q (and now 12 Q), contain only “scroll jars”, manuscripts and wrappers in very specific linen used to cover certain manuscripts, as only material.

That these early-numbered caves have to be linked with the site of Qumran is not in doubt, especially after the thorough analysis by Jodi Magness of the cylindrical jars, so unique to Qumran; but also because kilns were found at the site. I am also prepared to link the caves in the vicinity of Qumran, to the site itself, through their textiles since a whorl was found in cave 3Q, and especially through the color blue on the stripes of these textiles. In fact, there was an indigoterie (indigo factory) at Ein Feshkhah, only 3km South of Qumran.

Moreover, ink wells[5] and some kalamoi were found in situ and even though no fragments of manuscripts were found on the site of Qumran, I am still inclined to contend that there was scribal activity at the site of Qumran and that there was a school of scribes hence the imperfections, including scribal marks on some of the manuscripts. This scribal activity gives us yet another way of linking the caves to the site.

One may open the debate here on the issue of the “tanneries” at or near Qumran, linked to the unusual number of cisterns. The tanneries constitute evidence of parchment preparation, with salt from the Dead Sea as facilitating the removal of hair from the animals skins.[6]

In summary thus far, the caves are linked to the site of Qumran through the typical cylindrical jars, the oil lamps, the kilns, the textiles with the color blue, the whorl, the ink wells, also the composition of the ink with bromine from the Dead Sea[7] and the kalamoi.

The Qumran tephilin were also prepared by the school of scribes of Qumran and deposited in the caves just like some of the manuscripts. These were all part of the work of the scribes and were not deposited by the owners. The linen wraps lead me to explore again the Jerusalem Temple library theory. Indeed they could be the ancestors of talithim with tzitzit but they could also be copies of priests’ garments in the Jerusalem Temple as evidenced by the fact that these garments (like the Qumran manuscript wraps) were made of pure linen. Furthermore, the color blue (sometimes purple), is common to both of these Qumran manuscript wraps and the priests’ garments.

The deposit of the manuscripts in the Qumran caves renders the latter “sacred spaces” because of the nature of the manuscripts. Therefore these caves were certainly neither visitable, nor habitable ; indeed this was a well known fact among the Jews in Antiquity. This also explains the paucity of other artefacts found in these Qumran caves.

As a conclusion, in my judgement, the manuscripts found in the Qumran vicinity caves belong to a phenomenon of storage/preservation or (hiding/storage), which occurred over several centuries. The function of the Qumran vicinity caves is therefore also to be understood and evaluated over a number of centuries. Indeed from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE. The reasons behind the storage/preservation of these manuscripts are historical: abuses of foreign rulers towards the Jerusalem Temple, and sociological: a school of scribes at or near Qumran.

I contend that these manuscripts came, at least in part, from the Temple Library. However, in contrast to Norman Golb, who holds the view that they were hidden in a hurry before the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE, I am convinced that this could not have been done speedily. It most probably started with Antiochus Epiphanes and continued through to Titus, hence the dating of the documents from the period of the Seleucids to the period of the Romans. Moreover, the manuscripts found in the Qumran vicinity caves were the work, sometimes unfinished or in draft forms, of the school of scribes at or near Qumran. The scribes would have directly stored their works in the Qumran vicinity caves over several centuries from the Seleucids through to the Roman domination. These scribes would have stored their works gradually.

The reason why Flavius Josephus does not mention the Qumran hiding caves is, in my view, because this “phenomenon” was being kept secret in Antiquity during his time. It is likely that the people behind the hiding/storage were probably some Temple priests.

Furthermore, I propose that warehouses of manuscripts in the Qumran vicinity caves had in Antiquity, become traditional knowledge among select Jews, especially after the destruction of the Second Temple. Hence, the Bar Kokhba rebels, did not use these caves either for habitation or for refuge. They were apparently well versed in the observance of Halakhah and the Qumran manuscripts were indeed perceived as sacred, even partly coming from a sacred place. This may be confirmed by the fact that, as opposed to the other Judean desert caves, which sometimes contained books of the Tanakh from private collections, the Qumran vicinity caves were not inhabited.

Thus, these Qumran vicinity cave manuscripts originated from the Temple library and some Bethey midrashim libraries and were in part stored and partly written by the Qumran school of scribes.


**No part of this article may be reproduced in any format, electronic, print, or otherwise, without the expressed written permission of the author. Express written permission has been granted to the on-line journal, Bible and Interpretation. The article will be reproduced in its entirety, with permission, in an upcoming Journal.

[1] The recent discovery of a twelfth cave (controversially numbered this way although no inscribed manuscripts were found in it, but there are reasons to believe that such manuscripts were removed, displaced and/or looted in the past) in the vicinity of Qumran ought to be mentioned here. In fact this cave had been excavated for two days 20 years ago in the mission "operation scrolls". It was then given the number 53 and the archaeological report was published in Atiqot. Although I am not going into detail because the material has yet to be thoroughly analysed, I can cite : "The finds from the excavation include not only the storage jars, which held the scrolls, but also fragments of scroll wrappings, a string that tied the scrolls, and a piece of worked leather that was a part of a scroll. The finding of pottery and of numerous flint blades, arrowheads, and a decorated stamp seal made of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, also revealed that this cave was used in the Chalcolithic and the Neolithic periods." For further information about the discovery please see: Archaeologists find 12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave
See also Robert Cargill’s article here: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/dead-sea-sc…

[2] See C. Cohen-Matlofsky, “Qumran and Vicinity: an Interpretation of the Scroll Caves, their Contents and Functions”, forthcoming.

[3] It is a well known fact that the École Biblique et Archéologique Française (EBAF) of Jérusalem has still many boxes of unpublished artefacts. However good methodology at this point consists in using the material that has been published.

[4] See R. Cargill, http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/dead-sea-sc…

[5] Found in locus 30 and 31, with the one of locus 30 being made out of clay from Jerusalem.

[6] See J. B. Poole and R. Reed, “The ‘Tannery’ of ‘Ain Feshkha”, PEQ 93 (1961) 114-123.

[7] See D. Stökl Ben Ezra, “Le mystère des rouleaux de Qumrân, perspectives historiques et archéologiques”, Les Cahiers du judaïsme 29 (2010) 104-119 ; see also I. Rabin, O. Hahn, T. Wolff, A. Masic, and G. Weinberg, “On the Origin of the Ink of the Thanksgiving Scroll (1QHodayot)”, DSD 16/1 (2009) 97-106.

