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Re: Josephus & DSS

At 12:59 PM 9/18/96 -0400, you wrote:
>I am a humble graduate student who would appreciate learning from the scholars
>on this list how the discrepancies between the Essenes described by
Josephus and
>the policies and procedures of the sect depicted by the scrolls found at Qumran
>are accounted for by those who say that the Qumran community was Essene.  
>                                                      Beruriah Bloom

First, I would suggest that you virtually disregard Josephus as a credible
witness to the Essene movement or anything else.  There is an astonishing
idea among some scholars that Josephus is reliable history.  This is simply
not the case.  Josephus was biased and his works were simply self serving;
in short, he is as historically reliable as something like the Biblical book
of Acts.
Once Josephus has rightly been abandoned as a historical source one is freed
from his fetters to understand the Qumran documents on their own terms.
Thus, one should begin with a thorough reading of the documents themselves
(and I recommend Garcia-Martinez's translation).  Doing this will enable you
to hear the documents themselves without Josephus whispering in your ear.



Jim West
Professor of Biblical Languages, CCBI
Adjunct Professor of Bible, Quartz Hill School of Theology