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You asked if Hippolytus was copying from Josephus.  Once you read the
text, I think you will believe that Josephus and Hippolytus were writing
from some PRIOR text.  Since Hippolytus was writing (or collecting) AFTER
Josephus, and since the Hippolytus material has MORE detail than Josephus
does, it is easy for me to see them both borrowing from some earlier
source.  If anyone would like to match up each sentence of paragraph with
the related New Testament scriptures, I think you would find it very
rewarding.  For example, the importance of "poverty" to the Essenes, and
the extremely consistent theme of poverty in the New Testament.  There
are other wonderful parallels as well:

[Discoverd in the Monastery of Mt. Athos, Greece in the late 1800^s]


The following are the contents of the ninth book of the Refutation of all
Heresies:- What the blasphemous folly is of Noetus, and that he devoted
himself to the tenets of Heraclitus the Obscure, not to those of Christ. 

And how Callistus, intermingling the heresy of Cleomenes, the disciple of
Noetus, with that of Theodotus, constructed another more novel heresy,
and what sort the life of this (heretic) was. 

What was the recent arrival (at Rome) of the strange spirit Elchasai, and
that there served as a concealment of his peculiar errors his apparent
adhesion to the law, when in point of fact he devotes himself to the
tenets of the Gnostics, or even of the
astrologists, and to the arts of sorcery. 

What the customs of the Jews are, and how many diversities of opinion
there are (amongst them). 

[Chapters I to XII removed for the sake of brevity.]


Originally there prevailed but one usage among the Jews; for one teacher
was given unto them by God, namely Moses, and one law by this same Moses.
And there was one desert region and one Mount Sinai, for one God it was
who legislated for these
Jews. But, again, after they had crossed the river Jordan, and had
inherited by lot the conquered country, they in various ways rent in
sunder the law of God, each devising a different interpretation of the
declarations made by God. And in this way they raised up for themselves
teachers, (and) invented doctrines of an heretical nature, and they
continued to advance into (sectarian) divisions. Now it is the diversity
of these Jews that I at present propose to explain. But though for even a
considerable time they have been rent into very numerous sects, yet I
intend to elucidate the more principal of them, while those who are of a
studious turn will easily become acquainted with the rest. For there is a
division amongst them into three sorts; and the adherents of the first
are the Pharisees, but of the second the Sadducees, while the rest are
Essenes. These practise a more devotional life, being filled with mutual
love, and being temperate. And they turn away from every act of
inordinate desire, being
averse even to hearing of things of the sort. And they renounce
matrimony, but they take the boys of others, and thus have an offspring
begotten for them. And they lead these adopted children into an
observance of their own peculiar customs, and in this
way bring them up and impel them to learn the sciences. They do not,
however, forbid them to marry, though themselves refraining from
matrimony. Women, however, even though they may be disposed to adhere to
the same course of life, they do not admit, inasmuch as in no way
whatsoever have they confidence in women. 


And they despise wealth, and do not turn away from sharing their goods
with those that are destitute. No one amongst them, however, enjoys a
greater amount of riches than another. For a regulation with them is,
that an individual coming forward to join the sect must sell his
possessions, and present the price of them to the community. And on
receiving the money, the head of the order distributes it to all
according to heir necessities. Thus there is no one among them in
distress. And they do not use oil, regarding it as a defilement to be
anointed. And there are appointed overseers, who take care of all things
that belong to them in common, and they all appear always in white


But there is not one city of them, but many of them settle in every city.
And if any of the adherents of the sect may be present from a strange
place, they consider that all things are in common for him, and those
whom they had not previously known they
receive as if they belonged to their own household and kindred. And they
traverse their native land, and on each occasion that they go on a
journey they carry nothing except arms. And they have also in their
cities a president, who expends the moneys
collected for this purpose in procuring clothing and food for them. And
their robe and its shape are modest. And they do not own two cloaks, or a
double set of shoes; and when those that are in present use become
antiquated, then they adopt others.
And they neither buy nor sell anything at all; but whatever any one has
he gives to him that has not, and that which one has not he receives. 


