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Dear Russell Gmirkin,

I am absolutely fascinated with your references to Epiphanius (and to the

I would very much appreciate the bibliographical data (Title, Editor,
Year, ISBN) for the volume or volumes you are using.  I would like to
delve into this material more thoroughly and think your concise email
would be a great roadmap for doing so.


George Brooks

On Fri, 22 Jan 1999 01:49:53 EST RGmyrken@aol.com writes:
>Dear Stephen,
>    First, let me apologize for my inaccurate statement that you 
>claimed that >"Philo was a Stoic."  I wrote my last posting on my
laptop, away from 
>my >office and documents I should have reviewed before sending my email.
>You were >right to take me to task for misrepresenting you on that
>    Since you have seen fit to respond mainly regarding the Ossenes in
>Epiphanius, I will confine my reply to same. >    First, the Ossenes
were clearly of Jewish origin.  Epiphanius >indicates >they originated in
pre-Christian times (19.5.6).  As you pointed out  >from >19.15.1, they
kept "the Jewish life in Sabbath observance, 
>circumcision, and >the keeping of the law."  However, they are also
portrayed as 
>"forbidding the >books <of Moses> like the Nasaraeans" (19.15.1,
continuing the quote;  >the >Nasaraeans were Jews who kept all Jewish
customs but for sacrifices, 
>but >claimed that Moses did not author the Pentateuch [18.1.4]), and
>"accepted >other writings in addition to the law, though they rejected
most of 
>the >prophets who came afterwards" (Abstract 15.18, which, though
>not by >Epiphanius, nevertheless contains comparable information). 
>according >to Epiphanius they had succumbed to the heresy of the
>(Sampseans).  >This is immediately relevant to your equation of Essene
with "doers of  >the >law."  Even if the Ossenes had once observed Jewish
customs, would 
>they have >retained the name Ossene after rejecting the Torah and
>Elkesite >practices?
>    Your comment that the Ossenes "lived near the Dead Sea" is quite
>misleading.  Epiphanius says that they lived "in Nabatea and Iturea, 
>Moab and >the country around Areopolis, the regions lying *over and
beyond* what 
>the >Holy Scripture calls the ^—salt valley^“; this is what is called the 
>Dead Sea" >(19.1.2).  At 53.1.1. this same region (where the Sampseans
>lived) is >described as "the country called Perea, on the *far side* of
what is 
>called >the Salt or Dead Sea, <and> in Moab near the Torrent Arnon and
>in >Iturea and Nabatea."  Perea was of course an ancient equivalent of
>"Transjordan", and the "salt valley" is the Arabah. Moab and Arnon are 
>of course beyond but adjacent to the Dead Sea.  Epiphanius could not be
>clear.  >All the locations Epiphanius lists are in Transjordan, east of
>Dead Sea, >not west where the Essenes dwelt (per Pliny).

>    Responding to George X. Brook^“s query, it is Epiphanius who 
>portrays the >Essenes as an extinct branch of the Samaritans.  (14.2.1
>mistakenly >traces the Sadducees to the Samaritans.)  Epiphanius is
clearly not 
>drawing on >Josephus or any other known literary source.  Yet he
>preserved the >name Essene here.  This is a fact that calls for
explanation, the 
>simplest one >being that Essene is the proper form of the name.
>    Cordially, 

>    Russell Gmirkin
For private reply, e-mail to George Brooks <george.x.brooks@juno.com>
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