Comments (44)

That the Qumran mss were not all deposited in a short time is now agreed by several scholars, pace de Vaux and Golb.
The article cited in note 6 on the "Tannery" (note the quotation marks within the title) actually concluded (p. 122): "Thus whatever the true function of the installation, it seems fairly certain that animal skins were _not_ processed there."
What is the basis for the claim that "some _kalamoi_ were found _in situ_"?
Would Temple priests deposit scrolls critical of the Temple administration?

#1 - Stephen Goranson - 05/16/2017 - 08:51

Thank you for your comment. As for the "tannery" at Ain Feshkha if you read until the end of p. 122 of the article I am quoting, you will see that in fact there is a discussion, and in my paper (i.e the longer version in press) I am precisely reopening the discussion including the Qumrân site as a possibility for tannery activity because of the outstanding number of cisterns. I hope this clarifies. As for the kalamoi I shall refer you to the unpublished rapports de fouilles of Roland de Vaux that you can access at the library of the (ÉBAF) École biblique et archéologique de Jérusalem or in the Appendix of M. Fidanzio (ed.), The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014, (STDJ 118; Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016). Furthermore we have yet to reopen some boxes of Qumran material stored at the Rockfeller Museum and which was never properly analyzed.
As far as I am concerned, I combine both scenarii of a deposit of the Temple library, of collections from Bethei midrashim, and of the Qumran vicinity school of scribes. Therefore the challenge remaining is to determine which of the mss come from the Temple, which from the Bethei midrashim and which were stored by the Qumran vicinity school of scribes. This being said, nothing was "heretic" (let alone canonized or codified) at the time so I have no problem considering "subversive" literature stored in the Temple library. Even though I realize that this is a whole discussion.....
Moreover, Ada Yardeni has already proven that more than 70 documents from Qumran and Masada are to be attributed to the same scribe. There is more to come hopefully from scholars of this area of expertise.....
Claude Cohen-Matlofsky

#2 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/18/2017 - 14:23

Thanks. We agree that there were scribes at Qumran (there was writing on pottery and stone there). We do not agree--unless I missed something--that pens were found in situ. (Survival of reed pens is generally difficult, outside of Egypt.) I rechecked The Caves of Qumran book, as you directed. No pen in situ there, that I saw. (Nor in D. Mizzi's dissertation section on De Vaux finds.) There is the wooden point from a cave, pp. 273, 308, illustrated in DJD III pl. VII, and now reportedly lost, but that does not appear to be a pen. The Schoyen palm item, reported by Kando, not an archaeologist, to be from a 11Q jar, despite ink traces, is probably not a pen, according to Ira Rabin in Gleanings from the Caves, though it may be a scribal tool of some other sort. Similarly, the item in the
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary does not appear to be a pen, and in any case it is unprovenanced.

#3 - Stephen Goranson - 05/19/2017 - 08:42

I am glad that we agree about the scribal activity at Qumran even though the evidence you are putting forward is not the most convincing I can think of ("writing on pottery and stone", especially if you might be referring to the "Hazon Gabriel" inscription ? which remains to this day unprovenanced, as far as I know) As for the kalamoi (pens) please check again in the Qumran Caves volume (I referred you to in response to your first comment), page 308: "pointe de bois", for instance. I acknowledge that we still have to double check the other examples of pens including their provenance.
Claude Cohen-Matlofsky

#4 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/20/2017 - 15:24

A few comments:-
Whilst I agree that "one can no longer deny the link between these caves and the site of Qumran", it is important not to deny the link between Qumran and Tulul Abu Al-Alayik, the site in Jericho of the Winter palaces pf the Hasmonean High Priests and of Herod. This is fully expounded in my book "Qumran Revisited: A Reassesment of the Archaeology of the site and its Texts" (Stacey and Doudna 2013) BAR Int 2520.

Much of the industrial activity at Qumran was associated with the slaughter of transhumant animals briefly present in the winter month(s) - leather production, preserving meat, making glue, scouring wool, dyeing etc. Some of these processes would have greatly benefited from the availability at Qumran of soft, rain derived, water as against the heavily calcareous spring waters Jericho.

Poole and Read were not able to test any of the pools in Qumran itself for their use as tanneries (see Qumran Revisited p. 54). The saltiness of the water at Ein Feshka makes it unlikely that the pool there was used for indigo production, As Netzer points out it was more likely a date wine press (Netzer IEJ 55, 2005).

As Pfann has pointed out the so-called scroll jars were too large for the convenient storage of most of the scrolls and it is likely that their primary purpose was for one of the specialised industrial processes of Qumran - possibly associated with the production of second grade balsam?

Why would anyone sitting at Qumran walk all the way down to the Dead Sea to get a tea-cupful of salty water with which to mix his ink when he had pools full of fresh water freely to hand - at least in the winter? Could not the bromine have been absorbed into the ink during the 2000 years the scrolls lay in extremely salty conditions?

#5 - David Stacey - 05/21/2017 - 10:08

I was not referring to "Hazon Gabriel"--possibly a fake. De Vaux excavated texts on pottery and stone at Qumran. For example, De Vaux excavated in Qumran a text inked on limestone. Though it is smaller and fragmentary, it may be worth noting and comparing with cave mss scripts. KhQ 2207 was uncovered in locus 129 on 26 Feb, 1955. Pages 360-362 in Lemaire, A. 2003 Inscriptions du Khirbeh, des grottes et de ʻAïn Feshkha. Pp. 341-88 in
Khirbet Qumrân et de Khirbet Qumrân et ʻAïn Feshkha. II. etudes d’anthropologie, de physique et de chimie, eds. J.-B. Humbert and J. Gunneweg. Fribourg: Academic Press.
The point of wood (not a pen), which I already noted, from a cave does not make your following claim any more reliable: "Moreover, ink wells[5] and some kalamoi were found in situ and even though no fragments of manuscripts were found on the site of Qumran,...." If you have information about a named archaeologist on a specific date finding a pen (let alone, pens, plural)in a Qumran locus please share it. Otherwise you may want to consider revising that statement in your forthcoming publication.

