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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 [1998] 
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.  

Russell Gmirkin
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