Monthly Archives: May 2016
By Lon Maxwell, Reference Department
Seventy years ago this year, a young Bedouin shepherd went wandering through the Qumran hills looking for a lost animal. Whether he actually found the animal or not does not seem to be recorded. The story, possibly apocryphal, is that in order to scare the lost sheep out of a small cave he found, Muhammed edh-Dhib hurled a stone in. He did not hear the bleating of a sheep (or goat, sources differ). What he did hear was the sound of pottery being smashed. Being a sixteen year old boy, he had to crawl in to see where the noise was coming from. He found scrolls lying amongst pottery shards. He took the scrolls home and after a while they passed into the hands of cousins who knew a thing or two about antiquities. From there, it was a time of moving from one collector to another until they came in to the hands of Metropolitan Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch in Jerusalem. He recognized what he had found as being very old indeed and took them to experts, including Drs. Ovid Sellers and John C. Trever, at the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) in Jerusalem. After comparing them to the Nash Papyrus, the then oldest known biblical text, they were able to determine the scrolls found in Qumran were very old.
After an announcement made in early 1948, the biblical archaeological community began to wonder what else lay out there in caves in the desert on the shores of the Dead Sea. Plans were made, expeditions formulated, but there was an issue getting back out to the area where the first scrolls were discovered. At the same time the scrolls were being authenticated, tempers were running high between the Arab League and the new state of Israel. By May this had erupted into the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. After hostilities ebbed the Arab Legion began searching for the caves. The first cave where the original find was made was finally located by United Nations observer Captain Phillipe Lip pens and Arab Legion Captain Akkash el-Zebn at the end of January, 1949. Ten more caves were found in the decade after Muhammed edh-Dhib first hurled the stone, with the final cave to contain anything, Cave Eleven, being found in 1956. In all, 972 manuscripts in scrolls or fragments were discovered. They are mostly written on animal skin parchment, with some fewer on papyrus and one scroll on copper.
Contrary to popular belief, the scrolls did not contain an entire old testament. In fact many of the scrolls, up to thirty percent, were copies of books that were not included in the bible as we know it and a further thirty percent were rules for the Essene community and comments on biblical passages. The scrolls do contain at least fragments from every single book of the Tanakh, or the Old Testament if you prefer, with the exception of the Book of Esther. It should be noted that the Book of Esther is the last book to be made cannon by the sages of the Great assembly and is the only book in the bible that does not mention God explicitly. There are also books of religious origin that do not show up in the Tanakh or the Christian Old Testament, although some are found in Apocrypha and the Catholic Bible. The majority of the scrolls actually deal with rules of daily and religious life, and with the beliefs and practices of the makers.
The same site that yielded the scrolls also contained coins from approximately 135 BCE to 73 CE. While it’s not the strongest dating procedure it does give you a very narrow, 208 year time window for these caves use. And when you consider how often you run into a coin minted during the Jefferson administration in the library today, you have to admit that it gives a likely date for their initial placement in the Qumran caves. However scientific dating techniques have gone on to prove these dates to be with in the margin for error. However, there are older materials present amongst the scrolls. The oldest is a fragment called MUR 17 and it dates from the 8th century BCE.
Who wrote them?
While the general consensus is that the scrolls were written by the Essenes that lived nearby, many scholars have other theories. There is a theory that the scrolls were actually prepared in Jerusalem and then stashed in the caves as the city’s inhabitants fled during the Jewish revolts against Roman rule. There is a fairly debunked theory that the scrolls are actually the work of very early Christian writers. This is based upon a tenuous identification of the scroll named 7Q5 as the text from Mark 6:52-53. This would make it the earliest known evidence of the New Testament. The majority of the people believe that these scrolls were the work of locals, either Essenes or otherwise. That they were locally produced is bolstered by the jars they were found in. The style of container is particular to Qumran and the caves alone. The best evidence linking the scrolls to the Essenes are the scrolls themselves. The scroll known as the Community Rule Scroll contains many references to practices and strictures that match contemporary descriptions of the rites of the Essenes.
The texts contained in the Dead Sea scrolls are the oldest ever found in such completion. The next oldest are the Masoretic texts that come from a thousand years later (approx. 900-1000 CE). Because of this they provide a look into scripture at some of its earliest moments. What little change there is between the scrolls version of the many of the books and the Masoretic texts or even the texts used in synagogues today, some books like Exodus and Samuel show great differences. This is a great way to see how scripture has changed and what has remained constant. These travelers from the past have come to tell us how Jewish and by extension Christian beliefs have evolved.
