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orion-list Philo

	Philo's Every Good Man is Free describes Essenes as peaceful. In the view
of many fine scholars over the years, Every Good Man is Free is one of
Philo's early works. See for example the first sentence of Colson's
introduction to this work in his Loeb edition. A. D. Nock gave Colson's
ninth Loeb Philo volume glowing praise in Classical Review in 1943. And one
could consult Madeleine Petit's excellent dating discussion and argument
for early composition in her Paris Cerf 1974 commentary (Philo t. 28). In
other words, one might be careful about suggestions that Philo, and his yet
earlier source, made up Essene peacefulness in response to events which had
not yet happened. (Unless Philo could imitate Borges' Pierre Menard in
rewriting the Quixote in the same words but with new meaning.) Steve Mason
in Bible Review, in an otherwise useful sketch of Josephus, similarly
asserted that Josephus made Essenes peaceful after the war, momentarily
forgetting that Josephus' source was likely pre-revolt and that Philo's
works surely were. That Philo wrote some apologetic works is not news. One,
after all, one which may share a source with Contra Apion book 2 (which
Jerome links to Esseos, and Porphyry to Essaioi), is called Apology for the
Jews. But caution about declaring at will what is made up or exaggerated
might be called for.

	By the way, A.D. Nock's review of Colson (vol. 57 pp. 77-81) specifies as
an example of praiseworthy editing and emendation Colson's solution of
Every Good Man 74, right before Philo introduced the Essenes with osios,
inclination to observe God's law, in 75: that Essenes (osey hatorah; doers
of torah) are an example of a group in which deeds are held in higher
regard than words. 

best wishes,
Stephen Goranson

For private reply, e-mail to goranson@duke.edu
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