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Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Dead Sea Scrolls authers, the Essenes, never existed?

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/03/dead-sea-scrolls-authers-essenes-never.html

Proessor Rachel Elior claims: The Essenes, Dead Sea Scroll 'authors,' never existed.  According to her, Josephus Flavius invented them. Josephus is the only source for the existence of this sect. Elior believes the scrolls were written by Sadducee priests in Jerusalem. That may well be, but the question is why Josephus Flavius would invent them. Some believe that some of the defenders of Masada were Essenes as well. 
 
Elior said, ""Sixty years of research have been wasted trying to find the Essenes in the scrolls. But they didn't exist, they were invented by [Jewish-Roman historian] Josephus. It's a history of errors which is simply nonsense." "Sixty years of research have been wasted trying to find the Essenes in the scrolls. But they didn't exist, they were invented by Josephus. It's a history of errors which is simply nonsense," she said.
 
"The scrolls speak in clear Hebrew of the priests, sons of Zadok. So why call them Essenes?" asked Elior. "That's a distortion of history. It's like saying that the State of Israel wasn't established by Mapai, but by the Greens."
 
But Prof. Hanan Eshel of Bar-Ilan University claims that denying the Essenes' existence is groundless. "Almost 70 scholars accept the statement that one of the Essenes' groups lived in Qumran and some say we're all morons and only they understand," he said. One of the scrolls, "describes a small group of people living communally. Can anyone explain to me how this could have come from Jerusalem.
 
Scientific findings are not a matter of voting. At one time all scholars thought there was an electromagnetic ether, and at one time everyone thought the Sun orbits the Earth. There is no guarantee that all the scrolls were written by the same people, and some of them could have been written by a small group living communally. However, there might have been any number of such groups.
 
Josephus Flavius is a problematic source, since he betrayed the Jewish revolt and went over to the Roman side. His descriptions of the leaders of the revolt as Sicarii, which means "dagger users" literally and is a term that was used to refer to cutthroat assassins and highway robbers, is very problematic, but nobody has ever considered the improbability of a popular revolt led only by robbers and thieves. However, in the case of the Essenes, Josephus' motives for inventing a group don't seem to exist. On the other hand, it is quite possible and even likely that whereas the Essenes existed, they were not not the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They may have taken them from Jerusalem, or they may have had nothing whatever to do with the scrolls. 
     


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