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SV: orion etymology of essene
Good answer Stephen. Here is my problem with the
'sh "doers" proposal for the name Essene. A few months
ago I reread your past RQ article willing to be convinced.
For the first third or half of your article you had me with
you-you set up the problem, showed various unsuccessful
attempts of the past. Then you set out some reasons why your
proposal of 'sh might be possible or plausible, and I
was now willing to be sold. I waited for the close-
the punch line- . . . and then the article ended right
there!--on the note that the problem was now solved!
I reread it again to see if I could find the missing link:
some evidence beyond hypothetical possibility. But I
couldn't find it. I find myself mystified at your language
of certainty on this point, as distinguished from calling
it say, "a candidate that might be considered for
reasons A, B, C"
Is it plausible?
(1) Extensive uses of the verb 'sh, "doing", in QH show no
sign or awareness of self-consciousness that
this was a name. There are terms in texts which do function as
self-designations, names, sobriquets, etc.but "doers" is not
one of them. No use of "doers" or "doing" shows evidence of
being anything more than one of the most common words in the
lexicon used completely routinely, i.e. used to speak
of the righteous who keep the law. There aren't puns or
wordplays on "doers"-nothing.
(2) And, "doers" is used equally of the wicked in
many contexts just as with the righteous. Again, no consciousness
by the Qumran text authors that they were applying their name
to other people.
(3) If given as a name from outsiders, it seems odd, like it should
be a two-word expression. An outsider name might be "doers of the
law" or "doers of X". But "doers"? There is nothing distinctive,
and it is a verb used of all sorts of people and actions, applicable to
anyone who does anything, i.e. everyone.
(4) philology. Fred raised the issue of the double sigma
and the long "o" vowel. There are enough exceptions to
the rules cited by Fred that if you had some positive
evidence from somewhere for 'sh I would be open to it.
But in addition to lack of positive evidence there is this
matter that the proposed etymology from 'sh also violates
the most common or expected patterns of sounds going
into Greek transcription.
Anyway, I leave this discussion to others-