Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hippolytus, Josephus, Essenes: Christian editing of Josephus?

Sid Green, a net-acquaintance, argues that Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies copied his information on the Essenes from Josephus, and the way that he presents the information indicates that Josephus has undergone editing by Christians.

I thought I'd compare the two to see how this idea works, and to flex my rusty NT blogging muscles. For reference, At the bottom of this post after the READ MORE fold I've placed both side by side, more or less topic by topic.

It's important to note that Hippolytus normally follows Josephus faithfully, line by line, sometimes even preserving interesting words or language from Josephus. There are, however, several interesting, and Green argues, telltale, differences.

First, Josephus writes:
then, that he will maintain just actions toward humanity; that he will harm no one, whether by his own deliberation or under order; that he will hate the unjust and contend together with the just;
...while Hippolytus, normally faithful to Josephus, suddenly veers from the Josephean text:
next, that he will observe just dealings with men, and that he will in no way injure any one, and that he will not hate a person who injures him, or is hostile to him, but pray for them.
Clearly the description in Hippolytus makes the Essenes more "Christian" in their outlook than the extant Josephus text does, since Hippolytus has the Essenes praying for their enemies. Did a Christian editor change the text of Josephus to make it less Christian, or did Hippolytus make the Essenes more Christian? If the latter, what could possibly have been his motive?

In discussing the four orders of the Essenes, Josephus writes:
They are divided into four classes, according to their duration in the training, [H] and the later-joiners are so inferior to the earlier-joiners that if they should touch them, the latter wash themselves off as if they have mingled with a foreigner.
...while in Hippolytus, where the [H] is above, he has an entire passage with no parallel in Josephus about fundamentalists who are tougher than average about rules, randomly circumcise people, and who are known as Zealots and Sicarii:
For some of them discipline themselves above the requisite rules of the order, so that even they would not handle a current coin of the country, saying that they ought not either to carry, or behold, or fashion an image: wherefore no one of those goes into a city, lest (by so doing) he should enter through a gate at which statues are erected, regarding it a violation of law to pass beneath images. But the adherents of another party, if they happen to hear any one maintaining a discussion concerning God and His laws— supposing such to be an uncircumcised person, they will closely watch him and when they meet a person of this description in any place alone, they will threaten to slay him if he refuses to undergo the rite of circumcision. Now, if the latter does not wish to comply with this request, an Essene spares not, but even slaughters. And it is from this occurrence that they have received their appellation, being denominated (by some) Zelotae, but by others Sicarii. And the adherents of another party call no one Lord except the Deity, even though one should put them to the torture, or even kill them.
..when you look at the passage carefully, the obvious seam in Josephus jumps out. He moves immediately from declaring that there are four types of Essenes to discussing the later-joiners relative to the early joiners. Whereas, in Hippolytus, the progression of ideas, from discussing what fundamentalists the more-Essene-than-the-Essenes are, to the late-comers, a progression that makes more sense.

A little further down, Hippolytus does not parallel a passage in Josephus about 'the war against the Romans' since that would likely make no sense to a reader a century removed from Josephus.

Further on, once again we are faced with the choice of either an editor removing a passage from Josephus or Hippolytus Christianizing the Essenes:

Josephus:
For the view has become tenaciously held among them that whereas our bodies are perishable and their matter impermanent, our souls endure forever, deathless: they get entangled, having emanated from the most refined ether, as if drawn down by a certain charm into the prisons that are bodies.

Hippolytus:
Now the doctrine of the resurrection has also derived support among these; for they acknowledge both that the flesh will rise again, and that it will be immortal, in the same manner as the soul is already imperishable.
In the extant Josephus passage, the Essenes believe the body will die but the soul will live. Hippolytus has them supporting a doctrine similar to that of Christianity with resurrection of both the body and of the soul.  Did Hippolytus make the Essenes more Christian? If so, whatever for?

The final passage I'd like to point out offers some very interesting changes. Josephus writes (I've marked them into two parts, A and B):
A
For the good, on the one hand, sharing the view of the sons of Greece they portray the lifestyle reserved beyond Oceanus and a place burdened by neither rain nor snow nor heat, but which a continually blowing mild west wind from Oceanus refreshes.

