Dear Joe,

You wrote:

>In my opinion, assigning Essene
>affinity to a cemetery must contain the following four shared criteria:
>orientation, tomb architecture, demographic disparity and few if any grave
>goods. "Without these defining criteria, all appearing in Qumran and nearby
>Ain el-Ghuweir cemeteries, any attempt to assign definite Essene affiliation
>will remain unconvincing" p.244. This remains true for Jericho as well.

This also remains true for Qumran as well. I have never been able to 
fathom why you talk about the Essenes, for you never support the issue. 
In the article you cite, there is a section, starting on p.240, titled 
"Discussion: Is Qumran Essene?", and reading through the section one 
finds no reasons for you to believe your conclusion. You take Golb to 
task, which is quite popular, but never get down to answering your own 
question. What it seems is that you assume that the Essenes wrote the 
Qumran texts, then argue, citing Puech, that, because Paradise and the 
New Jerusalem lay in the north, there is "sufficient reason for the 
north-south orientation of the graves in the main cemetery." (p242) 
(Is this also sufficient reason for the north-south orientation in the 
Bab edh-Dhra graves as well?) Puech is free to have his opinion, but 
this isn't an argument that Qumran was Essene. I am left wondering why 
you consistently talk about the Essenes when dealing with the subject 
of the tombs at Qumran.

>Qumran is totally unlike Jericho, the latter being a lush
>oasis whereas the former is totally dependent on runoff water being brought
>to the site in the winter by acquduct. Furthermore, Jericho during the
>Herodian period was a population running well into the thousands, Qumran at 
>best, several dozen, the list of disparities is long. The only ethnic 
>similarity between the two sites is that in both sites lived Jews, one 
>(Qumran) being Essene and the population of Jericho being, the 'Other'. I 
>would argue that the influence of one on the other was probably 
>insignificant.

I must agree with most of the above, especially where you say that the 
population of "Qumran was at best, several dozen". This is similar to 
Patrich's estimate for what the compund could support after having 
ruled out cave and tent dwelling, yet Broshi and Eshel have gone lower 
than that for the compound, claiming not much more than 20 people could 
be housed there, then opting for those caves which Patrich had not 
examined, as an expedient for propping up higher numbers of residents 
at Qumran. If we are left with a population that is restricted to a 
magnitude of dozens and not of hundreds, then we strongly need to have 
a better explanation for why there should be thirty copies of 
Deuteronomy and more copies of the Psalms. One thing is certain: the 
population at Qumran cannot supply a need for such high numbers of 
texts. We have to assume a ridiculously high literacy rate before we 
can even contemplate that the scrolls were for local use.

What I don't agree with in the above is the necessity of the Essenes 
being mentioned. That seems to be just another of the many unfounded 
assumptions attached to the Dead Sea Scrolls.


Ian





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