|1. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 2.119-2.129, 2.131-2.139, 2.141-2.159, 2.161 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)
Tagged with subjects: • Beall, T. S. • Beall, Todd S.
Found in books: Klawans (2019), Heresy, Forgery, Novelty: Condemning, Denying, and Asserting Innovation in Ancient Judaism, 64; Taylor (2012), The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea, 78, 98
2.119 Τρία γὰρ παρὰ ̓Ιουδαίοις εἴδη φιλοσοφεῖται, καὶ τοῦ μὲν αἱρετισταὶ Φαρισαῖοι, τοῦ δὲ Σαδδουκαῖοι, τρίτον δέ, ὃ δὴ καὶ δοκεῖ σεμνότητα ἀσκεῖν, ̓Εσσηνοὶ καλοῦνται, ̓Ιουδαῖοι μὲν γένος ὄντες, φιλάλληλοι δὲ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων πλέον. 2.121 τὸν μὲν γάμον καὶ τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ διαδοχὴν οὐκ ἀναιροῦντες, τὰς δὲ τῶν γυναικῶν ἀσελγείας φυλαττόμενοι καὶ μηδεμίαν τηρεῖν πεπεισμένοι τὴν πρὸς ἕνα πίστιν.' "2.122 Καταφρονηταὶ δὲ πλούτου, καὶ θαυμάσιον αὐτοῖς τὸ κοινωνικόν, οὐδὲ ἔστιν εὑρεῖν κτήσει τινὰ παρ' αὐτοῖς ὑπερέχοντα: νόμος γὰρ τοὺς εἰς τὴν αἵρεσιν εἰσιόντας δημεύειν τῷ τάγματι τὴν οὐσίαν, ὥστε ἐν ἅπασιν μήτε πενίας ταπεινότητα φαίνεσθαι μήθ' ὑπεροχὴν πλούτου, τῶν δ' ἑκάστου κτημάτων ἀναμεμιγμένων μίαν ὥσπερ ἀδελφοῖς ἅπασιν οὐσίαν εἶναι." "2.123 κηλῖδα δ' ὑπολαμβάνουσι τὸ ἔλαιον, κἂν ἀλειφθῇ τις ἄκων, σμήχεται τὸ σῶμα: τὸ γὰρ αὐχμεῖν ἐν καλῷ τίθενται λευχειμονεῖν τε διαπαντός. χειροτονητοὶ δ' οἱ τῶν κοινῶν ἐπιμεληταὶ καὶ ἀδιαίρετοι πρὸς ἁπάντων εἰς τὰς χρείας ἕκαστοι." "2.124 Μία δ' οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτῶν πόλις ἀλλ' ἐν ἑκάστῃ μετοικοῦσιν πολλοί. καὶ τοῖς ἑτέρωθεν ἥκουσιν αἱρετισταῖς πάντ' ἀναπέπταται τὰ παρ' αὐτοῖς ὁμοίως ὥσπερ ἴδια, καὶ πρὸς οὓς οὐ πρότερον εἶδον εἰσίασιν ὡς συνηθεστάτους:" "2.125 διὸ καὶ ποιοῦνται τὰς ἀποδημίας οὐδὲν μὲν ὅλως ἐπικομιζόμενοι, διὰ δὲ τοὺς λῃστὰς ἔνοπλοι. κηδεμὼν δ' ἐν ἑκάστῃ πόλει τοῦ τάγματος ἐξαιρέτως τῶν ξένων ἀποδείκνυται ταμιεύων ἐσθῆτα καὶ τὰ ἐπιτήδεια." '2.126 καταστολὴ δὲ καὶ σχῆμα σώματος ὅμοιον τοῖς μετὰ φόβου παιδαγωγουμένοις παισίν. οὔτε δὲ ἐσθῆτας οὔτε ὑποδήματα ἀμείβουσι πρὶν διαρραγῆναι τὸ πρότερον παντάπασιν ἢ δαπανηθῆναι τῷ χρόνῳ.' "2.127 οὐδὲν δ' ἐν ἀλλήλοις οὔτ' ἀγοράζουσιν οὔτε πωλοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ τῷ χρῄζοντι διδοὺς ἕκαστος τὰ παρ' αὐτῷ τὸ παρ' ἐκείνου χρήσιμον ἀντικομίζεται: καὶ χωρὶς δὲ τῆς ἀντιδόσεως ἀκώλυτος ἡ μετάληψις αὐτοῖς παρ' ὧν ἂν θέλωσιν." '2.128 Πρός γε μὴν τὸ θεῖον εὐσεβεῖς ἰδίως: πρὶν γὰρ ἀνασχεῖν τὸν ἥλιον οὐδὲν φθέγγονται τῶν βεβήλων, πατρίους δέ τινας εἰς αὐτὸν εὐχὰς ὥσπερ ἱκετεύοντες ἀνατεῖλαι. 2.129 καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα πρὸς ἃς ἕκαστοι τέχνας ἴσασιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἐπιμελητῶν διαφίενται, καὶ μέχρι πέμπτης ὥρας ἐργασάμενοι συντόνως πάλιν εἰς ἓν συναθροίζονται χωρίον, ζωσάμενοί τε σκεπάσμασιν λινοῖς οὕτως ἀπολούονται τὸ σῶμα ψυχροῖς ὕδασιν, καὶ μετὰ ταύτην τὴν ἁγνείαν εἰς ἴδιον οἴκημα συνίασιν, ἔνθα μηδενὶ τῶν ἑτεροδόξων ἐπιτέτραπται παρελθεῖν: αὐτοί τε καθαροὶ καθάπερ εἰς ἅγιόν τι τέμενος παραγίνονται τὸ δειπνητήριον.' "
