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Re: orion-list Pacifism of Essenes deconstructed

David Suter writes,

>  Now, perhaps these pieces of information [incidents from Josephus] 
>  also need to be subjected to the same kind of analysis that
>  Russell is applying to the traditions about the Therapeutae and the 
>  but they do suggest a variety of approaches to resistance present in first
>  century Judaism.

    My observations were entirely limited to the claims of Essene and 
Therapeutae peacefulness in Philo.  
    It is possible in these incidents that Josephus exaggerates the 
peacefulness of protests against Pilate and Caligula -- there may have been 
other Jewish elements prepared to act more violently, which Josephus neglects 
to report -- but we lack sufficient evidence to draw such a conclusion.  (It 
does however seem to me that Petronius was worried about the possibility of a 
general violent uprising of the Jews, despite the peacefulness of the 
delegation that came to him with an appeal.)  Even if Josephus falsified his 
accounts (which I do not believe he did), that Josephus even hypothetically 
contrived a story  of non-violent appeals to the authorities would still 
demonstrate that such an approach was a option in the first century CE.  
(Indeed, for a delegation making an appeal to a Roman governor to carry 
weapons would have been singularly suicidal.) 
    The episodes in Josephus appear to have been pragmatic responses to 
specific situations more in the way of political strategies than an ethical 
stance; and, as David points out, the Essenes do not appear in these 
incidents.  Whether there was such a thing as "ethical pacifism" in the 
period we are considering (i.e. an ethical repudiation of violence as such) 
and whether such pacifism can be attributed to the Essenes are entirely 
different matters.

    Best regards,
    Russell Gmirkin
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