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Thanks to Herb Basser and Avigdor Hurowitz for the responses. I now agree
with Prof. Hurowitz that an Akkadian origin for "Essene" is absurd; I was
just trying to be polite. Obviously I think the source is Hebrew and has
been staring us in the face. Here's why I imagined you were serious: you
are not the first to turn to Akkadian. P. Reissler on p. 1303 of
Altjudisches Schrifttum Ausserhalb der Bibel (Heidelberg, 1927) proposed
Akkadian asinnatu, "Dienerin, Essenerin" to explain the name of Asenath
in Joseph and Asenath. (Others suggest Aseneth is "servant of Neith").
Such speculation plays on "handmaid" and "Therapeutrides."
I disagree with you that the discussion has gone on too long
without results, unless I can interpret that to mean that you are more
anxious for results than for the discussion to be stopped. The Essene name
is central to Qumran mss studies. The question won't go away, so we may as well address it.
I don't have it at hand, so I may remember incorrectly, but haven't you
written on the development of the Hebrew root 'asah in late Biblical Hebrew?
If so, what I'm interested in is who you think wrote 4Qmiqsat ma'ase
hatorah other than Essenes who considered themselves the 'ose hatorah?
Prof. Basser, I'll catch your book when I can. The article by
Vermes is in Rev.Q. 2 (1960) 427-43 and reprinted in a later book of his. Vermes
responds to the hatchet idea as proposed by E. Dhorme, I think. Both Z. Frankel,
over a century ago, and K. Kohler had the same idea mentioned by J.R.Wegner, that
Essenos and Essaios have different etymologies (which I do not think is true).
Stephen Goranson, UNC-Wilmington
home: 706 Louise Circle 30J Durham NC 27705