2.131 προκατεύχεται δ' ὁ ἱερεὺς τῆς τροφῆς, καὶ γεύσασθαί τινα πρὶν τῆς εὐχῆς ἀθέμιτον: ἀριστοποιησάμενος δ' ἐπεύχεται πάλιν: ἀρχόμενοί τε καὶ παυόμενοι γεραίρουσι θεὸν ὡς χορηγὸν τῆς ζωῆς. ἔπειθ' ὡς ἱερὰς καταθέμενοι τὰς ἐσθῆτας πάλιν ἐπ' ἔργα μέχρι δείλης τρέπονται." "2.132 δειπνοῦσι δ' ὁμοίως ὑποστρέψαντες συγκαθεζομένων τῶν ξένων, εἰ τύχοιεν αὐτοῖς παρόντες. οὔτε δὲ κραυγή ποτε τὸν οἶκον οὔτε θόρυβος μιαίνει, τὰς δὲ λαλιὰς ἐν τάξει παραχωροῦσιν ἀλλήλοις." "2.133 καὶ τοῖς ἔξωθεν ὡς μυστήριόν τι φρικτὸν ἡ τῶν ἔνδον σιωπὴ καταφαίνεται, τούτου δ' αἴτιον ἡ διηνεκὴς νῆψις καὶ τὸ μετρεῖσθαι παρ' αὐτοῖς τροφὴν καὶ ποτὸν μέχρι κόρου." "2.134 Τῶν μὲν οὖν ἄλλων οὐκ ἔστιν ὅ τι μὴ τῶν ἐπιμελητῶν προσταξάντων ἐνεργοῦσι, δύο δὲ ταῦτα παρ' αὐτοῖς αὐτεξούσια, ἐπικουρία καὶ ἔλεος: βοηθεῖν τε γὰρ τοῖς ἀξίοις, ὁπόταν δέωνται, καὶ καθ' ἑαυτοὺς ἐφίεται καὶ τροφὰς ἀπορουμένοις ὀρέγειν. τὰς δὲ εἰς τοὺς συγγενεῖς μεταδόσεις οὐκ ἔξεστι ποιεῖσθαι δίχα τῶν ἐπιτρόπων." "2.135 ὀργῆς ταμίαι δίκαιοι, θυμοῦ καθεκτικοί, πίστεως προστάται, εἰρήνης ὑπουργοί. καὶ πᾶν μὲν τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπ' αὐτῶν ἰσχυρότερον ὅρκου, τὸ δὲ ὀμνύειν αὐτοῖς περιίσταται χεῖρον τῆς ἐπιορκίας ὑπολαμβάνοντες: ἤδη γὰρ κατεγνῶσθαί φασιν τὸν ἀπιστούμενον δίχα θεοῦ." "2.136 σπουδάζουσι δ' ἐκτόπως περὶ τὰ τῶν παλαιῶν συντάγματα μάλιστα τὰ πρὸς ὠφέλειαν ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος ἐκλέγοντες: ἔνθεν αὐτοῖς πρὸς θεραπείαν παθῶν ῥίζαι τε ἀλεξητήριον καὶ λίθων ἰδιότητες ἀνερευνῶνται." "2.137 Τοῖς δὲ ζηλοῦσιν τὴν αἵρεσιν αὐτῶν οὐκ εὐθὺς ἡ πάροδος, ἀλλ' ἐπὶ ἐνιαυτὸν ἔξω μένοντι τὴν αὐτὴν ὑποτίθενται δίαιταν ἀξινάριόν τε καὶ τὸ προειρημένον περίζωμα καὶ λευκὴν ἐσθῆτα δόντες." '2.138 ἐπειδὰν δὲ τούτῳ τῷ χρόνῳ πεῖραν ἐγκρατείας δῷ, πρόσεισιν μὲν ἔγγιον τῇ διαίτῃ καὶ καθαρωτέρων τῶν πρὸς ἁγνείαν ὑδάτων μεταλαμβάνει, παραλαμβάνεται δὲ εἰς τὰς συμβιώσεις οὐδέπω. μετὰ γὰρ τὴν τῆς καρτερίας ἐπίδειξιν δυσὶν ἄλλοις ἔτεσιν τὸ ἦθος δοκιμάζεται καὶ φανεὶς ἄξιος οὕτως εἰς τὸν ὅμιλον ἐγκρίνεται.' "2.139 πρὶν δὲ τῆς κοινῆς ἅψασθαι τροφῆς ὅρκους αὐτοῖς ὄμνυσι φρικώδεις, πρῶτον μὲν εὐσεβήσειν τὸ θεῖον, ἔπειτα τὰ πρὸς ἀνθρώπους δίκαια φυλάξειν καὶ μήτε κατὰ γνώμην βλάψειν τινὰ μήτε ἐξ ἐπιτάγματος, μισήσειν δ' ἀεὶ τοὺς ἀδίκους καὶ συναγωνιεῖσθαι τοῖς δικαίοις:" "
2.141 τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἀγαπᾶν ἀεὶ καὶ τοὺς ψευδομένους προβάλλεσθαι: χεῖρας κλοπῆς καὶ ψυχὴν ἀνοσίου κέρδους καθαρὰν φυλάξειν καὶ μήτε κρύψειν τι τοὺς αἱρετιστὰς μήθ' ἑτέροις αὐτῶν τι μηνύσειν, κἂν μέχρι θανάτου τις βιάζηται." '2.142 πρὸς τούτοις ὄμνυσιν μηδενὶ μὲν μεταδοῦναι τῶν δογμάτων ἑτέρως ἢ ὡς αὐτὸς μετέλαβεν, ἀφέξεσθαι δὲ λῃστείας καὶ συντηρήσειν ὁμοίως τά τε τῆς αἱρέσεως αὐτῶν βιβλία καὶ τὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων