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orion Response to F. Cryer
Dear Fred Cryer,
1) Most of the texts are not, so far, absolutely dated. I hope we need not
discuss AMS publications again, which certainly include first century CE
materials, as well, certainly, as earlier ones.
2) What you wrote about Pliny, Philo, and Josephus (the last two Jewish, I
hope you agree) a year or so ago was not accurate and still is not. And as
to their sources, I am puzzled why you attach the word "alleged." Are you
now denying that, e.g., Pliny had sources? As to "hemming and hawing," I
thought I wrote plainly: the source is M. Agrippa. This conclusion was made
easier by, among other things, Pliny listing him first among his sources
for book 5.
3) You declared that no Qumran ms is an autograph (interesting, at least
for not excepting the Copper Scroll, as N. Golb insists). But...how do you
4) You list various languages, dialects, etc. Are you saying that Essenes
(a long-lived group) cannot have used these?
5) The reasons Rabbinic Judaism and Orthodox Christianity were not
receptive to preserving accurate histories of the Essenes has been
discussed on orion. (To be more precise, there are exceptions: e.g.,
Epiphanius.) Were you absent? Do you disagree?
6) You offer two alternatives, maximalist and minimalist, for the size of
the Essene group. If you will allow me, I accept neither. H. Stegemann,
IMO, opted for an over-large group description. Others certainly have
presented Essenes as too small to fit the evidence. By the way, on numbers,
Philo's source said 4000 (at one time). And on another occasion Philo wrote
"myriads' (over time). Josephus copied the 4000 number, either from Philo
or his source. Josephus said 6000 for Pharisees, but that was not
necessarily at the same time as the Essene estimate. And, of course, there
as estimates. Your rhetorical strategy of excluding a moderate position on
numbers may mislead some for some time, but does appear merely diversionary
from the questions at hand.
Stephen Goranson email@example.com