[b-hebrew] Use of Qahal in Qumran Scrolls

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Dec 16 18:22:27 EST 2005

You've hit it right on the head.  If we assume there was a "sect" there, then 
of course we're going to find one around every corner.  If we assume that 
this assumed sect was Essene, then we're going to find similarities to 
Essenes (about whom we know very little, and the material we have is 
contradictory) behind every bush.  If we assume that the room was a 
scriptorium, even though such an idea was completely foreign to the time and 
the region, then we're going to find all kinds of stuff to support that 
assumption.  Less than a handful of inkwells are supposed to convince us, 
even though we should have expected orders of magnitude more from a 
scriptorium, and we're going to find "tables" that have to be built up in an 
absurd manner because they're too short; we're also going to overlook the 
clear butt-prints on these "tables" because they contradict our assumptions.  
And don't get me started on the mythical "yahad" ostracon...

And so it goes.  To return to your original question, most any study of a word 
such as qahal in the DSS is going to be badly colored by the writer's 
assumptions on this subject, so if there are any studies of the term out 
there, their usefulness may well be suspect.  It just depends on who did them 
and what their starting-points were regarding the origins of the scrolls.

On Friday 16 December 2005 01:29, Herman Meester wrote:
> The below disqualification of Golb isn't very strong. The book "misses
> sectarianism". Is that an argument why the book is no good? Golb has
> objections against the unfounded idea that the fortress at Qumran was
> not a fortress but a "monastery". That is the very thing he is
> convinced of. Of course he doesn't pay the same amount of attention to
> a supposed "sect" as some other scholars do, because he doesn't
> believe all those scrolls were written by a "sect"! He shows, for
> example, that Phariseic thinking too is represented among the scrolls.
> Which doesn't fit the traditionally supposed Qumran "sect".
> Herman
> 2005/12/15, goranson at duke.edu <goranson at duke.edu>:
> > That book by N. Golb includes factual errors. It misses sectarianism.
> > And, in my
> > view, it presents neither good textual nor physical evidence for its
> > prefered scenario.
> >
> > But this probably isn't helping Jimmy who asked about qahal in Qumran. Do
> > you mean word study, such as may be aided by a concordance (Abegg et al,
> > Brill, 2002?), by Theological Dictionary OT and so on? Or do you mean
> > more about the sectarian organization or history or what?
> >
> > best,
> > Stephen Goranson
> > "Jannaeus, His Brother Absal;om, and Judah the Essene"
> > http://www.duke.edu/~goranson
> >
> > Quoting Herman Meester <crazymulgogi at gmail.com>:
> > > Hi Ken,
> > > Idiosyncracy is not an argument pro or against anything; Newton,
> > > Galilei, Chomsky, Sokrates, Jesus, Copernicus, I guess Einstein too,
> > > Lachmann (leading to the 'discovery' of "Q") and quite a lot of
> > > others, had, strictly speaking, idiosyncratic ideas but did cause a
> > > paradigm shift or breakthrough. The Jerusalem hypothesis is very
> > > convincing. Golb put an entire list of strong arguments in his book.
> > > The number of scholars that support a certain theory, too, as they
> > > wanted me to remember well in philosophy class, doesn't mean anything
> > > either. The first scholar that suggested microbes exist was laughed at
> > > by his fellow doctors.
> > >
> > > 2005/12/15, Ken Penner <ken.penner at acadiau.ca>:
> > >> Anyone reading _Who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls_ should be aware that
> > >> Golb's views are highly idiosyncratic and not convincing to most
> >
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Dave Washburn
"Maybe I'll trade it for a new hat."

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