Monday, December 13, 2010

A Story of a Spurious Alexander and a Living Aristobulus (As told by the Church Fathers)

A Story of a Spurious Alexander and a Living Aristobulus (Ant.17. 324-338, or Chapter 12)  

This section is a very garbled version of the appointment of Aristobulus, the son of Herod and Marriamne to be king of Judea, by Augustus.  The story was created by the Church Fathers because they didn't want their existing text (of Antiquities 18) to reveal the real cause of a war which was between the priests rebelling against Aristobulus and his forces. The priests were led by the priest Caiaphas and his son Eleazar. The rebellion was put down.  But it was resumed after Aristobulus died and his son Agrippa came to power. Aristobulus and Agrippa were considered by the Romans to be trustworthy rulers like Herod before them.  Romans under Nero only intervened later when things got out of hand and the priests had killed king Agrippa (the great), the son of Aristobulus. In the above passage, the writer's spurious Alexander spins a fanciful tale to Caesar Augustus. Historian Martin Goodman, in his book Rome and Jerusalem, naively takes this story about a spurious Alexander, as literally true (Goodman devotes the whole of page 419 to it).  Goodman doesn’t see the story as a Church Father cover-up for the appointment of Aristobulus as king.  Aristobulus did "recover the dominion that was due to his high birth" (Ant.17.334) It was given to him by Ceasar Augustus on the death of his father Herod.   Aristobulus was obviously very much alive, and the writer knows it. He stayed on the island of Crete, probably on his way to Judea.  There was danger from the sea (335).  Ships often sheltered from storms in ports.  This was done so that "the posterity of Mariamne might not utterly perish, but that Aristobulus might survive, and punish those that laid such treacherous designs against them." (335)   "Them" referred to Herod's Hasmonean sons.  Then in 17.339, the Church Fathers had Archelaus the son of Herod by Malthace falsely made ethnarch of Judea.  In reality it was Aristobulus who was made king.  Aristobulus continued his father's support for the prophets (falsely interpolated as Essenes in various places by the Church Fathers). This was bound to cause trouble with the priests who had been cast out of the temple by Herod.  The church Fathers wanted to create their own 'history' about Jesus.

Aristobulus, the son of Mariamne the Hasmonean and Herod the Great, was the father of Agrippa the Great.  Aristobulus was not strangled as described in Ant.16.11.7 - this was a pure fabrication of the Church Fathers.  He was educated in Augustus's palace.  After the death of Herod, and was declared king by Augustus.  Herod always wanted one of his Hasmonean sons to succeed him.  Herod didn't want Aristobulus to meet the same fate as his son Alexander (supposedly executed by his father).    

The Church Fathers portray Josephus as a Hasmonean of royal descent.  This of course is pure fabrication.  In Josephus, the Church Fathers appear to show an unhealthy interest in what happened to two Hasmoneans, Herod's sons Alexander and Aristobulus by Mariamne.  The whole of Antiquities 16 and 17 is focused on these two sons.  Thus (after the digressions of Ant.16, chaps. 5 and 6) at the end of chap.6,  we have: "I now return to the thread of my history", which is Herod's family tragedy by which the writer is consumed.    

Aristobulus did survive to take the kingdom. 

1.WHEN these affairs had been thus settled by Caesar, a certain young man, by birth a Jew, but brought up by a Roman freed-man in the city Sidon, ingrafted himself into the kindred of Herod, by the resemblance of his countenance, which those that saw him attested to be that of Alexander, the son of Herod, whom he had slain; and this was an incitement to him to endeavour to obtain the government; so he took to him as an assistant a man of his own country, one that was well acquainted with the affairs of the palace, but, on other accounts, an ill man, and one whose nature made him capable of causing great disturbances to the public, and one that became a teacher of such a mischievous contrivance to the other, and declared himself to be Alexander, and the son of Herod, but stolen away by one of those that were sent to slay him, who, in reality, slew other men, in order to deceive the spectators, but saved both him and his brother Aristobulus. Thus was this man elated, and able to impose on those that came to him; and when he was come to Crete, he made all the Jews that came to discourse with him believe him to be Alexander. And when he had gotten much money which had been presented to him there, he passed over to Melos, where he got much more money than he had before, out of the belief they had that he was of the royal family, and their hopes that he would recover his father's principality, and reward his benefactors; so he made haste to Rome, and was conducted thither by those strangers who entertained him. He was also so fortunate, as, upon his landing at Dicearchia, to bring the Jews that were there into the same delusion; and not only other people, but also all those that had been great with Herod, or had a kindness for him, joined themselves to this man as to their king. The cause of it was this, that men were glad of his pretenses, which were seconded by the likeness of his countenance, which made those that had been acquainted with Alexander strongly to believe that he was no other but the very same person, which they also confirmed to others by oath; insomuch that when the report went about him that he was coming to Rome, the whole multitude of the Jews that were there went out to meet him, ascribing it to Divine Providence that he has so unexpectedly escaped, and being very joyful on account of his mother's family. And when he was come, he was carried in a royal litter through the streets; and all the ornaments about him were such as kings are adorned withal; and this was at the expense of those that entertained him. The multitude also flocked about him greatly, and made mighty acclamations to him, and nothing was omitted which could be thought suitable to such as had been so unexpectedly preserved.

2. When this thing was told Caesar, he did not believe it, because Herod was not easily to be imposed upon in such affairs as were of great concern to him; yet, having some suspicion it might be so, he sent one Celadus, a freed-man of his, and one that had conversed with the young men themselves, and bade him bring Alexander into his presence; so he brought him, being no more accurate in judging about him than the rest of the multitude. Yet did not he deceive Caesar; for although there was a resemblance between him and Alexander, yet was it not so exact as to impose on such as were prudent in discerning; for this spurious Alexander had his hands rough, by the labors he had been put to and instead of that softness of body which the other had, and this as derived from his delicate and generous education, this man, for the contrary reason, had a rugged body. When, therefore, Caesar saw how the master and the scholar agreed in this lying story, and in a bold way of talking, he inquired about Aristobulus, and asked what became of him who (it seems) was stolen away together with him, and for what reason it was that he did not come along with him, and endeavor to recover that dominion which was due to his high birth also. And when he said that he had been left in the isle of Crete, for fear of the dangers of the sea, that, in case any accident should come to himself, the posterity of Mariamne might not utterly perish, but that Aristobulus might survive, and punish those that laid such treacherous designs against them; and when he persevered in his affirmations, and the author of the imposture agreed in supporting it, Caesar took the young man by himself, and said to him, "If thou wilt not impose upon me, thou shalt have this for thy reward, that thou shalt escape with thy life; tell me, then, who thou art, and who it was that had boldness enough to contrive such a cheat as this. For this contrivance is too considerable a piece of villainy to be undertaken by one of thy age." Accordingly, because he had no other way to take, he told Caesar the contrivance, and after what manner and by whom it was laid together. So Caesar, upon observing the spurious Alexander to be a strong active man, and fit to work with his hands, that he might not break his promise to him, put him among those that were to row among the mariners, but slew him that induced him to do what he had done; for as for the people of Melos, he thought them sufficiently punished, in having thrown away so much of their money upon this spurious Alexander. And such was the ignominious conclusion of this bold contrivance about the spurious Alexander.

Aristobulus Appointed King by Augustus

Martin Goodman, discusses Archelaus on pages 397 and 398 of Rome and Jerusalem.  The date he implies for the end of the supposed reign of Archelaus is given in his remarkable statement (page 397): "Nor was violence continuous: a long-lived Jerusalemite could have passed the the whole period from 6 to 66 CE without ever witnessing the horrors of war."  Herod's death was in 4 BCE.  Thus a long-lived Jerusalemite could have passed the the whole period from 4 BCE to 66 CE without witnessing the horrors of war, because in 4 BCE, the Hasmonean Aristobulus living at Rome, was appointed king by Augustus.  This was in a seamless transition of power, and began another Hasmonean dynasty which was stable and peaceful.  Herod favoured the prophets, and the priests had conspired in the murder of Herod's wife and relatives while they lived in the fortress of Alexandrium 

For most of the time from Judas Maccabeus until 66 CE the priests  put themselves in self-imposed exile from the temple, as in 4QMMT.  The writings attributed to Josephus give some hints that Aristobulus was appointed king.  They tell a story about a spurious Alexander?  Why not a spurious Aristobulus also?  The spurious Alexander said he had "left Aristobulus in the isle of Crete, for fear of the dangers of the sea, that, in case any accident should come to himself, the posterity of Mariamne might not utterly perish, but that Aristobulus might survive, and punish those that laid such treacherous designs against them"; Aristobulus is living in the story yet he had previously and supposedly been murdered by his father.   Herod's plan for Aristobulus was that he should inherit his kingdom. 