ὀνόματα. τοιούτοις μὲν ὅρκοις τοὺς προσιόντας ἐξασφαλίζονται.' "2.143 Τοὺς δ' ἐπ' ἀξιοχρέοις ἁμαρτήμασιν ἁλόντας ἐκβάλλουσι τοῦ τάγματος. ὁ δ' ἐκκριθεὶς οἰκτίστῳ πολλάκις μόρῳ διαφθείρεται: τοῖς γὰρ ὅρκοις καὶ τοῖς ἔθεσιν ἐνδεδεμένος οὐδὲ τῆς παρὰ τοῖς ἄλλοις τροφῆς δύναται μεταλαμβάνειν, ποηφαγῶν δὲ καὶ λιμῷ τὸ σῶμα τηκόμενος διαφθείρεται." '2.144 διὸ δὴ πολλοὺς ἐλεήσαντες ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἀναπνοαῖς ἀνέλαβον, ἱκανὴν ἐπὶ τοῖς ἁμαρτήμασιν αὐτῶν τὴν μέχρι θανάτου βάσανον ἡγούμενοι.' "2.145 Περὶ δὲ τὰς κρίσεις ἀκριβέστατοι καὶ δίκαιοι, καὶ δικάζουσι μὲν οὐκ ἐλάττους τῶν ἑκατὸν συνελθόντες, τὸ δ' ὁρισθὲν ὑπ' αὐτῶν ἀκίνητον. σέβας δὲ μέγα παρ' αὐτοῖς μετὰ τὸν θεὸν τοὔνομα τοῦ νομοθέτου, κἂν βλασφημήσῃ τις εἰς τοῦτον κολάζεται θανάτῳ." '2.146 τοῖς δὲ πρεσβυτέροις ὑπακούουσιν καὶ τοῖς πλείοσιν ἐν καλῷ: δέκα γοῦν συγκαθεζομένων οὐκ ἂν λαλήσειέν τις ἀκόντων τῶν ἐννέα.' "2.147 καὶ τὸ πτύσαι δὲ εἰς μέσους ἢ τὸ δεξιὸν μέρος φυλάσσονται καὶ ταῖς ἑβδομάσιν ἔργων ἐφάπτεσθαι διαφορώτατα ̓Ιουδαίων ἁπάντων: οὐ μόνον γὰρ τροφὰς ἑαυτοῖς πρὸ μιᾶς ἡμέρας παρασκευάζουσιν, ὡς μὴ πῦρ ἐναύοιεν ἐκείνην τὴν ἡμέραν, ἀλλ' οὐδὲ σκεῦός τι μετακινῆσαι θαρροῦσιν οὐδὲ ἀποπατεῖν." "2.148 ταῖς δ' ἄλλαις ἡμέραις βόθρον ὀρύσσοντες βάθος ποδιαῖον τῇ σκαλίδι, τοιοῦτον γάρ ἐστιν τὸ διδόμενον ὑπ' αὐτῶν ἀξινίδιον τοῖς νεοσυστάτοις, καὶ περικαλύψαντες θοιμάτιον, ὡς μὴ τὰς αὐγὰς ὑβρίζοιεν τοῦ θεοῦ, θακεύουσιν εἰς αὐτόν." "2.149 ἔπειτα τὴν ἀνορυχθεῖσαν γῆν ἐφέλκουσιν εἰς τὸν βόθρον: καὶ τοῦτο ποιοῦσι τοὺς ἐρημοτέρους τόπους ἐκλεγόμενοι. καίπερ δὴ φυσικῆς οὔσης τῆς τῶν λυμάτων ἐκκρίσεως ἀπολούεσθαι μετ' αὐτὴν καθάπερ μεμιασμένοις ἔθιμον." "2.151 καὶ μακρόβιοι μέν, ὡς τοὺς πολλοὺς ὑπὲρ ἑκατὸν παρατείνειν ἔτη, διὰ τὴν ἁπλότητα τῆς διαίτης ἔμοιγε δοκεῖν καὶ τὴν εὐταξίαν, καταφρονηταὶ δὲ τῶν δεινῶν, καὶ τὰς μὲν ἀλγηδόνας νικῶντες τοῖς φρονήμασιν, τὸν δὲ θάνατον, εἰ μετ' εὐκλείας πρόσεισι, νομίζοντες ἀθανασίας ἀμείνονα." "2.152 διήλεγξεν δὲ αὐτῶν ἐν ἅπασιν τὰς ψυχὰς ὁ πρὸς ̔Ρωμαίους πόλεμος, ἐν ᾧ στρεβλούμενοί τε καὶ λυγιζόμενοι καιόμενοί τε καὶ κλώμενοι καὶ διὰ πάντων ὁδεύοντες τῶν βασανιστηρίων ὀργάνων, ἵν' ἢ βλασφημήσωσιν τὸν νομοθέτην ἢ φάγωσίν τι τῶν ἀσυνήθων, οὐδέτερον ὑπέμειναν παθεῖν, ἀλλ' οὐδὲ κολακεῦσαί ποτε τοὺς αἰκιζομένους ἢ δακρῦσαι." '2.153 μειδιῶντες δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἀλγηδόσιν καὶ κατειρωνευόμενοι τῶν τὰς βασάνους προσφερόντων εὔθυμοι τὰς ψυχὰς ἠφίεσαν ὡς πάλιν κομιούμενοι.' "2.154 Καὶ γὰρ ἔρρωται παρ' αὐτοῖς ἥδε ἡ δόξα, φθαρτὰ μὲν εἶναι τὰ σώματα καὶ τὴν ὕλην οὐ μόνιμον αὐτῶν, τὰς δὲ ψυχὰς ἀθανάτους ἀεὶ διαμένειν, καὶ συμπλέκεσθαι μὲν ἐκ τοῦ λεπτοτάτου φοιτώσας αἰθέρος ὥσπερ εἱρκταῖς τοῖς σώμασιν ἴυγγί τινι φυσικῇ κατασπωμένας," "2.155 ἐπειδὰν δὲ ἀνεθῶσι τῶν κατὰ σάρκα δεσμῶν, οἷα δὴ μακρᾶς δουλείας ἀπηλλαγμένας τότε χαίρειν καὶ μετεώρους φέρεσθαι. καὶ ταῖς μὲν ἀγαθαῖς ὁμοδοξοῦντες παισὶν ̔Ελλήνων ἀποφαίνονται τὴν ὑπὲρ ὠκεανὸν