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orion-list Re: Bannus, the four philosophies & so on
Some general points in light of the recent discussion.
As there was a huge expansion of the biblical Torah in Second Temple
Judaism, well attested in Ezra & Nehemiah (see the commentaries by
Williamson & Clines), the Maccabean literature, DSS, the NT, Josephus, the
rabbinic literature and so on, it is worth considering that many Jews may
have been 'non-affiliated' to the groups Josephus mentions and respected the
practices of different groups. It is possible that halakic practices may
have been followed by individuals or gave some form of inspiration. Some
possible examples can be given. The leader of the synagogue in Luke
13:10-17 opposed Jesus' healing on the Sabbath. The leader is not said to
belong to any particular group and we could reasonably expect an early
Christian writer to fire at, say, the Pharisees. However, the position
taken by the leader parallels the Pharisaic position in Mark 3:1-6. In
Jospehus (Ant. 20:43) we are told of a Galilean Jew called Eleazar who was
'strict' ('akribes')in his practices. It may be that Josephus uses linked
words when describing the Pharisees ('akribeia' I think is used here but I
don't have immediate access to Jospehus at this moment) but, contrary to
some of the secondary literature, Eleazar is not called a Pharisee
(although, of course, he may be one). This isn't to say that Bannus is or
is not an Essene but such a discussion may be further illuminated by the
possibility of such figures in ancient Judaism.
What do people think?
Dept. of Theology,
University of Nottingham,
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