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Asidaioi And Essenes

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims at challenging a widely admitted opinion that the Essenes are the heirs of the asidaioi referred to in 1-2 Maccabees. It surveys the problems at hand: first, the origin of the very name essaios-essenos is still unclear; Josephus, who introduces a notice on the three schools (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes) within his paraphrase of 1 Maccabees, refrains from making any connection. Second, the Teacher of Righteousness may have been a Zadokite priest, but the very notion of a Zadokite dynasty of high priests is unwarranted, not to speak of any connection with the Sadducees, supposed to be the most ancient "philosophy". A literary analysis of Josephus' evidence on the Essenes is also presented. The chapter also analyses the occurrences of asidaioi in 1-2 Maccabees. Finally it compares the Essenes and the Sadducees. The difference between Essenes and asidaioi is the same as between Alexandria and Babylonia.

Keywords: 1-2 Maccabees; asidaioi; Essenes; Josephus; Sadducees; Zadokite priest



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