#6 - Stephen Goranson - 05/21/2017 - 11:27

The shorter URL for Robert Cargill’s article "Did Archaeologists Really Discover a New Dead Sea Scroll Cave?" is http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/dead-sea-scrolls/new-dead-sea-scroll-cave/

#7 - Joseph I. Lauer - 05/21/2017 - 18:34

Thank you all for your comments and revised reference link for Robert Cargill's article!
Indeed the link between the caves and the site of Qumran would be better understood with general contextualisation. David, I agree with you. Indeed we should continue to put Qumran in context. In fact Jean-Baptiste Humbert considers an even wider perimeter for the contextualisation, i.e the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. He compares Qumran to Callirhoe: please see his article in M. Fidanzio (ed.), The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014, (STDJ 118; Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016) 34-63.
As for the composition of the ink. Let's clarify. I still believe that the ink that was used on some of the Qumran manuscripts (as I argue), the ones stored in the caves by the Qumran school of scribes (not the ones emerging from the Temple library and the bethei midrashim's collections), was made of water with bromine from the Dead Sea. In fact following your reasoning David, if the cisterns of Qumran were used for tannery (as I too believe they were) and/or for indigo dying, then why would the scribes use this dirty water for their manuscripts whilst they had plenty of clean water available near by from the Dead Sea?
Claude Cohen-Matlofsky

#8 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/22/2017 - 07:32

Callirhoe was a medicinal spa - as we know from Herod's visit there when he was dying. Hard put to imagine medical facilities at Qumran. Jericho however was the winter 'capital' for both the Hasmoneans and of Herod and generated a demand for various products that were water-hungry, malodorous, polluting, and often accompanied by smoke or smuts, which were carried out utilising the soft water of Qumran. In "QUmran Revisited" I suggested that 'some of the industrial activities, particularly the curing of skins'.... were carried out in readily made, and ultimately disposable containers made of local reeds and/or palm fronds...' p. 59-60. So the cisterns were for clean water not directly for industrial processes
On p. 63 I wrote that "As the industrial processes of Qumran were malodorous, it is unlikely that any scrolls were composed or copied in the polluted atmosphere where the slaughter of animals and the use of dung and urine in processing their by-products would have rendered all present ritually impure... etc.
It was because de Vaux assumed that scrolls were written at Qumran that Poole and Read were not able to test for residues of tanneries there. (see their article in "Technology and Culture: An Anthology" by Kranzberg and Davenport 1972)

#9 - David Stacey - 05/22/2017 - 17:00

Based on this account of the Gutman and Price cave (link below), I wonder if there is some misunderstanding. The "leather" is identified as leather strips of the type that bound the scrolls. There is no reason yet to assume that leather is different from the leather strips found in Caves 4Q and 8Q of the kind that wrapped or bound scrolls, likely in Caves 4Q and 8Q the remains of ancient tearing off and abandoning by people discovering and opening scrolls in the caves. The uninscribed parchment is said to have been a small piece found rolled up in a jar, which corresponds closely to the other caves with scrolls originally in jars. The parchment is only described as uninscribed to the eye prior to its being given further analysis. I would think it is too soon to know for sure that there is no writing on that parchment. If there really never was writing on it, some scrolls had sections of uninscribed parchment, usually at the end, which could be the case here, a piece left behind when scrolls were removed. In short, there is nothing that I can see that distinguishes this new cave from any of the existing scroll-bearing caves in what is reported found, or which provides independent support for the hypotheses that there was scroll production or leather manufacturing activity at the site of Qumran or in the caves. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/09/archaeologists-discover-new-cave-believed-have-held-dead-sea/,

#10 - Greg Doudna - 05/23/2017 - 05:45

You do not seem very familiar with 'Qumran Revisited' - my contribution can be found on my Academia.edu page.

#11 - David Stacey - 05/23/2017 - 07:47

To Greg, thank you for your comment and especially for all the clarifications that are totally relevant here. Now I have not seen the piece of parchment from 12Q cave, have you? However, one way of analyzing it as I mention in my article above, is that because of its "unusual thickness" it could have been a parchment in process for intended scribal activity. So unless we have recorded for Qumran other examples of thick parchment, in my judgement it is the best way of understanding it. I do agree though that we have to wait for further analysis regarding possible inscription on it. Anyway here is the comment I had made in the BAR after reading Robert Cargill's article on the 12Q cave: "Indeed this cave had been excavated for two days 20 years ago in the mission “operation scrolls”. It was then given the number 53 and the archaeological report was published in Atiqot.
As a matter of fact and on principle all the scrolls were at one point or another removed (and/or looted) from the caves. Whether in Antiquity or soon after their discovery dates, and this ever since 1947. Therefore in my judgement the material (especially textile and piece of parchment) found in this 12Q cave (or 53 as de Vaux had numbered it when it was first discovered) is sufficient enough to allow scholars to call it a “scroll cave”."
So I do agree with you Greg on the fact that this cave should be understood in the same way as the other caves. The leather strips are indeed indicating that the scrolls were removed/looted from the jars/cave at one point in history.
Claude Cohen-Matlofsky

#12 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/23/2017 - 19:42

Two corrections on comment #10, since I see no way to edit. First my apologies for misspelling a scholar's name: the new cave is reported discovered by Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia with the help of Dr. Robert Price. Second, the link I gave in #10 is now dead; here is another link: https://phys.org/news/2017-02-archaeologists-12th-dead-sea-scrolls.html . Finally just for clarification, I believe Stacey's #11 is responding to Cohen-Matlofsky #8, not my #10.

#13 - Greg Doudna - 05/24/2017 - 05:25

Yes Greg I knew that comment #11 was intended for me since you coauthored the book with David. I am going to "familiarize" myself with this book, thanks!

#14 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/24/2017 - 19:23

In response to Stephen's comment# 6 now. I am aware of Lemaire's catalogue of inscriptions and graffiti published in the book you are referring to. In fact I am using it as part of my argument for the school of scribes theory in my forthcoming article. Similarities in both the epigraphy and the color of the ink (black or red) used on some of the inscriptions and on some of the caves manuscripts help us develop the theory of the Qumran school of scribes. I believe that we might consider the "pointe de bois" as a "pen". However I am willing to double check with Émile Puech the issue of kalamoi from Qumran.