B
For the base, on the other hand, they separate off a murky, stormy recess filled with unending retributions. It was according to the same notion that the Greeks appear to me to have laid on the Islands of the Blessed for their most courageous men, whom they call heroes and demi-gods, and for the souls of the worthless the region of the impious in Hades, in which connection they tell tales about the punishments of certain men—Sisyphuses and Tantaluses, Ixions and Tityuses—establishing in the first place the [notion of] eternal souls and, on that basis, persuasion toward virtue and dissuasion from vice.
In Hippolytus this is completely different.....
A
And this locality the Greeks were acquainted with by hearsay, and called it Isles of the Blessed. And there are other tenets of these which many of the Greeks have appropriated, and thus have from time to time formed their own opinions.

B
For the disciplinary system in regard of the Divinity, according to these (Jewish sects), is of greater antiquity than that of all nations. And so it is that the proof is at hand, that all those (Greeks) who ventured to make assertions concerning God, or concerning the creation of existing things, derived their principles from no other source than from Jewish legislation. And among these may be particularized Pythagoras especially, and the Stoics, who derived (their systems) while resident among the Egyptians, by having become disciples of these Jews.
In Part A Hippolytus appears to make the claim that the Greeks have appropriated tenets of Jewish thought, though that's not completely clear. Josephus was ever eager to prove the antiquity of the Jews and their greatness. It strikes me that this is a very Josephean claim. Yet this claim is not found in the Josephean "original".

Part B is as different as night and day. Josephus gives a run-down of Greek beliefs, completely veering from his discussion of the Essenes to talk about how the Greeks established their own ideas of the soul. Hippolytus continues his very Josephean train of thought, attributing the development of Greek ideas of God to the Jews, claiming that Greek wise men got their ideas as the disciples of Jews, and fronting this with the very Josephean claim that Jewish ideas of the Divinity predate those of all other nations!

In fact, Josephus makes this exact claim of Hippolytus' in Contra Apionem, in Part II, where he asserts the antiquity of the Jewish law over those of other lawgivers among the non-Jews, points to cultural borrowings from the Jews now prominent among the Greeks, and claims that Pythagoras and other thinkers held ideas about God similar to those of the Jews, with the clear implication that they learned such ideas from the Jews.

Thus, it would seem that the position Josephus holds in the passage on the Essenes is the opposite of the one he holds elsewhere. Moreover, if you read the passages against each other, it almost looks as if Josephus is replying to Hippolytus' assertions that the Greeks depended on the Jews by saying that, no, the Greeks developed their own ideas based on their own mythological characters!

I think it is very clear, but especially in this last section that an editor, probably a Christian editor, has been at work adjusting Josephus to de-Christianize his discussion of the Essenes.

Once again, the two passages are set against each other in a long table below the READ MORE line. To save space I've reduced the font size, just hit CONTROL and + to increase the size of the font in your browser window.



Josephus
Hippolytus
 For three forms of philosophy are pursued among the Judeans: the members of one are Pharisees, of another Sadducees, and the third [school], who certainly are reputed to cultivate seriousness, are called Essenes; although Judeans by ancestry, they are even more mutually affectionate than the others. 

For there is a division among them into three sorts; and the adherents of the first are the Pharisees, but of the second the Sadducees, while the rest are Essenes. These practise a moredevotional life, being filled with mutual love, and being temperate.

.
Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue.
And they turn away from every act of inordinate desire, being averse even to hearing of things of the sort.
And although there is among them a disdain for marriage, adopting the children of outsiders while they are still malleable enough for the lessons they regard them as family and instill in them their principles of character: 
And they renounce matrimony, but they take the boys of others, and thus have an offspring begotten for them. And they lead these adopted children into an observance of their own peculiar customs, and in this way bring them up and impel them to learn thesciences.

