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Hanan Eshel as a Historian of the Jews 1

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Abstract This article in memory of Hanan Eshel (1958–2010) focuses on his contributions as a historian of the Jews. It analyzes selected discussions of Eshel’s work, exemplified in his book The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State (Hebrew 2004; English 2008). The article emphasizes the integrative aspects of Eshel’s work, his success at bringing the scrolls, archeological evidence, and Josephus to shed light on each other and expand our knowledge and understanding of the events of the Hasmonean era. The article argues that a key aspect of Eshel’s contribution was to validate the testimony of Josephus, not only as a field guide to the geography and archeology of the Land of Israel, but also as a historian of the Jews. The article compares Eshel’s achievement to that of one of the most distinguished historians of antiquity active in the twentieth century, Louis Robert (1904–1985) who also brought together philology, history, numismatics, papyrology, epigraphy, and archeology in a way unequalled by others, and thus succeeded in solving many complex difficulties concerning the ancient world. The article concludes with a discussion of the collaborative work by H. Eshel, M. Broshi, R. Freund, and B. Schultz, “New Data on the Cemetery East of Khirbet Qumran,” DSD 9 (2002): 135–165.


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