δίαιταν ἀποκεῖσθαι καὶ χῶρον οὔτε ὄμβροις οὔτε νιφετοῖς οὔτε καύμασι βαρυνόμενον, ἀλλ' ὃν ἐξ ὠκεανοῦ πραὺ̈ς ἀεὶ ζέφυρος ἐπιπνέων ἀναψύχει: ταῖς δὲ φαύλαις ζοφώδη καὶ χειμέριον ἀφορίζονται μυχὸν γέμοντα τιμωριῶν ἀδιαλείπτων." "2.156 δοκοῦσι δέ μοι κατὰ τὴν αὐτὴν ἔννοιαν ̔́Ελληνες τοῖς τε ἀνδρείοις αὐτῶν, οὓς ἥρωας καὶ ἡμιθέους καλοῦσιν, τὰς μακάρων νήσους ἀνατεθεικέναι, ταῖς δὲ τῶν πονηρῶν ψυχαῖς καθ' ᾅδου τὸν ἀσεβῶν χῶρον, ἔνθα καὶ κολαζομένους τινὰς μυθολογοῦσιν, Σισύφους καὶ Ταντάλους ̓Ιξίονάς τε καὶ Τιτυούς, πρῶτον μὲν ἀιδίους ὑφιστάμενοι τὰς ψυχάς, ἔπειτα εἰς προτροπὴν ἀρετῆς καὶ κακίας ἀποτροπήν." '2.157 τούς τε γὰρ ἀγαθοὺς γίνεσθαι κατὰ τὸν βίον ἀμείνους ἐλπίδι τιμῆς καὶ μετὰ τὴν τελευτήν, τῶν τε κακῶν ἐμποδίζεσθαι τὰς ὁρμὰς δέει προσδοκώντων, εἰ καὶ λάθοιεν ἐν τῷ ζῆν, μετὰ τὴν διάλυσιν ἀθάνατον τιμωρίαν ὑφέξειν. 2.158 ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ̓Εσσηνοὶ περὶ ψυχῆς θεολογοῦσιν ἄφυκτον δέλεαρ τοῖς ἅπαξ γευσαμένοις τῆς σοφίας αὐτῶν καθιέντες.' "2.159 Εἰσὶν δ' ἐν αὐτοῖς οἳ καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα προγινώσκειν ὑπισχνοῦνται, βίβλοις ἱεραῖς καὶ διαφόροις ἁγνείαις καὶ προφητῶν ἀποφθέγμασιν ἐμπαιδοτριβούμενοι: σπάνιον δ' εἴ ποτε ἐν ταῖς προαγορεύσεσιν ἀστοχοῦσιν." "
2.161 δοκιμάζοντες μέντοι τριετίᾳ τὰς γαμετάς, ἐπειδὰν τρὶς καθαρθῶσιν εἰς πεῖραν τοῦ δύνασθαι τίκτειν, οὕτως ἄγονται. ταῖς δ' ἐγκύμοσιν οὐχ ὁμιλοῦσιν, ἐνδεικνύμενοι τὸ μὴ δι' ἡδονὴν ἀλλὰ τέκνων χρείαν γαμεῖν. λουτρὰ δὲ ταῖς γυναιξὶν ἀμπεχομέναις ἐνδύματα, καθάπερ τοῖς ἀνδράσιν ἐν περιζώματι. τοιαῦτα μὲν ἔθη τοῦδε τοῦ τάγματος." ' None
2.119 2. For there are three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of the first of which are the Pharisees; of the second, the Sadducees; and the third sect, which pretends to a severer discipline, are called Essenes. These last are Jews by birth, and seem to have a greater affection for one another than the other sects have. 2.121 They do not absolutely deny the fitness of marriage, and the succession of mankind thereby continued; but they guard against the lascivious behavior of women, and are persuaded that none of them preserve their fidelity to one man. 2.122 3. These men are despisers of riches, and so very communicative as raises our admiration. Nor is there anyone to be found among them who hath more than another; for it is a law among them, that those who come to them must let what they have be common to the whole order,—insomuch that among them all there is no appearance of poverty, or excess of riches, but every one’s possessions are intermingled with every other’s possessions; and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the brethren. 