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orion on R. Gmirkin proposals, part 2
Posidonius of Apamea, Syria, was one of the most highly-regarded
philosophers, scientists, and historians of his time. Why would anyone
assert that he must not have known about Jews? Posidonius died before Herod
became king, so to attempt to characterize him as a Herodian source is
Menahem Stern, _Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism_ does not agree
with Gmirkin. His commentary is long and good. One example (vol. 1, p.
262): "...whenever Josephus testifies to the consonance between Strabo and
Nicolaus in their accounts of Jewish history, it should be explained by (a)
intrinsic correctness of the facts independently related by the two
writers; (b) their independent derivation from common sources; or (c) a not
impossible, though not very probable, use of Strabo by Nicolaus."
It is true that the 146 BCE date is an assertion, which is not therefore
necessarily historically true; but neither is it necessarily false, nor has
that been shown. Note that Ant 13 says the three groups existed then, not
that they began then.
Epiphanius is a difficult source to study, but repays the effort (e.g., in
his account of Ossenes). To claim that all the sources on Essenes (e.g.
Hegesippus, Solinus, Joseph author of Hypomnestikon, Dio, Apostolic
Constitutions, and others) all had one Herodian source, as far as I can
tell, does not work.
The source of War 2 on Essenes (as well as Hippolytus and Slavonic
Josephus) is the subject of several learned studies (a bibliography is in
Adam and Burchard _Antike Berichte_, to which should be added publications
by A.I.Baumgarten and E. Puech). It seems not useful to pursue debate with
the mere assertion that Nicolas is the source. Josephus had several sources.
Gmirkin wrote that the Judah the Essene story was invented to provide
Menahem a teacher. Yet the Judah story appears in War and Menahem does not;
both appear in Ant; in none of these three is the proposed reason for the
invention mentioned. That would be an odd strategy. As to Judah and bQidd
66a, I have given the source.
Gmirkin apparently asserts that "Essenes" derives from "Hasidim" (also
spelled with a "d" in Greek in 1&2 Macc) and that Essenes were influenced
by Hasidim (despite Kampen, Millar, Davies), and lived in a former Sadducee
fortress (which isn't one, with no weapons) and kept the Sadducee and/or
Hasidim books and for generations and didn't write others (despite what
Josephus and Philo imply, despite inkwells, despite distinctive teachings,
practices, and laws, despite AMS, despite paleography, despite the
ostraca), but they didn't keep copies of 1&2 Macc in order not to offend
Herod, who had invented them, and they may not be real anyway. This is
Stephen Goranson firstname.lastname@example.org