Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Abstract of Jerusalem Archives essay

Here is the abstract for the essay on Norman Golb's theory that the Dead Sea Scrolls are not Essene or sectarian, but rather consist of literary archives from Jerusalem:
This paper focuses on an alternative theory to that of the Qumran - Essene hypothesis of the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Instead it looks to the 'radical' theory of Norman Golb, who does not believe there was any connection between the Essenes and the scrolls. Rather Golb argues the scrolls originated in libraries of Jerusalem and were later hidden in the caves at Qumran for safekeeping during the first revolt. Golb fundamentally uses the archaeological evidence from the site of Qumran to refute the Essene theory, and poses instead a view that Khirbet Qumran was at this time a military fortress. In order to prove his own Jerusalem archives theory, Golb looks to the contents of the manuscripts found, number of scribal hands used, the absence of documentary records and autographs, and the location of where the scrolls were hidden. He concludes that the Essene theory is in part based on the order of the manuscripts' discovery, and thus had they been discovered in the reverse order then other scholars would have inevitably reached the same conclusion as him, of the scrolls originating in Jerusalem libraries. There is then a brief overview of other scholars' responses to and critiques of Golb's argument.

Laura Gibb