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orion-list Persian Jews in the Maccabeean Period
As we ponder the nuances of whether the DSS community
could have been fundamentally related to the Maccabeean
militia, I thought I'd ask a little side question:
Our literature and discussions are quite silent on what
might have been going on in the Jewish communities
throughout Persian/Seleucid lands during the Maccabeean
times of the Desolation. Certainly something important
must have been happening here.
The Jews in these dispersion communities, especially in
those communities that would continue to prosper and
grow into crucial sources of Jewish intellectual energy
in the Babylonian region, would be a distinct minority
in the Greek empire. This would be in contrast to the
the Jewish phenomenon in Palestine.
How would a zealous Jew in Babylon react to the
swine sacrifices in the Holy of Holies, let alone to the
run-of-the-mill oppression going on in Babylon?
How many hundreds of thousands of Jews lived
outside of Palestine? What percentage of them might
have decided that to be oppressed fighting for Jewish
freedom in Palestine would be better than to be
oppressed and silenced in Persia?
Over the course of the of the Maccabeean conflict,
would it be so hard to imagine that a few thousand
Jews, some wealthy but many more of them poor
(with more religious zeal than property), with nothing
to lose except their martyrdom for God, joined with
Judah the Hammer to fight the Greeks and the
Hellenizing Jews? I think not.
I think it would be quite strange if a significant number
of them did not arrive. And these fully Jewish Babylonian
Jews just might get a nickname from the local Palestinian
Jews. What would this nickname be?
I find it interesting that Strong's Hebrew words for
Persians includes #6539, 6540 and especially #6542
- - all variants of words that phonetically are pronounced:
"Parsee" or "Paras".
I don't think it is coincidental that the Pharisees did not
emerge as a distinct faction (presumably linked to the
Hasidim by ever so many Rabbi) until long after the
victorious conclusion of the Maccabeean conflict.
This would not be surprising that a Persian/Jewish
oriented faction would emerge from the Hasidim "matrix"
after the war was over.... without the war crisis to maintain
unity with the ascetic/Essene/DSS core of the Hasidim, it
would be inevitable that factional disunity would emerge.
And it is it not surprising to see the this Persian/Parsee/
Pharisee/Separator faction opposing the priestly/Maccabeean
Sadducees (and the Essenes/DSS, based on the DSS texts).
I see a growing reconciliation of lots of different ideas and
"facts" emerging out of the idea that the DSS community
was the core (or part of the core) of the Maccabeean forces.
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