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?