without doing away with marriage or the succession resulting from it, they nevertheless protect themselves from the wanton ways of women, having been persuaded that none of them preserves her faithfulness to one man.
They do not, however, forbid them to marry, though themselves refraining from matrimony. Women, however, even though they may be disposed to adhere to the same course of life, they do not admit, inasmuch as in no way whatsoever have they confidence in women
Since [they are] despisers of wealth—their communal stock is astonishing—, one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.
And they despise wealth, and do not turn away from sharing their goods with those that are destitute. No one among them, however, enjoys a greater amount of riches than another.
For by a law, those coming into the school must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all. 
For a regulation with them is, that an individual coming forward to join the sect must sell his possessions, and present the price of them to the community. And on receiving the money, the head of the order distributes it to all according to their necessities. Thus there is no one among them in distress.
They consider olive oil a stain, and should anyone be accidentally smeared with it he scrubs his body, for they make it a point of honor to remain hard and dry, and to wear white always. Hand-elected are the curators of the communal affairs, and indivisible are they, each and every one, [in pursuing] their functions to the advantage of all.
And they do not use oil, regarding it as a defilement to be anointed. And there are appointed overseers, who take care of all things that belong to them in common, and they all appear always in white clothing.
No one city is theirs, but they settle amply in each. And for those school-members who arrive from elsewhere, all that the community has is laid out for them in the same way as if they were their own things, and they go in and stay with those they have never even seen before as if they were the most intimate friends. 





But there is not one city of them, but many of them settle in every city. And if any of the adherents of the sect may be present from a strange place, they consider that all things are in common for him, and those whom they had not previously known they receive as if they belonged to their own household and kindred.

For this reason they make trips without carrying any baggage at all—though armed on account of the bandits. In each city a steward of the order appointed specially for the visitors is designated quartermaster for clothing and the other amenities.
And they traverse their native land, and on each occasion that they go on a journey they carry nothing except arms. And they have also in their cities a president, who expends the moneys collected for this purpose in procuring clothing and food for them.
Dress and also deportment of body: like children being educated with fear. They replace neither clothes nor footwear until the old set is ripped all over or worn through with age.127 Among themselves, they neither shop for nor sell anything; but each one, after giving the things that he has to the one in need, takes in exchange anything useful that the other has. And even without this reciprocal giving, the transfer to them [of goods] from whomever they wish is unimpeded.
And their robe and its shape are modest. And they do not own two cloaks, or a double set of shoes; and when those that are in present use become antiquated, then they adopt others. And they neither buy nor sell anything at all; but whatever any one has he gives to him that has not, and that which one has not he receives.
Toward the Deity, at least: pious observances uniquely [expressed]. Before the sun rises, they utter nothing of the mundane things, but only certain ancestral prayers to him, as if begging him to come up. 
And they continue in an orderly manner, and with perseverance pray from early dawn, and they do not speak a word unless they have praised God in a hymn.
 After these things, they are dismissed by the curators to the various crafts that they have each come to know, and after they have worked strenuously until the fifth hour they are again assembled in one area, where they belt on linen covers and wash their bodies in frigid water. After this purification they gather in a private hall, into which none of those who hold different views may enter: now pure themselves, they approach the dining room as if it were some [kind of] sanctuary. 

And in this way they each go forth and engage in whatever employment they please; and after having worked up to the fifth hour they leave off. Then again they come together into one place, and encircle themselves with linen girdles, for the purpose of concealing their private parts. And in this manner they perform ablutions in cold water; and after being thus cleansed, they repair together into one apartment,— now no one who entertains a different opinion from themselves assembles in the house—and they proceed to partake of breakfast.
After they have seated themselves in silence, the baker serves the loaves in order, whereas the cook serves each person one dish of one food.  
And when they have taken their seats in silence, they set down loaves in order, and next some one sort of food to eat along with the bread, and each receives from these a sufficient portion.
The priest offers a prayer before the food, and it is forbidden to taste anything before the prayer; when he has had his breakfast he offers another concluding prayer. While starting and also while finishing, then, they honor God as the sponsor of life. At that, laying aside their clothes as if they were holy, they apply themselves to their labors again until evening. 

No one, however, tastes these before the priest utters a blessing, and prays over the food. And after breakfast, when he has a second time offered up supplication, as at the beginning, so at the conclusion of their meal they praise God in hymns. Next, after they have laid aside as sacred the garments in which they have been clothed while together taking their repast within the house— (now these garments are linen)— and having resumed the clothes which they had left in the vestibule, they hasten to agreeable occupations until evening.
They dine in a similar way: when they have returned, they sit down with the vistors, if any happen to be present with them, and neither yelling nor disorder pollutes the house at any time, but they yield conversation to one another in order. 