Kokkinos asks the question, how come the kingdom established by Herod the Great disappeared overnight?    Kokkinos writes (p193 of The Herodian Dynasty): 

“From the imposition of direct Roman rule in CE6 (direct roman rule was a fabrication) to this embassy in CE 40 (the ridiculous fabrication of an embassy concerned with Caligula wanting to erect his statue in the temple at Jerusalem), and with the exception of Salome’s death in her household in CE 10, and a few of the building activities of Antipas and Philip in their own territories, Josephus has nothing to say about the status or even the existence of the Herodian family in Judea. However, is it possible that a royal court of such magnitude, a ruling centre for over half a century, with its established political, economic and military mechanisms, lost its well placed manpower in a spectacular overnight disintegration? Could the Romans have replaced all the people of experience, for example in local administration, with their own nominees, of which we hear nothing, or could they have filled the vacancies with a batch of unpopular priests, to which Herod had merely allowed the role of running the Temple?”  

Of course, I disagree that the priests were allowed the role of running the temple. From the time of Judas Maccabeus, they were exiled from the temple. The power of the priests had certainly disappeared.  It was the Herodians who continued to rule.   Aristobulus was a Hasmonean/Maccabean 


Kokkinos says Goodman's assessment is 'perplexed'.  He objects to Goodman's assessment, and says we have a false impression of the power of the high priests in the period before Agrippa I.  I say the Goodman and Kokkinos are wrong.  The priests and chief priests then had no official power.

On p194 of The Herodian Dynasty, Kokkinos says Goodman wrote as follows: “Nonetheless it was to such High Priests [i.e. of doubtful background promoted by Herod] that Rome handed over power in A.D. 6. It might seem a little strange that the Romans desired these priests as rulers rather than Herod’s Idumaean associates, especially since by the fifties A.D. the relatives of Herod himself and of Herod’s close Idumaean [sic] friend Alexas…did indeed become prominent in Judean politics; it might reasonably be expected that when the province was founded, such Idumaeans would already gladly have cooperated with Rome and that…the Romans would have trusted them…But Josephus does not attest any role for such men…and though it is possible that this silence arises from the historian’s comparative ignorance about the period of the first procurators, it is more than likely that they remained in political isolation on their estates in the southern part of the province until Agrippa brought them into prominence during his brief but popular reign. (Goodman 1987:42-43)”  

We know the reason for the writer's silence about the first procurators, apart from their appointment and removal.  Their appointment and removal was fabricated. The Romans under Vespasian wanted to blame supposed Roman procurators under Nero for provoking the so-called war.  There were no Roman procurators, only Governors of Syria, and prefects in Ceasarea.      


 “Many objections must be raised here.”  Kokkinos gives a number of them (see p194-196 of The Herodian Dynasty). The third objection Kokkinos gives is: “Third no Herodian isolation should be postulated under the prefects, since the Herods would not have emerged so suddenly in vital positions some 30 years after they had effectively abandoned their public functions. In fact the prominence of members of the Herodian family in the Judaean society, despite Goodman, is on record before the time of Agrippa I. Philo expressly states that under Pontius Pilate, apart from other Herodian descendants, Herod’s ‘four sons enjoyed prestige and rank equal to that of kings’.” (Philo, Embassy to Gaius, 300).  In effect, Kokkinos has contradicted himself as well as writing a rejoinder addressed to Goodman. The Herodians were in power all the time up to or just before 66.  Aristobulus I was to be followed by his son Agrippa I.

The reference in Philo was supposedly about “Pilate” wanting to dedicate some “gilt shields” to "Tiberias" in the “palace of Herod” in Jerusalem. The “people” had appealed to “the four sons of the ‘king’” to remonstrate with “Pilate”. The shields were supposedly inscribed with two names which the “people” said would bring about “an alteration in their national customs”. Apparently, the “people” objected to a certain “name” in whose honour they “were so placed there”, and the certain name of the person who placed them there. Laughably, we are meant to assume that the honoured person was “Tiberias” and that it was was “Pilate” who wanted to honour him.  This, apparently, would have altered “national customs”. Clearly, the text of Philo has been fabricated.  

On p196 of The Herodian Dynasty, Kokkinos has: “For example, under Gratus (CE 15-26) the only information he (the writer of Josephus) adduces is the succession of four high priests in the space of three years. Naturally such a bare narrative gives the false impression that besides the Roman governor, the power in Judaea was monopolized by the high priesthood. Although there was an enhancement compared to Herod’s time, the ‘priestly class’ as the sole ruling class in Judaea under Rome is a myth, certainly for the period before Agrippa I.  The evidence known to us shows that in political disputes with the Romans, the Jewish embassies dealing with the case were ‘aristocratic’, but headed by Herodians not high priests.”  Thus the "high priests" (in reality the chief priests) were not in any sort of power and the wheeler-dealers were the Herodians in a continuous unbroken line of Hasmonean kings.  The priestly class as the sole ruling power was worse than a myth.  The priests were totally disenfranchised.   

The incident of the “shields” in Philo, Embassy to Gaius, 300 has sounded a very loud bell, at least in my ears. This was really a complaint made to a king by priests about some goings-on (i.e. not goings-on) in the temple that was against the Law.  This was what the Embassy to Gaius was all about. The story (if you read between the lines of propaganda) has a strong resemblance to a scroll, 4QMMT- Acts of Torah, which is a list of complaints made by one group who had separated themselves from the temple against a second group who the first group reckoned were not keeping the Law. The complaint was made to a royal person whose name just happens not to be there by virtue of the wear and tear of 4QMMT. The priests put their complaints to the king in a servile roundabout fashion because as a supporter of the prophets the king (whoever he was) was about keeping the Scrolls under his power in the Citadel of the temple.     

Monday, November 29, 2010

Schiffman – Golb – Hudson – 4QMMT (Acts of Torah)

Schiffman (Qumran and Jerusalem, 2010), on p.84 he writes: “The text (of 4QMMT) was probably composed soon after 150 B.C.”  On p.101,102 he writes: “The Qumran sect came into being as a discrete group in the aftermath of the Maccabean revolt when the Hasmonean high priests decided to ally themselves with the Pharisees against the hellenizing high priests, many of whom had been Sadducees. A group of pious Sadducees left the temple and protested to no avail the abandonment of Sadducean priestly practice for the halakhic rulings of the Pharisees. This group, after failing to sway their colleagues and their Hasmonean leaders by means of the Halakhic letter (4QMMT), eventually relocated to Qumran, where they lived lives of piety and holiness, preparing for the end of days.”  It sounds like a good story, as good as the myth of Masada. Unfortunately, it uses terms like Pharisee and Sadducee that the Scrolls through their long and varied history up to the first century, do not recognize. The writings attributed to Josephus have been edited to retrospectively incorporate the various sects of Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.

On p.151, Schiffman writes:  "To whom is this letter addressed?  The text alternates between the singular and the plural.  When in the singular, the manuscript assumes that it is addressing a leader who can by virtue of his position, identify with the kings of Israel.  It appears that the head of the Jerusalem establishment with such status must be the high priest during Hasmonean times."  Schiffman offers no proof that 4QMMT was originally written in early Maccabean times, only the circumstantial evidence of the history recorded in Josephus.  He offers no proof that a Hasmonean priest-king was being addressed.  He isn't even certain that a priest was being referred to.  Golb on the other hand has a remarkably different answer as to when 4QMMT was written and who was being addressed.

Golb (Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, p.180) wrote about Father Joseph Milik of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem:  “in 1962 his interpretations of the minor “caves” appeared in the extensive third volume of the Oxford series. Discussing certain linguistic features of the Copper Scroll, he compared them to analogous ones that he referred to as to as “4QMishn” (4QMMT), and gave several quotations from the latter showing its special idiom and content. On p.183, Golb writes: "The importance of Milik's observations about the idiom of the Acts of Torah resided in the necessary implication that the work was written during the early or middle first century A.D., before which no evidence could be found for the existence of such an idiom. Indeed, Milik had made use of passages from the Acts of Torah to elucidate his discussion of a first-century A.D. documentary (an autographical) work composed in the same idiom - the Copper Scroll. The only other manuscripts written in essentially the same form of Hebrew were the early second century second century A.D. Bar Kokhba documentary texts. The idiom appears in no written testimony from before the turn of the era."  Thus we have the opinion of one expert, Golb, that the text was early or middle first century A.D. and the opinion of a second expert, Milik, to the same effect.

