[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion dates, method, invitation

    [The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set]
    [Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set]
    [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly]

Well, Stephen...you still seem to be willing to retroject a lot of the
histoire evenementielle, or, rather, simply construct it on the basis of
second and third-hand evidence, such as Pliny, which violates the rules of
evidence of 19th century historiography, not to speak of those the 20th
century has stumbled over.  But there seems to be little point in
discussing method in detail; IŽve a feeling Americans donŽt much like
theoretical discussion.

For the record, though, IŽd like to register my substantial agreement with
Russell GmirkenŽs approach, although IŽd hesitate to use the word "confirm"
in connexion with historical research. Finding additional evidence for an
historical conjecture merely increases the instantiation of the theory, and
one must have had some evidence to begin with in order to frame the theory,
so piling evidence up is the equivalent of dropping apples every 5 minutes
to demonstrate that, yes indeed, NewtonŽs theory is well supported.

But your derivation of the word "Essene" runs into the obvious philological
difficulty that all the Greek spellings of the word have two esses (ss:
essaioi, et sim.). Now, a glance at the LXX transcription of personal and
place names shows that Greek-speaking Jews usually attempted faithfully to
reproduce their Hebrew *Vorlagen*. They did not, however, reduplicate
letters in connexion with the so-called "intensive" stems (Pi`el, Pu`al,
Hitpa`el), and this lack persists as late as OrigenŽs transcriptions in the
secunda columna of his Hexapla (see the studies of Broenno and Jannssen).
So one is forced to wonder at the two esses: the writers regard them as
reflecting some phonological reality that Hebrew grammar makes it difficult
to explain. 
If the two esses in "essaioi"  represent some form of intensive stem, then
there would be question of a participle, and they, of course, all begin
with *m*. Now there is, naturally, the Qal participle, koteb, which,
however, *never* reduplicates its second radical...And then there is the
problem of the "e" of the first syllable of "essaioi", which never occurs
in the first syllable of the Qal participle, which always bears an
unreducible long "o". So, all in all, there is no satisfactory etymology of
Essene from `asah, "to do", however inviting that might seem. This has been
pointed out before, of course; but it remains perfectly true.

Fred Cryer