And they partake of supper, doing oil things in like manner to those already mentioned. And no one will at any time cry aloud, nor willany other tumultuous voice be heard. But they each converse quietly, and with decorum one concedes the conversation to the other…
And to those from outside, the silence of those inside appears as a kind of shiver-inducing mystery. The reason for this is their continuous sobriety and the rationing of food and drink among them—to the point of fullness.
….so that the stillness of those within the house appears a sort of mystery to those outside. And they are invariably sober, eating and drinking all things by measure.
As for other areas: although there is nothing that they do without the curators’ having ordered it, these two things are matters of personal prerogative among them: [rendering] assistance and mercy. For helping those who are worthy, whenever they might need it, and also extending food to those who are in want are indeed left up to the individual; but in the case of the relatives, such distribution is not allowed to be done without [permission from] the managers.
All then pay attention to the president; and whatever injunctions he will issue, they obey as law. For they are anxious that mercy and assistance be extended to those that are burdened with toil. And especially they abstain from wrath and anger, and all suchpassions, inasmuch as they consider these to be treacherous to man.


Of anger, just controllers; as for temper, able to contain it; of fidelity, masters; of peace, servants. And whereas everything spoken by them is more forceful than an oath, swearing itself they avoid, considering it worse than the false oath; for they declare to be already degraded one who is unworthy of belief without God. 
And no one among them is in the habit of swearing; but whatever any one says, this is regarded more binding than an oath. If, however, one will swear, he is condemned as one unworthy of credence.
They are extraordinarily keen about the compositions of the ancients, selecting especially those [oriented] toward the benefit of soul and body.
They are likewise solicitous about the readings of the law and prophets; and moreover also, if there is any treatise of the faithful, about that likewise.
On the basis of these and for the treatment of diseases, roots, apotropaic materials, and the special properties of stones are investigated.
And they evince the utmost curiosity concerning plants and stones, rather busying themselves as regards the operative powers of these, saying that these things were not created in vain.
To those who are eager for their school, the entry-way is not a direct one, but they prescribe a regimen for the person who remains outside for a year, giving him a little hatchet as well as the aforementioned waist-covering and white clothing. 
But to those who wish to become disciples of the sect, they do not immediately deliver their rules, unless they have previously tried them. Now for the space of a year they set before (the candidates) the same food, while the latter continue to live in a different house outside the Essenes' own place of meeting. And they give (to the probationists) a hatchet and the linen girdle, and a white robe.
Whenever he should give proof of his self-control during this period, he approaches nearer to the regimen and indeed shares in the purer waters for purification, though he is not yet received into the functions of communal life. For after this demonstration of endurance, the character is tested for two further years, and after he has thus been shown worthy he is reckoned into the group. 
When, at the expiration of this period, one affords proof of self-control, he approaches nearer to the sect's method of living, and he is washed more purely than before. Not as yet, however, does he partake of food along with the Essenes. For, after having furnished evidence as to whether he is able to acquire self-control,— but for two years the habit of a person of this description is on trial—and when he has appeared deserving, he is thus reckoned among the members of the sect.
Before he may touch the communal food, however, he swears dreadful oaths to them: first, that he will observe piety toward the deity;


Previous, however, to his being allowed to partake of a repast along with them, he is bound under fearful oaths. First, that he will worship the Divinity;


then, that he will maintain just actions toward humanity; that he will harm no one, whether by his own deliberation or under order;

next, that he will observe just dealings with men, and that he will in no way injure any one,
that he will hate the unjust and contend together with the just; 
and that he will not hate a person who injures him, or is hostile to him, but pray for them.
that he will always maintain faithfulness to all, especially to those in control, for without God it does not fall to anyone to hold office, and that, should he hold office, he will never abuse his authority—outshining his subordinates, whether by dress or by some form of extravagant appearance; 