And they continue in an orderly manner, and with perseverance pray from
early dawn, and they do not speak a word unless they have praised God in
a hymn. And in this way they each go forth and engage in whatever
employment they please; and
after having worked up to the fifth hour they leave off. Then again they
come together into one place, and encircle themselves with linen girdles,
for the purpose of concealing their private parts. And in this manner
they perform ablutions in cold water; and after being thus cleansed, they
repair together into one apartment,--now no one who entertains a
different opinion from themselves assembles in the house,--and they
proceed to partake of breakfast. And when they have taken their seats in
silence, they set down loaves in order, and next some one sort of food to
eat along with the bread, and each receives from these a sufficient
portion. No one, however, tastes these before the priest utters a
blessing, and prays over the food. And after breakfast, when he has a
second time offered up supplication, as at the beginning, so at the
conclusion of their meal they praise God in hymns. Next, after they have
laid aside as sacred the garments in which they have been clothed while
together taking their repast within the house-- (now these garments are
linen)--and having resumed the clothes which they had left in the
vestibule, they hasten to agreeable occupations until evening. And they
partake of supper, doing oil things in like manner to those already

And no one will at any time cry aloud, nor will any other tumultuous
voice be heard. But they each converse quietly, and with decorum one
concedes the conversation to the other, so that the stillness of those
within the house appears a sort of mystery to
those outside. And they are invariably sober, eating and drinking all
things by measure. 


All then pay attention to the president; and whatever injunctions he will
issue, they obey as law. For they are anxious that mercy and assistance
be extended to those that are burdened with toil. And especially they
abstain from wrath and anger, and all such passions, inasmuch as they
consider these to be treacherous to man. And no one amongst them is in
the habit of swearing; but whatever any one says, this is regarded more
binding than an oath. If, however, one will swear, he is condemned as one
unworthy of credence. They are likewise solicitous about the readings of
the law and prophets; and moreover also, if there is any treatise of the
faithful, about that likewise. And they evince the utmost curiosity
concerning plants and stones, rather busying themselves as regards the
operative powers of these, saying that these things were not created in


But to those who wish to become disciples of the sect, they do not
immediately deliver their rules, unless they have previously tried them.
Now for the space of a year they set before (the candidates) the same
food, while the latter continue to live in a different house outside the
Essenes' own place of meeting. And they give (to the probationists) a
hatchet and the linen girdle, and a white robe. When, at the expiration
of this period, one affords proof of self-control, he approaches nearer
to the sect's method of living, and he is washed more purely than before.
Not as yet, however, does he partake of food along with the Essenes. For,
after having furnished evidence as to whether he is able to acquire
self-control,--but for two years the habit of a person of this
description is on trial,--and when he has appeared deserving, he is thus
reckoned amongst the members of the sect. Previous, however, to his being
allowed to partake of a repast along with them, he is bound under fearful
oaths. First, that he will worship the Divinity; next, that he will
observe just dealings with men, and that he will in no way injure any
one, and that he will not hate a person who injures him, or is hostile to
him, but pray for them. He likewise swears that he will always aid the
just, and keep faith with all, especially those who are rulers. For, they
argue, a position of authority does not happen to any one without God.
And if the Essene himself be a ruler, he swears that he will not conduct
himself at any time arrogantly in the exercise of power, nor be prodigal,
nor resort to any adornment, or a greater state of magnificence than the
usage permits. He likewise swears, however, to be a lover of truth, and
to reprove him that is guilty of falsehood, neither to steal, nor pollute
his conscience for the sake of iniquitous gain, nor conceal aught from
those that are members of his sect, and to divulge nothing to others,
though one should be tortured even unto death. And in addition to the
foregoing promises, he swears to impart to no one a knowledge of the
doctrines in a different manner from that in which he has received them


With oaths, then, of this description, they bind those who come forward.
If, however, any one may be condemned for any sin, he is expelled from
the order; but one that has been thus excommunicated sometimes perishes
by an awful death. For, inasmuch as he is bound by the oaths and rites of
the sect, he is not able to partake of the food in use among other
people.  Those that are excommunicated, occasionally, therefore, utterly
destroy the body through starvation. And so it is, that when it comes to
the last the Essenes sometimes pity many of them who are at the point of
dissolution, inasmuch as they deem a punishment even unto death, thus
inflicted upon these culprits, a sufficient penalty. 


