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Re: orion-list Full Suda Translation (rough draft)
Dear George X. Brooks
If I can get a better title on the Vermes book I will email you
I don't think the Suda account would derive from Philo's writings on the
Essenes, in that they aren't characterized as ascetic or contemplative.
(Indeed, _The Contemplative Life_ 1 contrasts the contemplative life of the
Therapeutae with the active life of the Essenes: "I have discussed the
Essenes, who persistently pursued the active life... I will now proceed...
[to] those that have embraced the life of contemplation.")
I haven't done an exhaustive study of references to the Essenes and/or
Therapeutae in the Church Fathers. But it seems to me the Suda is drawing on
a patristic account (not necessarily Jerome) which in turn draws on Philo
(and may, as I say, have confused or identified the Essenes and Therapeutae).
Filastrius also confuses Essenes and Therapeutae (Diversarum Hereseon Liber
IX 1-2). That is, both Jerome and Filastrius describe the Essenes with
language obviously taken from _The Contemplative Life_. There are doubtless
others. You might take a closer look at patristic sources that also discuss
the Rechabites and connect them with the Essenes.
> "Essenes: Jews, ascetics, who stand quite above [stand
> quite aloof from] the Pharisees and Scribes with reference
> to their mode of life, the progeny [as in stepchildren] of
> Jonadab, son of Rechab the Just One [the Righteous].
> They are fond of one another and more pious / devout with
> respect to the other: these turn away from pleasure as if from an
> evil, but take upon themselves as a virtue moderation, self-control,
> and the capacity not to succumb to misfortunes. And marriage is
> despised among them, but taking to themselves other people's
> young children, and teaching them, they consider them, as it
> were, kin, and stamp them with their own customs.
[This last ultimately derives from Pliny.]
> they reject all baseness and practice every other virtue. These
> cultivate moral speech, and reflection / contemplation generally
> abides [among them]. And from this they are called Essaioi,
> ["Sitters"/"Sojourners"?] with the name showing this, that is,
> that they are contemplators.
> Thus the Essaioi very much excel and are very much superior
> to the Pharisees throughout the country/state.
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