On p.210, Golb writes: “the opinion (Schiffman’s) that the epistle was addressed to a priestly figure is capricious: Its wording actually carries no such implication. Secondly, its evocation of the deeds of past kings … indicates that he (the author) was addressing not a sacerdotal figure, but rather a royal one who was not a priest. In addition, the epistle reveals no demonstrable connection at all with Hasmonaean (i.e. second- and first-century B.C.) figures. The language of the text indicates that it was written around the beginning of the first century A.D., and its specific wording shows that it was addressed to a royal personage of that time.”

In this time of the early first century, there MAY be one king being addressed, seen as of Hasmonean descent.  Eisenman and Wise write in Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, p183, "If placed in the first century, where we would prefer to place it because of its language - a form of 'proto-Mishnaic Hebrew' ... then the addressee is Agrippa I ... who made a pretence at Torah observation."  So now we have four experts in Hebrew who would place 4QMMT in the first century A.D.  And two of them plumb for Agrippa I.  But I think Agrippa I is just a little too late.  So who was the king being addressed in 4QMMT?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Schiffman – Golb (9) – Phylacteries - Who Were They Deposited By?

Schiffman (Qumran and Jerusalem, 2010, p223) writes:
“numerous phylacteries (tefillin) have been found at Qumran. The phylacteries are associated with liturgical practice in the rabinnic tradition. At Qumran, these ritual objects also bear witness to variations of custom, especially as regards the order and content of the biblical passages in them.”

Thus Schiffman believes that the phylacteries found at Qumran were worn by the supposed members of the supposed Qumran sect. In his note 19 (also on page 223), Schiffman, references only those authors who are not in opposition to this idea. We will see that he omitted to make reference to the doctoral dissertation of Dr David Rothstein of UCLA which was specifically on the phylacteries of Qumran.  In a paper Small Texts, Big Questions (revised in 2007) here Norman Golb writes: “While editors of the phylactery texts in the 1950s and 1960s generally shied away from dealing with this problem of non-uniformity … a scholar writing … in the 1990s, Dr David Rothstein, undertook an exhaustive analysis of all the published phylactery texts, concluding in his 1992 dissertation on the subject that ‘it appears probable that [the groups responsible for the phylacteries] … constituted a broad spectrum of Palestinian (and diaspora) Jewry’ (p. 181)” Rothstein's thesis would have been uncomfortable reading for Schiffman.

The second page of the document Small Texts, Big Questions shows a map of the Dead Sea with Jerusalem marked. On it there are three arrows showing the route which Golb says was taken by refugees fleeing Jerusalem. One arrow is very close to Qumran and continues across the Dead Sea to Machaerus. A second arrow is around the north of the Dead Sea (probably fairly close to the caves just north of Qumran) which then turns south towards Machaerus. The third arrow is to Masada. We know that Masada was easily occupied by Jewish fighters in 66 CE. (War 2.17.8). There seems to be a general pattern – thus it suggests to me that Machaerus and Qumran was occupied at the same time. The routes were not taken by fleeing refugees but by militants going to prepare for war. This was why some of them left their phylacteries in a safe place where they could pick them up later (thus avoiding the desecration of holy writing). According to Rothstein some were from the diaspora, and thus joining in with the locals. And why did they have no fear. Was it because they believed God was going to fight for them? Why not? Why were the fortresses so easily occupied by Jewish fighters with a common hatred for Romans? I would suggest that it was because they had just killed Agrippa (the Great), and his Idumean soldiery had fled.

Golb (Who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1995, p103) writes:
“it was already obvious by 1970 that those phylacteries discovered in the caves could not have belonged to the individuals of any single Jewish group… For the texts of most of the phylacteries …. showed no consistency with one another….The distribution of the various passages is, in Milik’s words, ‘most capricious’. Milik himself tried to retain the integrity of the Qumran-Essene hypothesis by claiming that these great variations among the texts showed only that the practice remained essentially, ‘if one might say so, private and semi- sacred’. It defies logic, however, to believe that a small and radical sect … who were according to the standard theory highly restrictive and formal in their religious legislation and practice, would have allowed their members to be so inconsistent.”

In the Summary of their paper the Qumran Excavations 1993 – 2004, Magen and Peleg state: “We now turn to a completely different issue, one that has unfortunately been disregarded almost entirely by Second Temple-period scholarship: the flight of the people from Judea and the land of Benjamin during the Great Revolt in an attempt to escape the Roman army. Despite our knowledge of the siege of Masada and of the areas where the Bar Kokhba Revolt broke out, thus far no one has asked how Jews came to be in places WHERE NO JEWS HAD RESIDED BEFORE. … Broshi and Eshel excavated a number of natural caves formed by floodwater in the riverbeds around Qumran, which they thought, MISTAKENLY, had sheltered members of the Essene sect for whom there was no room at the site. Most of the finds discovered in the caves belonged to refugees who stayed at Qumran before continuing on their way. No-one could have resided in these caves … for an extended period of time. … Another find, from En Gedi, was discovered by Hirschfeld and, in our opinion, ALSO MISINTERPRETED. During excavations, some temporary dwellings were found… Hirschfeld argues that a group of Essenes lived in them. We, however, believe that they were built by refugees who had fled from the Romans. Many more finds, which are to be ascribed to these refugees, have been found in the many surveys carried out along the riverbeds of the Judean Desert.” I submit that these places were archaeological evidence for the temporary dwellings of guerilla fighters, not refugees fleeing from the Romans. This was in 66 to early 67 CE, just a few months. I have been saying for a long time that there was a short invasion by Nero’s troops to destroy the priests, the owners of the phylacteries, and depositors of the scrolls. Thus the fighters were spread over the whole of the Judean Desert. Some occupied the fortresses. The Romans knew exactly where to come to meet the enemy. The Judean Desert was the place where most of the war began.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (8) - The Scientific Proof That There Was No Qumran Sect

Schiffman (Qumran and Jerusalem, 2010, p.415) “Already in the debate over Christian origins we can see the inversion of reality in which the real scholars (Schiffman sees himself a “real” scholar) have to defend themselves and their work against unlikely, illogical, or unfounded theories. … This inversion is the case with the theories of Barbara Thiering and Robert Eisenman, who see Christian figures as having lived or visited Qumran, and Norman Golb, who claims that the scrolls are the remnants of the Jerusalem library of the temple, brought to Qumran for safekeeping during the revolt of 66-73 CE, and not the library of a sectarian group who lived at Qumran. These theories are actually impossible, from an objective, that is scientific, point of view.”

Golb –
1. He has emphasized in his writings that no evidence has been found that Hebrew literary scrolls were either kept or written at Qumran.
2. Nor has he ever suggested that they were “brought to Qumran” for safe keeping. But rather scrolls were removed from Jerusalem before or during the siege and taken into the Judean wilderness to be hidden away in a number of places including the caves around Qumran. (see his statement in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 124, 1980, p.11).
3. And Golb has never stated in his writings that the scrolls were limited to remnants of the temple library. He has said (way back in 1980) that the scrolls showed a wide variety of practices, beliefs and opinions. I have to agree with this part of his theory, having read the archaeological report, The Qumran Excavations, 1993 – 2004, Yizhak Magen and Yuval Peleg of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
 - Just read the summary.