2.123 They think that oil is a defilement; and if anyone of them be anointed without his own approbation, it is wiped off his body; for they think to be sweaty is a good thing, as they do also to be clothed in white garments. They also have stewards appointed to take care of their common affairs, who every one of them have no separate business for any, but what is for the use of them all. 2.124 4. They have no one certain city, but many of them dwell in every city; and if any of their sect come from other places, what they have lies open for them, just as if it were their own; and they go in to such as they never knew before, as if they had been ever so long acquainted with them. 2.125 For which reason they carry nothing at all with them when they travel into remote parts, though still they take their weapons with them, for fear of thieves. Accordingly, there is, in every city where they live, one appointed particularly to take care of strangers, and to provide garments and other necessaries for them. 2.126 But the habit and management of their bodies is such as children use who are in fear of their masters. Nor do they allow of the change of garments, or of shoes, till they be first entirely torn to pieces or worn out by time. 2.127 Nor do they either buy or sell anything to one another; but every one of them gives what he hath to him that wanteth it, and receives from him again in lieu of it what may be convenient for himself; and although there be no requital made, they are fully allowed to take what they want of whomsoever they please. 2.128 5. And as for their piety towards God, it is very extraordinary; for before sunrising they speak not a word about profane matters, but put up certain prayers which they have received from their forefathers, as if they made a supplication for its rising. 2.129 After this every one of them are sent away by their curators, to exercise some of those arts wherein they are skilled, in which they labor with great diligence till the fifth hour. After which they assemble themselves together again into one place; and when they have clothed themselves in white veils, they then bathe their bodies in cold water. And after this purification is over, they every one meet together in an apartment of their own, into which it is not permitted to any of another sect to enter; while they go, after a pure manner, into the dining-room, as into a certain holy temple,
2.131 but a priest says grace before meat; and it is unlawful for anyone to taste of the food before grace be said. The same priest, when he hath dined, says grace again after meat; and when they begin, and when they end, they praise God, as he that bestows their food upon them; after which they lay aside their white garments, and betake themselves to their labors again till the evening; 2.132 then they return home to supper, after the same manner; and if there be any strangers there, they sit down with them. Nor is there ever any clamor or disturbance to pollute their house, but they give every one leave to speak in their turn; 2.133 which silence thus kept in their house appears to foreigners like some tremendous mystery; the cause of which