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Re: orion osiotes & law-observing

Stephen Goranson asks:
> 1. I've been reading a little about Greek osios and osiotes, following up
> references in the Lexicon of Bauer-Gingrich, in Philo Lexicon, etc. I ask
> if anyone knows of more recent studies. I am interested especially in the
> sense of divine law (observance) given for these words. Every Good Man is
> Free 91 gives this in apposition with Essaioi, usually translated holy
> ones, but why not as law-observers? The uses of osioi and anosioi ioudaioi
> in papyri from the time of the Trajan-period revolt in Alexandria are
> interesting. Of course I'm wondering about Philo's source. E. Puech, one of
> the strongest defenders of Aramaic XSY does cite one Egyptian inscription
> (La Croyance des Esseniens en la vie future, 1993, 23: CIS II 1 141; KAI
> 269), and I can understand why the approximate analog with Hasidim arose as
> a proposal, but, without any internal or external linkage of that Eastern
> Aramaic with Essenes, it seems not plausible. It may be interesting that
> Philo's Apology uses osiotes, and it may share an (Alexandrian? Stoic
> kathekon?) source with part of Contra Apion 2 on law observance with Essene
> links. And doesn't therapeutae as servants/worshippers (not healers) of God
> better parallel observers of law than holy ones? Anyway: any comments or
> recent bibliography on osios/osiotes?


At least in OG Psalms (the majority of occurrences in TaNaKh), Hebrew
hasid <hb>HSYD</> is consistently rendered by Greek <gk>O(/SIOS</>, and
only by that Greek choice (not <gk>E)LE/HMOS</> "merciful" or similarly). 
We can argue about the extent to which such translational choices
influenced the sense of the Greek among people who used the Greek texts,
and indeed, exactly what the Hebrew term meant, but probably something
like "faithfulness" (covenant loyalty) was in view at some point, judging
from the contexts and parallellisms. In this context, I would not see
<gk>O(/SIOS</> as a pointed reference to "law keeping" per se, but to the
wider context in which "obedience" would be an aspect of "faithfulness,"
and that wider context is also characteristic of the DSS in general.

Whether the translators' choice of a Greek word that sounded somewhat
similar to the word being translated was intentional could also be
relevant for understanding possible meaning shifts in the Greek among some
users. In any event, the questions of how this identification came to
Philo's attention (assuming that there is some background to his claim),
and what it meant to him, are also interesting. "Doers" and "keepers" (in
the sense of loyalty, faithfulness) are not far apart, but I suspect that
if Philo was plugged in to any of this, he would have tended towards the
latter connection -- "faithful" (servants).

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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