With its evidence, this Report affirms Golb’s theory and damns Schiffman’s Qumran sectarian theory. Schiffman makes a vicious demeaning attack on the theories of three scholars and says all of them, including Golb’s, is impossible, not objective and unscientific. Schiffman does not acknowledge anywhere in his 2010 book the increasing receptivity of scholars to the Jerusalem origin of the Scrolls. Nor does he acknowledge in his book the decade-long archaeological investigation of the Qumran site under the direction of Dr Yizhak Magen and Yuval Peleg. This investigation ended several years ago with an affirmation of Dr Golb’s views on the origin of the scrolls.
So Dr Golb’s theory is very possible, objective and scientific, isn’t it Dr Schiffman!  And it is your theory that is "impossible, from an objective, that is scientific point of view.”  (See below)

Extracts of Magen’s and Peleg’s Summary of their decade-long archaeological investigations:
1. The claim that the location was chosen because of its isolation, for the purpose of establishing a first Jewish monastery or a community center for the Judean Desert sect, is groundless.
2. Qumran was part of the Hasmonean military presence along the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. The volume and quality of construction is not consistent with a private building project of the Judean Desert sect, …
3. Neither (Qumran or Ein Feshkha) was inhabited by members of the Judean Desert sect.
4. After the Roman conquest, the site was no longer used for military purposes and the building deteriorated.
5. During the first century CE, the site suffered from considerable neglect and was turned into a pottery production center,….
6. Upon reexamination, the hypothesis that every one of the pools was a ritual bath has been an unfortunate error, bereft of any scientific or halakhic validity. According to Jewish law, most of the pools were unfit for use as ritual baths because the water in them would have been considered “drawn water”. The entire site contained perhaps two ritual baths, and even this is not certain. The purpose of the pools was to collect rainwater and potter’s clay for the pottery industry.
7. One more baseless hypothesis concerns the number of sect members who lived at the site. This number ran, depending on the calculations of each scholar, from 200 to 250. In fact, at Qumran there is room for 20 to 30 people at the most. Certainly no evidence has been found, like ovens and cooking utensils, to indicate that 250 people had been fed twice a day for 170 years.
8. The main activity at the site was the production of pottery, a fact that we find is hardly consistent with the identification of Qumran as a communal center for the Judean Desert sect.

The scrolls deposited at Qumran, while disordered compared to a library, were not disordered compared to what one might expect from people fleeing for their lives. This was more in keeping with the hiding of a hoard stolen by robbers. The goods were valuable to them and they had to be kept hidden somewhere out of sight. There was no general panic about the deposits. To transport what must have been tons of parchment (and we must not forget tons of treasure, other valuables and manuscripts deposited elsewhere) would have taken considerable time of the order of weeks. This was alot of patient hard work. My conclusion is that the Romans were not on the scene yet, and these deposits were made well in advance of any Roman arrival.

On page 47 of Qumran in Context, Hirschfeld writes: “In terms of both extent and content, the Dead Sea Scrolls reflect the vigorous and varied literary activity that characterized Jerusalem in the second Temple period. One of the centers of this activity was the royal palace in the Upper City. Herod’s palace, like those of other Hellenistic kings, contained a large library. There was even a library in Herod’s palace at remote Masada.” The king’s library would surely contain books that represented the whole culture of his people. It seems to me that the books found at Qumran could well have been from the king’s library in Jerusalem. Thus we have an alternative explanation of where the scrolls came from, and why they represented a broad cross-section of the society. If the king’s library was invaded, then whoever raided it would have had a storage problem, especially if they had set fire to the library. Secondly, treasure could have been stolen from the king’s vaults, which was no doubt the place where the library was also. This would have been the accumulated wealth of the king. Some of it would no doubt have been tax money owed to the Roman government.

Were the Jews fleeing from the Romans in a panic when they deposited the scrolls.  (I don't believe they were).  This was depicted as occurring during the siege of Jerusalem (or near the time of the siege) in a recent documentary: Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls made by National Geographic. The National Geographic article has Robert Cargill (an archaeologist who appears in the documentary) saying "Jews wrote the Scrolls, but it may not have been just one specific group. It could have been groups of different Jews." The writer of the of the article Ker Than describes this as a “new view”. Cargill knew better. The view was put forward by Norman Golb in his 1980 paper, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society No. 124, and has been upheld by him ever since. Cargill gave no credit to Golb in the National Geographic article, and made no subsequent attempt to correct his error.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (7) - A Rejoinder to Martinez that The Scrolls Were of Jerusalem Origin

Shiffman (Qumran and Jerusalem, 2010, p121) writes: “The notion that the collection of Scrolls at Qumran in no way is representative of a sect, but must be seen as representing the Judaism of the time, must also be rejected. (31) There is no question that the community that collected these scrolls originated in sectarian conflict..”  Then in Note 31 also on p.121 he writes: “A polemical treatment in book-length form is Golb’s Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1995.  This theory has been shown to be impossible in a detailed examination of its underpinnings by F. Garcia Martinez and A. S. van de Woude (A ‘Groningen Hypothesis of Qumran Origins and Early History).”

Golb – Schiffman fails to inform his readers that in the same book (Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls), Golb had already provided a rejoinder to what Martinez and Woude “apparently hoped would be a decisive rejoinder” (Schiffman calls it a detailed examination)  to Golb’s theory of Jerusalem origin of the Scrolls (see pp 288 to 293 of Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls).  Why didn’t Schiffman refer to Golb's very detailed rejoinder?

Schiffman wrote: “There is no question that the community that collected these scrolls originated in sectarian conflict..” 

The people who took these scrolls into Judea were the priests of Jerusalem. There was no “sectarian” conflict, but at the time there was a conflict between between the two priestly orders of the priests and the prophets. There are a few places in Josephus where the word “order” has crept past the editors who would have substituted “sect”. Thus I believe that Josephus spoke of two priestly “orders”, priests and prophets, not three sects. Josephus originally wrote about these two orders to explain Judaism to Nero and his court. (I have used curly brackets for what I believe to be original text, and square brackets for dissembled text):

Ant. 18.1.2. - The Jews {have} had for a great while [three] {two} [sects of philosophy] {priestly orders} peculiar to themselves; the [sect] {order} of the [Essens] {prophets}, and the [sect] {order} of the [Sadducees] {priests}. 

War 2.8.2. - For there are [three] {two} [philosophical] {priestly} [sects] {orders} among the Jews, the followers of the first of which are the [Pharisees; the second the Sadducees] {priests} and the [third] {second} [sect] {order}, which pretends to a severer discipline, are called [Essens] {prophets}.  

Thus Josephus was originally writing about the system of priesthood which we all know about from the OT, priests and prophets.  Now for the places where "order" ACTUALLY occurs:

The priests and prophets functioned together peaceably for “a great while” tracing their origins to Moses (and in the case of the prophets before Moses). The evidence for “orders” as distinct from “sects” occurs in at least the following two passages:

War 2.8.3. "These men are despisers of riches, and so very communicative as raises our admiration. Nor is there any one to be found among them who hath more than another; for it is a law among them, that those who come to them must let what they have be common to the whole ORDER, - insomuch that among them all there is no appearance of poverty, or excess of riches, but every one's possessions are intermingled with every other's possessions; and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the brethren."  

War 2.8.13. "Moreover, there is another ORDER of [Essens] {prophets}, who agree with the rest as to their way of living, and customs, and laws, but differ from them in the point of marriage, as thinking that by not marrying they cut off the principal part of human life,"  In this second passage “order” is used correctly to distinguish two groups of Essenes (prophets). “Order” should also be used to distinguish the two groups, the priests and the prophets, who are all Jews.  Another example of the use of "order": 

War 2.8.14.  "But then as to the other [two] ORDER[s] at first mentioned, the [Pharisees] {priests} are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their laws."  In reality, this was the order of the priests.

We can now begin to understand why there is considerable agreement between the practices of the priests in the Manual of Discipline, and Essene (prophetic) practices according to Josephus (see VanderKam’s The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, Chap. 3). The two priestly orders, the priests and prophets, were organized on similar lines.  But I doubt that the Essenes (prophets) would have twisted the meaning of the Prophets with pesher as the priests did.  Philo, Hypothetica, 11.1 has:  "But our lawgiver trained an innumerable body of his pupils to partake in those things, who are called [Essenes] {prophets}, being, as I imagine, honoured with this appellation because of their exceeding holiness."   The lawgiver Moses started with 70 holy men who prophesied and were called prophets. (Numbers 11.24-29). "as I imagine" is a tell-tale sign of an editor who knows the truth. Philo has been got at too.  

The Romans made Josephus a prophet because they knew prophets were involved in their story.  They had hunted down most of them and taken them to Rome for their Triumph.  The prophecies attributed to him by Flavian editors included for example:

1. His prediction that Vespasian would be emperor (War 3:400-402)

2. His speech to the Jews in Jerusalem regarding their impending fate (War 5:375-419)

The Flavian editors knew that their prisoners were prophets. They included these supposed predictions of Josephus, to justify Roman history of the time.  They even had Josephus as an apocalyptic prophet with nightly dreams giving the ability to interprete scripture (as Per Bilde also has in Understanding Josephus, p.46).

