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Re: orion 1st BCE generation; War Scroll

According to Dierk: 
> Bravo Greg, doubtlessly war starts with an expectation of a final victory,
> normally after a more or less realistic assessment of the military
> possibilities. But I thought of  the final victory syndrome of destroyed
> forces based upon nothing but fanaticism and orientated on pure wishful
> thinking of their usual xenophobe (and in so far less able to adapt)
> political leaders. I^ve understood Sigrid^s reference to the finavictory
> via resurrection of the dead Holy Worrier in times of Jihad  - now justified

If you understand *Jihad* as meaning `struggle' (with self and
other/Other), as "Worrier" (typo for Warrior) would suggest. There are
many problems, though, with understanding the martyrdoms of the
Hasmonean period in this way.

> as righteous.
> The closed historical passage describes a disaster followed by a decisive
> victory with irreversible results. Exactly this provisional result excludes

I don't think there was a disaster followed by a decisive victory; rather
a disaster (Antiochus IV plundering Jerusalem, installing the "abomination
of desolation"--you know more than I do about its nature), followed by a
standoff. It was many years before the Seleucid garrison was driven out of

Interpreting the (eventual) Hasmonean Revolution in terms of later events
is not to my taste, and I haven't drawn a close comparison with the War
Scroll. My purpose in posting was to register that while the Hasmonean
Revolution may ultimately have been successful, it began with a disaster
that John Chrysostom and others termed the "third exile" -- after Egypt
and Babylon.

[. . .]
> N.B. To divide the Essenes from the ante-Roman front seems to be more a
> quest of belief (e.g. in Josephus^ harmless connection to the self-banished
> Is 40:3-Bannus, as harmless as the theological followers of the
> Essene-thesis) ) than a quest of verifiable facts.

See Joshua Efron's article on the Roman takeover, in his STUDIES ON
THE HASMONEAN PERIOD (Brill, 1987; 1st Hebrew ed., 1980). There is an
additional source for the appearance of a "Third Force" (Josephus's
"nation")--Diodorus Siculus XL 2(Loeb Classical Library). As Efron puts

  A Jewish leadership whose identity and powers are a mystery gives full
  moral backing to Pompey's actions and decrees in Eretz Israel. Its
  arguments are based on an ancient code which sanctifies priestly
  government and opposes a kingly one. Diodorus also ntoes that before
  dealing with Pompey's war and victory against the Jews, he wishes to
  explain the establishment and nature of that code (231).

  It was from these sources [Diodorus and Strabo] that Josephus apparently
  drew the "nation" whose voice was heard in Damascus, demanding the 
  restoration of priestly government according to its ancestral precepts,
  and the repudiation of the kingdom. While a certain group of Jews may
  have issued some such declaration with or withouht Roman inspiration and
  assumed the the pretentious guise of a national representation, the
  contents of the declaration flowed through the channels of Roman 
  propaganda, and the grounds it cites are faulty from the Jewish
  viewpoint (232).

Efron argues that Jewish tradition, of course, *does* allow for a
monarchical form of government, rather than government by priests.
Therefore, he suggests, the episode represents a major distortion arising
from Josephus's dependence on sources, and those sources' dependence in
turn on Hecateus of Abdera, and/or mistaken understanding of actual Jewish
beliefs. In contrast, I tend to see the argument for a priestly form of
government being a concern of some sectarian interests who actually did
send a delegation to the meeting in Damascus.

While I haven't investigated this beyond Efron's citations, it seems that
sources more ancient than Josephus understood that there was a third
delegation to Damascus, a delegation that believed that the proper form of
government was a priestly one. 
[. . .]
> Dierk


Sigrid Peterson  University of Pennsylvania  petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu