coins, for example, from Qumran

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coins, for example, from Qumran

Post by StephenGoranson » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:17 am

To try to start with something that, maybe, all of us can agree upon: there is no evidence, and no reason to believe, that the site now called Qumran included a mint for making coins.

If that is agreed, it follows that all coins found at Qumran came from elsewhere (many different places).

It also follows that any archaeologist who decided to ignore coins in a dig would be making a mistake.

Similarly, an archaeologist who decided to ignore writing found at a site would be making a mistake. That would be a mistake, even though there is no proof that all Qumran writing came from elsewhere (or elsewhere-s). Yet, in their Qumran preliminary report Y. Magen and Peleg wrote on page 63, "From the outset, we have chosen not to become involved with the issue of the scrolls and the Essenes...." Given that, why rely on them for such subjects?

That all scroll writing came from elsewhere is an unproven and unlikely assumption, cf. Lemaire and others on ostraca and writing on stone; Tov on a Qumran scribal school; Rabin on Dead Sea related bromine/chlorine ratios of some MSS; Yardeni on one single scribe represented in several caves wirh many MSS; Pliny and Dio on Essenes by the Dead Sea; multiple inkwells; indications that not all the scroll deposits may have been made quickly at one short time (pace deVaux; pace Golb)....I could go on, but if some reader takes the position that "there is no proof for X" then it is, for that reader, in effect, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Back to coins, if one agrees that archaeologists should carefully record them, then readers might need to be careful with unreliable secondary characterizations of them. Two examples:

1) A 1996 book called Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls by N. Golb, on page 10: "Since no coins of the reign of Herod the Great (40-4 BC) were found in the [de Vaux, Qumran] excavation...."

But on pages 22-23 of Archaeology and The Dead Sea Scrolls (1973) de Vaux reported Herod the Great coins; and later diggers found more of them.

2) Robert Donceel warned (in French and English publications) that some silver coins found in Qumran in three pots had been sent to Amman and then there mixed together with other silver coins that were not from Qumran. Yet K. Lönnqvist has asserted that the coin hoard dates should be later than the experts Seyrig and Spijkerman determined--as if they could not see coins in very fine condition from Trajan--using the mixed coins in Amman. Addressed in detail in Bruno Callegher, "The Coins of Khirbet Qumran from the Digs of Roland De Vaux: Returning to Henri Seyrig and Augustus Spijkerman," ch. 15, pages 221-237 in The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano, 2014, ed. Marcello Fodanzio, Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 118, (Leiden: Brill, 2016).

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John T
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Re: coins, for example, from Qumran

Post by John T » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:37 am

This link claims some of the coins found at Qumran were post-war minted. If true, that would suggest Qumran was reoccupied by surviving Essenes shortly after the war in 70 A.D. ... coins.html


Community Rule (e.g. VI, 16-22), makes it clear that all coins/property were to be surrendered to the Bursar before joining the community and held in treasury for at least two years. When an initiate was removed/excommunicated from the community his original belongings in storage would be returned.

I always wondered why archaeologists haven't considered that a cave just outside of the camp would be set aside as a place to temporarily deposit/store personal belongings and scrolls of people going through initiation. :scratch:


John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

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