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Re: orion-list Philo

In response to George Brooke's inquiries.

>  1) Russ has not explained why Philo would "invent" the part
>  about women participants within the Therapeutic community.

Philo mentions women who were victimized in the Alexandrian riots.  I have no 
doubt some sought refuge with the "Therapeutae".  Philo describes the women 
among the "Therapeutae" as for the most part aged and celibate.  I would 
interpret this to mean they were widows, probably lacking relatives to 
provide for them, and thus (alongside orphans) the first recipients to Jewish 
charity according to Biblical injunctions.
>  2) Russ has not explained away the equally possible scenario
>  that Chaeremon was copying Philo.

Egyptologists are agreed that Chaeremon reflects authentic Egyptian customs 
as confirmed by other (often older) sources.  See the book on Chaeremon 
mentioned in my earlier post and literature cited there.
>  3) Russ does not make it clear whether he believes the
>  Therapeutae are Essene or DSS related or not.  From earlier
>  explanations, it appeared to me that Russ questioned the
>  very existence of the Therapeutae.  Now, it seems, he admits
>  that there were refugees, but he does not explain whether or
>  not they were Essenes or part of the DSS community in some
>  way.  I look forward to an explanation of these ideas.

I think you may not have correctly followed my earlier posts.  I find no 
compelling evidence that the group Philo calls the "Therapeutae" were 
anything other than ordinary Jews taking refuge from the Alexandrian riots of 
38 CE.  Most of the standard arguments linking the "Therapeutae" with the 
Essenes do not appear to me valid.  On the other hand, _Every Good Man is 
Free_ 89-91 implies that there were Essenes in Alexandria that faced certain 
accusations from Flaccus and his cronies, so I hesitate to exclude this as a 
possibility at this stage in my research.  Philo appears to claim the 
"Therapeutae" observed Pentecost but this by itself fails to prove an 
identification with either the Essenes or the DSS community.
>  4) The tone of Philo's work suggests a community that has
>  been in existence for ages.  It seems hardly likely that this would
>  be connected with a time frame of 38 CE (which is within 
>  Philo's own lifetime as I recall).  If the Therapeut's were
>  "Iketon, a term meaning fugitive, suppliant, one seeking 
>  protection," it would seem more likely that they fled Palestine
>  decades earlier.  Candidate time periods:  A) the Maccabeean
>  conflict, following in the footsteps of the last surviving Onias, 
>  never to return to Palestine where their "brethren" became
>  the more militaristic, rank-oriented, punishment oriented
>  community that we call the DSS community; B) refugees
>  from the conflict between the two Hasmonean brother
>  princes in the 80's BCE; C) refugees from the hostilities
>  against Herod when he wiped out large sectors of the
>  Zealot leadership resisting his rule.  Any of these times,
>  and perhaps others?, are better candidates than the 
>  38 CE time period.

The above seems to reflect assumptions and/or possibilities brought to the 
text rather than insights derived from the text itself.  Sometimes you have 
to let a text simply speak to you.  That the "Therapeutae" came from 
Alexandria rather than Palestine is indicated by the following textual clues: 
 (1) The "Therapeutae" were located by Philo on a low hill in the beach area 
promimate to Alexandria (Cont. 21-23).  (2) In Philo's _Flaccus_ and _Embassy 
to Gaius_ refugees are said to have fled the Alexandrian riots of 38 to the 
same beach area and for the same stated reason, namely the "healthful air" 
(which was thought to be a cure for the epidemic currently raging in the 
city).  (3) The "Therapeutae" were said to have sought out this relative 
solitude, "fleeing without a backward glance" in order to avoid the "turmoil 
and disturbances innumerable" of even the "best-governed cities" (Cont. 
18-19), an allusion to the Alexandrian riots.  (4) Another major stated 
purpose of the escape from the cities was to avoid contact with those who 
worshipped astral gods [like the Egyptians], demigods [i.e., Gaius], and 
worst of all the animal gods of the [Graeco-]Egyptians (Cont. 3-9).  (In 
_Embassy_ 163-164 Philo argues that worship of Gaius was an easy step for the 
[Graeco-] Egyptians who already worshipped snakes, ibises and savage 
animals.)   This escape from contact with pagan religions (including the 
worship of Gaius Caligula as a god) is understandable in the historical 
context of the religious strife in 38 CE.  I could easily continue, but the 
evidence points to a recent flight of the "Therapeutae" from Alexandria (not 
Palestine) for reasons of which Philo was well informed and gave numerous 
hints about - if one pays close attention to the text.  

    Best regards,
    Russell Gmirkin

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