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> As for the problematic inclinations towards astrology at qumran, may I
> refer to Ibn-Ezra, an astronomer and astrologer. He doesn't seem to have
> been bothered, so why should the covenanters? Even Maimonides regards
> stars as more than physical beings. The problem with them is that they
As did Origen; my impression (to be confirmed by someone who knows better)
is that the belief never died.
> PS, the late JOnas Greenfield wrote an article on brontologies which
> might interest the members. Find reference in his Memorial Festchrift.
There are actually two Greenfield articles of relevance here: the first is
co-authored with Michael Sokoloff in JNES 1989, "Astrological Omens in
Jewish Palestinean Aramaic", and demonstrates that there are a number of
omen protases in Jewish Palestinean Aramaic, as well as Mandaic and
Syriac, that are directly descended from the Akkadian astrological and
meteorological omen series Enuma Anu Enlil. The second (probably the one
you were thinking of) is also with Sokoloff, "An Astrological Text from
Qumran (4Q318) and reflections on some Zodiacal Names" in RdeQ 1995, which
demonstrates that the astrological text 4Q318, a Zodiacal calendar
followed by a series of thunder omens,is a descendant of the Akkadian
astrological text MUL.APIN.
As David Pingree's appendix to the latter article shows, there is nothing
exceptional in this: the Hellenistic world inherited Mesopotamian
astronomy and astrology, and as we find inmany cases, the Qumran
covenanters were a part of the Hellenistic world.
Seth L. Sanders
Dept. of Near Eastern Studies
The Johns Hopkins University