Semitic terms

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Wed Jan 18 14:50:09 UTC 2012

I haven't had time yet to study the newly-found quotes, but I did happen upon one new (to me) fact. First let me recommend Martin F.J. Baasten  "A Note on the History of 'Semitic'" that clarifies the passage  (in German) from a tribal term also to a later linguistic term. That's in Hamlet on a Hill... [T. Muraoka Festschrift], Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 118; Leuven: Peeters, 2003, 57-72. I just learned that in 1860 a form of the term anti-Semitic was used by the great bibliographer Moritz Steinschneider. Alex Bein wrote about it:

Steinschneider was alleged (by Gershom Scholem; others may dispute it) as regarding his task to "provide the remnants of Judaism with a decent burial." Yet Steinschneider objected to Ernst Renan's writings on Judaism. One of Renan's quotations (paraphrased) is that Christianity is an Esseneism that survived. Then, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, such thoughts were debated, as *some* of the scrolls apparently are Essene compositions. (And, some of the scrolls, IMO, include the Hebrew source of the name Essene, a root recognized as such from at least 1532, in Germany, and by other scholars each following century.*) In the 1950s till today some scholars insist the scrolls have nothing to do with Essenes. A few say Essenes never existed. A. Dupont-Sommer coined (in French in the 1950s) the term Essenophobia.

Stephen Goranson

* some of the evidence given in "Others and Intra-Jewish Polemic as Reflected in Qumran Texts"

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