is that perpetual sobriety they exercise, and the same settled measure of meat and drink that is allotted to them, and that such as is abundantly sufficient for them. 2.134 6. And truly, as for other things, they do nothing but according to the injunctions of their curators; only these two things are done among them at everyone’s own free will, which are to assist those that want it, and to show mercy; for they are permitted of their own accord to afford succor to such as deserve it, when they stand in need of it, and to bestow food on those that are in distress; but they cannot give any thing to their kindred without the curators. 2.135 They dispense their anger after a just manner, and restrain their passion. They are eminent for fidelity, and are the ministers of peace; whatsoever they say also is firmer than an oath; but swearing is avoided by them, and they esteem it worse than perjury for they say that he who cannot be believed without swearing by God is already condemned. 2.136 They also take great pains in studying the writings of the ancients, and choose out of them what is most for the advantage of their soul and body; and they inquire after such roots and medicinal stones as may cure their distempers. 2.137 7. But now, if anyone hath a mind to come over to their sect, he is not immediately admitted, but he is prescribed the same method of living which they use, for a year, while he continues excluded; and they give him also a small hatchet, and the fore-mentioned girdle, and the white garment. 2.138 And when he hath given evidence, during that time, that he can observe their continence, he approaches nearer to their way of living, and is made a partaker of the waters of purification; yet is he not even now admitted to live with them; for after this demonstration of his fortitude, his temper is tried two more years; and if he appear to be worthy, they then admit him into their society. 2.139 And before he is allowed to touch their common food, he is obliged to take tremendous oaths, that, in the first place, he will exercise piety towards God, and then that he will observe justice towards men, and that he will do no harm to any one, either of his own accord, or by the command of others; that he will always hate the wicked, and be assistant to the righteous;
2.141 that he will be perpetually a lover of truth, and propose to himself to reprove those that tell lies; that he will keep his hands clear from theft, and his soul from unlawful gains; and that he will neither conceal anything from those of his own sect, nor discover any of their doctrines to others, no, not though anyone should compel him so to do at the hazard of his life. 2.142 Moreover, he swears to communicate their doctrines to no one any otherwise than as he received them himself; that he will abstain from robbery, and will equally preserve the books belonging to their sect, and the names of the angels or messengers. These are the oaths by which they secure their proselytes to themselves. 