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orion present tense Essenes

The fact that Pliny's source wrote about Essenes in present tense as a
long-established group--as correctly noted by Bob Kraft [and for the
long-duration cf. Philo Apol. 8.11.1]--shows that the source is different
from Pliny's own consciousness and that the source is pre-70. Pliny heard
about the war with Rome--what literate Roman didn't?--but Pliny had no new,
post-70, information on Essenes. I am amazed at the resistance by some to
taking Pliny at his word--he used (and listed) sources--and at the
lingering misunderstandings caused by Th. Mommsen misreading an inscription
a century ago and wrongly placing Pliny in Judaea, a misunderstanding
repeated by several 20th-century writers on Dead Sea Scrolls, though
falsified by Pliny scholars.
Stephen Goranson   goranson@duke.edu