A controversial ostracon may connect the site to the scrolls, but it does not contain the word “Essene.” See Frank Moore Cross and Esther Eshel, “The Missing Link,” BAR 24:02, and Ada Yardeni, “Breaking the Missing Link,” BAR 24:03.


For our Latin readers: “Infra hos Engada oppidum fuit.” Natural History 5.73.


See “Jerusalem As Mosaic,” sidebar to “Illuminating Byzantine Jerusalem,” BAR 24:02.


See Ronny Reich, “They Are Ritual Baths,” BAR 28:02.



Some scholars think the term “Essene” derives from the expression ‘osei ha-torah, “doers of the Torah,” a term that appears numerous times in the scrolls. See Stephen Goranson, “Others and Intra-Jewish Polemic as Reflected in Qumran Texts,” in Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam, eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Comprehensive Assessment vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill, 1999), pp. 534–551.


Glen Bowersock of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, has recently argued (in a paper given at Columbia University in October 2001) that the site Pliny is referring to is south of Ein Gedi. In his view, infra can mean either north or south, depending on the maritime reference in the particular context. Here Ein Gedi should be understood to lie north of the Essene site; hence, the Essene site is south of Ein Gedi. In Bowersock’s words, “If Pliny is following the usage that emerges from other parts of his work as well as from Strabo’s Geography, he ought perhaps to be understood as saying that En Gedi lay to the north of the Essenes. Since that site is in fact located south of Qumran, this interpretation would provide support for those who deny the identification of the Essene community with it.” Bowersock concludes there is not the “slightest possibility” that “infra” refers to “geographical elevation.”


Yizhar Hirschfeld, “Early Roman Manor Houses in Judea and the Site of Khirbet Qumran,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 57:3 (1998), p.161.


Yizhar Hirschfeld, “A Settlement of Hermits Above ‘Ein Gedi,” Tel Aviv 27 (2000), pp. 103–155. Except where otherwise noted, Hirschfeld’s quotations that follow are from this article.


The description that follows includes only the site as it existed in the Second Temple period (which ended in 70 C.E. with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem) and the period leading up to the Second Jewish Revolt of 132–135 C.E. It ignores the small settlement at Upper Ein Gedi of the Byzantine period.


Josephus, The Life of Josephus 11–12.


Other examples besides Qumran include Khirbet Mazin, Qasr e-Turabi, Ein Gedi (Tel Goren) and ‘En Boqeq.


David Amit and Jodi Magness respond to Hirschfeld in their article, “Not a Settlement of Hermits or Essenes: A Response to Y. Hirschfeld,” Tel Aviv 27 (2000), pp. 273–285.


Jodi Magness, “Qumran Archaeology: Past Perspectives and Future Prospects,” in Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam, eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years (Leiden: Brill, 1998).


Hirschfeld’s rejoinders to his critics come from “The Archaeology of Hermits: A Reply to D. Amit and J. Magness,” Tel Aviv 27 (2000), pp. 286–291.


The final report on the pottery of Qumran is being prepared by Jean-Baptiste Humbert of the école biblique et archéologique Française in Jerusalem. He reports that the volume should be out in the next year.