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Re: orion WHO SAYS "ESSENES"?
For Mike Sanders who wrote:
> For a seeking amateur as myself could someone please
> encapsulate the evidence for the "library" being
> "self-produced" by the "covenanters from Qumran"
and Jack Kilman who wrote:
> I think this referes to those texts throughout the corpus
> that show the same scribal hands.
Paleography (handwriting analysis) tells us that nearly every manuscript
from Qumran was penned by a different scribe. In other words, of some
850 manuscripts from the Qumran caves roughly 840 of these were penned
by different scribes.
Those documents that are actually authored by the extended community of
the "Sons of Light" exhibit certain similarities in unique terminology
and doctrine. For example: Individuals: "Teacher of Righteousness",
"Wicked Priest", "Man of Lies", "Belial" (in place of "Satan"), "El" (in
place of of other divine names). Functionaries: "Maskil", "Overseer".
Social structure: "Yahad", "Etsat HaYahad (council of the community)",
"the Many", "Sons of Light", Sons of Darkness", "Sons of the Pit".
Literary forms "Pesher", "Serekh". Actions: "to passover into the
covenant". There are a number of Hebrew words which have a significantly
modified semantic range, thus producing a exclusive (in-house) or
jargonistic language used and understood by the members of the group.
In the future, more attention needs to be given to a systematic physical
study of the scrolls to ascertain whether or not there existed unique
scribal practices among the group's scribes (including orthography
[e.g., cf. E. Tov's article], hand writing [e.g., a scribal hand common
to the pesharim?], skin preparation etc.).
Many texts found at Qumran were not authored by the group's members
including the Biblical and previously known apocrypha/pseudepigrapha
scrolls. Add to these other scrolls which lack the peculiar vocabulary
of the group and one becomes aware of a significant number of copies of
texts in the "library" which were produced by members of other
non-Essene groups. There is no reason to insist that these non-Essene
scrolls were penned by Essene scribes.
These scrolls likely were brought into the community either so that
their sages could search the wisdom "of the ancients" or were part of
the property donated by new members.
For S. Goranson:
As always, your diligence to provide bibliographic references is welcome
I never intended to convey the idea that the terms used by outsiders
were necessarily derogatory (e.g., Sadducees is not) nor that they were
not based upon Semitic roots (this is simply not the case).
Even if your suggestion for the etymology of of the word "Essene" would
come to be accepted (it's inovative and I would be happy to add that to
a list of other possiblities), the term used by Josephus and others has
become significantly modified to become a term that the group would not
use for itself. "'osim" ("Doers") is not the same as "'osey emet"
(Doers/Workers of truth). The group would not simply call themselves
"Doers" (nor do they anywhere in their literature). At that point the
term "Doers" would have already become a term used only by outsiders.
"Christians" is still a term first used by outsiders at Antioch (at
according to Luke's account).
It is simply unlikely that the Zealots ("zealous ones/fanatics") called
themselve by that name nor is it likely that the Pharisees would have
called themselves ("Perushim" = seceders/dividers). Most of our
colleagues would agree with that.
By which term would an "Essene" rather be called?
One term (among others) for self-designation used by the group was
"Children of Light". It may be that Jesus referred to this group by this
same term in the "Parable of the Unjust Steward" (an idea proposed by
Prof. David Flusser).
"For the children of this world are wiser in their own generation than
the children of light." Luke 16:8.
The translation of DeVaux's notes to Qumran and Ein Feskhah are
finished. My additional work for the same volume which includes the
annotation, cross-refrencing and summary pottery classification is
currently in progress.
All the best!