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (6) - Who Paraphrased Who?

Schiffman (Qumran and Jerusalem, 2010, p.121) writes: “Golb is certainly correct in reminding us that the scrolls preserve many compositions authored outside the group (sectarians). We see these (scrolls) however, as assembled by the sectarians because of their affinity for or adherence to the teachings of these texts. The scrolls also preserve much information about other groups of Jews in this period (sounds familiar): the Pharisees (says he), the Sadducees (says he), the Hasmoneans, and others known only from their literary compositions.”

Golb - (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 124, 1980, p.11) states that: “determination of the nature of the concepts and practices described in the scrolls may best be achieved not by pressing them into the single bed of Essenism (or presumably any other sect), but by separating them out from one another, through internal analysis, into various spiritual currents which appear to have characterized Palestinian Judaism of the intertestamental period.”

Schiffman just doesn’t get it that Golb has never referred to one or more “outside groups”, or an “inside group”. Schiffman’s own frequently stated idea is that the scrolls represent multiple “Judaisms” and that many of them are non sectarian writings. He never acknowledges that this is an obvious paraphrase of Golb’s actual view published in various writings since 1980, as above.  Schiffman wrote: “We see these (scrolls) however, as assembled by the sectarians because of their affinity for or adherence to the teachings of these texts.”  Golb is saying something different, that not all of the scrolls represent one spiritual view. The writers didn’t all “adhere to the teachings of the texts.” This is a world apart from Schiffman’s idea, essentially of multiple sects (his multiple Judaisms). One could compare the situation in the scrolls with the multiple spiritual ideas in the Church of England. There is one Church but many spiritual ideas within it. In other words the Church of England is a “broad Church”. Judaism was once a broad religion. The scrolls know nothing of sects, Pharisees or Sadducees. They did not exist when these scrolls were written, and have been retrospectively interpolated into the writings attributed to Josephus. Which would you rather believe? The scrolls which have been buried for 2000 years or the writings attributed to Josephus.

Schiffman states (p.323 of Qumran and Jerusalem) that "these bad relations were remembered when the historical allusions to the Pharisees in Pesher Nahum were composed.." He knows that Pharisees are not mentioned anywhere in Pesher Nahum, nor in any Scrolls text. He is speculating. Schiffman has used the wrong term allusions. His speculations about Pharisees are his delusions.  Ant.13.5.8 ends with:  "So the Lacedemonians received the ambassadors kindly, and made a decree for friendship and mutual assistance, and sent it to them."  These words are completely unrelated to the text in Ant. 13.5.9 which has : "At this time there were three sects among the Jews, who had different opinions concerning human actions; the one was called the sect of the Pharisees, another the sect of the Sadducees, and the other the sect of the Essens. Now for the Pharisees, they say that some actions, but not all, are the work of fate, and some of them are in our own power, and that they are liable to fate, but are not caused by fate. But the sect of the Essens affirm, that fate governs all things, and that nothing befalls men but what is according to its determination. And for the Sadducees, they take away fate, and say there is no such thing, and that the events of human affairs are not at its disposal; but they suppose that all our actions are in our own power, so that we are ourselves the causes of what is good, and receive what is evil from our own folly. However, I have given a more exact account of these opinions in the second book of the Jewish War."  The account of Ant.13.5.8 is continued in Ant.13.5.10: "But now the generals of Demetrius being willing to recover the defeat they had had, gathered a greater army together than they had before, and came against Jonathan;"  Ant.13.5.9 is the first example in Josephus where Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and sects are mentioned.  It is an obvious later interpolation (an editorial insertion) having nothing to do with the text beforehand or with that following. Schiffman refers to it (without comment) on p.322 of Qumran and Jerusalem.  It is typical of how scholars quote Josephus taking it for granted that it must be true.

So what had Josephus been doing in his early life. In Against Apion 1.10, Josephus wrote; “Now both these methods of knowledge I may very properly pretend to in the composition of BOTH my works;” In both works he had been an active participant. The editors make out that the second work was War which we know Josephus played an active part in (but on the Roman side against the priests under the emperor Nero). The second work was Against Apion (not War) which was really written against Greek philosophies (the Stoics were one) which he had experience of.  When Josephus was in his sixteenth year, he “made trial” of three philosophies “that were among us” (Life 2.), not of three Jewish sects.  That is typical of an intelligent young person who is searching for meaning in life.  Each new philosophy that he adopted was no doubt the best thing that could have happened to him. The “city” (Life 2.) that Josephus was in was Rome where the Greek schools of philosophy were to be found. When Josephus had reached the age of about 14, he had already gained a reputation for his learning, and the principal men of the “city” came to hear him regularly, particularly about Jewish matters. He then tried three Greek philosophies, for example the Stoics, and wrote Against Apion. He then met “Banus” with whom he spent three years, not in the “desert”, but in the “city” to which “Banus” had come from Judea. Thus, Josephus “was informed that one whose name was “Banus”, lived in the “city” (i.e. Rome where Josephus lived), not the editor’s “desert”. Banus was a prophet-like figure, a vegetarian who bathed in cold water frequently day and night. Josephus says “I imitated him in those things”. Then at the age of nineteen, the text says “I returned back to the city.” But Josephus was already in “the city”. After three years with Banus, Josephus “returned” to something different, the Lord. The culmination of three years with Banus was a major conversion experience at the age of 19. Josephus had become a prophet, like “Banus”. He was not a “Pharisee” and never was a Pharisee as the editor would have us believe. Prophets, by their very nature take their orders directly from the Spirit of God which abides upon them. Thus they do not call “any man Lord” or master -be that man a high priest, Moses, Abraham, or a Greek philosopher. He would call the Spirit of God Lord, not any man. Thus he met with the movement founded by “Banus” in Rome.

Life 2 has: “I had a mind to make trial of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: - The first is that of the Pharisees, the second that Sadducees, and the third that of the Essens, as we have frequently told you; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all”.   The later Flavian editors wrote: "as we have frequently told you", but was there a different story?  Josephus’s Against Apion Book 1 is really against the Greeks and their philosophy.  Against Apion 1.10 continues from 1.8.  Against Apion 1.9 is a later interpolation to prepare the reader for an editorial in 1.10 about War.  Against Apion 1.10 has: “There have been indeed some bad men, who have attempted to calumniate my history, and took it to be a kind of scholastic performance for the exercise of young men. A strange sort of accusation and calumny this! since every one that undertakes to deliver the history of actions truly ought to know them accurately himself in the first place, as either having been concerned in them himself, or been informed of them by such as knew them. Now both these methods of knowledge I may very properly pretend to in the composition of BOTH my works; for, as I said, I have translated the Antiquities out of our sacred books; which I easily could do, since I was a priest by my birth, and have studied that philosophy which is contained in those writings: and for the History of the War I wrote it as having been an actor myself in many of its transactions, an eye-witness in the greatest part of the rest, and was not unacquainted with any thing whatsoever that was either said or done in it. How impudent then must those deserve to be esteemed that undertake to contradict me about the true state of those affairs! who, although they pretend to have made use of both the emperors' own memoirs, yet could not they be acquainted with our affairs who fought against them.” The editorial in Against Apion 1.10 begins with: “and for the History of the War I wrote it as having been an actor myself in many of its transactions.” Josephus was really saying that he knew about the Greeks and their philosophy because he had gone to the Greek Schools. And the “emperor’s own memoirs” would be full of untruths at the time of the Flavian editors. "both my works" were Antiquities and Against Apion, not Antiquites and then War (which is the wrong order according to the extant Josephus).  The original Antiquities and Against Apion were written before Josephus was aged 16.  In Against Apion above, Josephus’s critics accuse him of writing a history as a scholastic exercise. Most of extant Antiquities reflects such an accusation. Against Apion was probably his final year project at the end of his classical education in Rome.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (5) - And More Plagiarism

Schiffman states (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls) regarding the discovery in the 1960s at Masada - over 30 miles south of Qumran that: “several texts were published from Masada which had been occupied by rebels during the Revolt against Rome. In addition a manuscript of the Sabbath Songs … known in several manuscripts from Qumran, was found at Masada. Thus the Jewish defenders of Masada possessed books of the same kind as those in the Qumran collection, but … not directly associated with the sect itself . In other words, many of the works found at Qumran were the common heritage of Second Temple Judaism, and did not originate in, and were not confined to, Qumran sectarian circles.”

