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Re: orion-list Re: self-definition
David Suter writes:
> I just ran a search of the Hebrew Bible and came up with three examples
> of the two roots [asah and torah] standing side by side, and none of the
> exact phrase ['osey hatorah, "doers of the law"].
> Have I missed something?
In addition to the instances of the phrase "do the law [torah]" we also
have a number of relevant [IMO] instances of the phrase "do the words of the
law" (conceptually equivalent to "do the law" on the reasonable assumption
that "torah" refers [at Qumran] to the written law ), as well as related
phrases "do the commandments [mitsvah]", "do the judgments [mishpat]" and "do
the statutes [chuqqah]". We also have numerous examples of "keeping" the
law, commandments, judgments and statutes, where keep [shamar] is used
synonymously with do [asah], as evidenced by the formulae "keep my
<commandments, judgments, statutes> and do them" or (less common) "do my
<judgments> and keep them." I haven't done a study, but it might be
interesting to see if the Qumran texts use asah in preference to shamar in
instances where the latter might be more commonly expected in light of
Biblical precedent (e.g. "do the law" rather than "keep the law") out of
distaste for a word reminiscent of Samaritan. In any case, doing/keeping the
law (commandments, statutes, etc.) is central to and pervasive throughout the
HB, as I'm sure we all agree.
As we consider Stephen Goranson's hypothesis that asah is the Hebrew
root behind the name Essene, it would seem helpful to me to lay out an
independent argument, not based on the scrolls, that this must be shorthand
for 'osey hatorah rather than some other use of the root asah. Otherwise the
unsupported premise that Essene reflects 'osey hatorah, specifically, seems
like circular reasoning based on the occurrence of this phrase in the Qumran
Second, it would be helpful to demonstrate that 'osey hatorah is a
genuine self-designation of the sect rather than a description (as I believe
Sigrid Peterson originally requested). Perhaps the form 'osey hatorah itself
points in this direction. It would be nice to have the outline of an argument.
Third, for perspective, it would be useful to know whether this was the
dominant self-designation, perhaps by a statistical analysis as Ann Kraemer
These steps would all make Stephen's argument more rigorous. I don't
think Stephen has yet proven his case. But I'm always open to a
well-reasoned argument and I wish Stephen the best.
With the permission of all, I'm inclined to bow out of the current
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