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Re: orion-list Full Suda Translation (rough draft)
Dave Hindley's commentary on the Egyptian-ness of Chaeremon's
"Egyptian" Priests is far more to the point than Russell's. The use
of the word "Egyptian" is not what I was questioning. It was the
**practices** of the Egyptian Priests that I wondered about.
Dave was very thorough. But he does miss the point that I
am trying to make, and that Eisenman tries to make (though
Eisenman's point is still, no doubt, different in some ways
from my own).
If we look at the "big picture", we learn some interesting
things about Rechabites and about Essenes. There are certain
similarities about what they were inclined to do in terms of
ascetic rituals, and how they interacted with each other. And
we learn that the Rechabites themselves come from an even
older tradition of the Kenites, who were the sub-group of the
Midianites that provided Moses with his wife.
[Beginning of Purly Speculative Exposition:]
In various parts of the bible and rabbinic traditions, we learn
that Moses married a Kenite woman. Had two sons.
We continue to follow this trail of Moses and his
two sons. The sons become connected with the priesthood
that served the tribe of Dan - - after all, the sons of Moses
are certainly as qualified for the priesthood as the sons of
Aaron. Moses himself is said to have spent the rest of his
life celibate. Why? Was this Kenite influence?
On a parallel track, we learn that a related group of Kenites
become attached to the Israelite community. And out of this
group we learn that some of the sons and some of the daughters
marry into the Aaronic priesthood, by marrying the daughters and
sons of the high priests.
We further learn that a group of Kenites, of the House of Rechab,
pledge themselves to pursue an ascetic life of living in tents (though
caves are not prohibited), not raising crops, and avoiding wine.
This could be the group that RESULTED form the fusion of
Kenites with the children of high priests. Or from this group we
might have obtained "suitable" sons and daughters to marry the
sons and daughters of the High Priests. More research is needed
We also learn that the Rechabites, in three groups, become
scribal families for the Israelites. By this time, based on the book
of Chronicles, these Rechabites have become linked to the tribe
of Judah. Thus, by intermarriage and descent, they are Israelite and
And we also learn in the books of Chronicles that various temple
and levite functions seem to fall into specific clans, including the
one traceable son of Moses, and these Rechabites.
At the time of schism between Israel and Judah, some of the Dan-ite
priests (of the son of Moses), migrate to serve the temple at Jerusalem.
There appears to be some conflict between the "levites of Moses" and
the "levites of Aaron". But it does look like the levites of Moses are
provided a living as part of the Levite class, rather than as the higher
priestly class. But isn't clear that the Rechabite members of the
Levites are so restricted since, as we have already been told the
lineage has been preserved within the priestly lines through
But the question now remains as to how much interaction these two
"Kenite" groupings might have with each other. One group is simply
Kenite-and-Levites-of-Moses. The other group is Kenite-and-Rechabite-
-and-Priestly. More research is needed here.
Then there is the Maccabean conflict. Hasidim "appear" and join
with a priestly clan to resist the Greeks. I suggest that these Hasidim
come from the more pious families of the Rechabites. They are
already wilderness dwellers. They are already zealous (as per the
Old Testament story of the Rechabites).
Before the wars begin in earnest, the son of the Honias high priestly
clan moves to Egypt, and presumably takes along a large continent
since a NEW temple is to be built (one not defiled by the Greeks).
Do some of these travelers to Egypt include Rechabite priestly
families? Why not? Can't be sure. More research MIGHT help
After the wars, the Hasidim/Rechabites and some priestly warriors
remain in the wilderness. Perhaps "The Staff", or the Teacher of
Righteousness (if this is a separate person), has figured out how to
continue to strengthen the numbers of the wildnerness Hasidim, by
using the Rechabite tradition of "adopting the children of others" to
replenish those numbers not provided by sustained sexual relations
(see Josephus on how the Essenes are said to have existed for AGES
and yet discourage marriage and encourage celibacy - even between
husband and wife).
These "soldier rechabites" eventually might be considered as what we
would call the Essenes. It is a highly ascetic, hierarchical
camps and communities, influenced by decades of waging war against
and borrowing heavily from the effective traditions of the zealous
that already inhabited the wilderness.
In Egypt, Rechabite clans that moved to sustain the new Temple, were not
so affected by all this militarism. While they COULD be said to be
no one in any work has ever said that Essenes existed in Egypt. But what
do say is that an "ancient" race, called the Therapeautae, HAVE appeared
Egypt (an ANCIENT group, but which is characterized as still moving into
the region). Internestingly enough, the Aramaic word linked to the
is "healer" and the Greek word linked to the Therapeautae is "healer"
I am NOT suggesting a cause and effect relationship of the true source
the term Essene. Some puns are coincidence and others are not.).
The therapeautae are highly ascetic, in virtually identical ways that the
are. But they are NOT Essenes. They only come from the same stock as
the Essenes.... as Eisenman would say, the "proto-Essene" Rechabites.
Later, out of the less militaristic tradition of the Egyptian Rechabites,
we learn that Joseph, Mary and Jesus spend several years in Egypt. And
a group that sounds an AWFUL lot like the Therapeautae is frequently
confused by the Church Fathers as connected to Christianity, a sect which
interestingly enough, is hostile to the Pharisees in some ways similar to
hostility the Palestine Rechabites (the Essenes) have for the Pharisees
in some ways not). More research is needed.
[End of Speculation]
Wildly speculative? Absolutely! And so I will discontinue this thread
(unless specific questions are asked of me) for now. I will find the
that make each link feasible and rational. I will not ask you to accept
ideas at this point. But the efforts of some to hopeless confuse the
between Therapeutae, Essenes and Rechabites needed to be addressed
with a theory that keeps the sub-threads sufficiently distinct that we
profitably explore the individual ideas, and see where each one might
But I do ask Dave Hindley one question before I sign off on the
Just because the Therapeut's practiced an ascetic tradition not required
of Jewish Priests, does not discount the possibility that they practiced
tradition required of RECHABITE PRIESTS and LEVITES.
If there is ANYTHING about the Egyptian Priests that sounds "Pagan"
or "Egyptian" to you, I would be interested in reading it.
Thanks for your patience with this "difficult" thread.
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