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RE: orion-list More Detail vs. Less Detail - - Hippolytus vs. Jos ephus?

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Brooks [mailto:george.x.brooks@Juno.Com]
> Sent: Monday, December 27, 1999 11:45 AM
> To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il
> Subject: orion-list More Detail vs. Less Detail - - Hippolytus vs.
> Josephus?

> or two works treating the Hippolytus text.  But while I await your
> input, I find it vaguely disingenous to try to invalidate Hippolytus
> because of "scribal copy problems" when we know that there
> is more of the same with Josephus.  Some academic circles
> come right out and say that what Josephus had to say about
> Jesus was "obviously a Christian redaction."  And others point to
> the Slavonic version to raise doubts about the more common version.


I think you're reading too much into Stephen's response as I remember it.
It didn't appear to me that he was trying to invalidate Hippolytus but
merely to argue that it too was subject to the same possibility of
corruption that Josephus was and therefore needed to be used critically.

> The position I can't possibly agree about is the one 
> regarding disbelief that Josephus took one or more Essene oaths.
> The likelihood of this seems beyond question.  If he says he spent
> three years learning the ways of the Essenes, and we know that as
> he himself describes, that there are 2 to 3 years (with associated
> rankings) of "earning" the privileges of an Essene, then we deduction
> we know that he must have taken the "beginning" oath, and at least
> one more, if he persevered with Bannus for 3 years.
> There is no reason to assume that he was a dullard or slow learner and
> didn't make it past the first oath, and there is absolutely 
> every reason
> to think he **had** to take the first oath or he never would have
> been with Bannus for three years.
> The obligations of taking the oath of an Essene would be no less
> permanent
> than taking the oath as a member of the Knights of Columbus or
> Freemasonry.
> According to those books that deal in such matters, these oaths are
> not oaths that cease when you stop paying your dues.  Oaths like
> these are life-long.  And we have the unusual fortune of reading
> in the rule texts what a person faced if he violated certain 
> rules.  And
> there is no reason to think these written items would be the 
> only rules
> (or penalties !) included in an oath for a group as "intense" as the
> Essenes.

Again, I think that you're overreading, in this case Josephus rather than
Stephen.  Josephus backed out of a mutual suicide pact at Jotapata, as I
understand it, and one wonders how seriously he might have taken other
oaths, assuming that he took them.

David Suter
Saint Martin's College
For private reply, e-mail to "Suter, David" <dsuter@stmartin.edu>
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