>Perhaps others on the list can be more convincing than
>I can be from your point of view.  But having just 
>finished Boccaccini's BEYOND THE ESSENE HYPOTHESIS, I
>would have to say his discussion of HOW MUCH to conclude
>from the classical sources, and which sources mean what,
>is about as good a presentation as I've seen online or
>in hard copy.

This is because there are no serious arguments online 
or in hardcopy that justify the Essene Hypothesis.

One can sift only so far through the same stuff that we 
have had before us for the last 50 years. There is nothing 
new in the way of source materials, other than scrolls 
made available which argue against the Essenes. (Think for 
example of 4Q502 [Ritual of Marriage], which cites a part 
of 1QS, the so-called sectarian foundational document. Oh, 
I know, it must be those marrying Essenes again.)

To nearly all those parallels that people like Dupont-
Sommer put together, the answer is either "too generic" or 

We are left with the same lack of argument: "if the Essenes 
didn't write the scrolls, well, who did?" This is no 
argument whatsoever.

Qumran is not off the littoral zone of the sea, yet Pliny 
tells us the Essenes flee from the littoral. (Salt land 
grows nothing. Fish hazarding into the sea die almost 
immediately and are eventually found along the shore.) As 
Pliny's itinerary at this point goes from east to west, 
there is no downstream movement not north to south movement, 
so the usually Essene Hypothesis explanations of Pliny's 
"infra hos engada oppidum fuit" simply don't hold water. 


I think it's extremely hard to argue against the fact that 
the community in some of the scrolls reflects the temple 
centred community, with its reliance on the written torah 
(as opposed to the Pharisees), reliance on bloodlines (as 
opposed to the Essenes), headed by the sons of Zadok. This 
seems like a community based in the temple. One would 
expect those who maintain purity in order to go into the 
temple would ostensibly have little or nothing to do with 
women and those who belonged to the community were expected 
to maintain temple purity, similar to haburot. What we have 
in scrolls like 1QS may be an association of those who 
maintain temple purity -- which had its own possessions, 
while individuals maintained theirs, which was a male-only 
association, while individuals were almost certainly 
married (there is a lot about marriage in the scrolls).


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