But as regards judicial decisions, the Essenes are most accurate and
impartial. And they de liver their judgments when they have assembled
together, numbering at the very least one hundred; and the sentence
delivered by them is irreversible. And they
honour the legislator next after God; and if any one is guilty of
blasphemy against this framer of laws, he is punished. And they are
taught to yield obedience to rulers and elders; and if ten occupy seats
in the same room, one of them will not speak unless it will appear
expedient to the nine. And they are careful not to spit out into the
midst of persons present, and to the right hand.  They are more
solicitous, however, about abstaining from work on the Sabbath-day than
all other Jews. For not only do they
prepare their victuals for themselves one day previously, so as not (on
the Sabbath) to kindle a fire, but not even would they move a utensil
from one place to another (on that day), nor ease nature; nay, some would
not even rise from a couch. On other
days, however, when they wish to relieve nature, they dig a hole a foot
long with the mattock,--for of this description is the hatchet, which the
president in the first instance gives those who come forward to gain
admission as disciples,--and cover (this cavity) on all sides with their
garment, alleging that they do not necessarily insult the sunbeams. They
then replace the upturned soil into the pit; and this is their practice,
choosing the more lonely spots. But after they have performed this
operation, immediately they undergo ablution, as if the excrement
pollutes them. 


The Essenes have, however, in the lapse of time, undergone divisions, and
they do not preserve their system of training after a similar manner,
inasmuch as they have been split up into four parties. For some of them
discipline themselves above the
requisite rules of the order, so that even they would not handle a
current coin of the country, saying that they ought not either to carry,
or behold, or fashion an image: wherefore no one of those goes into a
city, lest (by so doing) he should enter through a gate at which statues
are erected, regarding it a violation of law to pass beneath images.

But the adherents of another party, if they happen to hear any one
maintaining a discussion concerning God and His laws--supposing such to
be an uncircumcised
person, they will closely watch him and when they meet a person of this
description in any place alone, they will threaten to slay him if he
refuses to undergo the rite of circumcision. Now, if the latter does not
wish to comply with this request, an Essene
spares not, but even slaughters. And it is from this occurrence that they
have  received their appellation, being denominated (by some) Zelotae,
but by others Sicarii.

 And the adherents of another party call no one Lord except the Deity,
even though one should put them to the torture, or even kill them. But
there are others of a later period, who have to such an extent declined
from the discipline (of the order), that, as far as those are concerned
who continue in the primitive customs, they would not
even touch these. And if they happen to come in contact with them, they
immediately resort to ablution, as if they had touched one belonging to
an alien tribe. But here also there are very many of them of so great
longevity, as even to live longer than a
hundred years. They assert, therefore, that a cause of this arises from
their extreme devotion to religion, and their condemnation of all excess
in regard of what is served up (as food), and from their being temperate
and incapable of anger. And so it is that
they despise death, rejoicing when they can finish their course with a
good conscience. If, however, any one would even put to the torture
persons of this description, in order to induce any amongst them either
to speak evil of the law, or eat what is offered in sacrifice to an idol,
he will not effect his purpose; for one of this party submits to death
and endures torment rather than violate his conscience. 


Now the doctrine of the resurrection has also derived support among
these; for they acknowledge both that the flesh will rise again, and that
it will be immortal, in the same manner as the soul is already
imperishable. And they maintain that the soul, when separated in the
present life, (departs) into one place, which is well ventilated and
lightsome, where, they say, it rests until judgment. And this locality
the Greeks were acquainted with by hearsay, and called it "Isles of the
Blessed." And there are
other tenets of these which many of the Greeks have appropriated, and
thus have from time to time formed their own opinions.  For the
disciplinary system in regard of the Divinity, according to these (Jewish
sects), is of greater antiquity than that of all
nations. And so it is that the proof is at hand, that all those (Greeks)
who ventured to make assertions concerning God, or concerning the
creation of existing things, derived their principles from no other
source than from Jewish legislation. And among these may be
particularized Pythagoras especially, and the Stoics, who derived (their
systems) while resident among the Egyptians, by having become disciples
of these Jews. Now they affirm that there will be both a judgment and a
conflagration of the universe, and that the wicked will be eternally
punished. And among them is cultivated the practice of prophecy, and the
prediction of future events. 