He likewise swears that he will always aid the just, and keep faith with all, especially those who are rulers. For, they argue, a position of authority does not happen to any one without God. And if the Essene himself be a ruler, he swears that he will not conduct himself at any time arrogantly in the exercise of power, nor be prodigal, nor resort to any adornment, or a greater state of magnificence than the usage permits. 


always to love the truth and expose the liars; that he will keep his hands pure from theft and his soul from unholy gain; that he will neither conceal anything from the school-members nor disclose anything of theirs to others, even if one should apply force to the point of death. 
He likewise swears, however, to be a lover of truth, and to reprove him that is guilty of falsehood, neither to steal, nor pollute his conscience for the sake of iniquitous gain, nor conceal anything from those that are members of his sect, and to divulge nothing to others, though one should be tortured even unto death.
In addition to these, he swears that he will impart the precepts to no one otherwise than as he received them, that he will keep away from banditry, and that he will preserve intact their school’s books and the names of the angels. With such oaths as these they completely secure those who join them.
And in addition to the foregoing promises, he swears to impart to no one a knowledge of the doctrines in a different manner from that in which he has received them himself.
 Those they have convicted of sufficiently serious errors they expel from the order. And the one who has been reckoned out often perishes by a most pitiable fate. For, constrained by the oaths and customs, he is unable to partake of food from others. Eating grass and in hunger, his body wastes away and perishes. That is why they have actually shown mercy and taken back many in their final gasps, regarding as sufficient for their errors this ordeal to the point of death.
With oaths, then, of this description, they bind those who come forward. If, however, any one may be condemned for any sin, he is expelled from the order; but one that has been thus excommunicated sometimes perishes by an awful death. For, inasmuch as he is bound by the oaths and rites of the sect, he is not able to partake of the food in use among other people. Those that are excommunicated, occasionally, therefore, utterly destroy the body through starvation. And so it is, that when it comes to the last the Essenes sometimes pity many of them who are at the point of dissolution, inasmuch as they deem a punishment even unto death, thus inflicted upon these culprits, a sufficientpenalty.
Now with respect to trials, [they are] just and extremely precise: they render judgment after having assembled no fewer than a hundred, and something that has been determined by them is non-negotiable. There is a great reverence among them for—next to God—the name of the lawgiver, and if anyone insults him he is punished by death.

But as regards judicial decisions, the Essenes are most accurate and impartial. And they deliver their judgments when they have assembled together, numbering at the very least one hundred; and the sentence delivered by them is irreversible.
They make it point of honor to submit to the elders and to a majority. So if ten were seated together, one person would not speak if the nine were unwilling. 
And they honour the legislator next after God; and if any one is guilty of blasphemy against this framer of laws, he is punished. And they are taught to yield obedience to rulers and elders; and if ten occupy seats in the same room, one of them will not speak unless it will appear expedient to the nine.
They guard against spitting into [their] middles or to the right side and against applying themselves to labors on the seventh days, even more than all other Judeans: for not only do they prepare their own food one day before, so that they might not kindle a fire on that day, but they do not even dare to transport a container—or go to relieve themselves. 
And they are careful not to spit out into the midst of persons present, and to the right hand. They are more solicitous, however, about abstaining from work on the Sabbath day than all other Jews. For not only do they prepare their victuals for themselves one day previously, so as not (on the Sabbath) to kindle a fire, but not even would they move a utensil from one place to another (on that day), nor ease nature; nay, some would not even rise from a couch.
On the other days they dig a hole of a foot’s depth with a trowel—this is what that small hatchet given by them to the neophytes is for—and wrapping their cloak around them completely, so as not to outrage the rays of God, they relieve themselves into it [the hole]. After that, they haul back the excavated earth into the hole. (When they do this, they pick out for themselves the more deserted spots.) Even though the secretion of excrement is certainly a natural function, it is customary to wash themselves off after it as if they have become polluted.
On other days, however, when they wish to relieve nature, they dig a hole a foot long with the mattock,— for of this description is the hatchet, which the president in the first instance gives those who come forward to gain admission as disciples—and cover (this cavity) on all sides with their garment, alleging that they do not necessarily insult the sunbeams. They then replace theup turned soil into the pit; and this is their practice, choosing the more lonely spots. But after they have performed this operation, immediately they undergo ablution, as if the excrement pollutes them.
They are divided into four classes, according to their duration in the training,






