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orion Re: Sadducees, etc.
Ian is mistaken in asserting the three groups are attested before the
desecration by Antiochus IV. See Ant. 13.171-2, a text which I think
reflects the understanding of Posidonius via the tradent Strabo about
the situation in 146 BCE. Whether that understanding (of the groups'
existence, not origin) is correct or not is another question.
Since he already refused to acknowledge evidence including Pliny's
source; archaeological links of Kh. Q. and caves; doctrine (e.g.,
predestination); organization (e.g., initiation); legal matters--not
"halakah" (e.g., purity concerns about the temple); etc.; I see no point
to pursue that. MMT was written by those who were self-identified as
observers of torah, a name which fits texts both internal and external
to Essenes (and Ossenes)..
It is possible that we agree that there is no need to multiply Sadducee
varieties, while not agreeing on the parties of MMT. The "separation" is
from people by a group not in control of the temple.
For some of my views on Ebionites, including the Qumran usage, between
the Psalms' generic positive use and Irenaeus' negative specific use,
see "Ebionites" in Anchor Bible Dictionary.
On one issue I think I can agree with Yirmiyahu: participation from
people who have read the relevant texts would be welcome.
Stephen Goranson email@example.com