By Howard Shirley, Teen Department
with apologies to Joss Whedon and Sam Raimi
RICK, or Rick Grimes, is the lead character of the graphic novel and television series, The Walking Dead written by Robert Kirkman, which features a zombie pandemic that turns much of North America (and presumably the rest of the world) into a land dominated by re-animated corpses that attack any other living thing, including Rick’s band of survivors.
ASH, played by Bruce Campbell, battles his own version of undead zombies in the popular Sam Raimi films, The Evil Dead, The Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness. Part horror films, part camp comedy, the story was recently revised as a television series starring Campbell. ASH’s line about the shotgun is borrowed from the films.
JAYNE or Jayne Cobb was the “muscle” character in the short-lived sci-fi cult series, Firefly, as well as the movie set in the same universe, Serenity, and a series of graphic novels written by the show’s creator, Joss Whedon (writer/director of the hit Avengers movie). Many of the stories in the series feature the “reavers,” which, while not actually undead zombies, are clearly inspired by classic zombie horror films, and appear to equally hard to stop and equally hungry for human flesh. Vera is Jayne’s favorite gun. JAYNE’s description of Vera is taken from the television series.
ARCHIE is the famous comic character from the long-running comic book series. JUGHEAD is his best friend. Recently both feature in Afterlife With Archie written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, graphic novels set in an alternate universe, where the town of Riverdale, including many of Archie’s friends, succumb to a zombie plague.
A high school cafeteria room, with tables and chairs. There are double doors with frosted glass window panes set in them that lead out of the room. A podium has been set up on one of the tables. RICK stands behind the podium, holding a gavel. The others, except for JUGHEAD, move about the room.
RICK: I now call the first meeting of the Zombie Survivalists Society to order. First on the agenda–
(Noise from the back). No, Jayne, we are not changing the name to the “Not-Deaders Gang.”
JAYNE: But I *like* that name.
RICK (pounds gavel): As I was saying, first on the agenda, did anyone lock the door?
ARCHIE: Jughead went to do that!
RICK: Both doors?
ARCHIE: Sure. Don’t worry. We can trust Jughead.
JAYNE: What kinda mother names her kid “Jughead?”
ASH: Same kind that names her son “Jane.”
JAYNE: It’s JAYNE. With a “Y.”
ASH: And I’m Ash. With a chainsaw.
(SOUND EFFECT: Loud chainsaw revving.)
RICK (pounds gavel): Ash, turn that thing off. The undead will hear it!
ASH: Let ‘em. I got plenty of gas.
RICK: Off, Ash.
ASH: All right, all right. No need to get your gavel bent outta shape. It’s off.
RICK: I think that’s tip one, folks. Noise attracts the undead. So it’s best to keep as quiet as you can, even if you’re well-armed… or, uh, have a chainsaw for an arm.
JAYNE: Wait, that thing is part of you? You ain’t got no hand under there?
ASH: Lose a hand, gain a chainsaw. Groovy.
ARCHIE: They had a chainsaw at the hospital?
ASH: Hospital? Naw, kid, I got this in Hardwares at S-mart. Shop smart, kid. Shop S-mart.
ARCHIE: That doesn’t sound all that smart.
ASH (shrugs): Smart, dumb– I’m the one with the chainsaw hand.
ARCHIE: What does that even mean?
RICK (pounds gavel): Okay, okay. Let’s get back to business. Seems like a good time to talk about armament.
ASH: Chainsaw and boomstick (waves shotgun)— The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington, S-Mart’s top of the line. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. Shop smart, shop S-mart!
ARCHIE: Who talks like that? It’s like I’m trapped in an alternate universe.
JAYNE: Shiny. But I got Vera. (Holds up military rifle) It’s a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun. Can’t get that at your S-mart.
ASH: Can’t get ammo for it, either.
RICK: Solid point. A gun’s no good without bullets.
JAYNE: Oh, I got lots of bullets. Armor piercing, Alliance armory stuff, best you can buy in the Black.
RICK: Why would you want armor piercing rounds?
JAYNE: In case them goram reavers pick up some body armor off dead Alliance troopers.
ARCHIE: Wait, what’s a whatchamacallit “reaver?”
