Essenes, war and peace

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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StephenGoranson
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Essenes, war and peace

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:48 am

Gregory Doudna, when writing (at Vridar.org) about Josephus on Essenes, used the words “heriocly…heroic”—but those are Doudna’s words, and not those of Josephus. Giuseppe again parroted Doudna in an Christian thread, in which I argued that John the Essene is a misreading of John of Essa/Gerasa.

Essenes communed, stuck to themselves, believing that God and the angels were on their own side, not on the side of Jews generally, many of whom they thought did not truly observe Torah (’osey ha-torah, observers of Torah, is one of their self-designations and, some say, their name etymon). They were not “joiners.” No mention of them in the siege of Jerusalem. At Masada, according to Yadin and to Jodi Magness (her Masada book and NYU DSS zoom conference), and to the current excavator, Guy Stiebel, they huddled together in one place, where a ms of Songs of the Sabath Sacrifice, an angelic liturgy, was found. The John who wrote the Apocalypse also relied on god and angels to defeat the evil empire. (I published three articles related to this; two online by name search.) Reportedly (by Epiphanius) they fled to the east of the Jordan; Qumran then maybe was briefly occupied by zealots. Fled, not fought. (Philo, LCL IX, also presented them as the opposite of warlike—need I quote him?)

Essenes believed in fate, in predestination (Ant. 13. 171, 298 and 18. 11). War 2.152-3 “Smiling in their agonies and mildly deriding their tormenters, they cheerfully resigned their souls, confident that they would receive them again.” This is not “heroic” war-making. The applicable word is pacifism.

StephenGoranson
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Re: Essenes, war and peace

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Feb 01, 2021 2:51 am

Here's the relevant info about John's name:
"John the Essene" is mentioned as a general in translations, but that may be a confusion in Josephus with the gentilic (place name), someone from Essa/Gerasa, so maybe not an Essene, according to Abraham Schalit (in Namenwoerterbuch zu Flavius Josephus, supp. to the Concordance edited by K.H. Rengstorf, Leiden, 1968, p.34, 46, 66).

Steve Mason, What Josephus Says about the Essenes in his Judean War (online by title):

In at least one case, finally, there is good reason to believe that Josephus understands )Essai~oj as an ethnicon, designating someone from Essa. He mentions a place called Essa in the Transjordan (Ant. 13.393 = Gerasa in War 1.104), and a person from Essa would most naturally be called an )Essai~oj. Further, in War 2.567 we are introduced to the commanders chosen for the revolt: Niger the Perean, John the )Essai~oj, Josephus, and others. In War 3.11, similarly, we are told of Niger o( Perai5thj, Silas o( Babulw/nioj, and John o( )Essai~oj. These immediate contexts, taken with the fact that John is never credited with any of the traits otherwise mentioned for Essenes, provide prima facie support for Schalit's proposal (1968: 46 s.v.) that in John's case )Essai~oj means "of Essa."

So, "John the Essene" did not exist. And the Aramaic word proposed, is an unknown hypothetical form (dropping a chet, a hard letter to drop) not in any known ancient writings. That's a lot of non-existence being used by someone who strains to say Jesus did not exist...

StephenGoranson
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Re: Essenes, war and peace

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Feb 01, 2021 6:32 am

Maybe I should quote Philo on Essenes. “Every Good Man is Free / Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit,” F.H. Colson trans. (Loeb ed. Philo vol. IX, #78, page 55):

“As for darts, javelins, daggers, or the helmet, breastplate or shield, you could not find a single manufacturer of them, nor, in general, any person making weapons or engines or plying any industry concerned with war….”

Again, not heroically pursuing war, but noted for being peaceful.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Essenes, war and peace

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:07 pm

Giuseppe has conversations with pieces of furniture. Wouldn't worry about what he says.

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