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

Re: orion response to R. Gmirkin

Stephen Goranson writes,

>Dear Russell Gmirkin,
>It is difficult to take what you wrote lately seriously. According to it,
>we should all be confident that George Washington cut down the cherry tree
>and could not tell a lie. Why? Because it's in the "historical record"
>(biography of Parson Weems). 

     I have never said that everything in conventional historical records
should be accepted uncritically.  I have suggested that models that find
direct historical support for their claims have a better chance of being
correct than models that invent figures and events not found in historical

>Even so the record shows no such thing as,
>e.g., Maccabees using the War Scroll-type Roman-influenced organization.

Let me refer you to my article "The War Scroll and Roman Weaponry
Reconsidered" (DSD 3.2, 89-129, especially 124-129) for the case that the
Maccabeans adopted Roman military tactics and weaponry after 164 BCE.

>I have no objection to your proposing Onias III as TR. But to claim
>that that appears from the historical record is simply not the case. 

I have not said it [directly] "appears" from the historical record.  I have
said that the events in the life of Onias III as found in historical records
correlates with that of the TR.  We know Onias III was an important Zadokite
priest who went into exile and was persecuted and ultimately assassinated by
a priestly enemy, indeed, the most wicked high priest in second temple
history.  So we need not invent historical occurences to support a claim that
Onias III was the TR.  (Additionally, in conventional interpretations of the
Animal Apocalypse, widely recognized as a Hasidim document, the "slain lamb"
Onias III was an important Hasidim leader, a further correlation.)
     Conversely, Judah the Essene is only seen in one anecdote taking place
in Jerusalem:  sources do not have him going into exile or being persecuted,
etc.  So there is a higher "cost" in this model in terms of events
undocumented in history.

>And to
>simutaneously downplay sectarian conflict during the rule of Alexander
>Jannaeus, which is attested in Josephus, Rabbinic literature and Qumran
>literature--and to present this a part of a putative even-handed
>comparison--is very odd. 

I have never downplayed sectarian conflict under AJ.  However, your choice of
phrase, "sectarian conflict," doesn't accurately convey the material in your
sources.  This conflict did not involve Essenes, but was between Sadducees
and Pharisees in Josephus and Rabbinic literature - and indeed in MMT, if we
want to bring in the scrolls.  If there are facts being downplayed, let me
suggest it is the absence of Essenes from the passages you refer to.

>...To try to shoehorn Qumran texts into the word-view [sic] of
Maccabees--texts absent from
>Qumran--and  with  Hasidim/Asideans appears to have more to do with your
>personal preferences than exemplary historical methodology, IMO.

The worldview of Maccabees is apocalyptic, with a defiled temple, wilderness
armies organized by 1000s, 100s, 50s, and 10s,  a holy war led by priests,
and God directly intervening in battles.  This is precisely the same
world-view as the Qumran texts.  Conversely, all these unique features are
absent in the Hasmonean period, none of them find support under AJ, and none
of them are found in the late accounts of Essenes in Josephus and elsewhere.
  The apocalyptic outlook of the Qumran texts must also be accounted for by
any serious historical model, a point I don't believe you have properly

Russell Gmirkin