#15 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/24/2017 - 19:24

response too Claude #12. On p 55 of Q Revisited I wrote
"in three caves about two kilometres north of 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’. More such skins were found in a nearby cave, X42, and also in X35, in which previous excavators (Patrich and Arubas 1989) had found a balsam oil juglet. (Itah, Kam and Ben-Haim 2002: 169-73). In the IAA’s exhaustive investigation of caves from north of Jericho to south of Ein Feshka, such leather, undergoing processing, was only found in these three caves near Qumran."
[this info is gleaned from 'Atiqot 41, 169-73]

#16 - David Stacey - 05/26/2017 - 10:32

Thanks David. I am actually reading your book and will take the data into consideration in my forthcoming article. I believe that we fundamentally agree on the fact that Qumran should be perceived as a seasonal industrial site rather than an "Essene community center". Please see my article here: https://www.academia.edu/14546701/R%C3%89FLEXIONS_SUR_QUMR%C3%82N_LES_MANUSCRITS_LE_SITE_ET_LES_ORIGINES_DE_LA_MYSTIQUE_DANS_LANTIQUITE and here: https://www.academia.edu/14546700/REFLEXIONS_ON_QUMRAN_THE_MANUSCRIPTS_THE_SITE_AND_THE_ORIGINS_OF_MYSTICISM_IN_ANTIQUITY

#17 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/26/2017 - 19:33

Some reviews of Qumran Revisited:

Goranson, Stephen, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 371 (2014) 252-4.

Magness, Jodi, Revue de Qumran 26.4 issue 104 (2014) 638-45.

Mizzi, Dennis, Dead Sea Discoveries 22.2 (2015) 215-20.

#18 - Stephen Goranson - 05/27/2017 - 12:16

Thanks Stephen, greatly appreciated.

#19 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/28/2017 - 07:12

A sympathetic review;-

#20 - David Stacey - 05/28/2017 - 09:38

A few rebuffs of Magness' review appear on this site in 'Although de Vaux was a Devine etc.

#21 - David Stacey - 05/28/2017 - 09:46

Also Claude Cohen-Matlofsky, check out this series on Vridar on the fragility of the prevailing assumption that any of the scrolls were deposited in the caves of Qumran as late as the time of the First Revolt. In short, no secure positive evidence that that was the case, and two distinct compelling arguments against. Its a rather important assumption you might want to check to be sure you're right on. Vridar popularized an article of mine published in the 2017 Lugano Qumran caves conference volume just out edited by Marcello Fidanzio. http://vridar.org/2017/02/12/dead-sea-scrolls-all-long-before-christ-and-the-first-jewish-war/

#22 - Greg Doudna - 05/28/2017 - 17:11

Greg, I attended the Lugano conference and I read your article in the proceedings volume. In fact I wrote a review of this volume to appear in the next issue of The Qumran Chronicle. I must say I do not agree with your all of your arguments. I will quote here in French from a lecture that I gave in January 2015 at the "Séminaire Qumrân de Paris": " Selon Greg Doudna Le fait qu’il n’y ait plus d’allusions historiques dans les textes de Qumrân après la fin du 1er siècle avant notre ère (cf. Michael Wise) est un bon argument en faveur du fait que les manuscrits auraient été déposés bien avant la révolte de 66 contre les Romains.

Je ne suis pas d’accord car le contenu des manuscrits n’est pas à lier avec le moment de leur dépôt dans ce cas-là. En effet, il s’agit de textes essentiellement spirituels. En revanche, ce que nous pouvons avancer c’est que s’il y avait eu une allusion historique postérieure à la révolte de 66 dans les manuscrits alors bien sûr il nous eût été impossible de dater leur dépôt dans les grottes avant cette révolte.

En fait l’élément déterminant c’est que vraisemblablement les manuscrits d’où qu’ils aient été transportés, ont été mis en jarres sur place dans les grottes des environs de Qumrân. Aussi pour ma part je dirais: puisque 1-les jarres à manuscrits sont de la période hérodienne, 2-elles on été fabriquées à Qumrân-même puisque typique de ce site, et 3-que vraisemblablement donc les manuscrits ont été transportés en partie de Jérusalem et mis en jarres sur place à Qumrân pour certains et pour d’autres réalisés par l’école de scribes de Qumrân, alors oui le dépôt n’a pas pu précéder en tous cas la période hérodienne, car il est peu probable que l’on aie déposé des manuscrits de ce type (spirituel pour la grande majorité) à même le sol étant donné la tradition bien documentée de préservation de manuscrits dans des jarres dans l’Antiquité (en Egypte et en Palestine). Ce dépôt se serait-il fait, pour ce qui est des manuscrits provenant de la bibliothèque du Temple, à l’occasion des grands travaux de rénovation du Temple entrepris par Hérode Le Grand et dont nous parle longuement Flavius Josèphe (cf. Ant. XV, 380-425)?.....
Cela dit on peut aussi envisager le depôt depuis les premières exactions des souverains étrangers contre le Temple de Jérusalem donc Antiochus IV Epiphane (2ème siècle avant notre ère) et une mise en jarre ultérieure à l’époque hérodienne sur place à Qumrân."

#23 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 05/29/2017 - 05:56

Here's one assertion made by Greg Doudna (in the comments at the link given in #22 on 2017-03-06) that I agree with: that the Teacher of Righteousness may be someone already known in history. But he does not name the individual, Judah, who, I think, fits the bill, as presented in my "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene":

#24 - Stephen Goranson - 05/29/2017 - 12:56

To Claude Cohen-Matlofsky #23: Thank you for the excerpt of your interaction with my article in the Lugano volume. However with respect may I comment on your three points as I understand them:

(1) You say that the absence of any known 1st CE text composition in the ca. 900+ Qumran literary texts found in the caves does not prove no 1st CE text composition or deposit activity. Please see Wise 2003's article in JBL on that--Wise shows that the argument for no 1st CE compositions from the dateable-allusion distribution in the texts is stronger than argument from silence--please read Wise 2003--it is rather like the Sherlock Holmes dog that did not bark.

The distribution--agreed by practically 100% of scholars on the level of data and description (i.e., of zero 1st CE compositions there)--then raises the question of if there were First Revolt text deposits in any significant numbers, why is not a single one thought by scholars to have been composed in the century of the First Revolt? Does that not strike you as a little odd? Also there is the separate and independent argument for all-earlier in my Lugano volume article, of the exact-MT biblical text distributions at the Dead Sea sites. To my knowledge this second argument remains as yet unaddressed in any publication or in your analysis.

