Skip to comments.Mystery of Dead Sea Scroll Authors Possibly Solved
Posted on 11/22/2011 7:19:20 AM PST by shove_it
The Dead Sea Scrolls may have been written, at least in part, by a sectarian group called the Essenes, according to nearly 200 textiles discovered in caves at Qumran, in the West Bank, where the religious texts had been stored.
Scholars are divided about who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls and how the texts got to Qumran, and so the new finding could help clear up this long-standing mystery.
The research reveals that all the textiles were made of linen, rather than wool, which was the preferred textile used in ancient Israel. Also they lack decoration, some actually being bleached white, even though fabrics from the period often have vivid colours. Altogether, researchers say these finds suggest that the Essenes, an ancient Jewish sect, "penned" some of the scrolls.
Not everyone agrees with this interpretation. An archaeologist who has excavated at Qumran told LiveScience that the linen could have come from people fleeing the Roman army after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and that they are in fact responsible for putting the scrolls into caves.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
:’) What happened in Qumran, stays in Qumran.
I am convinced that no one group occupied the cave. At different times in history, anyone who had reason to go underground hid in those caves. David hid from Saul, the Hasmoneans hid from the Greeks, the early, pre-Pauline Christians hid there, and the Bar Kochba rebels hid there. It’s entirely likely that the Essenians also hung out there. Thus, the library accumulated there, along with some white linens, some colored wools, an armory and guard tower, the Copper Scroll, etc.
It is no too late to publish it now, with some updates.
I first heard it suggested that the Essenes were the authors when I was a child. Why is this news?
You are into genetics as well? Replication? It was one of my favorite subjects.
Actually they show up in Pliny the Elder and Philo wrote about them. I think the best fit for Qumran and the scrolls is that it was an Essene settlement and that the scrolls were their documents. The Damascus document in particuliar points in that general direction. But that is all we have, general directions. To point to textiles as proof is non-sensical in my opinion. The absence of wool in the caves means nothing more than no wool was found which could mean the scrolls were hidden in summer when wool was generally not worn by the rich.
Now the question of who were the Essenes I think is more interesting. Were they a break away sect from the Sadduccees as some claim? I don't think so because more than just the Torah is found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Sadduccees really only submitted to the Torah. Were the Essenes a break away from the Pharisees? This may be more tenable. During the Hasmonean period, the Pharisees developed from a group generally labeled the Hasidim. Some see a common thread in the sects (Pharisees and Essenes) in their practice of Halakhah which the Sadduccess really did not practice. The difference in their practice may be the real difference between Pharisees and Essenes. Again, nobody knows this, it is just conjecture.
What's the date on this story? 1948?
“The Essenes are very nearly imaginary in the first place. The Essenes show up in Josephus, and nowhere else. There are no Essene monuments, no references to them in the Scriptures, and no other contemporary reference to them.”
They “show up” in contemporaneous works by both Philo and Pliny as well as Josephus.
I don’t know of any 1st century contemporaneous “monuments” marked specifically as monuments of the “Pharisees” or “Sadducees” either. Being Jews first and members of a particular sect second, most any markings on edifices (gathering places and/or religious schools) that either sect would have left would have been “Jewish”. It also goes without saying that every description of the Essenes implies they were the less worldly of Jewish sects and not of the “monument” building type to begin with.
There may be 1st century Christian reasons, or later Christian reasons (editing in both cases) for why they are not directly mentioned, by name, in Christian scriptures.
Actually, someone pointed that out about Philo and Pliny a little earlier, but it still doesn’t impact the factually true of what remains — the Essenes had (and have) no structures attributed to them (including the Qumran structures), appear to have been an insignificant and short-lived ascetic sect living in a remote area, had no connection whatsoever with Qumran, and their alleged authorship of the Dead Sea scrolls is a ridiculous modern fiction belied by the texts themselves.
Neither do the Pharisees or the Sadducees or any other Jewish sect have any edifices at Qumran attributed specifically to them.
Apparently few (if any) Jewish sects of the 1st century labeled edifices they used, as none named them as edifices belonging to THEIR sect - at Qumran or anywhere else.
Does THAT fact translate to none of the texts at Qumran as possibly stored there by any members of the sects of Pharisees or Sadducees? No. The mere fact of the lack of attribution - naming a location as the location of any particular sect, does not preclude the presence of any particular sect there - including Pharisees, Sadducees - or the Essene.
"appear to have been an insignificant and short-lived ascetic sect living in a remote area, had no connection whatsoever with Qumran"
An opinion, not a fact, and one of many different opinions on the issue that cannot - either way - be proven by the few available facts. It is as subject that will probably be debated among religious scholars until the end of time.
"and their alleged authorship [by some] of the Dead Sea scrolls is a ridiculous modern fiction belied by the texts themselves"
SOME say the idea is 'ridiculous', while others say that denying the possibility is ridiculous.
It is enough in such matters to say "I believe . . . . . . . " and leave it at that.
An opinion, not a fact, and one of many different opinions on the issue that cannot -- either way -- be proven by the few available facts.The only idea that isn't supported by the few available facts is Essene authorship. It was saddled on quite soon after the discovery, and simply doesn't have any basis. Despite this, it has been repeated many times, and continues to be, and has picked up lots of true believers.
The issue is not 'saddled' sic [settled], not in the least.
Try reading the works [books] of the Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, Robert Eisenman
- Professor of Middle East Religions and Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University, Long Beach; and prior National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Albright Institute of Archeological Research in Jeruselum, and a Visiting Senior Member at Linacre College, Oxford. He was also a Senior Fellow at the Oxford Center for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies.
He is a detailed researcher but writes very hard-to-read books because he can't stop himself from inserting all the learned connections he knows between persons and between persons and events - EVERY connection he knows - directly into the text in very long paragraphs with many parts in parenthesis and notes. His masses of embedded explanatory details make for distractions on the general path of an idea that a paragraph or section starts out to fulfill. My copies of his books are marked with color felt markers in nearly every paragraph, trying to identify a simple narrative that alone would provide the general knowledge he seeks to convey.
While I can say good luck in reading him, I would also say that his works, his standing and his opinions indicate the matter we speak of is NOT a 'settled' issue; particular NOT settled as to WHO is/was IS NOT/WAS NOT represented in the works stored at Qumran.
I am sure he would say, as I have, that you are entitled to your opinions - as your beliefs, with the exception of one - the opinion that the matter is absolutely settled. Opinions to the contrary (and contrary to each other), learned opinions, remain, and the existence of them and the standing of some of those who hold them leave no one with certitude beyond the certitude of their own belief on the matter.
A few of his works are:
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians. Harper Collins, 1996.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered: The First Complete Translation and Interpretation of 50 Key Documents Withheld For Over 35 Years (with Michael Wise). Penguin, 1992. Review by Robert M. Price
A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls (with James Robinson). Biblical Archaeology Society, 1991.
James the Just in the Habakkuk Pesher. E.J. Brill Leiden, 1986.
Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians and Qumran: A New Hypothesis of Qumran Origins. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1984. Islamic Law in Palestine and Israel. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1976. * Reprinted in The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians. Harper Collins, 1996.
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