the name "Qumran"

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StephenGoranson
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the name "Qumran"

Post by StephenGoranson »

From the mid-1800s the name of the site of the ruins of Qumran was known from local Arabic speakers.
Though there have been attempts to discover the etymology of the original name, none of them has gained much assent.
Spellings published in Latin alphabet, include (I think; correct: subtract or add):
Goumran, Oumran, Gumran, Ghomran, Ghoumran, Kumran, Qoumran, (Khoumran?) Qumran, (by proposed association: Gomorrhe)
StephenGoranson
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Re: the name "Qumran"

Post by StephenGoranson »

The ruin and the wadi are both named Qumran.
The ruin may have been known by other names at some time, maybe including 'ir hamimelah (city of salt) or maybe Secacah.

Bibliography on attempts to determine the etymology of "Qumran" include
Frank M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran & Modern Biblical Studies, revised edition, 1961 reprint 1980, page 53 note 3, with more bibliography there, including H. Michaud, A propos du nom de Qumran, RHPR 35 (1955) 68-74.
Joan E, Taylor, Khirbet Qumran in the Nineteenth Century and the Name of the Site, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, v. 134 (2002) 144-164.
S. Bowman, The Meaning of the Name "Qumran." Revue de Qumran 11/4 no 44 (1984) 543ff.
None of these persuaded me.

Are there other proposed etymologies of Qumran?

It is also possible that the name Qumran, of whatever origin, attested in the mid-1800s by Arabic speakers, was not its ancient name.
Last edited by StephenGoranson on Tue Jan 16, 2024 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DCHindley
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Re: the name "Qumran"

Post by DCHindley »

Unless someone finds an ancient sign on the road in that says "City of Salt 10 Roman Miles."

I believe John Allegro, maverick early academic charged with publication of fragments, who suggested Secacah.

IMHO, "modern" day common names for villages, creeks and ruins especially, may not have any relation to their ancient names. Various excavations and topographical surveys of Jerusalem were extensive, and they changed the geography by flooding the (then) swamp with salt water to create an inland sea. Maps were drawn in abundance, with English transliterations of the local place names, and I'm a certain number of these were pure speculations stated as fact.

But they were indeed quite nice terrain maps, that at least allow folks to estimate the size and depth of the ancient lake Lake Mareotis (unless the 1801 flooding caused the silt to flatten out the hollows, and making it seem unnavigable). In my (admittedly exaggerated) imagination I can see a bustling area full of docks for loading or unloading the sea ships in the main channel. This would be sub-contractors, assigned to move or ship specific loads. They greet the incoming ships to see if they carried expected cargo, or head to the big port to find a ship destined to depart that was expecting this cargo. A little further on, are private docks with pleasure craft. The owners would have small villas nearby and treat this area as a resort. There may be beaches (if they sunbathed), or pools and such to frolic in.

Cue Charles Wilson ... :popcorn:

DCH

I do notice that even now there are differences of opinion over the names of specific sites around this lake, whether they are this or that site that literary remains indicate should be there somewhere.
StephenGoranson
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Re: the name "Qumran"

Post by StephenGoranson »

Yes, John M. Allegro and (later) Hanan Eshel, IEJ 45 (1995) 37-40, equated Qumran and Secacah.
R. Noth, ZDPV 71 (1955) 111-123, equated Qumran and the City of Salt.
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