Dear Joe,

Perhaps you're right that I'm over reacting regarding Roehrer-Ertl. 
I don't think I am regarding Steckoll.

>As a former museum curator denying public access to
>researchers in unheard of.

(This is the story of the scrolls until the early 90s.)

>As for Steckoll having a permit to excavate in Qumran, what he had was
>permission from a member of the Jordanian Royal Family, and no institutional
>support whatsoever. The artifacts that were recovered from the site, were
>offered to me by Steckoll himself for sale, which I declined however some of
>the objects were purchased by private
>collectors. One could go on and on however as he is not around to defend
>himself, enough said on this topic.

This seems to be beside the point of the discussion, Joe. 
Steckoll might have acted unprofessionally regarding some 
of the artefacts, yet the bones he dug out of the cemetery 
included three women as classified by Haas and Nathan. All 
you say in your footnote 56 is that you reject what he 
published as in your opinion it is "scientifically 
unreliable" and you agree with Puech, whose article on the 
"Necropolises" is plainly biased from a priori commitments. 
Even the name reifies the guess of multiple cemeteries.

>True one doesn't need an archaeological/anthropological background to link
>or attempt to link Qumran with the Essenes, however the earlier scholars
>based their ideas on historical/written sources which were strongly
>indicative that this was the site referred to by Pliny. 

Pliny is of no help. His comment requires manipulatiing 
to come out in favour of the currently popular Essene 

1) The text says that the Essenes flee from the coastal 
   zone. Qumran is basically on the coast (the water 
   level was higher then as well putting Qumran even 
   closer), so it wasn't what Pliny was talking about, 
   so one has to ignore this.

2) De Vaux had two bites of the cherry for his definition 
   of "infra", giving both "downstream" and "south of", 
   but neither can be justified from the context. Pliny 
   has no problem using the literal term "south of" 
   (a meridiae) in the text, and as Pliny's itinerary 
   has him crossing from the east of the sea to the west 
   there is no notion of "downstream" because no stream 
   is being followed.

The text makes sense if read literally, ie that Ein Gedi 
was below the Essenes, suggesting that they were in the 
foothills above the town. 

>The consenous today is that they
>were right in linking the site with the Essenes. 

Appeals to a consensus is not an argument. Consensus said 
the world was flat until a few centuries ago.

>As I and others have stated
>that the Ein Gedi hypothesis is a weak one, the same huts that were found by
>Hirschfeld, also occur in the close vicinity of Qumran. This may be
>unpublished data, but these huts were found in surveys conducted by the IAA
>in the 90's and were regarded as seasonal huts for workers, much the same
>way that one finds sim. huts in the agricultural regions of the West Bank
>today for seasonal workers.

Broshi and Eshel published that the Ein Gedi site was for 
seasonal workers. That's one interpretation, put forward 
by two extremely staunch supporters of the Essene 
Hypothesis. Hirschfeld talks of another such site as he 
had found, indicating that the settlement above Ein Gedi 
was not a one-off affair. So, yes, groups of huts are to 
be found. It doesn't change his basic thesis.

>As far as proposing that the Essenes were from 'poor backgrounds, wearing
>clothes in rags, despising of riches" and equating this with high rates of
>illiteracy, the story of Gandi comes to mind, plus he was a spinner of wool!

The attitude has nothing to do with the scrolls which are 
in favour of bloodlines, procreation, and not letting one's 
clothes get too ragged.

>This is the life style of the ascetic and does not correlate literacy in

There is nothing at the site of Qumran to suggest ascetic 

>One must also remember that both Josephus and Philo state that the
>Essenes read and preserved texts, 

But for some reason you seems to want to assume that all 
your Essenes did. 

>(Scrolls) not to mention that for Jews in
>antiquity, salvation was accorded to those that could study the Torah,
>unlike faith alone in other religions, which was all that was needed. I
>would agree that literacy in the towns and villages was not that high, but
>in the Essene community one would expect that it was very high.
>In your posting you maintain that during the Revolt scrolls were stored for
>safekeeping in several places throughout the country and that cave 4 was one
>of these. 

I was not talking about the revolt. I was talking about 
163 years before the "Revolt" when Pompey besieged the 

>Hard to accept that cave 4 was a storage facility in that all the
>scrolls were deposite in the cave sans jars, unlike cave 1. 

This is what I said:

>> Long before the storage process could be
>> finished the process had to be abandoned (due to the need to
>> defend Jerusalem) and the bulk of the scrolls were sealed in
>> cave 4, where they lay until the 1950s.

>As to which manuscripts belong to the Qumran community,  for starters
>lets begin with the Manual of Discipline 

Why? There is no indication of celibacy in the text, 
and at the same time the text indicates that members 
had private possessions and money.

(The name is interesting, coming from the tradition 
of Christian monasticism. It's usually called the 
Community Rule these days from the Hebrew name, 
Serekh ha-Yachad.)

>as well as the materials from caves
>4,5, 7,8,9, the last three caves are accessible only by directly going
>through the site. To argue, as some have,   that there is no relation
>between the inhabitants of the site and the scrolls is preposterous, in view
>of the fact that caves 7,8,9 are only accessable via the site itself !

Part of my thesis is that the people who inhabited 
Qumran at the time of the scrolls deposit in 63 BCE 
were Sadducees, who took the most extreme position 
during the struggle against Pompey. With the fear 
of catastrophe, those in charge of the temple sent 
off their valued texts to be stored for safe-keeping.

>Furthermore you write that "... my demographic analysis... supports no
>particular group',  then one would have to ask, what group would you posit
>as an alternative, i.e. predominately male, no children, no infants?

In the first century there seems to have been a number 
of weird and wonderful positions. We only have what 
Josephus has packaged for his Roman audience. (Philo 
doesn't necessarily indicate all those who were in 
circulation either.) We have glimpses of groups who 
bundled together as Zealots and Sicarii, but their 
ways of life have not come down to us. 

As Josephus tells us, the Essenes bring other 
people's children into the community, suggesting that 
if Qumran had been Essene there would be children in 
the cemetery.

>Zealots, Sadd. Phar. ... or whatever?  Until someone finds similar data
>elsewhere,  west of the Dead Sea, between Jericho and Ein Gedi, the
>cemetery/archaeological/anthropological data appear to fit the Essene=Qumran
>theory quite well.

Without Pliny, there is no Essene Hypothesis. There is 
just tendentious reading of the scrolls. The scrolls 
themselves do not support the Essene Hypothesis, so one 
usually reads them "metaphorically". One glosses over 
the rulings about gonorrhea, childbirth, marriage, etc, 
as this must be the marrying Essenes, but finds no 
evidence of any other kind of Essenes in the scrolls.

And so far, I don't think you've made your case for the 
cemetery data. It is partly built on your opinion about 
Steckoll's reputability  -- as I said before, dealing 
with the man, not the data.

The archaeological evidence does not support the Essene 
Hypothesis. Hirschfeld does a reasonable job showing the 
typological similarities between Qumran and other similar 
settlements around Israel. The is nothing particularly 
suggestive that the site had any other special usage. The 
animal various bones buried in pottery suggest very little 
religious activity at the site. 

All there is left is your analysis of the cemetery, which 
does not confront Steckoll's data front on, but rather 
dismisses it. Would you like to propose how Steckoll's 
lack of requisite skills could interfere with the findings 
of Haas and Nathan as to the presence of three women? I 
would be interested.


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