Golb – Schiffman makes no reference, however, to Golb’s earlier 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, p.10, in which he stated that “the cogent inference that should be drawn from the presence of first century Hebrew manuscripts at Masadah is that the Jewish sicarri inhabiting that site possessed scrolls which they had brought there after taking the fortress in 66 AD, while other Jews, of Jerusalem, took scrolls with them in addition to basic possessions needed for survival, in withdrawing to that site. In the excavations there, surviving remnants of these possessions were discovered, including even such texts as the ‘Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice’ previously thought to have had a unique connection with Qumran. …The discoveries at the … site imply the act of the removal of manuscripts from Jerusalem … They indicate that Hebrew literary texts were deemed precious enough to warrant rescue during periods of danger.”

The Romans didn’t take Masada during 73 CE in the way told in the writings attributed to Josephus. This was a Roman afterthought and pure propaganda. It was late in 66 CE or early 67 CE, under Nero. It became the command centre for the army, as is attested archaeologically by the large encampment around the citadel. The Jews who had previously taken Masada were the same sort as those who inhabited the fortresses at Machaerus (which also had a Roman camp at its base) and Qumran. The Roman strategy was to defeat the fortresses first before Jerusalem. Their aim was to provide protection for those who opposed the writers of the scrolls. Vespasian never fought his way down through Galilee (where there are no remains of Roman camps). His exploits in Galilee were to fill-in a time of peace, as attested to by the so-called ‘Coins of The Revolt’ and the discovered land sale documents for the period (land is hardly to be bought and sold during a war). Scholars do not account for the influence of Rome upon history and upon the development of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Post 70 CE, no-one made a move in Jewish and ‘Christian’ circles without Vespasian’s say so. Vespasian was as crooked as they come, for example, inventing false victories for Claudius and then for himself. Just as Julius Caesar had plundered the ‘barbarian’ Celts for their gold with which they adorned themselves, so Vespasian, or rather his son, opportunistically, ransacked the temple for all of its gold, and probably also recovered a good deal of the temple treasure hidden by the priests. He did this to fund his rise to power. Later the Jewish money enabled him to carry out his building projects such as the construction of the Colloseum.

One question that puzzles me is this. If the scrolls came from multiple libraries, why were there no original documents among them? The chances of original documents being present must increase with the number of sources or libraries. The lack of original documents is consistent with the scrolls coming from one Jerusalem library. This library could not have been the temple library. For one reason, one would have expected a great deal of original material among its scrolls. But I believe there was another reason. The Roman invasion of Jerusalem in about late 66 or early 67 was turned by the Romans (the Flavian editors of the writings attributed to Josephus) into the invasion of Jerusalem by Idumeans. (See War 4.4.6 to 4.5.2).  At the time, the group in opposition to the priests, and who the Romans were trying to protect, was holed-up in the temple and thus protecting its scrolls. So if the scrolls didn’t come from the temple, which library (assuming they came from one library) did they come from?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shiffman - Golb (4) - And Plagiarism Yet Again

Schiffman (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls, p.25) states that the influence of the apocalyptic Dead Sea Scrolls is discernible “in the messianic pressures for Jewish resistance against Roman rule that were factors in fueling the two Jewish revolts, the First Revolt of 66-70 CE and the Second Revolt, the so-called Bar Kokhba Revolt, of 132-135 CE, both of which had messianic overtones.”

Golb states in his 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, p.11 (which Schiffman refrained from referencing) : “What is until now understood of their contents that the mentality and religious outlook of the Jewish groups were factors which may in turn help to explain the zeal which led to the Jewish war.”

The mentality of many of the writers of the scrolls says much of what one needs to know to explain the reasons behind the first rebellion. The culprits that prevent a proper understanding are the Flavian editors of the writings attributed to Josephus which (in contrast to the scrolls) have undoubtedly been got at.  I believe the Roman intervention was to put down the priests who were murdering a party (mentioned in some scrolls as the "seekers of smooth things") who opposed them. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (3) - Plagiarism Again

Schiffman (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls):
“It is now becoming increasingly clear (it was already clear to Golb a long time before Schiffman made this announcement as though it was news) that the scrolls are the primary source for the Study of Judaism in all its varieties in the last centuries before the Common Era. In short , this corpus does not simply give us an entry into the sect (Schiffman’s hypothetical Qumran sect) that inhabited the nearby settlement, but also has an enormous amount to tell us about the widely varying Judaisms of the Hasmonean and Herodian periods. In assessing the importance of the collection, we must remember that almost no other primary Hebrew or Aramaic sources exist (music to the ears of Jacob Neusner) for the reconstruction of Judaism during these periods. Thus these documents are providing a critical background for the study of the later emergence both of rabbinic Judaism and of the early Christian Church.”

Golb (see his 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, p.11) where he sums up by stating that what was by then known about the contents of the scrolls was “more than sufficient to show, even at present, the mentality and religious outlook of various groups within Palestinian Judaism prior to 70 A.D.” Schiffman never acknowledged that Golb had made this observation some years before 1990.  Golb further stated in his American Scholar article of 1989 (p.207), that on the outcome of the debate over the scrolls depended “our understanding of Christian origins and of ancient Judaism.” 

It is interesting that Golb concluded his 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society with the statement: "While I do not share the view of colleagues who uphold the Qumran-Essene hypothesis (the then Qumran sect hypothesis), I offer this interpretation with admiration for the brilliant work done by them on those texts, and with the hope that the proposed hypothesis (Golb's) will be useful in the overall elucidation of their remarkable contents." You can't get much more fair, humble and scholarly than that. The subsequent attitude of some other scholars towards Golb has been sharply different.

It is worthwile considering Golb’s words written for his American Scholar article of 1989. He wrote that on the outcome of the debate over the scrolls depended: “our understanding of CHRISTIAN ORIGINS AND OF ANCIENT JUDAISM.” I have never seen the scrolls referred to quite like this very original statement. Usually, scholars refer to the Scrolls for background information to Christianity and Judaism, almost as though the Scrolls were second best. Maurice Casey, a professor of Nottingham University has just published a book, Jesus of Nazareth, in which he does exactly that, for example he refers to the Messiahs or anointed ones in the Scrolls (p.393), but only for background information. Scholars of Judaism, such as Schiffman, also use the Scrolls as background information.  But is there something much more pointed about the Scrolls?  There is, for example, such a large amount of them that they must surely have had great importance in their day.  And what about the party who some of the writers of the Scrolls separated from, a party who opposed the priests, and who are referred to extensively in many of the Scrolls? Who were they?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (2) - Who Was The First To Explain What "To Prepare The Way In The Desert" Meant?

Schiffman (see his book, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1994, p.95) where he discusses a passage from a scroll (the Manual of Discipline, 1QS 8.12-15) which had long been understood to mean that members of the brotherhood should go to live in the wilderness (literally). But, Schiffman stated (without acknowledging that Golb had said so years before) that the passage had to be interpreted symbolically. “To prepare the way in the desert”, he wrote, “means to interpret the Torah, specifically to explain it according to sectarian interpretations.”

Golb had expressed precisely this view a long time before Schiffman (see his 1980 article, The Problem of Origin and Identification of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol.124, No. 1, p.16).  Golb says about the same passage that the authors were freely assigning a metaphorical interpretation to it. Further he says that there is nothing in the passage (quote) “to imply even remotely that those who would have followed the rules in the Manual actually believed they should go and live in the desert.” This conclusion Golb drew on the basis of the specific wording in the manuscript which he translated:

1QS 8:12-15: “When all these become a Unity in Israel, they will be separated through these rules from the settlement of the men of wickedness, going to the wilderness to clear there the way of the Lord, as is written (Isaiah 40.3) ‘In the desert clear ye the way of the [Lord], make ye straight in the wilderness a path for our God’ – this is the expounding of the Torah which [the Lord] commanded through Moses to do according to every revealed thing, season by season….” [square brackets represent missing text in the manuscript]

Golb says in his 1980 article that the authors of the Manual (1QS) merely interpreted the quoted words of Isaiah as a metaphor. This was (I quote Golb) “the virtue of studying the mystical teachings of the Torah espoused in various pages of the text.” Why didn’t Schiffman acknowledge this original work of Golb’s?

