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Re: orion PHARISEE = Persian

George Brooks' etymological understanding of "Pharisee" has a background
in modern scholarly literature -- even in scholarship associated with
Manchester University -- as the following excerpt from Marcel Simon's
<t>Jewish Sects at the Time of Jesus</> (Fortress 1967; original French
1960) illustrates. As a grad student in those days I had been intrigued
with that explanation ("Persian"), but couldn't recall the source. This

"Another etymology has been proposed by T. W. Manson. Manson holds that
the term 'originally meant simply "Persian"' (the Hebrew form of both
words is indeed almost the same). [footnote: T.W.Manson, <t>The Servant
Messiah</> (Cambridge University Press, 1953), p.19.] In this view, the
term would be a pejorative nickname applied by their enemies to men whose
belief, in many respects, obviously reflected the influence of Persian
concepts. Manson's view has not found many supporters. Yet it is necessary
to mention it here, for it emphasizes the major characteristics of the
Pharisee sect: on the matter of observances they maintained a punctilious
legalism, while in doctrinal matters they had a quite open and receptive
spirit." [Simon, 28]

I also checked Tony Saldarini's excellent and lengthy survey of
"Pharisees" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, but did not find any focused
discussion of possible etymologies (maybe I missed it). Interesting.

Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
For private reply, e-mail to kraft@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (Robert Kraft)
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