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2685Re: Essene Gate & Herod (Judean Religion too?)

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  • Mahlon H. Smith
    Oct 1, 1998
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      I wrote:

      > IF the Qumranites were Essenes, then the Hasmonean nemesis Herod apparently
      > tried to cultivate the support of these dissidents by providing a
      special
      > "Essene gate" for them in his renovation of the temple.

      On 30 Sep 98, at 23:03, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
      >
      > > Mahlon seemed to have misplaced the "Essene gate" a
      > > little (and Lewis missed this one too). I don't think
      > > this gate had anything to do with Herod's Temple. The
      > > "Essene gate" was a city wall gate. As far as we know,
      > > it was in the south-western part of Jerusalem, far away
      > > from the Temple..... Here you will find plenty of info on
      > > this subject. This is an article published originally in
      > > BAR.

      Lewis Reich replied:

      >
      > I had read the BAR article, and was aware that the Essene
      > gate was a city gate, and not a gate to the Temple. I have
      > no idea whether Herod built it or not - after all he did a
      > great deal of construction in Jerusalem besides the Temple
      > Mount, and at least some of that construction (e.g. the
      > towers of Phasael, Hippicus and Mariamne) related to the
      > city's outer walls and gates. I was responding to Mahlon's
      > suggestion that the gate was built for the Essenes'
      > convenience.
      >

      Correction accepted. Please forgive my confusion in the wee hours.
      There's no direct connection between the Essene gate & the temple. But I
      was correct in remembering that Herod tried to gain support from the
      Essenes by exempting them from oath of allegiance he imposed on other
      Judeans acc to Josephus (Ant. 15.371). The only others he excused from
      this oath were the pair of top Pharisee leaders: Abtalion & Shemaiah.

      As to who constructed the gate, there are only two options: the
      Hasmoneans or Herod. Since the Essenes were opposed to/by later
      Hasmoneans, Herod is the more logical choice. Note that on the map of
      this section of Jerusalem, the Essene gate (located by Bliss & recently
      unearthed by Pixner) is penetrated by a "Herodian street"
      http://www.centuryone.com/essene.html (a similatAccording to Pixner,
      Herodian construction has the support of Israeli archaeologist Mazar
      (whose 70s excavation of the Herodian houses on the south wall of the
      Temple mount I have my own slides of): "When the doyen of Israeli
      archaeologists, the late Benjamin Mazar, visited us, he remarked that
      only the workmen of Herod the Great were likely to have achieved such
      stonecutting perfection." This opinion was independently supported by
      J.J. Rousseau & Rami Arav (_Jesus & His World_ pp. 175-179).

      Shalom!

      Mahlon


      --

      *********************

      Mahlon H. Smith,
      Associate Professor
      Department of Religion
      Rutgers University
      New Brunswick NJ

      http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html