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Re: 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.
This seems to stretch Occam's razor to the max. The simplest
explanation for Pliny's statement is that it was the way things were
when he wrote. Of course he had heard of the destruction of
Jerusalem, so it seems that if he knew about that he probably had
some fairly up-to-date info about the Essene settlement as well.
Playing this kind of game with his presumed sources seems like an
exegetical back-flip to try and save the Essene hypothesis.
> I am amazed at the resistance by some to
> taking Pliny at his word--he used (and listed) sources
It seems to me that if we take Pliny at his word, we find an Essene
settlement near En-Gedi and nowhere near Qumran. The fact that he
used sources has nothing to do with that.