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Re: orion-list Rechabites, nakedness, etc.
If you have not done so, you should read Charlesworth's introduction to
the Rechabite materials in volume 2 of his OT Pseudepigrapha. For example,
"The History of the Rechabites has also been influenced by ideas,
concepts, and traditions developed in non-Jewish and non-Christian
writings" (447) such as the "island of the blessed ones" (Hesiod etc.),
the sweet breezes, fecund nature, incorporality, etc. He concludes this
paragraph: "The History of the Rechabites apparently has inherited images
and ideas commonly shared in antiquity in the countries of the Fertile
Crescent and in the lands of the Mediterranean."
Regarding the "nudity" references, have you checked on the ancient
traditions about the Gymnosophists from India? I suspect that also might
be quite revealing.
> In the Rechabite material there were what I thought were
> unusual references to innocent nakedness practiced by
> the Rechabite community of "Blessed Ones" on a sacred
> Isle. I could think of no Jewish community that emphasized
> such nudity in practice. But I neglected to comment on the
> obvious references to some literature (Enoch-related?)
> where becoming an innocent of God makes it possible to
> throw your clothes to the ground. I do not own copies
> of any of these texts and so I am not able to provide any
> specific citations. Perhaps others on Orion have the
> texts and the inclination.
> George Brooks
> Tampa, FL
Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
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