The Essenes have, however, in the lapse of time, undergone divisions, and they do not preserve their system of training after a similar manner, inasmuch as they have been split up into four parties
No parallel in Josephus
. For some of them discipline themselves above the requisite rules of the order, so that even they would not handle a current coin of the country, saying that they ought not either to carry, or behold, or fashion an image: wherefore no one of those goes into a city, lest (by so doing) he should enter through a gate at which statues are erected, regarding it a violation of law to pass beneath images. But the adherents of another party, if they happen to hear any one maintaining a discussion concerning God and His laws— supposing such to be an uncircumcised person, they will closely watch him and when they meet a person of this description in any place alone, they will threaten to slay him if he refuses to undergo the rite of circumcision. Now, if the latter does not wish to comply with this request, an Essene spares not, but even slaughters. And it is from this occurrence that they have received their appellation, being denominated (by some) Zelotae, but by others Sicarii. And the adherents of another party call no one Lord except the Deity, even though one should put them to the torture, or even kill them.
and the later-joiners are so inferior to the earlier-joiners that if they should touch them, the latter wash themselves off as if they have mingled with a foreigner. 
But there are others of a later period, who have to such an extent declined from the discipline (of the order), that, as far as those are concerned who continue in the primitive customs, they would not even touch these. And if they happen to come in contact with them, they immediately resort to ablution, as if they had touched one belonging to an alien tribe.
 [They are] long-lived, most of them passing 100 years—as a result, it seems to me at least, of the simplicity of their regimen and their orderliness. Despisers of terrors, triumphing over agonies by their wills, considering death—if it arrives with glory—better than deathlessness. 
But here also there are very many of them of so great longevity, as even to live longer than a hundred years. They assert, therefore, that a cause of this arises from their extreme devotion to religion, and their condemnation of all excess in regard of what is served up (as food), and from their being temperate and incapable of anger. And so it is that they despise death, rejoicing when they can finish their course with a good conscience.
The war against the Romans proved their souls in every way: during it, while being twisted and also bent, burned and also broken, and passing through all the torture-chamber instruments, with the aim that they might insult the lawgiver or eat something not customary, they did not put up with suffering either one: not once gratifying those who were tormenting [them], or crying.  But smiling in their agonies and making fun of those who were inflicting the tortures, they would cheerfully dismiss their souls, [knowing] that they would get them back again.
If, however, any one would even put to the torture persons of this description, in order to induce any among them either to speak evil of the law, or eat what is offered in sacrifice to an idol, he will not effect his purpose; for one of this party submits to death and endures torment rather than violate his conscience.
For the view has become tenaciously held among them that whereas our bodies are perishable and their matter impermanent, our souls endure forever, deathless: they get entangled, having emanated from the most refined ether, as if drawn down by a certain charm into the prisons that are bodies. But when they are released from the restraints of the flesh, as if freed from a long period of slavery, then they rejoice and are carried upwards in suspension.





Now the doctrine of the resurrection has also derived support among these; for they acknowledge both that the flesh will rise again, and that it will be immortal, in the same manner as the soul is already imperishable. And they maintain that the soul, when separated in the present life, (departs) into one place, which is well ventilated and lightsome, where, they say, it rests until judgment.






For the good, on the one hand, sharing the view of the sons of Greece they portray the lifestyle reserved beyond Oceanus and a place burdened by neither rain nor snow nor heat, but which a continually blowing mild west wind from Oceanus refreshes.
And this locality the Greeks were acquainted with by hearsay, and called it Isles of the Blessed. And there are other tenets of these which many of the Greeks have appropriated, and thus have from time to time formed their own opinions.

