Joan E. Taylor

in The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199554485
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745911 | DOI:

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Pliny refers to the Essenes in his Natural History as a peculiar group living an austere existence in the barren region west of the Dead Sea. His very brief description is a caricature, set within the genre of mirabilia, probably sourced from Mucianus, and focuses only on a few key features that were designed to indicate the paradoxical nature of a group eschewing sexual life yet maintaining its existence over time. Nevertheless, Pliny provides some useful historical information, most particularly that there were large numbers of the Essenes and they could be found north-west of the Dead Sea.

Keywords: Essenes; Pliny; Natural History; Dead Sea; mirabilia; Mucianus; paradox

Chapter.  5278 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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