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orion-list Bannus and Josephus
I would like to offer two comments in response to Mr. Brooks' posting on
Feb. 13, 2000.
(1) In order to prove that Bannus was an Essene we must ask ourselves
whether or not there is good reason to suppose that he was.
Given the brevity of Josephus' description of Bannus, Josephus' lack of
association between Bannus and the Essenes, and the observations made by
Prof. Baumgarten, I find it difficult to believe that Bannus was an Essene
by the time Josephus joined him in the wilderness. Having said that, there
is enough evidence in Vita 9-12 to suggest that Bannus may well have been an
Essene at one time, given the similarities between their diet and their
common interest in immersions.
(2) George Brooks writes: "I find it interesting that two Orion
participants, both from Christian-named
college departments, have felt a strong need to link Bannus with John the
Baptist. Do I even detect an urge to make Bannus "into" John the Baptist?"
Mr. Brooks, I do not frequently take an active role in the discussions on
Orion, but I was interested in the issue of Bannus' possible association
with the Essenes because of the many similarities between this topic and
that of John the Baptist's possible association with the Essenes / Qumran (a
topic which I am very familiar with as I have been researching it for the
last four years). Contrary to your understanding of my previous posting, I
never suggested that there was a "link" between Bannus and John the Baptist
and I am dismayed by your suggestion that my comments are colored by my
affiliation with a "Christian-named college".
Any detailed study of Bannus should include a comparison with John the
Baptist as he exhibits many obvious similarities with the practices of
Bannus. To ignore the these similarities would be an exercise in poor
Trinity Western University
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