My dear friend Esteban is giving away a copy of Peter W. Flint (ed.), The Bible at Qumran: Text, Shape, and Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001) in honor of his recent new birth (to WordPress) and resurrection (to blogging life) with a couple of simple rules:
1. First, that you announce my change of address and this giveway on your own blog, and provide a link to your announcement in the comments to this post. (Note that WordPress blogs generate automatic pingbacks, and therefore you don’t need to provide if a link if you blog on WordPress.)
2. Second, that in your comment you provide your most creative theory regarding the identity of the Qumran community (if there was one, according to your theoretical construct). Obvious things like the Essenes and the Golbian Hasmonean fortress are out of the question. I, for instance, hold that Qumran housed the easternmost (and most learned) first-century settlement of the KISS Army.
I’ve already announced the change of address and I am now announcing the giveaway which will in turn generate a pingback. So now for #2: My theory regarding the Qumran community is that they were actually the originators of the Arabic text commonly referred to as the Qur’an. Anyone who has ever had a look at the Dead Sea Scrolls realize how fragmentary the texts are. It is only logical to conclude that as the Qumran settlers traveled east into the lands of Jordan, Arabia, and Iraq that they carried their scrolls with them, one of those scrolls being a text of manifold wickedness, a collection of detestable sayings gathered from the various pagans they had come across in their journeys, and this text of course was marked by the name of the community, “Qumran,” but due to the dry climate of the Middle East and the centuries of time that had elapsed between their original travels east and the uprising of Muhammad, this wretched document of demonic dreck deteriorated, and once discovered by the illiterate Muhammad its fragmentary title read “Quran.” So this is to say that the Qumran community were the keepers of records of all sorts, records that have since been lost and found and co-opted for all kinds of insane purposes. The Qumran community were the pre-Arabian librarians of the ancient Mediterranean.