(2) You object that Herodian-era scroll jars refute pre-Herod scroll deposits. I absolutely agree, and that is what I say in the Lugano article. I believe the scrolls were most likely deposited in the time of Herod, in agreement with the archaeological analysis you cite. An argument that the scroll jars were being manufactured at Qumran in the time of Herod is not an objection to my proposal that the scroll deposits took place in the time of Herod.

(3) You argue that a good context for the scroll deposits is the temple renovations of Herod, again seemingly as an argument against pre-Herod deposits which I am not advocating. As I say in the Lugano article, I also think the temple building of Herod--in the time of Herod--makes an excellent possible or hypothetical context for understanding the Qumran text deposit activity. So it is not clear to me that there is any substantive disagreement with me from your third point.

So I think two of your three points involve inaccurate understanding of my paper in the Lugano volume. Is it possible you are reacting to what I (regrettably) put forth in previous publications, at a time when like many others I was under the influence of mistaken datings of the end of Ib of de Vaux and others? I am not infallible and I acknowledged that earlier error and its correction at the start of the Lugano article. My focus is on the time of Herod the Great, ca. final quarter of the 1st century BCE. That is admittedly still conjectural, but it is my argument for reasons argued.

And in the end the question returns: what are the actual grounds for Dead Sea Scroll scholars to claim to know that there were First Revolt deposits in the first place? Even if you hold my argument in the Lugano volume to be unconvincing, what is the evidence for First Revolt/1st CE that clearly excludes the argument for all-earlier? Anyone can cite argument from possibility. Anyone can cite argument from possible scenario. I am asking a different question, a question of what can actually be known on the basis of evidence. Do you know that there was post-Herod scroll deposit activity in the Qumran caves? Anyway thanks and best wishes on your forthcoming publications! :-)

#25 - Greg Doudna - 05/29/2017 - 18:17

Another sympathetic review:-

#26 - David Stacey - 05/29/2017 - 19:07

To Greg #25
In my judgement here are the different points that need to be stressed:

1- we have to consider the Qumran caves manuscripts as archaeological artifacts and free ourselves from both the "Essenes-hypothesis" and the "counter Essenes-hypothesis", so we could examine the data without any particular "agenda".

2- for the dating of the Qumran manuscripts the terminus ante quem is their deposit(s) in the caves since there is no date included in a "colophon" on any of them, as Emile Puech rightly noted (The Caves of Qumran page 96).

3- the dating of the majority of the Qumran manuscripts through paleography (even though it is not precise) has been proved to be roughly 2nd century BCE (150-31: "la phase hasmonéenne" defined by Puech) to 1st century CE (30-70: "la phase hérodienne" defined by Puech) and you are right to insist that it does not necessarily mean precisely 66 to 70 CE. Whereas the Carbon 14 dating stops short at 1st century BCE. However both of these scientific analysis do not prove the date that the work was composed, let alone the time it was deposited in the caves, but rather the date it was copied by a scribe.

4- although these manuscripts are not historical works but rather copies of "spiritual literature"some do mention historical figures and/or events which gives us a terminus a quo for their composition (see again Puech in The Caves of Qumran p. 96). The earliest being the mention of the siege of the Temple under Antiochus IV (168 BCE; please see 4Q248), the latest the first quarter of the first century BCE. However again this does not preclude the fact that the manuscripts might have been deposited at a later date in the caves.

5- the "biblical scrolls" and the "apocrypha" are all scrolls or local copies of more ancient scrolls originating most probably from the Temple Library, including the book of Ben Sira which is dated to the first quarter of the second century BCE.

6- you argue that the textiles, the jars, the lamps and the leather strips are also dated to the herodian period. I am saying that nothing precludes that all of these artifacts were still in circulation after the herodian period and that at least some of the manuscripts (perhaps the works of the Qumran scribes) were attached, wrapped and put in jars in situ at Qumran in a later period in Antiquity, following their deposit(s).

7- the dating of the deposit(s) of manuscripts in the Qumran caves depends on the dating of the manuscripts themselves which remains for me uniquely based on scientific grounds such as paleography and Carbon 14. Here too manuscripts dated to up to the herodian period could very well have been deposited in the caves after the herodian period.

8- the jars, containing some of the manuscripts, being typical of Qumran and of herodian type may tend to help us differentiate between manuscripts originating from Jerusalem (Temple and bethei midrashim) and the ones deposited by the scribes of Qumran. Indeed my argument that the people (most probably priests) behind the deposit of the manuscripts coming from Jerusalem would not have left them on the ground in the Qumran caves but rather put them in jars immediately, tends to prove that this deposit at least was made with a terminus ad quem in the herodian time. However this is speculation at this point. Either we can prove that all the manuscripts from the Temple of Jerusalem and the bethei midrashim were all put in jars in situ at Qumran or our argument of a terminus ad quem for a herodian deposit does not stand.

9- my main argument that some manuscripts were originating from the Jerusalem Temple and some from bethei midrashim's collections while some were "works in process" of a Qumran school of scribes follows the chronological window of 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE, when the Qumran school of scribes most probably disappeared.

10-that is why I believe it is safer to say that the deposit(s) from the Jerusalem Temple and the bethei midrashim were done over a few centuries starting from Antiochus IV all through to Titus. Some of them were put in jars in situ later. This of course does not preclude my argument about the works in the Jerusalem Temple in the time of Herod as being an incentive behind the deposit(s) in the time of Herod.

Finally the fact that there is no clear and reliable chronological indication in the manuscripts themselves after the first century BCE does not impact on the chronology of the deposits of the manuscripts as I was stating in my lecture in French because one is not to be linked to the other in the way you want to do it.

I thank you for this discussion and I hope that it helped both of us evolve in our thinking as the Qumran enigma might never get solved.....

#27 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/01/2017 - 14:20

If research on Qumran begins by bracketing off and ignoring ancient accounts of the beliefs, practices, chronology, and geography of Essenes, then it may be unreliable. Retrojecting later rabbinic views of Pharisees and Sadducees may be unreliable. (Perhaps note the reluctance of some outsiders to allow the term Essenes, e.g. in Sota 22b disapproving separatists who boast "what is my duty that I may do it?") Reading those Qumran mss that include the self-designation 'osey ha-torah may be helpful.

