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orion Re: Orion Gmirkin's Proposal Part II
Responding to Stephen Goranson:
1) 1QS may have been utilized by Essenes, but one cannot thereby conclude it
was written by Essenes.
>2) It is not in the least clear that either Posidonius or Strabo was
>anti-Semitic; the latter explicitly describes Moses and his followers as
>honorable. Josephus in Contra Apion apparently misunderstood a tradent.
>Philo, who read Posidonius directly, knew better.
Strabo (following Posidonius) gives a glowing if inaccurate account of
Moses and monotheism, but condemns the later Jewish rule by "superstitious
and ambitious" priests (i.e. the Hasmoneans) who invented circumcision and
dietary laws and conquered neighboring territories. This uninformed bias
against contemporary Judaism is consistent with Contra Apion, which indicates
Apion cited Posidonius as a source for the allegation that the Jewish temple
contained an ass's head. So I question whether Posidonius would have
anything positive or accurate to say about Essenes or other late Jewish
>3) B. Qidd. 66a... may cast doubt on the reliability
>of the Nicolas of Damascus account of John Hyrcanus.
Oh yes, the doublet of Josephus' story on the Sadducees vs. Pharisees
under JHyrk. You're suggesting Judah the Essene is Judah b. Gedidiah.
Neusner ("The Rabbinical Traditions About the Pharisees Before 70" p. 175)
points out that this passage presupposes details found in Josephus; J. Ephron
("Studies on the Hasmonean Period", 176-190) convincingly argues the story
comes from Josephus, not an independent source. Judah b. Gedidiah does not
appear in Josephus, only 66a, where this figure is named Eleazar, and the
Talmudic substitution of Judah & Eleazar for Eleazar and Jonathan is probably
under the influence of ySotah 9 24a. Why do you prefer a secondary tradition
of ca. 350 CE to the original tradition in Josephus? And what of 66a
suggests reading Judah "the Essene" into a story about Pharisees and
B. Qidd. 66a puts this incident under Jannaeus, not Hyrkanus as in Josephus.
But the former story is from R. Abbaye, who per b. Ber. 29a was of the
opinion that Jannaeus and Hyrkanus was the same figure. 66a even reproduces
the charge that Jannaeus' "mother" was a war-captive in Modein, which is
obviously appropriate for Hyrkanus, not Jannaeus. So citing b. Qidd 66a to
suggest the rift was under Jannaeus, not Hyrkanus (as in ND), is completely
ill-founded, which further undermines your thesis.
-- Russell Gmirkin