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Re: orion Essenes = 'osey hatorah?
Your post is not very clear, other than as expression of
disapproval. I do not see "shift" and "nonsensically" where you do. Since I
have posted on this at length, with bibliography and many Qumran and other
citations, I'll be brief here. You ignore Philo on osios, and the bios
praktikos, etc., among other relevant sources; Epiphanius includes some
As to long and short forms of (self-)designation, perhaps it
would be useful to consider some analogies. If Pharisees were "specifiers,"
what they specified (halakha), is, as it were, unspecified, at least
explictly--understood. Same for Pharisees as "separatists"--separate from
something, surely. Though it may be a folk etymology, Samaritans considered
themselves the true keepers of torah: keepers, with torah sometimes
unstated. Mandaean Nasoraya were observant of something, certainly.
Karaites were readers/reciters of something, mikra. Gnostics, knowers of
something. Kabbalists, tradents, of something. Long and short forms are
indeed known. The etymology of Essenes from 'asah has parallels. It also
helps explain why the self-designation was not accepted in some quarters
(ancient and modern). (Essenes as Hasidim is a medieval misunderstanding,
While on the subject, perhaps I can ask listmembers something
constructive. As you may recall, this etymology from 'asah has been traced
back in "modern" scholarship at least as early as the 1532 Chronica by
Johan Carion, extensively edited by Philip Melanchthon. Melanchthon's uncle
was the Christian Hebraist Reuchlin. One of his students was Johannes
Boeschenstein, who taught Hebrew in various universities, including
Wittenberg. Does anyone have access to Boeschenstein's 1514 or 1518 Hebrew
Grammar, and an inclination to check whether he mentions Essenes? Thanks
for your consideration.
> Stephen Goranson writes:
>> Understanding the development of "minim" can, I think, help explain
>> why the later rabbis were disinclined to accept the Essenes' self
>> designation as 'osey hatorah.
> The assertion that the Essenes called themselves 'osey hatorah ("doers of
>the law") is a significant shift and a vast improvement over your earlier
>published views that they knew themselves simply and somewhat nonsensically as
>'osey ("doers"). It is also more consistent with the evidence you cite in
>your original article and in later postings on this list, where your examples
>of the word "doers" in the scrolls and (less relevantly) Christian literature
>mostly occur within the phrase "doers of the law."
> However, it is a much further stretch to posit that the phrase 'osey
>hatorah somehow was transformed into Essene (via Ossene, a form attested no
>earlier than Epiphanius, whose nomenclature for heretical groups is in any
>case notoriously unreliable).
> Russell Gmirkin
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