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Re: orion WHO SAYS "ESSENES"?



Stephan Pfann wrote:

"If the term "ESSENES" doesn't refer to the so-called
"covenanters from
Qumran" (for whom we have a significant self-produced
library [more than
50% of the texts found in the caves] and now can identify at
least 4
settlements and 4 cemeteries ranging from Jerusalem to the
Dead Sea,
confirmed regionally by the map of the Copper Scroll) JUST
WHERE ARE THE
LITERARY AND MATERIAL REMAINS OF THIS HISTORICALLY
SIGNIFICANT GROUP CALLED THE ^”ESSENES^‘?"

For a seeking amateur as myself could someone please
encapsulate the evidence for the "library" being
"self-produced" by the "covenanters from Qumran"

Ever

Mike

Mike_Sanders@photoad.com (Private e-mail)
BibleMysteries@photoad.com (Web Site e-mail)
http://www.photoad.com/BibleMysteries/

-----Original Message-----
From: Office <csec@netvision.net.il>
To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il <orion@mscc.huji.ac.il>
Date: Saturday, May 23, 1998 11:41 AM
Subject: orion WHO SAYS "ESSENES"?


Re: S. Goranson^“s query on the identity of the Essenes
I have been a little out of touch with the ^”Essene^‘ issue as
it has been
discussed on the Orion page. However, I can guess what the
substance has
been. As a result of the past year^“s research on the issue
and a paper I
delivered recently at the Albright Institute I can share a
few of my
ideas. (I will try to provide a more complete treatment of
this on the
CSEC web page sometime next week: www.csec.ac.uk)

Concerning the term "Essene": as with other terms used by
the ancient
historians when naming a given social group, it is uncommon
that they
would use the name by which a group calls itself. Closer to
home,
Josephus names other groups along with the Essenes including
"Sadducees", "Pharisees", "Sicarii", and elsewhere
"Zealots", all of
which are terms used for these groups by outsiders (as they
are also
used in the NT and Rabbinic Literature). These are not terms
which they
used among themselves to define who they were. The Sadducees
(Tseduqim
in Rabbinic Lit.) would prefer to call themselves ^—beney
Tsadok^“ (lit.
"sons of Zadok"). This is similar to the first generation of
Christians
who called themselves among other designations "the
followers of the
Way" or "saints" or those who are "in Christ". Once the
outsiders^“ term
became a more universal (and likely legal) designation for
the group,
the title was accepted by the group members (1) at first as
a term they
used for themselves to outsiders and (2) later as a term
among
themselves. (There are some good modern examples of this
process, e.g.,
"Methodist").

If the term "Essene" originated as an outsider's term for
the "Sons of
Light" (among other community terms), then we should not
expect to find
the term "Essene" to be used as a self-designation within
their own
literature. (The etymology of the term ^”Essene^‘ should be a
separate and
less relevant issue in this respect)

In Josephus, the term "Essene" was used for some significant
Jewish
group with "more than 4,000" male members, who existed in
settlements
and in towns throughout Judea. Since Josephus states that
there existed
6,000 Pharisees, and we accept the fact that the Pharisees
were a
significant group, then at "more than 4,000", the Essenes
must have been
at least a moderately significant group.

If the term "ESSENES" doesn't refer to the so-called
"covenanters from
Qumran" (for whom we have a significant self-produced
library [more than
50% of the texts found in the caves] and now can identify at
least 4
settlements and 4 cemeteries ranging from Jerusalem to the
Dead Sea,
confirmed regionally by the map of the Copper Scroll) JUST
WHERE ARE THE
LITERARY AND MATERIAL REMAINS OF THIS HISTORICALLY
SIGNIFICANT GROUP
CALLED THE ^”ESSENES^‘?

Similarly, what of that group that called themselves the
SONS OF LIGHT
from Qumran, who had a vast literature spanning at least two
centuries
of the group's evolution (reflecting also a significant
engagement in
polemic with other contemporary groups), accompanied by
significant and
wide ranging archaeological remains: DID JOSEPHUS, PLINY AND
PHILO
TOTALLY OVERLOOK THEM OR INTENTIONALLY IGNORE THEM, LEAVING
NO TRACE OF
THEM IN ANCIENT LITERATURE?

Josephus: his description of the Essenes matches what we
know of the
group from Qumran with remarkably few discrepancies (only
3%). Also,
remember that the Qumran literature, mainly reflects the
state of the
community during the early part of the community's history.
Josephus'
description comes from the second half of the 1st cent. CE
(i.e., he is
describing the state of affairs at the end of at least two
centuries in
the evolution of this multifaceted community's history). Try
to find any
historian, ancient or modern, who actually has done their
homework that
well! (Most mistaken discrepancies have been due to the
impression that
this group was lacking the diversity within its ranks
expressed already
by Josephus^“ account).

The majority view of Qumran scholars is, and always has
been, that the
Essenes are the people of the Scrolls. As more work has been
(and will
be) completed on the scrolls and the archaeology of Qumran,
I am now
convinced that this identification should (and will) remain
the dominant
theory.

With all due respect to the sincere scholars in the opposing
camp.

Stephen Pfann