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Re: orion Where were "they"?

Mark Dunn writes:

>  If the Essenes enjoyed the general largess of Herod (which
>  seems probable to me) then their presence in the entire area from En Gedi
>  Jericho would satisfy a political purpose for Herod.  Stability along the
>  western shore of the Dead Sea would be a symbiotic matter for the sect and
>  Herod.  

This view seems very reasonable to me, given the favorable attitude of Herod
to the Essenes in Josephus.  The balsam and related industries that flourished
along the Dead Sea and in the Jericho region were largely royal monopolies,
and as such presumably operated by those if favor of the current
administration in Jerusalem.   

But this also raises the question of whether the Essenes occupied this area in
pre-Herodian times, since there is no evidence that the Essenes were favored
by Maccabean leaders (or, indeed, conclusive evidence the Essenes existed in
pre-Herodian times).

Russell Gmirkin