JOSEPHUS AND THE AUTHORSHIP OF WAR 2.119-161 (ON THE ESSENES) BY DAVID S. WILLIAMS Athens, GA I War 2.119-161, the longest and most detailed description of the Essenes in the ancient sources, is widely used to evaluate the possi- ble relation between the group and the Qumran community'). A major reason for the widespread use of the passage is the fact that many scholars feel the discussions of the Essenes in Josephus' corpus reflect the testimony of an insider. For instance, in The History of the Qumran Community, P. CALLAWAY states: Significant for appreciating ?Josephus? as a historical source for the Essenes is his claim to have lived and studied with them for a while (De vita sua 10-12). This claim, which only he makes, leads one to suspect that he is the historian's only possible eyewitness to the inner workings of the Essene communities2). Yet, while those who utilize the passage to investigate the Qumran community rarely acknowledge the matter, Josephan authorship of War 2.119-161 has been denied by various scholars. H.E. DEL MEDICO, for instance, held that the passage was inter- polated long after the death of Josephus3). To be sure, DEL MEDico's position has not
Journal for the Study of Judaism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1994
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