#28 - Stephen Goranson - 06/02/2017 - 11:49

Claude Cohen-Matlofsky #27--thank you for your further elaboration (certainly correct on points 1,2,4, and first sentence of 7). It seems you assume 1st CE scroll activity based on reliance on palaeographic dates and the assumption of a Qumran scribal school operating at Qumran in the 1st century CE.

Both of these points considered in isolation are at best possible, but neither of those are really stronger than, at best, unproven hypotheses. However you can hardly be faulted for assuming as fact what Qumran scholars have been repeating for decades.

On the scribal school of Tov's scribal characteristics' clustering analysis ... it is now acknowledged that there are no technical means (i.e. via INAA) by which to distinguish origin at Jericho from origin at Qumran, for pottery pieces. It should also be acknowledged the same is the case for distinguishing texts originating from a scribal school in Jericho as distinguished from at Qumran, on the basis of any textual analysis.

You are already aware of Stacey’s arguments that industrial activity at Qumran is inconsistent with scribal school activity, notwithstanding the inkwells and practice alphabets which are interesting but short of decisive. Even if Stacey's objections to on-site professional scribal school at Qumran were overcome for the late 1st century BCE at the height of Qumran's activity, it cannot simply be assumed that there was uniform continuity of same function and activity at Qumran throughout the decades of the 1st century CE until the First Revolt.

That indeed has been the traditional construction but it is far from proven and is questionable for a number of reasons including: (a) the unexplained end of new-text compositions late 1st BCE; (b) the unexplained end of production of the distinctive "Qumran lamps" late 1st BCE; (c) the unexplained end of semicursive texts late 1st BCE; (d) the hoard of expensive silver wealth buried in Locus 120 ca. 9-4 BCE never later retrieved; (e) the use of Greek in daily life, and the presence of women, at Qumran appear to be exclusively attested 1st CE, with neither clearly attested at Qumran prior to 1st CE; (e) the changes and upheavals in political control of the region.

On palaeography, the issue is not whether the pioneers in the 1950s such as Avigad and Cross were correct approximately or close to correct (certainly they were). The issue is whether they correctly sharpshooted bullseyes to the correct decades in dating the latest cursive/semicursive and formal scribal hands among the Qumran texts into the 1st CE. They fine-tuned their bullseyes on the basis of archaeological reasons which are today acknowledged to be obsolete. Yet those early bullseye datings continue to be routinely cited as proving their own correctness as to 1st CE text activity, i.e. scholarly expert assessments in question are proven correct by means of citing themselves.

The semicursive scribal hands have contemporary data external to the Qumran texts which led Cross in 1961 to correct his earlier assumption that the Qumran semicursives ended in 1st CE/First Revolt-- the old mistaken assumption is still found in the datings given Qumran texts written in semicursive by the editors of DJD 3. Today (post-Cross 1961) no one thinks Qumran text semicursives are later than 1st BCE. But the formals (most of the Qumran texts) remain still believed to run into the 1st CE in the Qumran texts, because Cross did not state those were to be corrected too.

Cross himself late in life--amazingly, this seems largely unknown to the present day to most Qumran scholars, even though it is published (e.g. Puech's article on palaeography in the latest 2017 Lugano conference volume is unaware of this)-- redated one of his own primary exemplars used in all of his script charts to DEFINE post-70 datings ... to pre-70 CE (MurXII/Mur88). (Cross, in Charlesworth, ed., The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls Vol I, 2006).

But again, who can fault you for assuming that 1st CE palaeographic dates in print for so long for texts at Qumran are evidence that those texts were 1st CE.

You say an end to text compositions or copies late 1st BCE does not prove deposit activity in the caves could not be later, such as post-70 CE or 2nd or 3rd or 4th century CE, which technically is correct reasoning. But it raises the question of why there would be no texts more recent to the time of the deposits, if one holds to such an hypothesis. And when the distributions of the exact-MT biblical texts' scribal copies at the Dead Sea sites are also considered, the question is reinforced ten-fold or more.

I am surprised that more Qumran scholars have not been considering these issues pointing to an earlier scrolls deposit context at Qumran, matters that are, so to speak, staring us in the face. But thank you for your gracious setting forth of your reasons and analysis!

#29 - Greg Doudna - 06/02/2017 - 17:17

To Stephen#28
Stephen, even though it is exceeding the purpose of my article above I am willing to answer your question by asking you the following:
Who were the Essenes and who are they in the ancient authors texts?
Why is Pliny the only first century author to locate them in the area of the Dead Sea?
Why Flavius Josephus does not mention that they would have written at least some of the DSS?
Why does not Flavius Josephus mention the DSS?
Why any of the "communities" reflected in the DSS does not call itself "Essenes"?
The same questions apply to the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Therefore as you said yourself it is all a question of "taxonomy".
We agree that the issue of the "communities/associations/school of thoughts" in Second Temple Judaism should be addressed again. Although we should bear in mind that the Pharisees and Sadducees of Flavius Josephus are not the ones of the rabbinic literature and not the ones of the DSS.
I do have a study in preparation on the topic.
We are left with a puzzle again.....

#30 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/03/2017 - 00:39

More to #28.
On Flavius Josephus and the issues we are raising here I had a long discussion with Steve Mason that I am partially quoting in the forthcoming longer version of my article on the Qumran caves. Furthermore, the Essenes are not mentioned either in the NT unless they are Joan Taylor's Herodians (See her book The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead sea, 2012).

#31 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/03/2017 - 06:41

To Claude 30.
According to Joan Taylor (The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea Scrolls [2012], p. 96) "Dio Chrysostom, a contemporary of Josephus and Pliny, is an independent source on Essenes." Dio, a first century CE writer, independently of Pliny, located Essenes by the Dead Sea.
Josephus didn't know or write about everything; for example, he didn't use the phrase "Teacher of Righteousness," though we know that it existed in Second Temple period mss.

Since the sixteenth century, some scholars--both Jewish and Christian--proposed that "Essenes" goes back through various Greek spellings (including Ossaioi) to the Hebrew root 'asah, as in 'osey ha-torah. (Sadducees and Pharisees, of course, would not call them that.) In 1938 H.M.J. Loewe in Encyclopedia Britannica (14th ed.) "Essenes" 718 included `asah as a possible etymology, soon before the Qumran discoveries.

