[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion-list Pacifism of Essenes deconstructed

In David Suter's comments, we see a way of finding a PEACEFUL
outlet for those Essenes who take their "love their neighbor"
MORE seriously than the constitutional documents required of them.

According to their own community rules, "civil disobedience" would
only be an option, and so would more vigorous and violent actions.
Again, this would explain Hippolytus's analysis that the Essenes
broke up into a number of factions (while ALL still being considered
Essenes), and that some of these factions were VERY violent.

George Brooks
Tampa, FL

On Wed, 15 Dec 1999 09:57:17 -0800 "Suter, David" <dsuter@stmartin.edu>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: RGmyrken@aol.com [mailto:RGmyrken@aol.com]
> > Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 1999 4:01 AM
> > To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il
> > Subject: Re: orion-list Pacifism of Essenes deconstructed
> > 
> >    Philo's remarks about Essenes and Therapeutae peacefulness 
> > should be taken 
> > in the same light, as rhetoric defending these groups against 
> > contemporary 
> > accusations of militarism and the like.  Indeed, I suspect 
> > these essays were 
> > prompted by accusations that Essenes and/or Therapeutae were 
> > involved in the 
> > disturbances of 37 CE.  The proximity of the Therapeutae to 
> > Alexandria seems 
> > to me to point in this direction.  A casual reading of 
> > Philo's treatises on 
> > Essenes and Therapeutae, compared with those on the 
> > disturbances of 37, show 
> > a number of details that seem defensive.  (His statement that 
> > the Therapeutae 
> > avoid the hot cities, cf. the Alexandrian heat as the cause 
> > of the riots, 
> > etc., etc.)  Philo's assertion that the Essenes did not make 
> > armaments is 
> > particularly suspect, given his parallel assertion that the Jews 
> of 
> > Alexandria had in their collective households not so much as 
> > a single kitchen 
> > knife.  It seems to me those who take Philo's writings on the 
> > Essenes and 
> > Therapeutae at face value, especially his protests about 
> > their peacefulness, 
> > seriously misunderstand his motives and his propagandistic 
> tendenz.
> > 
> I think this argument has merit, but I would note that, alongside 
> the
> possibility of armed resistance, there seems to be evidence for the 
> Jewish
> use of nonviolent tactics against the Romans.  Examples would 
> include the
> two incidents when Pilate introduced Roman army standards into 
> Jerusalem or
> otherwise threatened the temple, or the effort by Petronius, the 
> Syrian
> Legate, to follow Gaius Caligula's orders to install the emperor's 
> statue in
> the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem.  In each case the 
> threat is
> met by crowds of apparently unarmed Jews who suggest that Pilate or
> Petronius can take their lives first before carrying out the threat. 
>  In one
> case Pilate backs down, but in the second he orders a slaughter.  
> Petronius
> writes the emperor for instructions, and is saved from the emperor's 
> order
> to commit suicide only by the fact that the news of the emperor's
> assassination arrives before the order.  Now, perhaps these pieces 
> of
> information also need to be subjected to the same kind of analysis 
> that
> Russell is applying to the traditions about the Therapeutae and the 
> Essenes,
> but they do suggest a variety of approaches to resistance present in 
> first
> century Judaism.
> David Suter
> Saint Martin's College
> > 
> For private reply, e-mail to "Suter, David" <dsuter@stmartin.edu>
For private reply, e-mail to George Brooks <george.x.brooks@juno.com>
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to majordomo@panda.mscc.huji.ac.il 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.