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Re: orion RE: Orion Gmirkin's Proposals Part II

Dear Russell Gmirkin,
On Posidonius: It is quite possible that he has incorrectly had views
associated with him which were not his. Josephus apparently did not read
him directly; Philo did. Bibliography in M. Stern.
On Strabo: His Geography 16.2.34f does indeed praise Moses and his
followers (cf. Philo, Apology, on Essenes), which is hardly anti-Semitic,
though, as you say, he was wrong about the origin of circumcision. We all
make mistakes. Strabo does say later priests (not necessarily all
Hasmoneans) were supersititious and tyrannical. He specifically names
Alexander (Jannaeus). But then, if I may suggest, this view is found also
in some Qumran texts, which only makes Strabo as a source on Essenes more
interesting. Could it be that Strabo heard an Essene version of Jewish
On bQidd 66a and Josephus:  You have noted some arguments which prefer
Nicolas of Damascus (Herod's employee) as more reliable on Hasmonean
history than the baraita, and gave some bibliog. for that view. Opinions do
vary. If you wish to read views that bQidd 66a is more reliable: I.
Friedlaender JQR 4 (1913-14) 443-8; M.J. Geller JJS 30 (1979) 202-11; E.
Main RB 97 (1990) 161-206.
Stephen Goranson     goranson@duke.edu