Vermes is a proponent of Scrolls produced at Qumran by Essenes. Vermes’s translation of the 1QS 8.12-15 is interesting:
“And when these become members of the Community in Israel according to all these rules, they shall separate from the habitation of unjust men and shall go into the wilderness to prepare there the way of Him; as it is written, ‘Prepare in the wilderness the way of …., make straight in the desert a path for our God’ (Isa. Xl, 3). This (path) is the study of the Law which He commanded by the hand of Moses, that they do according to all that has been revealed from age to age, and as the Prophets have revealed by His Holy Spirit.”
Here Vermes’s translation is coloured by his preconception of Essenes at Qumran.  He makes a difference between separation and obedience of the rules (the law).  For him separation is a literal departure into the wilderness.  His translation makes no connection between separation and ‘the path’ - the study of the law. Was Vermes bending the text to suit his theory? This raises questions about the integrity of current translations. The method of separation was the study of the law, as Golb clearly showed back in 1980.

An even more biased and vague translation of 1QS 8.12-15 is that of Martinez who must also be a supporter of Essenes writing at Qumran:
“And when these have become a community in Israel in compliance with these arrangements they are to be segregated from within the dwelling of the men of sin to walk to the desert in order to open there His path. As it is written (Isa.40:3) ‘In the desert, prepare the way of ****, straighten in the steppe a roadway for our God.’ This is the study of the law which he commanded through the hand of Moses, in order to act in compliance with all that has been revealed from age to age, and according to what the prophets have revealed through his holy spirit.”
Martinez makes no connection between ‘a walk to the desert’ and the study of the law. He takes the meaning of ‘a walk to the desert’ literally. What does he think the vague ‘in compliance with these arrangements’ means, if not the law?

So what does this tell us about where the scrolls were produced, if not at Qumran? There can only be one place, the centre of such activity, Jerusalem. Schiffman wrote (well after Golb had said so), that “to prepare the way in the desert” meant to interpret the Torah. He was thus implying that the members of the community did not go out into the desert, because “to prepare the way in the desert” didn’t mean that literally. But Schiffman likes to have his cake and eat it, because he then added, “specifically to explain it according to sectarian interpretations”. He just had to keep the ideas of a ‘sect’, and ‘a sect at Qumran’ at that, probably to retain credibility with all the other 'pro sect at Qumran' supporters. He was thus contradicting himself. Almost all of those who attended Schiffman’s 1985 New York conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls used typical language consistent with a sect at Qumran, such as: ‘Qumran ideology’ (Baumgarten), ‘the Dead Sea sect’ (Collins), ‘the Qumran sect’ (Levine), ‘Qumranic tendency’ (Maier), ‘Qumran’s purity laws’ (Milgrom), ‘the priesthood at Qumran’ (Newsom), ‘the sectarian scrolls from Qumran’ (Schiffman), ‘what is meant when Qumran is termed a ‘priestly’ community’ (Schwartz), ‘the Qumran sect’s foundation’ (Strugnell). The ground was ready for Schiffman’s 1994 revelation. He had some ready listeners. Schiffman claimed as his own that “to prepare the way in the desert” meant studying the Torah, but by a sect at Qumran. In reality, he had stolen Golb’s original theory without giving due credit, and applied it (inconsistently) to a hypothetical Qumran sect. If I was Norman Golb, I would feel very cheated. And members of the family who were taking an interest obviously felt cheated too.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (1) - Schiffman's Blatant Plagiarism

Schiffman (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls):
“It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Scrolls are the primary source for the study of Judaism in all its varieties in the last centuries before the Common Era. In short, this corpus does not simply give us an entry into the sect that inhabited the nearby settlement, but also has an enormous amount to tell us about the widely varying Judaisms of the Hasmonaean and Herodian periods….It can now be stated, this hoard of manuscripts includes material representing a variety of Jewish groups as well as polemics against other Jewish groups. As a result of this new understanding much more can be done with the scrolls."

Golb (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 124, 1980, The Problem of Origin, and Identification the Dead Sea Scrolls Authors):
“What may in my opinion be fairly inferred about the scrolls from the caves from facts now available, but not known in 1948, is that these manuscripts stem from first-century Palestinian Jews and are remnants of a literature showing a wide variety of practices beliefs and opinions which was removed from Jerusalem before or during the siege, brought down to the Judean wilderness and adjacent areas, and there, with the aid of inhabitants of the region, were successfully hidden away for long periods of time.”

A child would know what was going on here.  How did Schiffman get away with this? Why hasn’t NYU taken notice? He never credited or acknowledged Golb for his theory, a theory that Schiffman subsequently adapted to develop his own ideas (e.g. regarding Pharisees) and thus further his own career. And yet Golb had paved the way for Schiffman’s theory by pointing out the “wide variety of beliefs and practices” supported by the scrolls. It was an appalling mistake not to give credit where it was due. Instead, Schiffman announced that it could “now be stated” there was “a new understanding” of the scrolls, as though he and his supporters were the discoverers of new ideas. Schiffman recognized that credit should have been given to Golb. In his 1990 article “The Significance of the Scrolls”, he dismissed Golb’s theory more or less with a stroke of his pen. He didn’t bother to argue (except in the broadest of terms) against Golb’s theory, explained in considerable detail in “The Problem of Origin of the Scrolls”. He wrote: “At this point, I should perhaps comment briefly on the Dead Sea Scroll hypothesis recently put forward by professor Norman Golb.” Earlier in his article, Schiffman similarly dismissed the views of Jacob Neusner. Thus, in support of the Talmud (compiled well post first century), Schiffman wrote: “This letter (the scroll MMT) requires that the view of prominent scholars (prominent, as distinct from Golb?) – most notably Jacob Neusner (notable, as distinct from Golb?), who doubted the reliability of the rabbis regarding Pharisees, must be re-evaluated.” It seems that Schiffman’s attitude to other scholars who opposed his views has been arrogant, to say the least.

If Schiffman wants to die at peace he ought to apologise to Norman Golb.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Robert Cargill, hypocrite?

Cargill, is this right what Eve Scherr wrote?  "Even Robert Cargill, after saying he never did, in cross-examination, when asked about specific online pseudonyms, admitted that they were his."  And yet you gave the impression that you had nothing to do with pseudonyms. You wrote: "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE DO I DIALOG, BL...OG, OR RESPOND TO ANONYMOUS PEOPLES HIDING IN THE SHADOWS, NOT HERE, NOT ANYWHERE. THANK YOU."
Retrieved from
So you don't dialogue with people who use psuedonyms, and yet you seem to use them yourself, and worse you accuse Raphael Golb of doing what he actually admits to. Did you actually use the name "Raphael Joel"?  So the adjunct professor is a "spouter of lies".  Isn't this a reflection of your underhand character and hypocrisy?  When is the so-called archaeologist, going to do some archaeology?

You admitted under oath that you arranged with the curator of the San Diego Scrolls exhibit, Risa Levitt Kohn to avoid making any mention of either Norman Golb or his theory in the exhibit?  Was this your response to Norman Golb's scholarly critique of the exhibit?

You acknowledged under oath, that you cited Magen Broshi's words to the effect that Norman Golb would only stop "harassing" the world of Scrolls scholarship when "he was dead". This was at an SBL session you organized on the "Case of Raphael Golb", with an approving group of listeners?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Raphael, you did right

Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote 190 years ago, "Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men."

Raphael, just to let you know that I am with you and your family all the way. Schiffman, Cargill, West, Gibson and company are vandals and cowards.

You did right to defend your father's views which are largely mine also.  Given the opposition, you took the only route to bring this matter to a head.  The issues you raised are vital to the origins of Judaism and Christianity.  They were in danger of being swept under the carpet, for who knows how long.

Scott Greenfield, Simple Justice - A New York Criminal Defence Blog, wrote here:
"Much like the Lori Drew prosecution, ultimately tossed for lack of a crime, this was a case that should never have been prosecuted. NYU professor Lawrence Schiffman, the putative victim of Golb's impersonation, claimed that he didn't want Gold prosecuted. Yet after the verdict, he has this to say:

He said in a statement Thursday that he was appreciative of the work on the case.  "Let us hope that the field of Dead Sea Scrolls research can get back to its real business — interpreting the ancient scrolls and explaining their significance for the history of Judaism and the background of early Christianity," he said.

He's disgraced himself amongst the dead sea scroll scholars by using a criminal prosecution to shut down his most vocal critic. He's now disgraced himself again within the academic community by ignoring that the issue arose from his having shut out Norman Golb from the scholarly dialogue, even denying Golb access to the scrolls lest he find something that undercuts Schiffman's claims.

