The word Essene has been traced as an Egyptian term for that of which Therapeutae
was the Greek word, each of them signifying "healer," designating the character of this sect as professing to be endowed with the miraculous gift of healing.
They sometimes offer fresh insights on classical Greek and Roman sources and are intimately familiar with some sources little known to classicists: Hence, there are too many mentions of the Jewish therapeutae
, an obscure sect that happened to have had a strange dining ritual; hence, also, come the extensive and very useful citations of Rabbinic and early Christian texts unfamiliar to most classical scholars.
Because of the intimate relationship between the Egyptian Therapeutae
("healers") sect and the Judean sect of Essenes, E.
A separate chapter considers the symbolism and practice of meals in spiritual communities of the time, including the Qumran, Essene, Therapeutae
, Haburoth, Pauline, Didache, and those described in the Acts of the Apostles.
Consequently, the unification of opposites in general, and the symbolization of a reunified humanity in particular, became well-known motifs in religious experience, (49) and we see this in Philo's description of the Therapeutae
in his De Vita Contemplativa.
Questions regarding the mingling of Gentiles and women among Jews in diaspora synagogues yield much speculation in the study, especially in light of references by Philo of Alexandria to a monastic type of Judaism practiced in Egypt by the Therapeutae
(male) and the Therapeutrides (females).
Chapter 3 consists of a valuable discussion of utopian movements in early Judaism, most notably (but not exclusively) the Essenes and the Therapeutae
, which the author quite rightly calls "the two best examples of ancient utopian communities" (53).