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Re: orion Greek sources on Essenes

Stephen Goranson writes:

> 	Russell Gmirkin wrote (21 March): "It is a mistake to lump Strabo
>  [Geo.] 16.2.35-39 (the Posidonius fragment) together with 16.2.40-46 (which
>  contains criticisms of Jannaeus and his sons and an account of Pompey's
>  conquest). The latter material doesn't derive from either Hecataeus or
>  Posidonius [....]"
>  	If I am not mistaken, RG's posts implied that his analysis agreed
>  with that of B. Bar-Kochva... For what it's worth, Bar-Kochva, in _Pseudo-
>  Hecataeus, On the Jews_ (1996) did *not* agree with the quoted analysis. 

    Bar-Kochva, p. 212:  "Strabo's ethnographical excursus on the Jes,
incorporated in his Geography (16.2.34-39), is the best example of Hecataeus's
influence.  The excursus, which was taken from Posidonius of Apamea, is a
consistent adaptation (frequently also a deliberate reversal), following
Hecataeus step by step.  Hecataeus's information is reshaped in the spirit of
middle Stoa."
    This completely agrees with my statement that the Posidonius fragment at
Strabo 16.2.35-39 is simply Stoicized Hecataeus.  
     I stand corrected on a minor point that Bar-Kochva (p. 109, 212) does
attribute the (_geographical_) material at 16.2.34, 41-45 to Posidonius (and
Artemidorus).  This is of course due to a fragment of Posidonius at 16.2.43
regarding the people living around the Dead Sea: "but according to Posidonius
the people are sorcerers and pretent to use incantations, as also urine and
other malodorous liquids, which they first pour all over the solidified
substance, and squeeze out the asphalt and harden it, an then cut it into
pieces."  It seems to me a mistake to attribute the entire geopgraphical
section to Posidonius based on this one fragment, which Strabo introjects as a
different version from what he considers the real manner of harvesting
asphalt.  But significantly, the context is "the people who live around the
lake [the Dead Sea]" (2.42).  Posidonius considers them "sorcerers"; cf. 2.37,
where he characterizes the Jews after Moses as "superstitious."  Posidonius
knows nothing of noble Essenes living by the Dead Sea - indeed, the Dead Sea
is mistakenly called Lake Sirbonis in this passage.
    Bar-Kochva does not discuss 16.2.40 which contains the criticisms of
Jannaeus and his sons in the context of Pompey's conquest, and which most
authors consider therefore consider to be to late to be from Posidonius, whose
history appears to have ended with events of 86 or 85 BCE.  It is only 2.40
that I believe derives from Theophanes of Mytilene.  
    SG quotes Hermann Strasburger, Journal of Roman Studies 55 (1965) 43, who
believes certain passages in Plutarch, Appian, and Strabo regarding the rise
of piracy derive from Posidonius, not Theophanes.  First, Strasburger does not
mention 16.2.40 as a passage he attributes to Posidonius.  Second, Strasburger
is talking about the rise of piracy and Pompey's great naval campaign against
the pirates, not his later campaign in the east against Mithridates, ruler of
the pirate coalition, during which Syria and Judea were also conquered.
Theophanes may not have written about the earlier naval campaign, but
certainly wrote of the eastern campaign (as demonstrated e.g. by Plutarch,
Pompey 37).  Strasburger nowhere denies Theophanes wrote about Pompey's
activities in the east.  Theophanes accompanied Pompey throughout the
campaign, and as Pompey's historian, certainly wrote about these events and
more specifically about Pompey's conquest of Judea (cf. Strabo 16.2.40, the
passage in question).  Goranson appears to misunderstand Strasburger, or else
has not expressed his point clearly.  Strasburger's arguments are in any case
somewhat tenuous.

  Russell Gmirkin