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orion War, Peace, and John "the Essene"
Philo, Josephus, and Pliny present Essenes as peaceful. A proposed
contraindication in Josephus comes in his mention of John "the Essene."
As noted previously, John may have been a former Essene and been given
this atypical identification to distinguish him from others with a
common name by noting his past, differing from most revolt participants.
For example, people from Texas are rarely nicknamed "Tex" while still in
Texas. Simon "the Zealot" in Luke/Acts may be another example of this
type of naming.
But another possibility may be worth considering. Following an
observation by E. Schuerer, Abraham Schalit (in Namenwoerterbuch zu
Flavius Josephus, supp. to the Concordance edited by K.H. Rengstorf,
Leiden, 1968, p.34, 46, 66) noted that Essa appears in Josephus as a
variant reading for Gerasa, which, Schalit suggests, *may* indicate that
John was not an Essene group member, but merely someone from Gerasa.
"Vielleicht ist Essaios in B 2.567 als Ethnikon zu verstehen und mit
Gerasenos identisch (vgl. Essa A 13.393 = 1 Gerasa). Dann waere 4
Johannes kein Essener gewesen!" (46)
At any rate the Greek for"John the Essene" differs from that for
Judah, Menahem, and Simon, who are identified as Essenes, but with
somewhat different language.
Also, it is possible that being attentive to the two forms Essaios and
Essenes may help source investigations.