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Pliny On Essenes, Pliny On Jews

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Chapter Summary

A key passage in the discussion of ancient &t;Essenes&t; is Pliny the Elder's description in Natural History 5.73. Pliny claims that his subject matter is "sterile" - the nature of things, real life - compared to more entertaining works that aff ord opportunity for digressions (excessus) or orations and discourses or wondrous occurrences (casus mirabiles) or various events (eventus varios), agreeably spoken or pleasant to read. The more immediate context of the "Essene" passage is a survey of southern Palestine-Judea (apart from Galilee and Perea, and "supra" Idumea and Samaria), divided into ten districts (5.70) from Jericho (with its palm trees) to Emmaus, Lydda, Joppa, Acraba, Gophna, Timna, Betholeptephe, Orine (where Jerusalem had been located), and Herodium.

Keywords: ancient Essenes; Palestine-Judea; Pliny



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