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Re: orion-list Investigates the 3 Sects, Invests 3 Years, Joins the Pharisees
Moshe Shulman now makes quite a refutation. He is telling
us that Josephus could ***not*** make a determination of
what he wanted to study and what he wanted to do in a year. (!)
This is quite claim!:
1) It presupposes that we, or Moshe Shulman, knows how
much Josephus "really should know" before Josephus is
satisfied in knowing which spiritual course of action to take.
I submit that we have no idea what a 16 year old man of
Josephus's background was "determining" before he
decided to live with Bannus. In an earlier day when I
was deciding which church to attend, I spent considerably
LESS time than 3 months to decide that I **definitely**
did **not** want to be a Jehovah's Witness or a Christian
Scientist. And it took only a few Sunday visits for me to say,
what a wonderful teacher this minister is, I think I'll
keep attending here.
2) Moshe Shulman also pressupposes that neither Josephus or
anyone else might decide to study in the Wilderness until
***much*** more time is invested in the exploration process.
And while Moshe is pointing with one hand, he is obscuring
the other the fact Josephus was actually choosing every new day
in the Wilderness - - do I stay? Do I go? Can I take one
more day of this vegetarian food? Are there enough blessings
in this life I'm living to stay another month, week or even hour?
3 years is a very long time.... and the "plain interpretation" of
this part of Josephus is that he valued the study of Essene
spirituality enough to give three years of his "study" to it
And 3), Moshe's viewpoint presupposes that, after the 3 years
were up, when he had had his fill, that we cannot presume he
moved on to the less grueling life of being a Pharisee (since
he was just too spiritually oriented and End Days oriented to
be satisfied with the Sadducee point of view).... Can we not presume
he spent years further deepening his appreciation of the Pharisaic
viewpoint. And eventually, at the end of his life, what do you
suppose he eventually was? Did he remain a pharisee long after
the destruction of the Temple?
To mock/cheapen/or contradict Josephus's basic explanation of
the basic notion that he spent 3 or 4 years exploring 3 sects just isn't
consistent with a simple understanding of adolescent psychology,
of Josephus himself, or of how Josephus expresses himself in
his writings. We should be drawing deductions about Essenism
from this paragraph.... ***not*** explaining to a contemporary
audience that Josephus **must** be lying! This is exactly why
we are not further along with the scroll studies.... we are way too
quick to challenge non-controversial aspects of the writings of
ancient authors, and in exchange develop incredible conclusions
based on the idea that what is "conceivable" must be "so".
If we want to question something, we really should be questioning
whether Josephus was **sincere** in his turning to the "rule" of
the Pharisees? Or was he simply doing what was most political?
Pharisees do appear to have been active in the later revolt, but does
Josephus seem to be like a conventional Pharisee? Or is he more
calculating? More cynical? These are the questions to explore.
Not whether we can **really, really, really** believe Josephus
when he implicitly explains about being taught by an Essene
(whether an "ex" Essene or dues paying!) for 3 years.
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