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orion Lisan burials; named by outsiders?
1) In case it is of interest to listmembers, the excavator, Konstantinos D.
Politis has a very brief description of the "over 3500" North-South aligned
shaft graves at Khirbet Qazone in "Newsletter from Jordan," _Minerva_
[London] 8.6 (Nov/Dec 1997) 35-37, here 35-36. He gives dates of "first to
second centuries A.D." He notes some "Durases blocks" [i.e., Dusares] and
characterizes the burials as Nabataean. (Perhaps the datings, later than
Kh. Qumran (?), and the syncretistic and changing nature of Nabataean
religion, might be worth further consideration concerning possible
influences; these, apparently, are not typical Nabataean burials.) A more
detailed account is expected to appear in Annual of the Department of
Antiquities of Jordan.
2) Emile Puech wrote a very critical review of Lena Cansdale, _Qumran and
the Essenes..._ (1997) in Revue Biblique 105 (1998) 281-5. I agree with
much of what he wrote, but not including the following.
Puech wrote (p. 283): "It is not surprising that the name Essenes should
not be found in the Scrolls. It was a nickname bestowed on them by their
enemies, which makes it unlikely that the Essenes would have used it of
themselves. The best etymology of the name remains xsyn/xsy' and not
'syn/'sy' or any other hypothesis...."
Beyond the argument that the scrolls do contain the
self-description from which "Essenes" arises (from 'asah), there is no
evidence in ancient texts of the proposed outside naming. Furthermore,
enemies would not likely provide a name with such favorable meaning. (The
variant proposal, advocated by G. Vermes, in which a proposed outside
naming is not by enemies, has been shown to rely on misreading Philo on
Therapeutae.) In addition, lacking any trace of enemy perspective, the
earliest extant Greek and Latin texts which use the name present Essenes in
a favorable light.