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> Allegro states, in "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth" that
>"Although the name "essene" was known only in its transliterated Greek forms,
>ESSENOI, or ESSAIOI, there seemed good reason to believe it represented an
>Aramaic, ie Semitic, word meaning "physician" (`asa,' plural `asayya'),..."
> Since the Essenes were known as healers and the Egyptian sect called
>themselves the "Therapeutae," I have reason to believe him.
Vermes pointed to the Therapeutai described in Philo's De Vita Contempletiva as
"healers of the spiritually sick" and identified them with the Essenes based on
the description of them in Quod Omnis Liber Sit. However, Vermes said he did
not mean to imply that they were physicians, but was making an argument that the
Theraputai were healer-worshippers. (Post Biblical Jewish Studies, SJLA 8,
8-36). The problem with his emphasis on the term "worshippers" is that it has
no connection to "asya" and thus loses any etymological basis.
Cross argued against this that ess- derived from the Semitic 'has-" rather than
from "-as," and cites the example of Josephus using "essen" as the transcription
of "ho$en." (Ancient Library From Qumran), 38-39.
In another context, Josephus uses the word "essen" for the Hebrew word "ho$en"
(breastplate)--which he does NOT connect with the name of the sectarians, but
with logion (oracle, prophecy), following the LXX (because it contained the urim
and thumim, which were instruments of divination).
If there is a basis for believing the Essenes were healers, it is apparently not
etymological. Whether the residents of the Qumran community were Essenes or
not, here has been nothing found to date in the Qumran scrolls to indicate that
healing was part of their philosophy or activity, has there?