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Originally posted by Aresh Troxit
I've read the book many years ago and it was EXCELLENT! If you haven't read it, you should!
I think the name you are looking for is "Therapist". Tho in French we say Thérapeute. The online dictionary gave me the word without the e at the end, but the one at home says therapist. In hope this helps you!
According to Mead, the Gymnosophists were really a sect of advanced Essenes, or Therapeuts, as described by Philo in his "On the Contemplative Life," the description that Philo gives of the Therapeut community that he visited on the shore of Lake Mareotis near Alexandria, corresponding almost exactly with Damis' description of the Gymnosophist community in Upper Egypt. Both show the following unmistakable signs of Buddhist influence and origin :
1 -- In both cases the members gave away all their worldly possessions before joining the community.
2 -- There was a novitiate period and an initiation into the order.
3 -- Abstinence from meats and wines was compulsory.
4 -- Both practiced the healing art.
5 -- Both made community of property the rule.
6 -- Both took oaths of chastity and poverty.
7 -- Both adopted and raised the children of strangers and orphans.
The similarities between the Therapeutae and Buddhist monasticism, a tradition earlier by several centuries, combined with Indian evidence of Buddhist missionary activity to the Mediterranean around 250 BCE (the Edicts of Ashoka), have been pointed out. The linguist Zacharias P. Thundy also suggests that the word "Therapeutae" is only a Hellenisation of the Indian Pali word for traditional Buddhists, Theravada. In general, Egypt had intense trade and cultural contacts with India during the period, as described in the 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
The Swoon Hypothesis refers to a number of theories that aim to explain the resurrection of Jesus, proposing that Jesus didn't die on the cross, but merely fell unconscious ("swooned"), and was later revived in the tomb in the same mortal body. Although this hypothesis has not been widely held by scholars, it has had noteworthy advocates for about two hundred years.
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, in their 1982 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, speculated that Pontius Pilate was bribed to allow Jesus to be taken down from the cross before he was dead. In 1992, Barbara Thiering explored the theory in depth in her book Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls and on her web site "The Pesher of Christ" in the reference section. In 2006, Baigent published The Jesus Papers, a book that describes how Jesus may have survived the crucifixion.
In Egypt at the time of Jesus, there was a type of Judeaism which was very "mystical," that is, had to do with the direct experience of divinity. We find it in such texts as "The First Book of Enoch," the writings of Philo and in particular the Therapeutae. Also, in Egypt was a functioning Jewish temple which claimed to be the only pure one -- the Temple of Onias. Since Jesus was teaching a spirituality of the Egyptian type it seems to be self-evident that he indeed went to Egypt as is recorded in the New Testament and it was there that he learned his skills.
The most interesting aspect of the book is what the author claimed was his researches on mysticism. Instead of starting Christianity, Jesus, he argued, taught the mysticism he learnt from the Egyptian Therapeutae Jews. Most of the wisdom are buried in The Book of the Dead.
For the Egyptian, the dead represents a world that is just as alive but in a more ethereal form, not subject to linear time. One can travel to the World of the Dead and come back after training in mysticism. This includes the technique of incubation, meditating in silence – in the dark, in special designated chambers underground within pyramid or elsewhere. The meditation leads to mystical experiences uncovering the Far World.
The Therapeutae adopted Egyptian mysticism and renamed the Far World the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus wanted to teach all others on how to reach this kingdom that is within.
Waxing futher, the author said that the Therapeutae believed in a simple life with no artifacts, temples, and religious hierarchies. They also believed that men and women were equal in their potential for reaching mystical experiences.
I am very interested in learning more about this Greek/Jewish/Egyptian intentional community that flourished in Alexandria about 30BC to 50AD. It was quite a unique group. It focused on healing and revered gender equality at a time when most of the surrounding cultures and societies did not. It also was focused on the issue of life after death and on the gnostic idea that God was the divine indwelling light in the sould of each human being. That by good practice and meditation, we all could find this divine connection with out the need for a rabbi or a priest to intervene. Some say that Jesus beliefs were greatly influenced by this community (For example see the book, The Jesus Papers, by the historian and archaeologist Michael Biagent). Jesus did flee with his family from Judea when he was twelve and was assumed to have lived and studied in Egypt for 18 years. He had ample time to be influenced by the Therapeutae and The Jewish Temple of Onias - very different from the Temple of Jerusalem and outlasted the Temple of Jerusalem. This community could well be the missing link between the Greek prot gnostics and rise of Christianity in the form that Jesus originally intended and preached. Does anyone in this forum know of any books, papers, reports, research, etc about the Therapeutae??