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Re: Josephus & DSS

Yes Bill, I am the guilty party here.  Perhaps I should have said "many"
rather than "most," but please do take my comment in context.  I was
responding to

>How does one explain the find of a DSS in Masada, if the Essenes were not
>participants in the war against Rome?

and making the point that we should avoid the *assumption* that the Yahad
was Essene when we discuss something else.  In this case there is
reasonable doubt that Yahad = Essenes, therefore even if Yahad material
were found at Masada (debatable), it's another jump in inference to assume
that proves that Essenes fought at Masada.  My comment was primarily a plea
for clearer use of terminology.  Sorry if I wasn't clear.

I agree that some connection with the Essenes makes a lot of sense, but I
do think we should avoid using Essene and Qumran as virtual synonymns, as
was common up into the '80s and still sometimes happens.

I also agree with Jack Kilmon that identifying the scrolls with the Essenes
may be less than helpful even if it is more or less right.  If two thousand
years from now archaeologists dig up a hard disk in Kansas and recover
political documents that they label "Republican," it would still leave a
lot of questions open.  Is it the party platform?  A Dole campaign speech?
Militia propaganda?  formerly Southern Democrat neo-Republican letters to
constituents?  Etc., etc.?  Personally at this stage I prefer to look at
the Yahad texts on their own terms, whether or not they turn out to be
Essene in some sense.

By the way, Jack, do our sources ever explicitly identify the Therapeutae
with the Essenes?

>On Thu, 19 Sep 1996, James R. Davila wrote:
>> Anyhow, most of us are not willing to
>> grant the assumption that the Yahad group of the Qumran library were
>> Essenes ...
>It was hard to disentangle the various levels of the above message, so
>forgive me if I wrongly attribute the above statement to you, Jim.
>Actually, it was the fact that it came from you that was surprising.
>"Most of us"-- I'm not quite so sure about that.  Perhaps if you keep
>beating me over the head I'll grant that the issue isn't a closed case,
>but minimally I would say that it's the only likely hypothesis.
>Bill Schniedewind

Jim Davila
University of St. Andrews