#32 - Stephen Goranson - 06/03/2017 - 12:51

Thanks Stephen, I was aware of Taylor's mention of Dio Chrysostom's locating of the Essenes around the Dead Sea. However he most probably plagiarized Pliny (23-79) who lived much before him (40-120). This being said don't you think that Flavius Josephus could have given this information instead since of all the ancient authors in question, 1- he was the only Judean living in Judea and 2-his notice on the Essenes is proportionately much longer than the one on the Pharisees and the Sadducees? I find it strange that FJ ignores totally the "Qumran phenomena". Although I do have my theory on this.
You argue that FJ "could not have known and written about everything" and Steve Mason said to me in our private discussion: "FJ could not have written about everything". However I argue that 900 scrolls hidden without him knowing about the "phenomena" is rather strange. Therefore I say "FJ did not know about the "Qumran phenomena". Anyway I had many more arguments in my discussion with Steve Mason and I m sorry but you will have to wait patiently until my forthcoming publication to read them.
As for the etymology of the Essenes name you are right to look again into this area as a path for further research. Shlomo Zeitlin saw their name deriving from the aramaic form "hassin". It is difficult to compare the many greek versions of their names with possibly sémitic versions since they are not mentioned neither in the rabbinic literature nor in the NT (which was first written in hebrew). Here again I do have my theory about the origin of the "so called" Essenes community but as I mentioned in an earlier comment I do have a study in preparation on the topic.

#33 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/03/2017 - 14:56

To Greg#29
Thanks. I will look closer into the paleographic data. As for the school of scribes, if you read well my article above, I am saying a school of scribes "at or near Qumran". Therefore I do not preclude that some of these manuscripts were copied at the Jericho school of scribes. In fact here is what I wrote on page 81 of my article with the link below: "De surcroît, les recherches sur les pratiques funéraires par exemple, ont révélé qu’il y avait une école de scribes à Jéricho. A ce propos, je réfère le lecteur aux travaux de l’archéologue israélienne Rachel Hachlili, et notamment à son ouvrage publié en 2005 (R. Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, Practices and Rites in the Second Temple Period). Ces scribes mettaient également leurs rouleaux de manuscrits dans des jarres. On en a retrouvés certains exemples".

#34 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/03/2017 - 15:15

Sorry I meant "phenomenon". However I am sure that this is far from being the only mistake I made. Pardon my English as I am trying to reply as fast as I can. Thank you all again for the discussion.

#35 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/03/2017 - 20:59

Stephen re #24, is it possible that Judah the Essene could be a variant story of Judah Aristobulus I? Both are active in the temple at exactly the same time and both are directly involved in possibly culpable ways in the murder of Judah Aristobulus's brother Antigonus. Judah the Essene's prophesying in the temple is plausibly the behavior of Judah Aristobulus given that Judah Aristobulus's father John Hyrcanus I was known for being a prophet as well as high priest (according to Josephus). These factors cause me to suspect Judah the Essene was Judah Aristobulus I.

#36 - Greg Doudna - 06/04/2017 - 00:58

On # 36. As I see it, Judah Aristobulus I and Judah the Essene were two different individuals. The name Judah was at the time the third most common male Jewish name, according to Tal Ilan (Lexicon...Pt. 1, p. 56). The former died before Jannaeus took power. The latter lived on and interacted with Jannaeus, as I discuss in "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene." http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/jannaeus.pdf
It may be, as some have proposed, that Judah the Essene may be identical with Judah son of Gedidiah in b.Qiddushin 66a (as discussed on page 15ff).

#37 - Stephen Goranson - 06/05/2017 - 11:08

Claude Cohen-Matlofsky #34-- I read your article linked and you do note the Jericho possibility, but mostly assume the "Qumran community" construction. I am sure you are aware that Humbert estimated the resident, perhaps seasonal, population at Qumran most of the time it was in existence at ca. 10-15 persons. Many of those ca. 10-15 would have been involved with pottery-making and burying the dead. In this light the focus and language of much of your analysis on the texts and thought of a "Qumran community" seems reminiscent to me of other scholars publishing articles arguing that those ca. 10-15 at Qumran developed their own distinctive linguistic forms and dialect in a form that is amenable to analysis and study by linguists--seemingly all at Qumran! Perhaps consider that what you think of as the "Qumran community" was centered in Jericho with a Qumran annex. Then, the focus would be on Jericho, with its greater population base; its center of priestly activity apparently second only to that of Jerusalem; its relationship to the Temple; its relation to political history of the Hasmoneans and Herod, and so forth--a different perspective.

Further comments: at one point you cite Daniel Stoekl Ben Ezra's argument on scroll deposit dating activity correlating to different caves as indication of different eras of cave deposit activity. In my opinion Stoekl Ben Ezra's statistical analysis of published palaeographical dates likely measured differences between shifts in opinion regarding palaeographic datings, not significant differences in actual reality underlying modern scholarly opinion. The minor caves' texts were all mostly published in DJD 3 which I previously mentioned as reflecting pre-Cross 1961 datings, whereas all datings done post-1961 (mostly, Cave 4 texts) reflect Cross's systematically-corrected significantly earlier semicursive and in-practice slightly earlier formal datings. The later Cave 11 DJD 23, meanwhile, reflects systematically ca 50-75 yr later palaeographic datings-- even when a scribe of a Cave 11 text (11QTb) is believed to have been identical to the scribe of a Cave 1 text palaeographically dated 50-75 years earlier (1QpHab)! I believe Stoekl Ben Ezra was finding differences in scholars' assessments, not significant differences in actual average ages of scrolls between Cave 1 and Cave 11 and other caves. Stoekl Ben Ezra's commendable attempt does however suggest a possible revised method going forward: identify and quantify and discount for individual scholarly offset relative to other scholars in palaeographic date assessments, then re-run the data ... and see what turns up.