There is then another order of the Essenes who use the same customs and
prescribed method of living with the foregoing sects, but make an
alteration from these in one respect, viz., marriage. Now they maintain
that those who have abrogated matrimony commit some terrible offence,
which is for the destruction of life, and that they ought not to cut off
the succession of children; far, that if all entertained this opinion,
the entire race of men would easily be exterminated. However, they make a
trial of their betrothed women for a period of three years; and when they
have been three times purified, with a view of proving their ability of
bringing forth children, so then they wed. They do not, however, cohabit
with pregnant women, evincing that they marry not from sensual motives,
but from the advantage of children. 

And the women likewise undergo ablution in a similar manner (with their
husbands), and are themselves also arrayed in a linen garment, after the
mode in which the men are with their girdles. These things, then, are the
statements which l have to make respecting the Esseni. 

But there are also others who themselves practise the Jewish customs; and
these, both in respect of caste and in respect of the laws, are called
Pharisees. Now the greatest part of these is to be found in every
locality, inasmuch as, though all are styled Jews, yet, on account of the
peculiarity of the opinions advanced by them, they have been denominated
by titles proper to each. These, then, firmly hold the ancient tradition,
and continue to pursue in a disputative spirit a close investigation into
things regarded according to the Law as clean and not clean. And they
interpret the regulations of the Law, and put forward teachers, whom they
qualify for giving instruction in such things. These Pharisees affirm the
existence of fate, and that some things are in our power, whereas others
are under the control of destiny. In this way they maintain that some
actions depend upon ourselves, whereas others upon fate. But (they
assert) that God is a cause of all things, and that nothing is managed or
happens without His will. These likewise acknowledge that there is a
resurrection of flesh, and that soul is immortal, and that there will be
a judgment and conflagration, and that the righteous will be
imperishable, but that the wicked will endure everlasting punishment in
unqenchable fire. 


These, then, are the opinions even of the Pharisees. The Sadducees,
however, are for abolishing fate, and they acknowledge that God does
nothing that is wicked, nor exercises providence over (earthly concerns);
but they contend that the choice
between good and evil lies within the power of men. And they deny that
there is a resurrection not only of flesh, but also they suppose that the
soul does not continue after death. The soul they consider nothing but
mere vitality, and that it is on account of this that man has been
created. However, (they maintain) that the notion of the resurrection has
been fully realized by the single circumstance, that we close our days
after having left children upon earth. But (they still insist) that after
death one expects to suffer nothing, either bad or good; for that there
will be a dissolution both of soul and body, and that man passes into
non-existence, similarly also with the material of the animal creation.
But as regards whatever wickedness a man may have committed in life,
provided he may have been reconciled to the injured party, he has been a
gainer (by transgression), inasmuch as he has escaped the punishment
(that otherwise would have been inflicted) by men. And whatever
acquisitions a man may have made. and (in whatever respect), by becoming
wealthy, he may have acquired distinction, he has so far been a gainer.
(they abide by their assertion), that God has no solicitude about the
concerns of an individual here. And while the Pharisees are full of
mutual affection, the Sadducees, on the other hand, are actuated by
self-love. This sect had its stronghold especially in the region around
Samaria. And these also adhere to the customs of the law, saying that one
ought so to live, that he may conduct himself virtuously, and leave
children behind him on earth. They do not, however, devote attention to
prophets, but
neither do they to any other sages, except to the law of Moses only, in
regard of which, however, they frame no interpretations.  These, then,
are the opinions which also the Sadducees choose to teach. 


Since, therefore, we have explained even the diversities among the Jews,
it seems expedient likewise not to pass over in silence the system of
their religion. The doctrine, therefore, among all Jews on the subject of
religion is fourfold-theological, natural, moral, and ceremonial. And
they affirm that there is one God, and that He is Creator and Lord of the
universe: that He has formed all these glorious works which had no
previous existence; and this, too, not out of any coeval substance that
lay ready at hand, but His Will--the efficient cause--was to create, and
He did create. And (they maintain) that there are angels, and that these
have been brought into being for ministering unto the creation; but also
that there is a sovereign Spirit that always
continues beside God, for glory and praise. And that all things in the
creation are endued with sensation, and that there is nothing inanimate.
And they earnestly aim at serious habits and a temperate life, as one may
ascertain from their laws. Now
these matters have long ago been strictly defined by those who in ancient
times have received the divinely-appointed law; so that the reader will
find himself astonished at the amount of temperance, and of diligence,
lavished on customs legally enacted in reference to man. The ceremonial
service, however, which has been adapted to divine worship in a manner
befitting the dignity of religion, has been practised amongst them with
the highest degree of elaboration. The superiority of their ritualism it
is easy for those who wish it to ascertain, provided they read the book
which furnishes information on these points. They will thus perceive how
that with solemnity and sanctity the Jewish priests offer unto God the
first-fruits of the gifts bestowed by Him for the rise and enjoyment of
men; how they fulfil their ministrations with regularity and
stedfastness, in obedience to His commandments. There are, however, some
(liturgical usages adopted) by these, which the  Sadducees refuse to
recognise, for they are not disposed to acquiesce in the existence of
angels or spirits. 