JAYNE: What we’re talking about, right? Come at ya’ fast, rippin’ ya’ apart. Only way to stop ‘em is to kill ‘em fast. And Vera will do that, full auto, broad spread.
ASH: You gonna get head shots on a horde of deadites with full auto?
JAYNE: Head shots? Why head shots?
ASH: Because that’s the only way you kill deadites—take out the brain. Or say the right words.
RICK: Words? What words?
ASH: Klaatu barada nikto… or something like that.
ARCHIE: How is a quote from The Day the Earth Stood Still supposed to stop zombies?
JAYNE: Zombies? Ain’t we talking about reavers? Ya’ know, men what’s gone nuts on account of the Alliance mucking around with folks brains?
ASH: Naw, we’re talking about deadites, the living dead, summoned from the grave by unholy magic and dumb teenagers.
ASH: No offense, carrot head.
RICK: “Unholy magic?” Where’d you get that? All the zombies I know of are caused by a viral plague. They bite, you get infected, die, and the virus brings your corpse back, with a raging hunger for human flesh.
JAYNE: Hang on, I’m taking notes. Can you guys talk a bit slower?
ASH: Well, those deadites never made me a zombie, but they possessed my hand. Had to cut it off for this! (Revs chainsaw again.)
ARCHIE: Cut off your own hand? That is completely gross.
ASH: Gross? Naw. Kiddo, it’s groovy.
JAYNE: So you guys are saying instead of insane killer nutjobs from the Black, you’re fighting superfast dead people from Hell? Told Mal he shoulda sent Shepherd Book to this shindig instead of me.
ARCHIE: Ours aren’t fast. They just kinda shuffle, like Frankenstein. (He mocks the walk.)
RICK: Yep, that’s about right.
JAYNE: You guys can’t run away from that?
ASH: Sure woulda made my life a lot groovier.
ARCHIE: Hard to run when the whole high school just keeps walking after you, never stopping, moaning for your flesh, like this—(Moans) URRRRRRRRR….
RICK: Whole school? Make that the whole world. As far as I can tell, it’s a global pandemic.
JAYNE: I ain’t thinking that’s any kind of what I’d call ‘groovy,’ Sawboy.
RICK: Look, this whole thing is about survival. And that’s more than just having the right weapon or knowing where to shoot. You need a plan, dependable transportation, a safe route for evacuation, supplies and more. And you have to make certain everybody in your family is on the same page, so they all know what to do and where to go when disaster strikes.
JAYNE: That’s a bit more than I can write down on this candy wrapper.
ASH: I’m surprised you can write anything down.
RICK: You don’t have to. The Center for Disease Control has already created a preparedness plan for dealing with a zombie plague. You can find it on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm.
ARCHIE (using a tablet): I’ve got it right here. Look, they even have a graphic novel we can download. http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies_novella.htm
ASH (to JAYNE): Groovy. That oughta make it easy enough for you to understand.
JAYNE: Ha. Funny. (to RICK) But if this plan is for zombies like you’re talking about, why are me and Lefty here?
JAYNE (continuing): Sounds like we got totally different monsters to fight.
RICK: The plan works for just about any disaster—zombie plagues, reaver attacks, or more realistic events like floods, tornadoes, disease outbreaks and more. The right things to do are pretty much the same, no matter what happens.
ARCHIE: I gotta show this to the gang. We could have been much better prepared when it all started. Jughead, Moose, Reggie, Betty, Veronica—sure would have helped.
RICK: Speaking of Jughead, where is that friend of yours? He should have been back by now.
ARCHIE: Well, I dunno. Wait, there he is!
(All turn to look at a shadow appearing in the windows of the doors into the room. It’s Jughead’s trademark crown-toothed hat.)
JAYNE: Nice hat. I’d wear that.
The door opens, and Jughead staggers into the room, one arm out, one clutching his stomach mouth open.
JUGHEAD (moaning): Muh-urrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…
ALL (except JUGHEAD): RUN!
There is a mad dash for the exit, with yells, screams and knocking over of chairs. JUGHEAD alone remains in the room.
JUGHEAD: …urrrppp! ‘xcuse me! Man, that was a long time coming up. Any of you guys want a sandwich, too? Guys?
The CDC Zombie Preparedness Guide is real, if tongue-in-cheek. Though centered around an imaginary zombie plague, the guide offers real tips and advice for general disaster preparedness.
