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C. Josephus Flavius ​​and Philo of Alexandria, as well as the Roman naturalist and historian Pliny the Elder. The scrolls of the caves would have belonged to this sect which would have hidden them to preserve them from destruction and attacks by enemies. According to de Vaux, this happened in 68 A.D., when the Jews had already had the worst in the war against the Romans and Khirbet Qumran was abandoned following a military attack. This, with few variations, is the theory accepted today by the majority of Qumranists. The corpus of manuscripts found in the eleven caves is made up of biblical works (both canonical and apocryphal and pseudo-epigraph), non-biblical sectarian works, or original products previously unknown to scholars (documents such as the Community Rule, the War Scroll, various commentaries – or pesher – in a historical political key of the Old Testament such as the pesher of Habakkuk, etc …) and non-sectarian works such as some calendar tables, the Scroll of the Temple, the Copper Scroll, the Damascus Document, etc … some documents such as the Community Rule and the Damascus Document, which describe the rules that govern a mysterious Community, perhaps the one that composed the manuscripts, seem to support the thesis of R. de Vaux. But one of the most ancient testimonies on the Essenes, that of the Roman historian and naturalist Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), seems in part to disagree with the conclusions of de Vaux. In his work entitled Natural History (Naturalis historia in Latin) Pliny writes:

Pliny, in describing some places in Judea, places the territory of the Essenes just west of the Dead Sea, not very far from the coast. Since according to Pliny the city of Engedi was located below (i.e. south) of the place where the Essenes lived (infra hos Engada oppidum fuit in the original Latin text) de Vaux thought that Khirbet Qumran, which is located about 50 km north of Engedi and along the western shore of the Dead Sea, was the place where the mysterious Jewish sect had settled. In support of this geographical location we also point out the minor, but no less important testimony of Dio of Prusa, a Greek intellectual and philosopher who lived between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD:

Unfortunately, this sentence of Dio is second-hand, having reached us from Synesius of Cyrene (approx. 370-413 AD), the biographer of Dio of Prusa. The description provided by Pliny alludes – albeit vaguely – to a community structure whose characteristics could precisely coincide with what is reported in some sectarian documents found in the caves of Qumran. Unfortunately the analogies end here and instead the discrepancies with the archaeological reconstructions begin when an attempt is made to apply to Khirbet Qumran what was written by Pliny (and by Dione). Pliny the Elder, in fact, visited Palestine around 75 AD after the first Jewish revolt, when de Vaux assumes that Khirbet Qumran had already been destroyed by the Romans and then abandoned by the Essenes. But Pliny clearly speaks of the Essenes as a community still alive and present at the time he writes and the fact that he speaks of Engedi as a city now destroyed at the time he writes confirms that the story was really written at the end of the Jewish revolt. of 66-74 after Christ. Therefore either Khirbet Qumran was never destroyed in 68 after Christ and was still inhabited by the Essenes at the time of Pliny the Elder, against the theories of de Vaux, or it is not to be considered the place where Pliny places the community of the Essenes. A solution that would reconcile de Vaux’s theory and Pliny’s description is to suppose that the Essenes lived near Khirbet Qumran and were helped by the inhabitants of Khirbet Qumran – possibly occupied by the Jewish army at the time of the revolt against the Romans – hiding manuscripts in caves to protect them from enemies; if so, a part of the Essenes would have survived the war and would have continued to inhabit the areas surrounding Khirbet Qumran even at the time of Pliny.

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14. You must not leave your flock and move to another or move towards a (higher) dignity without the approval of your own community.

15. You must not have a friendship with a nun or enter a female monastery. Nor will you speak alone with a nun or a woman of the world, unless necessity forces you at some time; this happens with two people present on one side and on the other since one person is easily influenced, as they say.

16. You will not open the monastery door to let a woman in unless absolutely necessary. If you are able to welcome it with discretion, don’t forget to do so.

17. You will not establish a lodging for yourself or a secular home for your spiritual children where you will go often and where there are women. Rather you will choose to stay with pious men for the needs and requirements of moving (from the monastery).

18. Do not take a young student into your cell to be disposed of, but be served by various brothers and by a person above all suspicion.

20. Don’t spend lavishly either on your lifestyle or on welcoming guests. This behavior will distract you (from your goals) as it is just of a voluptuous life.