I would also like to add a comment on the weakness of the notion of continuity of the same community living at Qumran pre-Herod, Herod, and post-Herod--and especially the extreme weakness of scholarly claims that the distinctive animal bone deposits, found so abundantly and in such extensive numbers at the site in 1st BCE, continued at all in 1st CE. Amazingly, to the present day, in the year 2017, there does not exist a single archaeological publication of a single specific 1st CE animal bone deposit even claimed to be dated 1st CE, with details and locus identified. Earlier claims of de Vaux for such in the northern enclosure (e.g. locus 130) were decisively refuted in the most extensive detail by Robert Donceel in a 2005 monograph, "Khirbet Qumrân (Palestine): le locus 130 et les 'ossements sous jarre': mise à jour de la documentation"; also separately and subsequently by Humbert. In a recent 2016 article Mizzi and Magness cite continuity of the animal bones as their main archaeological evidence for 1st BCE/1st CE continuity at Qumran--based on a claim of Magen and Peleg published in 2006 to have found 1st CE animal bone deposits. But Magen and Peleg never even disclosed where at Qumran they claimed to have found that, and to this day have never published further details (Mizzi and Magness, 2016 article in JBL, 135/2, p. 306). With Peleg's sad and untimely death one wonders whether any excavation publication verification supporting that claim--if it exists and would hold up to other archaeologists' vetting--will ever be brought to light. Yet the alleged animal bones continuity throughout the life of the site has long been characterized--from de Vaux to the present day--as the linchpin of the notion of "community continuity" at Qumran through the two centuries and through the Herod power transitions affecting the region.

I discuss the above in more detail in the following article much of which can be viewed online on Google Books. Gregory L. Doudna,"Deconstructing the Continuity of Qumran Ib and II with Implications for Stabilizing the Biblical Texs", in I. Hjelm and T.L. Thompson, _Biblical Interpretation and Historicity_ (Changing Perspectives 7; Routledge, 2016), pp. 130-154. Thanks for your many interesting publications!

#38 - Greg Doudna - 06/06/2017 - 18:49

For more on Qumran animal bone deposits:
Magness, Jodi. “Were Sacrifices Offered at Qumran? The Animal Bone Deposits Reconsidered,” Journal of Ancient Judaism 7/1 (2016) 5-34.

#39 - Stephen Goranson - 06/08/2017 - 10:15

To Greg #38. I don't remember ever using the expression "Qumran community" in my publications. At best I would have used the plural "Qumran texts communities" as I do believe the manuscripts are reflecting. I see plurality at Qumran, in the texts, the site, the deposits in the caves. Again in this matter the texts in their content have nothing to do with the industrial activity at the Qumran site. This being clarified, I do agree with Jean-Baptiste Humbert when he considers Qumran as "un lieu d'habitat saisonnier" (cf. his article in The Qumran Caves, 2016, pp. 34-63) and in my view that could include the occasional "resting" of the seasonal workers (whoever they were and came from) in some of the caves.
I thank you for elaborating on my "Jericho school of scribes" theory with Qumran as an annex. I shall extrapolate on that. Stoekl Ben Ezra 's "old caves yonge caves" theory is based on too many wrong assumptions that I am not going to address here. Although I do agree with him saying that the deposit phenomenon occurred over many years. I am adding many more years, actually centuries to his idea!.....
The animal bones on the site is a whole different issue. Many unsatisfactory theories have been advanced on them. I do believe that one has to put in context the practice of putting animal bones in jars in the desert. Moreover, without entering the controversial "sacrifices offerings at Qumran" I simply assume that the seasonal workers had to feed themselves!

#40 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/09/2017 - 09:32

Claude Cohen-Matlofsky #40 - I am less optimistic than you that seasonal workers would have been gorging, at least openly, on meat! Far more likely that they were doing the work processing the meat - dried, salted - for army rations, and for filling the storerooms of the various desert forts. Bones boiled up for glue - for composite bows, and for sticking arrow heads on their arrows etc. Discussed in my article 'Although De Vaux was a Divine....' elsewhere on Bible and Interpretation

#41 - David Stacey - 06/10/2017 - 10:32

Some Qumran animal bone deposits do not appear to be trash from idiosyncratic sloppy eaters, but ritual deposits. Recall other Qumran-related deposits: deposited scrolls in caves, some wrapped in linen in jars with lids and sealed with bitumen (unlike the *diffent-type-reasons* [casemate wall, tannin, different water-distribution] survivals of mss at Masada). Silver coins (Tyrian) that may have been temple contributions withheld because of perceived Temple impurity. 3Q Copper Scroll deposits, many apparently awaiting an approved Temple. Sealed jars deposited, buried, with vegetable matter (date product?) dug up by Magen and Peleg--not a practice common among seasonal industrial workers. That Qumranites, Essenes, had some rituals differing from others is known. DeVaux dated the bone deposits to Ib and II; the latter and later "covered with sherds from Period II and associated with coins from the same period" (Archaeology and the DSS, page 27).

Comparing practices at Jerusalem, Qumran, and Leontopolis may be appropriate. Did Qumranites disapprove of the alternate Temple (not wilderness camp) attempt at Leontopolis (called the "house of Peleg"?). It may be worth rereading R. White in Tribute to Geza Vermes, House of Peleg in the DSS, 1990 pp. 67-98.

Pliny and Philo did not use the names Pharisees and Sadducees. But Philo may have *described* Pharisee- and Sadducee-influenced leaders (Addendum to my online "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene," pages 34-36).

#42 - Stephen Goranson - 06/10/2017 - 12:23

Going in the direction of scribal activity at Qumran please read Sidnie Crawford's article on Cave 4 here: https://www.academia.edu/33083023/Cave4BrookeFestschrift.pdf

#43 - Claude Cohen-Matlofsky - 06/10/2017 - 17:26

Re 43:- In this day and age scrolls are handled with enormous reverence; they are extremely fragile, they are of great scholastic interest, and could be worth millions. Thus, if moved at all, it is likely it would be in an armoured container! One doubts whether that would have been true 2000 years ago. If scrolls were to be moved to cave 4 from where ever, be it Jerusalem, Jericho or even elsewhere in Qumran isn't it likely that the actual transport would have been delegated to a trusted menial, who may have been of only marginal literacy. Whether for a geniza or a library deposit the order could have been 'Tidy up that bench/floor/shelf and get everything to cave 4.' Treated with respect, but not outright reverence, 'everything' could have included writing exercises not even recognised by the office junior!

#44 - David Stacey - 06/12/2017 - 09:51

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