Monday, March 29, 2010

Robert R Cargill, Ph.D UCLA - On the Insignificance of the Copper Scroll? Really!

Robert R. Cargill (for the Center for Digital Humanities, UCLA, Jul. 2009, )  wrote:

"But for the wise, the Copper Scroll is little more than what scholars have claimed since the beginning: an anomaly discovered among the otherwise informative manuscripts comprising the Dead Sea Scrolls."

Well, well well!  Our relatively newly qualified expert tells us that the Copper Scroll is an anomaly.  This is what comes of doing your archaeology in front of a computer, and not having an appreciation of the writings attributed to Josephus.  Added to that he just couldn't wait to have a go at amateurs like Robert Feather who I am sure has tried in all sincerity to come up with a plausible and researched case for the Copper Scroll even if I can't accept it. And why does our expert have to even mention the ridiculous Jimmy Barfield?  Robert Cargill must think like Jim West, that the general public are idiots.

This is what Cargill wrote about various people including one very wise Scholar, Norman Golb.  Cargill reveals his sensitivies:  

"But it is not just wannabe archaeologists that prey on the Copper Scroll.  Some scholars holding to fringe theories about the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls regularly make the Copper Scroll a central pillar of their unlikely arguments.  The University of Chicago’s Norman Golb has made a name for himself in part by appealing to the Copper Scroll to argue in support of his version of Karl Rengstorf’s theory that none of the Dead Sea Scrolls were produced at Qumran.  Others, like author Robert Feather, have written several books touting the Copper Scroll’s connection to treasures from Egypt.  The fact that most scholars have wholly dismissed claims by the Barfields, Golbs, and Feathers of the world has not stopped the latter from publishing books and raking in money from a public more than willing to entertain speculation and sensationalist claims over scholarly consensus and sound academic research." 

And never mind about the money Cargill hopes to rake in for his little virtual reality project.

Most Scholars have NOT dismissed claims made by Norman Golb.

The Copper Scroll was deposited in a cave near Qumran around the same time as all the rest of the Scrolls, essentially by the same people, the priests. They were certainly NOT deposited by people fleeing from a fallen Jerusalem, OR by various groups such as Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots and Sadducees, as proposed by Cargill in the multi-party theory of Pfann. The Scrolls were taken from Agrippa I's library, by the priests shortly before the Romans arrived. The priests were about to be destroyed by the fifth and tenth legions of Neros army who were to come from Alexandria. These legions were led by Nero himself.  At the time Jerusalem, Masada, Machaerus, and Qumran were controlled by the rebel priests. The priests kept many of the prophets locked in the temple.

The priests had already murdered the prophet James. They proceeded to ransack and burn Agrippa I's palace, and raided Agrippa I's library where the scrolls going back two or three hundred years were kept. - The Flavian historians have rebels burning the archives to destroy evidence of debts. (War 2.17.6)  They found Agrippa I in an aqueduct and murdered him - the Flavian historians, in a typical reversal, have the rebels murdering a SUPPOSED high priest Ananias. (War 2.17.9).  The priests sequested a large amount from the Agrippa I's treasury to fund the building of defences. (War 2.20.3) but this was not the treasure that the Copper Scroll spoke about.
  The Copper Scroll was a real document, about a real treasure, that was stolen for a purpose. It was certainly NOT an 'anomaly'.  (See the footnote). 

I now think that the extant Copper Scroll was inscribed (crudely) at the time of Judas Maccabeus when the priests were first kicked out of the Temple. The priests of the time had inscribed the extant Copper Scroll (along with a second more detailed copy referred to in the extant Copper Scroll, see column 12) around 164 BCE.  It recorded the places where they buried temple treasure which they took and hid before fleeing Judas's forces. Judas captured the extant Copper Scroll along with most of the other Scrolls, and probably most of the treasure.  The other more detailed copy (probably not copper) has never been found.  The Scrolls (including the one copper scroll) were preserved by a succession of Hasmonean and Herodian rulers.   Until the reign of Agrippa 1, the priests lived in exile in their villages and towns.  After Agrippa had ruled a good number of years, the priests rebelled, killed the king, ransacked the king's archives, set fire to them, and took the Scrolls to the Judean desert. Among the Scrolls the rebel priests took was the extant Copper Scroll.