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orion speaking for myself; etymology

Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 10:43:07 -0400 (EDT)
To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il
From: Stephen Goranson <goranson@duke.edu>
Subject: speaking for myself; etymology

 Fred Cryer implied that I do not wish to hear new hypotheses. This is not
so. Precisely to hear them is one reason I follow Orion. We may all consult
list rules or our moderator to see where discussions have gone off track,
as they have at times, IMO. I welcome on orion hypotheses, new or old,
presented without misrepresentation. I do not ordinarily consider the word
"conjecture" pejorative. If, as F.C. seemed to imply, any scientist
unfamiliar with DSS  said the *five latest*  of the 19  Qumran readings
were "outliers," as F.C. has called them, then I am surprised. I  assume it
was appropriate to discuss uses and abuses of C14 on orion, and readers are
free to evaluate for themselves the status of knowledge (as we await more
	 Fred Cryer wrote that he had falsified the etymology of "Essenes"
from 'asah.
	 I respond: he has not done so.  Here we have a case of
"falsification" misunderstood or misapplied. In other words, without need
to cite particular theorists, the observations he offered do not exclude
this etymology.
	If anyone wishes to consider this, there are several avenues,
including: Look up "etymology" in a dictionary. Think of examples of
etymology known to you. Think of the ways in which new words are formed.
See if another proposed etymology fits the facts better. Or examine the
merits of the case.
	The latter would include looking at the use of the verb 'asah in
Qumran mss, especially the sectarian ones with self-descriptions; reading
Philo, "Every good man" 74, 75 and 91; reading Epiphanius, Panarion heresy
19 and 53 (noting the -aioi and -hnoi endings on four names);  reading
other descriptions of Essenes; considering other ancient names;
considering the sources involved;   why the etymology was not explicitly
preserved by most early rabbinic Jewish and Orthodox Christian writers; the
history of scholarship, etc., to be brief.
Stephen Goranson  goranson@duke.ed
P.S. I also welcome new hypotheses on the etymology of "Essenes." And, if
one wishes, I'll reply whether I've found that one proposed before (though
my bibliography is, of course, not complete).