Still all parties alike expect Messiah, inasmuch as the Law certainly,
and the prophets, preached beforehand that He was about to be present on
earth. Inasmuch, however, as the Jews were not cognizant of the period of
His advent, there remains the supposition that the declarations (of
Scripture) concerning His coming have not been fulfilled. And so it is,
that up to this day they continue in anticipation of the future coming of
the Christ,--from the fact of their not discerning Him when He was
present in the world. And (yet there can be little doubt but) that, on
beholding the signs of the times of His having been already amongst us,
the Jews are troubled; and that they are ashamed to confess that He has
come, since they have with their own hands put Him to death, because they
were stung with indignation in being convicted by Himself of not having
obeyed the laws. And they
affirm that He who was thus sent forth by God is not this Christ (whom
they are looking for); but they confess that another Messiah will come,
who as yet has no existence; and that he will usher in some of the signs
which the law and the prophets have shown beforehand, whereas, regarding
the rest (of these indications), they suppose that they have fallen into
error. For they say that his generation will be from the stock of David,
but not from a virgin and the Holy Spirit, but from a woman and a man,
according as it is a rule for all to be procreated from seed. And they
allege that this Messiah will be King over them,--a warlike and powerful
individual, who, after having gathered together the entire people of the
Jews, and having done battle with all the nations, will restore for them
Jerusalem the royal city. And into this city He will collect together the
entire Hebrew race,
and bring it back once more into the ancient customs, that it may fulfil
the regal and sacerdotal functions, and dwell in confidence for periods
of time of sufficient duration. After this repose, it is their opinion
that war would next be waged against
them after being thus congregated; that in this conflict Christ would
fall by the edge of the sword; and that, after no long time, would next
succeed the termination and conflagration of the universe; and that in
this way their opinions concerning the
resurrection would receive completion, and a recompense be rendered to
each man according to his works. 


It now seems to us that the tenets of both all the Greeks and barbarians
have been sufficiently explained by us, and that nothing has remained
unrefuted either of the points about which philosophy has been busied, or
of the allegations advanced by the heretics. And from these very
explanations the condemnation of the heretics is obvious, for having
either purloined their doctrines, or derived contributions to them from
some of those tenets elaborately worked out by the Greeks, and for having
advanced (these opinions) as if they originated from God. Since,
therefore, we have hurriedly passed through all the systems of these, and
with much labour have, in the nine books, proclaimed all their opinions,
and have left behind us for all men a small
viaticum in life, and to those who are our contemporaries have afforded a
desire of learning (with) great joy and delight, we have considered it
reasonable, as a crowning stroke to the entire work, to introduce the
discourse (already mentioned)
concerning the truth, and to furnish our delineation of this in one book,
namely the tenth. Our object is, that the reader, not only when made
acquainted with the overthrow of those who have presumed to establish
heresies, may regard with scorn their idle fancies, but also, when
brought to know the power of the truth, may be placed in the way of
salvation, by reposing that faith in God which He so worthily deserves.


George Brooks  (813) 886-9643

On Mon, 7 Sep 1998 21:53:20 -0400 (EDT) Herb Basser
<harryfox@chass.utoronto.ca> writes:
>I am very interested in this text attributed to hippolytus or  and 
>wonder if
>he took these things from Josephus etc  or wrote independently and
>firsthand. I would like to see his full text.
>Could you please mail me a copy:
>H. Basser
>Dept RELS
>Queens University
>Kingston Canada K7L 3N6.
>Thanks for your intriguing remarks.

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