21. Do not accumulate riches in your monastery, but share your abundance of any kind with those in need and who stand at your door, as did the holy Fathers.

22. Do not be the guardian of the protected place (where the belongings are kept) and do not assume the commitment to administer (the goods of the monastery), but that your key is the utmost care of souls, to bind and dissolve (the sins ) according to the Scriptures (cf. Mt 16:19). You will have to entrust the money and other necessary things to the administrators, cellarers and others, as befits every service, and all without doubt under your authority. You will transfer the tasks to this or that, as you see fit, requiring an account of the services entrusted to each.

23. You will not prefer the person of any man, eminent and powerful according to the century, to the good of the community. Nor will you give up exposing your life to the point of bloodshed in protecting these divine laws and commands.

24. Do nothing and do not act on your own initiative, whether it is a spiritual or physical matter of any kind. First, you must not act without the advice and prayer of your lord and Father; secondly, without the advice of the most respectable monks in knowledge and prudence regarding the question posed: because there is a need for advice or perhaps two, three or even more as the Fathers taught us.

Hate the world, don’t go back to the works of the world. Having been released from the bonds of carnal affections, do not bond with them again. Having renounced all the pleasures and all the perishable things of present life, do not neglect your favorite commitment and the fight of obedience, becoming the mockery of the demons.

Persevere on the path of obedience to the end, in such a way as to “receive the crown of glory (of righteousness) that does not wither” (cf. 1 Pt 5,4 and 2 Tm 4,8).

Guided by humility, always deny your will and conform only to what is approved by your superior. If you keep these things in mind and keep them until the end you will be blessed. Because the choir of martyrs will welcome you and, crowned in the kingdom of heaven, you will enjoy eternal goods.

For the rest, take care brothers. I have embarked on a journey with no return, a journey that everyone has traveled over the centuries and that you too will travel shortly after, after having performed the services of this life. I don’t know, my brothers, where I am going, what judgment awaits me or what place will receive me, because I have not completed one and only good work before God. Rather I am responsible for every sin. However, I rejoice and am happy to go from this world to heaven, from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom, from a foreign land to the true abode in the fatherland, from foreign countries and belonging to others – because … I am stranger, guest like all my fathers (cf. Ps 39 (38), 12) – to my homeland. Even more courageously I declare that I will return to my Master, my Lord and my God whom my soul loved and whom I recognized as Father, even if I did not honor him as a son. I acquired it by giving up everything, even though I didn’t serve him as a faithful servant. I have spoken of these things as a fool, but I have said them for you so that you may be more kind to me and pray for my salvation. If I realize it I give you my word in truth that I will not be silent, but I will courageously beg my Lord and Master for all of you so that you may be well, be saved and multiply. I expect to see, welcome and hug each of you as you walk away from the world. Because I am confident that his goodness, today as then, will keep us all even in the century to come, having observed his commandments, to sing the praises of his holy power. My children, remember my humble words. Guard what has been entrusted to you (cf. 1 Tim 6:20): in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in whom there is glory and power for ever and ever, Amen.

– “Le Testament de Théodore Stoudite: édition critique et traduction” edited by Olivier Delouis. Revue des études byzantines, tome 67, 2009. pp. 77-109.

– “Byzantine monastic foundation documents” Vol. 1, Edited by John Thomas and Angela Constantinides Hero, Dumbarton Oaks 2000.

Igumen or hegumen or hegumenos (in Greek ἡγούμενος) is the title with which the leadership of a monastery in the Byzantine and Orthodox Churches is indicated, a role similar to that of abbot. This term means “the one who is in charge”, “the guide” in Greek. (Source Wikipedia)

Some of the people mentioned here were important sources for the doctrine and institutions of the Studite monastic reform. Their accuser, Pamfilo, must probably be identified with the sixth-century presbyter, Pamfilus of Jerusalem, author of a treatise against the Monophysites.

the Enotico or Henotikon (which means “instrument of union” to unite Christians) issued by the emperor Zeno (474-491) in 482.

Latin text from Patrologia Græca Vol. 88, col. 642: “Triplex omnino est omnis religiosæ et generosæ vitæ ratio; vel ut solus et solitarius decertando vivas; vel cum uno alterove sodali; vel ut in cœnobio cum pluribus for patientiam conquiescas “.

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