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Re: orion-list Pliny Qumran analysis (M. Agrippa)
Dear orion list,
Regrettably, Russell Gmirkin wrote that I misrepresented the late
Menahem Stern. This is false. And it is especially unfortunate, because
Gmirkin resorts to misrepresenting Stern in order to claim that I do. I
cannot in this one post respond to all the inaccuracies and rhetorical
diversions Gmirkin energetically set up in his last post.
I can ask that anyone interested read the *full* text of Stern and
my full text in JJS and at orion web site.
Here is one example: on pages 466-7 (Greek and Latin Authors on
Jews and Judaism, I [Jerusalem, 1974]) Stern does mention sources for the
geography of Judaea, and then he specifies a source "reflecting the
conditions of the age of Herod." Then Stern says Pliny sometimes updated
"this source" (*this* source) to "the contemporary situation of the Flavian
age." In my orion essay I explicitly differ with Stern concerning one
proposed instance of this claim of Stern. Then Stern mentions "traces of
older sources PRIOR TO THE MAIN HERODIAN SOURCE." (my caps) Then he notes
two examples which have no relevance to Essenes. (By the way, please note
that Gmirkin wrongly numbers the toparchy text.) "The main Herodian
source"--"the main Herodian source." Gmirkin did not quote "the main
Of course Stern could be wrong; anyone can be wrong. But explaining
*away* Essenes has become a curious fixation in some quarters.
I have found that I have written errors in some of my articles and
on orion. But to be wrongly accused of misrepresenting Stern by someone who
then stoops to misrepresenting Stern... This is painful, especially coming
from someone as obviously intellegent as Russell Gmirkin. A good mind set
to a wrong task.
Russell persists that he is "fairly certain" that Nicolaus wrote
the passage, despite the difficlties with that already enumerated; Pliny is
I try to point out that Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, one of the most
competent and versatile Romans of his century, could write the prose which
includes the toparchies, the course of the Jordan and Dead Sea, and the
Essenes. Yet even this simple and ineluctable observation is resisted.
Stephen C. Goranson
"Rereading Pliny on the Essenes: Some Bibliographic Notes"
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