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orion Taylor & Davies on Therapeutae
Some time ago there was interest in recent bibliography on the Therapeutae.
Here's a recent publication: Joan E. Taylor and Philip R. Davies, "The
So-Called Therapeutae of _De Vita Contemplativa_: Identity and Character,"
Harvard Theological Review 91 (1998) 3-24.
In my opinion, the authors provide several interesting
observations, e.g., on the location and membership of the group, including
the women members. I also agree with their finding that the proposed
etymology of "Essenes" from the Aramaic for "healers" is unlikely
On the other hand, it does not seem to me that they have
demonstrated their chosen thesis, that the Egyptian group was not related
to the Essene sect. I attribute this to some ambiguity as to what , in the
article, "related," "Essene," and "sect" mean.
Philo does not make matters simple, as he did, in some way (in DVC
1 and Probus 75 and elsewhere), relate the two groups, though as different
in a complimentary way: as contemplative and active. As noted previously,
the description of the bios praktikos of the Essenes is one of the
indications that their name came from Hebrew 'asah.
Rather than extend, in this post, my lists of pro and con reactions
to portions of the article, I ask whether others have observations to offer.