2.143 8. But for those that are caught in any heinous sins, they cast them out of their society; and he who is thus separated from them does often die after a miserable manner; for as he is bound by the oath he hath taken, and by the customs he hath been engaged in, he is not at liberty to partake of that food that he meets with elsewhere, but is forced to eat grass, and to famish his body with hunger, till he perish; 2.144 for which reason they receive many of them again when they are at their last gasp, out of compassion to them, as thinking the miseries they have endured till they came to the very brink of death to be a sufficient punishment for the sins they had been guilty of. 2.145 9. But in the judgments they exercise they are most accurate and just, nor do they pass sentence by the votes of a court that is fewer than a hundred. And as to what is once determined by that number, it is unalterable. What they most of all honor, after God himself, is the name of their legislator Moses, whom, if anyone blaspheme, he is punished capitally. 2.146 They also think it a good thing to obey their elders, and the major part. Accordingly, if ten of them be sitting together, no one of them will speak while the other nine are against it. 2.147 They also avoid spitting in the midst of them, or on the right side. Moreover, they are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool thereon. 2.148 Nay, on theother days they dig a small pit, a foot deep, with a paddle (which kind of hatchet is given them when they are first admitted among them); and covering themselves round with their garment, that they may not affront the Divine rays of light, they ease themselves into that pit, 2.149 after which they put the earth that was dug out again into the pit; and even this they do only in the more lonely places, which they choose out for this purpose; and although this easement of the body be natural, yet it is a rule with them to wash themselves after it, as if it were a defilement to them. 2.151 They are long-lived also, insomuch that many of them live above a hundred years, by means of the simplicity of their diet; nay, as I think, by means of the regular course of life they observe also. They condemn the miseries of life, and are above pain, by the generosity of their mind. And as for death, if it will be for their glory, they esteem it better than living always; 2.152 and indeed our war with the Romans gave abundant evidence what great souls they had in their trials, wherein, although they were tortured and distorted, burnt and torn to pieces, and went through all kinds of instruments of torment, that they might be forced either to blaspheme their legislator, or to eat what was forbidden them, yet could they not be made to do either of them, no, nor once to flatter their tormentors, or to shed a tear; 2.153 but they smiled in their very pains, and laughed those to scorn who inflicted the torments upon them, and resigned up their souls with great alacrity, as expecting to receive them again. 