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orion Epiphanius, etc.
In the Lutheran, April, 1994, p. 30, Neil Altman wrote: "Now there is
evidence that the Essenes evolved only after the time of Christ" and that
Philo "wrote after A.D. 68." This is false. Philo wrote before 68.
Epiphanius listed Essenes and Ossenes [the latter spelled with omicron] as
Jewish heresies which existed before the time of Jesus and before Herod the
Great. I gave the references to the sections of Panarion (now available in
translations by Frank Williams; and, abridged, but with most of the
historical matter retained, by Philip Amidon). I discussed the sect names
used by Epiphanius in my dissertation on Epiphanius, chapter 3 . (UPenn has
a copy.) If either David Crowder or Neil Altman show a willingness to look
at this evidence, I will retype the references, on or off list.
Neil Altman wrote that "Essenes" was a name used for *Gentile*
Christians. Nothing in his response helps this assertion. Epiphanius means
that the early Jewish "Christians" were Nazoreans (Nazoraioi) once. Not
that gentile Christians were. Of course in Hebrew Notsrim still refers to
all Christians, but Epiphanius does not mean that usage, because it never
expired, whereas the usage he indicates has expired.
In case it's useful to try to find something on which we
could--perhaps--agree, I'll note that Epiphanius does suggest that some
Ossenes (i.e. Jewish heretics) eventually joined "Jewish-Christian" groups,
such as the Sampsaeans, heresy 53. Any Essenes who joined Christians were
Jewish Christians; or else they ceased to be Essenes, by definition.
Essenes means "observers of torah."
Part of the problem, IMO, is the way quotations are used by NA and
DC, and the shotgun approach of many arguments given in the hope that some
will remain to sustain the hope that the Qumran scrolls do not upset their
preconceptions about the Bible. For example, the recent Minneapolis Star
Tribune article quoted a Rabbi as saying, in effect, that no Jew before the
time of Jesus would or could have written the words translated as "Son of
God." I do not doubt that the Rabbi was quoted accurately. But, because
this one rabbi cannot imagine such a possibility, shall we ignore the
streams of confluent evidence that dates these manuscripts to the second
temple period? The archaeology, the radiocarbon dating, the paleography. Of
course messianic literature predates Jesus. To say that a text predates
Jesus does not require any particular theological committment, or lack
thereof, merely openness to historical evidence.
Or you quote someone saying that scrolls couldn't exist by the Dead
Sea in caves for 2000 years due to flooding in wadis. But Dead Sea caves
yielded internally dated texts that old.
Another example: P. Comfort is quoted as saying Iessaios relates to
the name Jesse. I agree that Epiphanius may have had this in mind. But
Comfort is then quoted as saying, "The early Christians may have called
themselves this because the Messiah was called the Son of Jesse." But,
first, recall that this is Comfort's opinion on Epiphanius. Second, Comfort
says *may*. In any case, can a Jew not use the name of Jesse? Further, all
this does not take into account Eusubius (one of Epiphanius' myriad
sources), who had earlier provided some misinterpretation of the
Essene-related Therapeutae vis-a-vis Christianity. Epiphanius includes some
quite valuable information from some otherwise lost sources. But Epiphanius
is clear that Essenes and Ossenes existed before Christianity.
I previously discussed ink because I know something about that
(unlike Chinese). All your major claims have been answered on orion by one
or another listmember. But you ignore the evidence provided.
David Crowder wrote (3 Apr) a complaint about the "Dead Sea Scroll
Who is a member? How can one read orion and come up with that phrase? Have
you not noticed some disagreements on list? Why are DSS scholars not
accepting your dating? Including religious DSS scholars?