By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department
Mother’s Day will be celebrated in America this year on Sunday, May 8. Now, Darling Reader, I like and respect your intelligence and taste, hence I will not tell you the egregious lie that motherhood is all sunshine and lollipops and playdates in the park, even if your kids are as fabulous as mine. Honestly, some days are monsoons and Brussels sprouts and grouting all the bathrooms in your house. So the following list of amazing moms is not presented with the intent to make you feel less-than about your own life, but to remind you that they are fictional characters. I’d like to think that even Marmee March would quickly morph into Mommie Dearest if she had to hear the words “I don’t have anything to wear!” for the fifty-eleventh time, or “Why is there never anything good to eat in this house?” as they stand in front of a fully-stocked refrigerator and/or pantry. Not that my children would ever do that. But I digress . . .
Here, in no particular order of magnificent Mom-ness, are some of my personal favorite mothers from children’s literature:
Charlotte—Charlotte’s Web by EB White (J F WHI) Yeah, I know, most people don’t love on the arachnids, but Charlotte the Spider is such a kind and wise mother figure to Wilbur the Pig. She becomes his staunch defender, and eventually saves his bacon (OMG, I’m so sorry, I couldn’t resist.) SPOILER ALERT: even the most jaded reader will be hard-pressed to hold back the tears at the book’s close, with Charlotte’s life ending as her wee hatchlings’ lives are just beginning.
Mother Bird—Are You My Mother? PD Eastman (J E EAS) This book, about a baby bird who escapes from his egg a bit too early and goes in search of his mother (who is away from the nest procuring a tasty worm for her precious fledgling) is an excellent book to read for Mother’s Day. Birdlet asks a whole host of characters, from the living (kitten, hen, dog, cow) to the inanimate (car, boat, airplane, steamshovel), if they are his mother. With each response, Little Wing learns that they are not in fact his mother. Haven’t we all been this little bird at some point in our lives? Whether we’ve temporarily gotten disconnected from our mom in the wilds of Kroger or are living hundreds of miles away from her in a dirty cold unfriendly town somewhere above the Mason-Dixon Line, that desperate feeling when you just really, really need your mother is all too real. SPOILER ALERT: with an assist from the steamshovel called Snort, Birdie does in fact find his mother, and his dinner.
Molly Weasley—Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (J F ROW) The matriarch of the boisterous Weasley clan, Molly Weasley is a desperately needed maternal figure for our beloved Harry. She is the center and the moral compass of a large and raucous family, and is by turns gentle nurturer and fierce protector; the part during the Battle of Hogwarts, where Molly defends her daughter Ginny from the ghastly Bellatrix Lestrange, always makes me smile. I mean, a mom of a bunch of redheads with a magic wand? Righteous!
Sarah—Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (J F MAC) Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton answers widowed farmer Jacob Witting’s advertisement for a mail-order bride, and travels from her seaside home in Maine to vast, landlocked Kansas to meet Jacob and his children, Anna and Caleb. Will she like them? Will she stay? Does she sing? Anna’s and Caleb’s longing for a mother to love and to love them back nearly leaps from every page. Strong, independent, kind Sarah completes the Witting family.
Marmee/Mrs. March—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (J F ALC) Literary moms don’t get any better than Marmee, or Mrs. March, mother of the March daughters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (AKA the Little Women.) Kind, charitable, and loving, Marmee holds the March household together throughout the Civil War and Mr. March’s long absence serving as a chaplain. She can always be relied on, no matter what.
Raksha/Mother Wolf —The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (J F KIP) Although the snide query “What, were you raised by wolves?” is generally not indicative of someone having an abundance of grace and good manners, one could certainly do worse than having a mom like Raksha (which means “protection” in Hindi and other languages.) Not only does she save Mowgli the man-cub from being Shere Khan’s tasty tiger treat, but she takes him into her pack and raises him as her own. “And it is I, Raksha the Demon, who answers,” said Mother Wolf angrily. “The man cub is mine! He shall not be killed! He will run with my Pack and hunt with my Pack. In the end, you hunter of man cubs, you frog eater and fish killer . . . . he will hunt you!” Really puts the car rider line at your child’s elementary school into perspective, doesn’t it?
So, Darling Reader—regardless of your location or your circumstances, may you all have a blessed Mother’s Day.
As always, the random ramblings that are revealed here are the sole province of the author and may not be reflective of the opinions of any other WCPL employees, their children, or their pet pigs. The author has been compared to a mother wolf in the past, but sadly, she does not possess a magic wand.