For the base, on the other hand, they separate off a murky, stormy recess filled with unending retributions. It was according to the same notion that the Greeks appear to me to have laid on the Islands of the Blessed for their most courageous men, whom they call heroes and demi-gods, and for the souls of the worthless the region of the impious in Hades, in which connection they tell tales about the punishments of certain men—Sisyphuses and Tantaluses, Ixions and Tityuses—establishing in the first place the [notion of] eternal souls and, on that basis, persuasion toward virtue and dissuasion from vice.
No parallel in Hippolytus
No parallel in Josephus
For the disciplinary system in regard of the Divinity, according to these (Jewish sects), is of greater antiquity than that of all nations. And so it is that the proof is at hand, that all those (Greeks) who ventured to make assertions concerning God, or concerning the creation of existing things, derived their principles from no other source than from Jewish legislation. And among these may be particularized Pythagoras especially, and the Stoics, who derived (their systems) while resident among the Egyptians, by having become disciples of these Jews. 
 For the good become even better in the hope of a reward also after death, whereas the impulses of the bad are impeded by anxiety, as they expect that even if they escape detection while living, after their demise they will be subject to deathless retribution. These matters, then, the Essenes theologize with respect to the soul, laying down an irresistible bait for those who have once tasted of their wisdom.
Now they affirm that there will be both a judgment and a conflagration of the universe, and that the wicked will be eternally punished.
There are also among them those who profess to foretell what is to come, being thoroughly trained in holy books, various purifications, and concise sayings of prophets. Rarely if ever do they fail in their predictions.
And among them is cultivated the practice of prophecy, and the prediction of future events.
There is also a different order of Essenes. Though agreeing with the others about regimen and customs and legal matters, it has separated in its opinion about marriage. For they hold that those who do not marry cut off the greatest part of life, the succession, and more: if all were to think the same way, the line would very quickly die out. 


There is then another order of the Essenes who use the same customs and prescribed method of living with the foregoing sects, but make an alteration from these in one respect, viz., marriage. Now they maintain that those who have abrogated matrimony commit some terrible offense, which is for the destruction of life, and that they ought not to cut off the succession of children; for, that if all entertained this opinion, the entire race of men would easily be exterminated.


To be sure, testing the brides in a three-year interval, once they have been purified three times as a test of their being able to bear children, they take them in this manner; but they do not continue having intercourse with those who are pregnant, demonstrating that the need for marrying is not because of pleasure, but for children. Baths [are taken] by the women wrapping clothes around themselves, just as by the men in a waist-covering. Such are the customs of this order.
However, they make a trial of their betrothed women for a period of three years; and when they have been three times purified, with a view of proving their ability of bringing forth children, so then they wed. They do not, however, cohabit with pregnant women, evincing that they marry not from sensual motives, but from the advantage of children. And the women likewise undergo ablution in a similar manner (with their husbands), and are themselves also arrayed in a linen garment, after the mode in which the men are with their girdles. These things, then, are the statements which I have to make respecting the Esseni.


2 comments:

peter henry said...

This is a tremendous contribution to our understanding of Christian origins. Before reading this I had thought that Josephus must be edited in some critical, but typically unnoticed places. Josephus identifies the principle Messianic troublemaker as Judas of Galilee. He says that Judas was the founder of a new sect of Judaism. His grandson Eleazer was the leader of the zealots at Masada and Qumran type scrolls were found at Masada suggesting that these zealots must have had connection to the Dead Sea sect. But Josephus describes the peculiar sect of Judas of Galilee as being similar to the Pharisees rather than Essenes. This despite the physical evidence at Masada saying the reverse. Now Hypolytus shows that Essenes were the Zealots and that Josephus must have been edited to throw readers off the trail. Substitute Essene for Pharisee and we have the perfect description of the new religion of Judas of Galilee as being Essenes who would not call any man lord but God. The description of the Essenes matches monastic Chritianity in so many respects that this then points to the identification of the founder of the new religion, Judas of Galilee with the Jesus of Christianity. Christianity then began as a terrorist sect similar to jihadi islam, which was then humanized and modified by Paul. The remnants of the non-Pauline Christianity survived to the east of the Roman Empire and later sprang up as the believers movement which gave rise to Islam. It is striking that Islam preaches to this day that it was Judas that was crucified and not Jesus and that Judas looked exactly like Jesus.

Michael Turton said...

Yes, I think Hippolytus is powerful evidence that Josephus has been systematically worked over by his Christian caretakers, and this can't be the only spot.