2.154 11. For their doctrine is this: That bodies are corruptible, and that the matter they are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal, and continue forever; and that they come out of the most subtile air, and are united to their bodies as to prisons, into which they are drawn by a certain natural enticement; 2.155 but that when they are set free from the bonds of the flesh, they then, as released from a long bondage, rejoice and mount upward. And this is like the opinions of the Greeks, that good souls have their habitations beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed with storms of rain or snow, or with intense heat, but that this place is such as is refreshed by the gentle breathing of a west wind, that is perpetually blowing from the ocean; while they allot to bad souls a dark and tempestuous den, full of never-ceasing punishments. 2.156 And indeed the Greeks seem to me to have followed the same notion, when they allot the islands of the blessed to their brave men, whom they call heroes and demigods; and to the souls of the wicked, the region of the ungodly, in Hades, where their fables relate that certain persons, such as Sisyphus, and Tantalus, and Ixion, and Tityus, are punished; which is built on this first supposition, that souls are immortal; and thence are those exhortations to virtue, and dehortations from wickedness collected; 2.157 whereby good men are bettered in the conduct of their life by the hope they have of reward after their death; and whereby the vehement inclinations of bad men to vice are restrained, by the fear and expectation they are in, that although they should lie concealed in this life, they should suffer immortal punishment after their death. 2.158 These are the Divine doctrines of the Essenes about the soul, which lay an unavoidable bait for such as have once had a taste of their philosophy. 2.159 12. There are also those among them who undertake to foretell things to come, by reading the holy books, and using several sorts of purifications, and being perpetually conversant in the discourses of the prophets; and it is but seldom that they miss in their predictions.
2.161 However, they try their spouses for three years; and if they find that they have their natural purgations thrice, as trials that they are likely to be fruitful, they then actually marry them. But they do not use to accompany with their wives when they are with child, as a demonstration that they do not marry out of regard to pleasure, but for the sake of posterity. Now the women go into the baths with some of their garments on, as the men do with somewhat girded about them. And these are the customs of this order of Essenes.' ' None