But hearing the dramatic recitation, Peleg, 40, rolls his eyes. “There is no connection to the Essenes at this site,” he tells me as a hawk circles above in the warming air. He says the scrolls had nothing to do with the settlement. Evidence for a religious community here, he says, is unconvincing. He believes, rather, that Jews fleeing the Roman rampage hurriedly stuffed the documents into the Qumran caves for safekeeping. After digging at the site for ten years, he also believes that Qumran was originally a fort designed to protect a growing Jewish population from threats to the east.I agree with Peleg, so I'm not quite sure what Jodi Magness is getting at when she's quoted as saying:
But Peleg’s view has won few adherents. “It’s more interpretation than data,” says Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who shares de Vaux’s view that the site was a religious community. She says that some archaeologists—by refusing to acknowledge evidence that residents of Qumran hid the scrolls—are inclined to leap to conclusions since their research relies solely on the ambiguous, physical remains at the site."More interpretation than data"?! The data are all meaningless without interpretation. By evidence that residents of Qumran hid the scrolls, I assume she means the similar pottery found in the caves and at the site. Is there more than that? All that proves is that local pottery was used to hide scrolls. It says nothing about who was doing the hiding.
I recommend the article for anyone interested in an overview of current research related to Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
HT: Robert Cargill