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Re: orion Essenes = 'osey hatorah?
David Suiter, thanks for your observation.
Greg Doudna wrote "Of course [...] Philo is of no real weight"
and then asked me "On what basis" do I think that *his* interpretation
of Philo is wrong. But, if he thinks Philo is of "no real weight," why
Jack Kilmon, apparently, prefers Aramaic proposals, and has
often advocated, alternately, one or the other of the two most popular
Aramaic ones, Cross' preference or Vermes' preference ("healers").
First, Hebrew is a more likely source for self-designation of Essenes,
as the torah is in Hebrew. Second, both of these Aramaic proposals can
be shown to have arisen in the history of scholarship as
misunderstandings, misunderstandings, e.g., of Maccabees and of De Vita
Contemplativa. Third, I do not think 4QAramaic Levi does include this
Aramaic root. (In the orion archives, this was discussed by Robert
Kugler, Michael Stone, and others.) Even if one concludes it does
appear in that little fragment, that is merely once.
More important, in my opinion, than excluding the sixty or so
mistaken proposals that I have encountered, is an open-minded look at
the evidence which indicates Hebrew 'asah: evidence from not only Philo
and Epiphanius (have you read the latter's description of
Ossaioi/Ossenoi as a torah observant Jewish heresy? and are you aware
of the range of sources to which he had access?), but of several other
texts, citations of which I have typed out on orion before (some of
them are in Adam/Burchard), more than once, and texts which do indicate
how the name evolved, why the name was received as it was, and why some
observers accepted it and some not, and, not least, self-designations
in several Hebrew Qumran texts widely and correctly regarded, on other
grounds, as Essene.
In case anyone is interested, the reference (from Daniel
Boyarin) that I mentioned previously (but have not yet seen) is:
Paulus Cassel, "Caricaturnamen," in _Aus Literatur und Geschichte_
(Berlin: Verlag von Wilhelm Friedrich, 1885).
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