In response to Stephen Goranson's response:

> Response to Prof Kraft:
> Pliny's text merely uses west to indicate he will describe that side of the
> Dead Sea. 

Agreed, although his "description" is quite selective (as it was earlier
with reference to the lake of Galilee/Genesaret).

> Pliny (his source) does not say Essenes are high (supra), merely
> that they avoid the bad water (as Qumranites did, with their water system),
> which is unlike Jordan's good water, flowing south. No fumes, exhalations,
> Sodom, or the like are in Pliny on the Judaea side of the Dead Sea. 

Well, he doesn't specify that they flee the "water," but the
"shore(s)/coast" (litora) which "harm(s)" in some way. Neither the Jordan
nor Qumran's water system is relevant for this point. Nor is "flowing
south." And for Pliny, Judaea is on both sides of the Dead Sea, with
Machaerus possibly marking it's southernmost landmark. And his Judaea is
"supra" Idumaea and Samaria (5.70); this, I think, sets the stage for the
later "infra" reference, and locates the Esseni "above" the Dead Sea and
the ruins of Engedi.

> These
> sites, Essene place, Ein Gedi, Masada, moving South/downsteam/further
> along, are all within Judaea, as the boundry is yet another step
> South/downstream/further along. 

There is no explicit southward movement at this point in Pliny -- he has
already moved "to the south" in mentioning Machaerus and Callirhoe. We
imagine him to be moving south again because we know where Engedi is, and
that Masada is south of it. But for all Pliny reveals, those sites could
even be north-east of his Esseni land. He just does not specify. Indeed,
if his clockwise movement aroung the lake of Genesaret/Galilee and around
the Dead Sea is intentional and indicative of his mapping of the area, it
would be difficult to place Engedi south or even southeast of the Esseni. 

> "Infra" here is a usage within Judaea, and
> has no reference to Judaea vis-a-vis Samaria or other lands. "Infra" here
> is used as elsewhere in Pliny, including sections which mention the source
> Marcus Agrippa. 

On "supra/infra" see above. Pliny is not consistent elsewhere in his use
of "infra," and his methods of excerpting (attested by his nephew, as well
as indicated by his own introduction to the work) make it difficult to be
confident of the exact dimensions and contents of his source blocks.

> Pliny does not specify Essenes as having a land, else he
> might need to say this was other than Judaea. It would be a peculiar way of
> locating a settlement, Ein Gedi, to say it was (had been, before c.40 BCE
> destruction) lower (altitudewise) than a non-mentioned land, rather than
> below (South, downstream, next in order) from the Essene locus. 

Pliny does not specify the Esseni as having a clearly identified location
other than being vaguely somewhere "from the west" (ab occidente ...
usque) as one views the Dead Sea in the context of Judaea. From where
these wonderful Esseni are located, Eingedi is "down" and nearer the Dead
Sea, as is Masada. Pliny has no aerial map, but he has reports. Somewhere
in that "western" area, away from the shores, are the Esseni.

> And Masada
> is still anomolously high for your proposal. 

What is anomolous about it? Pliny specifically says it is a rock/cliff
fortress (castellum in rupe), located "from there" (inde). We know that
Masada is south of Engedi, but it is far from clear that Pliny knew. And
if he had been proceeding from Masada to Engedi, he doubtless would also
have said "infra hoc (castellum)."

> Again, Ginsburg, de Saulcy,
> and Strack read it they way I read it, before Qumran discoveries. The Loeb
> translation is merely amphibolous with "below." Again, Qumran
> archaeologically fits, in time, in place, in usage; Yizhar's site does not.

These are not my concerns. I'm trying to see things through Pliny's eyes,
to the extent that is still possible. Lots of places could fit into his
picture (including the mysterious "Sodom" land), but I'm more interested
in the ones that he actually mentions than the ones I might wish he had
> By the way, on Machaerus. It was destroyed by Gabinius (57 BC?) and rebuilt
> by Herod the Great (but when in that long reign?). Machaerus, I think, has
> not yet been excavated sufficiently to determine the date Herod rebuilt it.
> It is possible that it being destroyed is another indication that Pliny in
> this case is using an old source. Certainly most of his sources, and
> probably much of his research, date before the war with Rome. One cannot
> properly assume Pliny was up to date an rerecorded on all this as the
> Vesuvius fumes overtook him. Nor is it proper--as Cornell professors
> evidently decided--to insist on single generation of the texts, mostly the
> moment before a dramatic last moment, with up-to-date details, suddenly
> sealed--hypothesis become fixation.

Pliny doesn't actually say that Machaerus was in ruins, only that it had
formerly (quondam) been a more impressive fortress (arx), second only to
Jerusalem. But I would agree that Pliny uses a plethora of sources, older
and newer, and that chronological consistency may be difficult to find in
his statements. (The references to Cornell and "single generation of the
texts" are irrelevant to this discussion.)

Enough. My "bottom line" point is that Pliny's account of the Esseni is
largely irrelevant for specific discussions of Qumran's possibly Jewish
Essene connections. He can, and has, been made to be relevant, but I think
he would have been quite surprised at this development.

How about a new thread: what evidence do we have from antiquity for Jewish 
"libraries" (public or private collections of scrolls) in various areas of
Pliny's Judaea apart from Jerusalem? E.g. Jericho? Samaria? Scythopolis?
Hebron? Masada? 

Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827

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