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Re: Essene name
>> > Aramaic ASAYYA to Greek ESSAIOI. Sounds transliterated to me.
> Naaa. Asayya may be a transliteration of the Aramaic into Roman letters and
> Essene just might be a transliteration first from Aramaic into Greek then
> into Roman letters, but Essaioi ain't a transliteration of Asayya.< << ,
I don't think we should be too hasty on this point.
For instance, it could be a transliteration slightly modifiekd to substitute
the Greek plural -oi for the Aramaic plural -ayya. And as for the relatively
minor vowel discrepancy at the beginning, this could have more than one expla-
nation -- scribal error could have crept in somewhere, or the original trans-
literator could have been transcribing unvocalized text and guessed wrong, or
even heard or misheard an "e" sound from a speaker. I don't think this minor
discrepancy suffices to rule out the claim of transliteration.
Furthermore, we can't argue for translation unless there's some Greek word
similar to Essaioi that actually has the meaning of "healer" or "physician"
as does asa (sometimes found with dagesh Xazaq, i.e., assa) in Aramaic.
Given the meaning of the Aramaic term, plus Philo's reference to Therapeutae,
this does suggest a plausible hypothesis that his Therapeutae may be the same
guys whom other writers call Essaioi. So long as this is the most plausible
scenario, why pooh-pooh it unless and until someone finds a more plausible
origin for the name Essaioi?
I do not, however, assume that Essaioi and Essenoi are versions of the same
term -- the intrusion of the "n" makes this unlikely, I think. So the possibi-
lity that these two terms refer to different groups cannot be discounted.
Judith Romney Wegner, Connecticut College