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Re: orion Essenes = 'osey hatorah?
In response to two posts:
1, F. Cryer stated that Philo did not know Hebrew. I quite agree! And I
have written the same observation. But Cryer goes on to suggest that
therefore Philo is of no help here. Though the evidence is not limited to
Philo alone, Philo is indeed of use. In Quod Probus 75, he admits that
something is not quite right about the Greek explanation he presents, but
offers osios. He repeats the word in Quod Probus 91, Essaion = osaion. In
De Vita Contemplativa 1 Philo associates Essenes with the "active life,"
bios praktikos. In a text sometimes ignored, Apologia pro Iudaeis
(Hypothetica), in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. 8.11.1, Philo wrote: "Our
Lawgiver encouraged the myriads of his disciples to live in community:
these are called Essenes, and I think they have merited this title because
of their holiness [osioteta]." Myriads in community following what Moses
taught, wrote Philo.
2. Asia Lerner asked an excellent question. I wish I knew a short and
precise answer, but I admit that the evolution of some self-descripions or
self-designations into terms used by outsiders does not always occur in a
discrete, identifiable moment. As in my last post, I have used analogies,
and I keep looking for new ones. For example, does anyone on list know when
the description Haredim, i.e., not fearers in general, but a short form for
fearers of the Lord, became widely used? In that case, I do not know. Add
to the calculus of change that some group names have more than one meaning,
depending of who is using it. Example: Nazarenes/nosrim, etc. For
suggestions on how "Nazarenes" and "Ebionites" evolved, please see the
Anchor Bible Dictionary articles. I have said (as has Albert Baumgarten)
that ancient groups often named themselves, then outsiders often made
negative word play on the name. Saul Lieberman apparently called this
"cacophemism," and compare "caricturnamen," (see Daniel Boyarin in the
latest J. of Early Christian Studies [last 1998 issue], for bibliography
and a reference to tosefta A.Z. 6.4). I have also tried to trace (for
instance, in part of my 1990 dissertation, a copy of which is at Hebrew
University) what I have called negativization of taxonomy; as "minut"
developed (i.e., as Biblical Hebrew for "kinds" picked up a negative sense
for disapproved kinds of Jews, and, later, heresy in general), and as the
Greek hairesis became negative, heresiologies grew. So, e.g., "separatists"
may have been seen more negatively by rabbis than by second temple period
Jews. Epiphanius, according to J. Dummer, used "ein naturwissenschaftliches
Handbuch" as his model for Panarion. (I thought that was pretty funny at
the time, when I was a graduate student with a temporary job at the Duke U.
Primate Center, sorting slides of lemurs and whatnot.) In some Qumran
Essene texts, they see themselves as the true observers of torah. If it
were not for yet further, medieval, changes in perceptions of names, Wm.
Brownlee and others reading, e.g., 1QpHab would not only have recalled the
already-proposed etymology from 'asah, they would have assuredly realized
they were reading a self-announced Essene text.
Asia, if you or others on list have observations or bibliography on
how self-descriptions become outside designations, or related examples, I
will read them with interest.
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