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orion-list The "Doers" Appear Yet Again!
While revewing the juicier parts of Anthony J. Saldarini's **Pharisees,
Scribes and Sadducees in Palestinian Society: A Sociological Approach**
- - my friends would laugh at this phrase - - (1988 by Michael Glazier
Inc., Wilmington, Delaware), I have mostly noticed where the author would
have probably developed opposite conclusions if he had written the
book a decade later. (Could he have written some of this if he had
been better informed with the best recent scholarship on the scrolls?
But I digress.)
In his chapter on the Scribes, the author points out that while
the Hebrew of the Bible frequently uses oblique terms and phrases,
Josephus, while relating the same stories told in the Bible, frequently
replaces these vague terms and phrases with the term "scribe" or
"scribes". While the author tries to use this as proof that Josephus
saw scribes as merely well trained palace or temple officials, he
unwittingly builds the case that the term Scribes applied to a
form of service (in the same way that the Levites and High Priestly
families formed clan-defined lines of service), generation after
Eisenman, in his JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS, outlined the idea
of clans of "Rechabite Priests" and "Rechabite Scribes" having a social
continuity throughout the history of Israel. Saldarini helps to put
and bones on this idea. Eisenman refers to these Rechabite clans as
"proto-Essenes" because of their ascetic ways of life, originally living
in the desert in tents or caves, linked to a very intense spirituality
expectation of "Standing" or "resurrection" in the End Times. From an
early time they marry into the highest priestly lines. And their
is felt ever since, into the 2nd Temple Period, right into the midst of
Maccabeean period, and eventually to be identified with the Essenes.
This is the scenario, anyway.
So imagine, then, my surprise when I read in Saldarini's
text the following:
"In another passage [of Esther] the Hebrew list of government officials
who help the Jews includes princes, satraps, governors and, literally,
"doers [!] of the king's work." [Footnote 56: Esther 9:3. This phrase
usually translated as royal officials or king's stewards. Ant. 11.6.13
Josephus follows the LXX.] Josephus translates the vague Hebrew
expression as scribes ...." [!!] [Saldarini, p. 262]
There are several more instances listed where Josephus "fills in the
blank" or completely replaces the blank with his own use of the word
**scribe**. Could Josephus, the one-time, 3 year novice of "Banus the
Essene," seem to know something that we don't? And how did Josephus
know to translate our favorite phrase "Doers" as "Scribes?
These same "scribes" are linked to the Rechabites, and to the Levites and
Priests in the Jewish Bible, in Rabbinic texts, in writings of the
Church Fathers, and even in the Maccabees. Sometimes the linkage is
explicit, and sometimes it is implied by the behavior that does not
to conventional Jewish practice. Looking back a few pages in Saldarini's
book, I look one more time at another sentence:
"One other scribe appears in Ezra-Nehemiah, Zadok who was appointed
with a priest and Levite to be a treasurer of the storehouses .... (Neh.
12-13). This text suggests that scribes were part of society and its
leadership in Jerusalem." [Saldarini, p. 246].
So here we read that the "Doers", who are "Scribes" are also linked by
their "profession" (profession of work/of faith) to one of the key
of the DSS material: Zadok/Sadduc and all of his "Sons of Zadok" and
the equivalent "Sons of Righteousness". Are these "Doers" and these
"Sons of Zadok" simply additional terms to the Jewish meaning of the word
Prof. Goranson, I think you are quite right about "Doers" being the
mental (but not solitary) source of the word Essene.
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