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re: orion Gmirkin's Proposal Part II

    Just a closing note of appreciation on the reasonably high level of
courtesy Stephen Goranson has maintained in our on-line discussions, of which
his closing letter below is a good example.  I originally sought out
Stephen's opinions on my thesis of late Essene inheritance of the scrolls, as
I knew his position was as far from mine as any on the list, and that I might
therefore learn something from him.  Throughout the discussion, with minor
lapses, he has responded to my points with arguments or valuable citations of
secondary sources.  (And I note that he has dropped his "anything-but-Essene"
characterization of opposing views in recent postings.) I'm not convinced by
his argumentation of the evidence, and I'm sure he isn't of mine, but I'm
sure both of us have improved our respective positions through the exchange.
 In short,  I think Gorenson's postings are a good example that it is
possible to have a passionate debate of the evidence without descending to
sarcasm and insult.  Thanks, Stephen.

-- Russell Gmirkin

>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