For those of us less concerned with the dead sea scrolls per se (though who isn't, really), the implications of this conviction are broad and disastrous. If playing with a sockpuppet on the internet, no harm done beyond some hurt feelings, is enough to land you in prison, we've got a lot of potential felons out there taking some major risks for a few laughs or to get the upperhand on an argument. The rough and tumble of the internet is no longer an issue of free speech, but hurt feelings. Read it and weep. We are all in some serious trouble now."

When Schiffman said "let us hope" who did he mean by "us"?  Schiffman, Cargill, Gibson and West and the pro-Qumran clique just want the Scrolls for themselves.  Its the old story all over again, and its also full of hypocrisy.  It sounds as though Norman Golb won't get a look-in.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Schiffman said, "NYU took the bogus 'confession' seriously enough to mount an investigation"

The New York Post wrote here:

This was no innocent little spoof," said Schiffman in a telephone interview today. Golb had allegedly gone online posing as Schiffman -- sending out emails to as many as 400 academic colleagues in a single day in which he purportedly "confessed" to being a plagiarist.  NYU took the bogus 'confession' seriously enough to mount an investigation, Schiffman said. "If I had been found guilty, I would have lost my job, my tenure, my reputation and my livelihood," Schiffman said. "You can call it a game all you want," he added, "but that doesn't mean anything. Russian Roulette is a game too."

So NYU mounted an investigation and found you innocent of plagiarism.  Well it would hardly have been an independent investigation, would it?  We only have your word for it in any case, don't we?  If they did conduct an investigation, was it thorough?

You see this as a game, and a pretty serious one at that, like Russian Roulette you say, a game that could have resulted in the loss of your job, your tenure, your reputation and your livelihood.  But was it as bad as all that?  We have no evidence of that. Are you not using the tactics of an academic bully, frightened of losing face?

What has Raphael Golb done?

1. Has he revealed to the public a conspiracy between an academic clique and museum directors to keep Norman Golb's views hidden from the public?

2. Has he made the public aware of Norman Golb's view that the Scrolls were of Jerusalem origin?

3. Has he brought to the public's mind questions about museum exhibitions and academic ethics?

4. Has he written using polite language?

5. Has he revealed yours and the academic clique's disgusting behaviour towards Norman Golb?

I think he has.

Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote 190 years ago,  "Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men."

Raphael, just to let you know that I am with you and your family all the way.  Schiffman, Cargill, West,  Gibson and company are vandals.   

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Who is a real cyber-bully? And who is simply a bully?

Robert Cargill is a cyber-bully because of his relentless campaign on the internet against Raphael Golb, and implicitly, Norman Golb.

Lawrence Schiffman is a bully because of the way he has disdainfully treated Norman Golb and Raphael Golb.

They are believing bullies who are sure of their own righteousness.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Robert Cargill's Article on Professional Conduct in the Academy - It's Absolute Hypocrisy

I find it hard to believe anyone would write this kind of naive, sentimental rubbish.  Cargill is suffering from delusions.  The Academy is red in tooth and claw.  The worst, like Schiffman, jealously guard their reputation, at the expense of others. Better to have it all out there, in the public domain!

Cargill works on the principle "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine", and more than likely the mutual groomers will have a Catholic christian background.  The Secretary of the Albright Institute, of which Edward Wright is the President, is none other than William M. Schniedewind,  Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA, under whom Cargill completed his supposed doctorate.

And of course, Cargill has not hesitated in his holier than thou condemnation of Raphael Golb.  Cargill is like the Pharisee, who supposedly said: ‘I thank you God that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and especially that I am not like this tax-collector here’.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Clincher

Norman Golb wrote (Page 152 of Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls):

"For by no stretch of the imagination could it be thought that, even over two centuries, as many as four or five hundred scribes had worked in the room that de Vaux had so confidently labeled a "scriptorium", or that groups of twenty or thirty such scribes would be gathered at any one time in such a harsh desert location, removed from the very city whose inhabitants would have been the main readers of the scrolls they were ostensibly producing."

Thus over 500 different scribal handwritings have been identified on the manuscripts found in the caves around Qumran.  The Scrolls were never produced at Qumran.  They were of Jerusalem origin. Given this large number of scribes, any other explanation is impossible.  So Jodi Magness, Lawrence Schiffman, Robert Cargill and others had better think again.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Hypocrites (From Jim West's Blog) - It takes one to know one

Quote of the Year: On The Scoundrelism of Anonymity  
September 2, 2010

“Anonymity, that shield for every kind of literary scoundrelism, must disappear. The pretext for its introduction into literary periodicals was that it protected honest critics from the wrath of authors and their patrons. But for every case of this kind there are a hundred cases where it serves merely to allow complete irresponsibility to reviewers who would be unable to defend what they write, or even to conceal the shame of those so venal and abject as to recommend books to the public in exchange for a tip from their publisher. It often merely serves to cloak the obscurity, incompetence and insignificance of the reviewer. It is unbelievable what impudence these fellows are capable of, and from what degree of literary knavery they will not shrink, once they know themselves secure in the shadow of anonymity.” - Schopenhauer

JW wrote:

"Well said, S., well said indeed! With thanks to Mark R. for sending it to me. By the way, that’s the same expression that’s always on my face too."

N T Wrong (Jeffrey Gibson - the grand master of aliases) commented:
"I agree, its disgraceful".
They mock!  But watch their lips.

Why has Norman Golb been such a target all these years?

Galileo supported the idea of Copernicus, that the sun was at the centre of the universe.  He was pilloried for it by the Roman Inquisitition and forced to recant.  The rest of the world continued to believe that the earth was at the centre.

It is like that with the Norman Golb and the Scrolls.  He has a theory that Qumran was a fortress and that the Scrolls were not written at Qumran but were brought from Jerusalem, and that they represented a cross-section of Jewish ideas.  It seems that much of the world does not take this at all kindly.  The consequences of accepting his views would be too great.

Like Galileo, Norman Golb will be remembered when others who are seemingly important are long forgotten.

Of course, Galileo and Copernicus were both wrong, but they were not to know how the universe was arranged.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lawrence Schiffman and Robert Cargill Must Have Known the Source of the E-mails Before Going to the Police

Given his background with Norman Golb, one could conclude that an intelligent person like Lawrence Schiffman must surely have known who was behind the e-mails, before going to the police.  Cargill obviously knew before he went to the police.  Cargill's friendship with Schiffman makes it extremely likely that he reported his findings to Schiffman in advance of both going to the police.  And you can take it for granted that Cargill's friends, Gibson and West, also knew in advance of the police. 

This boils down to one thing.   These were academics bent on suppressing Norman Golb and his ideas.  Raphael was their opportunity.  They knew who it was.  But they didn't make the soundings that they could have done to the Golb family. I consider their behaviour utterly disgusting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Did Dr Robert R Cargill Go Behind Norman Golb's Back?

On June 3, 2009, an e-mail was sent from the University of Chicago's Office of Legal Counsel.  It was written by Russel J Herron of the Office of Legal Counsel to Robert Cargill.  This was in response to an e-mail of June 1, 2009 from Robert Cargill to professor Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.  In that e-mail, Robert Cargill asked Professor Stein to remove Professor Golb's article: 'The so-called "Virtual Reality Tour" at the 2007 San Diego Scrolls Exhibit' from Professor Golb's web page on the University's web site.

Now without getting into the detail of why Cargill wanted to remove this article, Cargill's behaviour as an academic, was disgraceful.  It appears that Cargill did not first communicate with Norman Golb about Golb's Article, as an academic should, but went behind his back to Professor Gil Stein. He also sent what appears to be a similar e-mail, dated June 2, 2009 to Professor Theo van den Hout of the Oriental Institute, again ignoring Norman Golb.

The e-mail dated June 3, 2009 from the Office of Legal Counsel, is addressed to Robert Cargill.  It opens: Dear Mr Cargill.  This leaves me wondering exactly when did Robert Cargill receive his Ph.d, a date that is notably absent from here  In fact it appears that Dr Cargill always has had a Ph.d. laughably even from birth, and from when he accepted the J. P. Sanders Ministerial scholarship to attend Pepperdine University, and when he travelled extensively through Europe, Central and South America, and the Middle East.  Its a way of speaking, but it is not the truth. If the Office of Legal Counsel is correct, Robert Cargill did not have a Ph.d as at June 3 2009.    

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