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Josephus gives us full descriptions of the Essenes, seeing them as one of the three Jewish philosophies of the period of Christian origins. After he has given a full account of the monastic Essenes, which agree at numerous points with the Scrolls, he goes on to "another order of Essenes", those who had to marry for dynastic reasons. He writes:
"They give their wives a three years' probation, and only marry them after they have by three periods of purity given proof of fecundity. They have no intercourse with them during pregnancy, thus showing that their motive in marrying is not self-indulgence but the procreation of children." (JW 2, 161).
In Jewish thought, menstruation is "impurity". The Scrolls are even stricter on this inhibition than orthodox Judaism, treating a menstruating woman as the equal of a leper (Temple Scroll 48: 14-19). "Three periods of purity" meant, for them, three successive occasions when there was no menstruation. When a woman becomes pregnant, her menstrual periods cease. It is the main proof of her "fecundity". Josephus is saying that Essene dynasts marry, holding a first ceremony beginning a trial period of three years, during which they have sexual intercourse. When the woman is three months pregnant and the danger of miscarriage is past, they enter a binding marriage, for life. After this ceremony there is no further intercourse, as it can be a danger to a pregnant woman. The husband returns to the celibate community.
The Essene woman in such an arrangement had to be a literal virgin before the first ceremony beginning the trial marriage. The high value placed on chastity would make that obligatory. Both before and after her two wedding ceremonies she would be committed to a lifestyle that upheld celibacy as far as possible. She belonged to an ascetic order, "another order of Essenes", for which there were parallels in the hellenistic world, such as the Roman Vestal Virgins. She was and remained a Virgin, with an upper-case V, all her life.
The rules limiting sex would have included a long period of betrothal before the first ceremony. It would be a time when the couple met, but with no sex. It could be so long that "passions became strong." Such a situation, practiced by Christians, is implied in 1 Corinthians 7:36. "If anyone thinks he is behaving improperly towards his virgin (Greek: parthenos), if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let them marry -it is no sin."
reply to post by AfterInfinity
Translation: Virgins were betrothed to their future husbands, sometimes for many years. At some point there is an "informal ceremony" after which sex is permissible, but a woman who is still have monthly periods is considered "unpure". She is only considered pure, and is therefore able to formally marry her betrothed, after she ceases having monthly periods for 3 months in a row.
Therefore, a ceremonially unmarried woman is only considered to be pure when she becomes pregnant. Only then can she be formally married. However, upon marriage, her husband is not allowed to have sex with her, even though they're married. She must remain a virgin while pregnant.
Here Dr. Bob parrots the standard argument that the Hebrew word *'almah* does not mean virgin, but rather that the word *bethulah* has that meaning. In what follows I first demonstrate that the word *bethulah* does not always refer to a virgin, and next I demonstrate that in the Bible the word *'almah* always refers to a virgin.
The Essene woman in such an arrangement had to be a literal virgin before the first ceremony beginning the trial marriage. The high value placed on chastity would make that obligatory. Both before and after her two wedding ceremonies she would be committed to a lifestyle that upheld celibacy as far as possible. ............. She was and remained a Virgin, with an upper-case V, all her life.
And I think that is for most of the ancient world. I can see how they could view that as being necessary. I think it gets down to preservation of life, moreso than just telling them they can't have sex then. I think we should look at practical reasons first.
SO Either Jesus was the true representative of the true God...
reply to post by windword
reply to post by FlyersFan
I think the answer is pretty obvious ladies... God doesn't change right... Yet the OT God did a 180...
SO Either Jesus was the true representative of the true God... OR God is a maniac with a rebellious son...
Both can't be God... makes no sense
Any monotheistic religion made by an infinite intelligence should make instant sense at all times unless that God is intentionally being confusing. If that God is intentionally being confusing, then I won't recognize them as God. Arrogant? Maybe, but I'd devote my life to attempting to understand such a being if I thought it existed.
reply to post by Pinke
I think of the story of the "Gold Calf", and it makes me think, a lot of time the Bible itself is used as an idol and distracts us from the true harmony of our existence within the relationship of the physical and spiritual worlds. It is a "paper bull". Using the Bible to find God is, in my opinion, missing the forest for the trees.