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Josephus & DSS
Thank you for responding to my query:
>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
I understand you to be saying that, because Josephus has a discernible bias
toward certain parties about whom he writes, and writes, to some extent, for
self-vindication, he cannot be trusted to convey reliable information about
anything or anyone.
Would that not hold true for any other ancient (or modern, for that matter)
Will you similarly discard any evidence provided by Thucydides, Pliny, Origen or
Eusebius because they had their own perspectives and agendas?
>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.
Now it seems as though you are suggesting that an unknown, unnamed author of a
text found at Qumran is more reliable than Josephus is. Having read some of
these texts already, I certainly do not see their author(s) as being "objective"
in any sense of the word about the era in which they lived or their
religio-political enemies. How can I arbitrarily decide that they are to be
believed, Josephus is not?
And besides (to return to my original question to which you responded), the
author(s) of the scrolls never claim in any document thus found that they are
Essenes. Josephus is our primary source for information that there ever was a
group called "Essenes." So how can throwing out Josephus and his evidence
"prove" that the Qumranites were Essenes?