Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1066-The Essene Latrines


For the past 50 years archaeologists have been debating whether or not the inhabitants of Qumran were the Essenes who were described by some ancient writers. Fr. Roland DeVaux, the excavator of Qumran, theorized that the Essenes lived a monastery-like existence in settlement along the NW shore of the Dead Sea. Critics suggested that De Vaux’s cloistered background shaped his diagnosis. For that and other reasons, alternative theories have been offered. But for most Dead Sea Scroll scholars the evidence still favored an Essene settlement at Qumran.

Earlier this year the Biblical Archaeology Review printed an article about the latest theory by archaeologist Yitzhak Magen, suggesting that Qumran was in fact a commercial pottery production facility.

Now archaeologist James Tabor is offering strong new evidence that indeed the Qumran settlement seems to have been inhabited by a population with unusual toilet habits, as those that have been associated with the Essenes.

Also on this program, an update on “The Armageddon Church.” Ambitious plans to develop the archaeological discovery of one of the oldest Christian houses of worship, for the benefit of Christian pilgrims, have been postponed due to budget problems within the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The former home of a well-known model of first century Jerusalem, at the Holyland Hotel, is now the scene of an exciting archaeological discovery. It’s the grave yard of a 4,000-year old Canaanite community. The community was located just a few miles from ancient Jerusalem. At around that time, 4,000 years ago, Abraham is believed to have attempted the sacrifice of his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah, the traditional site of which is today the Dome of the Rock. The Jerusalem model was relocated to an area near the Israel Museum, earlier this year.

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One response

  1. Hi i just surfed in searching for interesting facts on Essenes in the blogs. you have a cool blog. Do keep up the good work. I’ll be back for more. i live far from where you live. its nice to be able to see what people from across the world thinks. On a related note perhaps you might find the following article interesting. we are currently doing a series of posts on essenes and their culture and i’ll like to hear your take on the subject via comments. See ya there…. Historical Facts on Essene Culture Warm Regards from the Other Side of the Moon.Bijoy Cletus – Kerala, India

    July 19, 2007 at 11:21 am

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