[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: orion-list Re: self-definition
Ann L. Kraemer's comments all seem to be squarely on target.
She writes, in part:
> Gmirkin also cites a datum in
> Yosippon: 'the Greek term "Essene" is translated back into Hebrew by the
> term "Hasidim."'
> You spent a long post, 25/4/98, refuting the Yosippon connection's
> -- without dealing with the central issue of _hosios_ being one
> of hasydym and Essene being the other. Gmirkin replied: "Stephen has
> no insights of why Yosippon wrote Hasidim for Essene. Is he suggesting
> Yosippon knew of the Hasidim from reading Maccabees or rabbinic
> and therefore substituted Hasidim (a known group) for Essene?"
I should add that the Samaritans as well as Yosippon render "Essene" by
"Hasidim". I am not entirely certain that Samaritan sources and the Yosippon
are entirely independent. Does Flusser address this point in his critical
edition of the Yosippon? If they are independent, one would have to explain
why both (admittedly late) sources equated the Essenes with the Hasidim. It
seems to me the relative cultural isolation of the Samaritans down through
history, and their preservation of ancient traditions in native Hebrew, both
suggest that the apparent identity of the Hasidim and Essenes in Samaritan
literature carries some weight.
In my opinion, Stephen has never satisfactorily demonstrated that the common
phrase "doers of the law" was a true designation of the scrolls sect as
opposed to a mere stock description of the sect using Biblical language on a
par with "righteous", "faithful" etc., terminology all scarcely the monopoly
of any one single Jewish sect.
Stephen's discussion of self-designations in the scrolls focusses exclusively
on the phrase "doers of the law." There were of course a number of clear
self-designations uinque to the sect, such as "sons of light", etc. Ann
Kraemer reasonably suggests that other self-designations ought also be
considered. I wish to here draw special attention to one that surfaces in
external history, namely MTNDBYM, "volunteers." This term is widely
recognized in secondary literature as a designation of the sect.
"Volunteers" designate members of the sect at 1QS i 7, 11; v 1, 6, 8, 10, 21,
22; vi 13; 4QS(c); 1QpMic x 7; 1Q31 i 1; cf. A. Fitzgerald, "MTNDBYM in 1QS,"
CBQ 36 (1974) 495 n. 1. The "volunteers" in these text are sworn to obey the
Torah of Moses (as interpreted by the sons of Zadok in 1QS i 7, 11; v 8, 21;
as interpreted by the Teacher of Righteousness in 1QpMic x 7). At CD vi 4,
8-9 the "nobles of the people who dig the well" are interpreted as the
penitents of Israel who study the Torah, influenced by a word play between
Mybdn, "nobles", and Mybdn, "volunteers" (occurring in this form at 1QS i 7,
Significantly, the designation "volunteers" also occurs in Greek translation
at 1 Macc. 2:42. Here the Hasidim are virtually equated with an older group,
the "volunteers for the law", as pointed out e.g. by Geza Vermes, whose
discussion in Discovery in the Judean Desert (NY: Desclee Co., 1956) 73-76
still remains valuable reading. A case may be made identifying the
"volunteers for the law" of 1 Macc. 2:42 with the Dead Sea Scrolls sect.
(Cf. Kampen, The Hasideans, 76-81, where the "seekers of righteousness and
justice" at 1 Macc. 2:29 are identified as Dead Sea Scrolls sectarians based
on the importance of the terms sadduk and mishpat at Qumran.) In my article
"Historical Allusions in the War Scroll" (Dead Sea Discoveries 5.2 
172-214) I argue on pp. 212-213 that the major yachad texts (such as 1QS
where "volunteer" terminology is prominent) were written about 170-168 BCE.
The term Hasidim began to be applied to the scrolls sect no earlier than 166
BCE, with the rise of the Maccabean army, based on the evidence from 1
The group known from first century CE Greek sources as Essenes are also
described as "volunteers" by Philo (apud Eusebius, Praepar. Evang. 8.11.2),
and there are clearly important parallels between Josephus' description of
the Essenes and e.g. 1QS. The Essenes of first century CE sources may well
be spiritual descendants of the second century BCE authors of the yachad
texts. Given the apparent historical link between the earlier "volunteers"
and the Hasidim, I think this lends additional force to a derivation of
Essene from Hasidim. That is to say, the Essenes appear to have utilized
both the older "volunteer"/Hasidim literature and the name Hasidim itself
(alternately transliterated into Greek as 'Asidaioi or Essenoi or translated
as 'osios, the "saints"). This of course does not rule out other groups such
as the Sadducees from also having claimed descent from the Hasidim or having
used their literature.
For private reply, e-mail to RGmyrken@aol.com
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.