Therapeutae (θεραπευταί [attendants, i.e. worshippers, sc. of God] and θεραπευτρίδες), a Jewish sect in Egypt, which is described by Philo in a separate treatise Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ ἣ περὶ περὶ ἱκετῶν ἀρετῶν, or De Vita Contemplativa (Opp. [ed. Mangey], 2, 471486). It is strange that no other writer of that period, not even Josephus, knows anything about the Therapeutae; for what we find in ecclesiastical writings about them since the time of Eusebius is nothing but a reproduction of the Philonic narrative; and the erroneous opinion of Eusebius, who regarded the Therapeutae as Christians, has been followed by all Church fathers, with the exception of Photius. Modern critics have, with a few exceptions, identified the Therapeutae with the Essenes, but with this difference, that while the former were only theorists, the latter were men of practical life. Of late the question as to who the Therapeutae were has become superfluous, since some scholars, especially the Jewish historian Gritz, believe Philo's treatise to be spurious, and only an embellishment of Christian monachism as it began in Egypt. But, before deciding the question as to whether this treatise is spurious or genuine, we must examine first what Philo tells us about the Therapeutae.
I. Manners and Usages of the Therapeutae. —The fatherland of the Therapeutae is Egypt, and beyond this country the order has probably not been propagated. When Philb speaks of their diffusion through the whole world (πολλαχοῦ μνὲ ουν τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐστὶ τοῦτο τὸ γένος), we cannot take his words in their literal sense, as does Lucius (Die Therapeuten [Strasburg, 1880], p. 16 sq.), but ill a more general sense, because we have no notice whatever of the Therapeutae outside of Egypt. What he meant to say is that, outside of Egypt, there were also men of a similar tendency, without believing that they really belonged to this order in Egypt. Keim thinks, therefore, that Philo's words are an exaggeration, or rather that he confuses the hermit life of the Jews with like "phenomena among the Greeks and barbarians." Gratz, however, holds a different opinion, and adduces this as an argument for Christian monks, who were generally diffused at an early age (as early as the time of Eusebius or of Philo ?). "Bt," asks Dr. Keim, "has not Philo compared both the Essenes and Therapeutie with the Gymnosophists and Magi, with the wise man Kalanos, with Anaxagoras and Democritus?" It is evident that Philo, in describing this order, had a certain colony in view near the Lake Mareotis, to the south of Alexandria, where the Therapeutae lived. They dwelt at no great distance from each other, but every man in his own little house, his sanctuary, and his cell. They lived alone for the whole week, not stepping over the threshold, nor looking out (τὴν αὐλεῖαν οὐχ ὑπερβαίνοντες, ἀλλ᾿ οὐδὲ ἐξ ἀπόπτου θεωροῦντες).
Simple as was their house, their raiment was equally so, being a cloak of some shaggy hide for winter, and a thin mantle or linen shawl in the summer; and in their religious assemblies they appeared in a white garment. As temperance was regarded as the highest virtue, their mode of living was very simple. None of them took any meat or drink before the setting of the sun because they believed that the work of philosophizing was one worthy of the light, and that the care for the necessities of the body was suitable only to darkness; on which account they appropriated the day to the one occupation, and a brief portion of the night to the other (ἐπειδὴ τὸ μὲν φιλοσοφεῖν ἄξιον φωτὸς κρίνουσιν ειναι, σκότους δὲ τὰς σωματικὰς ἀνάγκας, ὅθεν τῷ μὲν ἡμέ ρας, ταῖς δὲ βραχύ τι μέρος τῆς νυκτὸς ἔνειμαν). Many fasted for three days, several for six. They ate nothing of a costly character, but plain bread with a seasoning of salt, which the more luxurious of them further seasoned with hyssop, and their drink was water from the spring. For such a simple mode of living they naturally had no need of great earthly possessions; but, as Philo says, they left their possessions to their relatives or friends, and without any property they went out, as if their mortal life had already come to an end, only anxious for an immortal and blessed existence (ειτα διὰ τὸν τῆς ἀθανάτου καὶ μακαρίας ζωῆς ἵμερον τετλευτηκέναι νομίζοντες ἤδη τὸν θνητὸν βίον ἀπο λείπουσι τὰς οὐσίας υἱοῖς ἣ θυγατράσιν, εἴτε καὶ ἄλ λοις συγγενέσιν).
They prayed twice every day, at morning and at evening. When the sun rose, they entreated God that the happiness of the coming day might be real happiness, so that their minds might be filled with heavenly light, The interval between morning and evening was devoted wholly to meditation on, and the practice of, virtue. They took up the Sacred Scriptures and philosophized concerning them, investigating the allegories of their national philosophy, since they looked upon their literal expressions as symbols of some secret meaning of nature intended to be conveyed in those figurative expressions (ἐντυγχάνοντες γὰρ τοῖς ἱεροῖς γράμμασι φιλοσοφοῦσι τὴν πάτριον φιλοσοφίαν, ἀλληγοροῦντες, ἐπειδὴ σύμβολα τὰ τῆς ῥητῆς ἑρμηνείας νομίζουσι φύσεως ἀποκεκρυμμένης, ἐν ὑπονοίαις δηλουμένης). As a canon of such allegorical exposition of Scripture, the real home of which was in Egypt, they used the, writings left by the founders of their sect (ἐστὶ δὲ αὐτοῖς καὶ συγγράμματα παλαιῶν ἀνδρῶν οι τῆς αἱρήσεως ἀρχηγέται γενόμενοι πολλὰ μνημεῖα τῆς ἀλληγορου μένης ἰδέας ἀπέλιπον, οις καθάπερ τισὶν ἀρχετύποις χρώμενοι μιμοῦνται τῆς προαιρέσεως τὸν τρόπον). They also composed psalms and hymns to God in every kind of meter and melody imaginable, which they sang at their meetings. Having thus passed the day, they prayed again that their soul, being entirely lightened and relieved of the burden of the outward senses, might be able to trace out truth existing in its own consistory and council-chamber (ἐν τῷ ἑαυτῆς συνεδρίῳ καὶ βουλευτηρίῳ ἀλήθειον ἰχνηλατεῖν); and many of them, if Philo's statement is to be given credence, are said to have spoken in their sleep, divulging and publishing the celebrated doctrines of the sacred philosophy (πολ λοὶ ουν καὶ ἐκλαλοῦσιν ἐν ὑπνοῖς ἀνειροπολουμενοι τὰ τῆς ἱερᾶς φιλοσοφίας ἀοίδιμα δόγματα).
Women were also received into their order, the greater part of whom, though old, were virgins in respect to their purity, and were animated by the same admiration for, and love of, wisdom, in the exercise of which they were desirous to pass their lives. These women, like the male members of the order, lived separately, performing the same duties; but at the meetings and banquets both sexes were united.
Slave-labor was dispensed with, because they looked upon the possession of slaves as something absolutely and wholly contrary to nature-for nature had created all men free; but the injustice and covetousness of some men who preferred inequality that cause of all evil-having subdued the weaker, had given to the more powerful authority over the vanquished. At their common banquets, therefore no slaves ministered to their wants, but young men who were selected from their order with all possible care, and whose dress was such that nothing of a slavish character could be seen in it, or, to use the words of Philo, ἄζωστοι δὲ καὶ καθειμένοι τοὺς χιτιονίσκους εἰσίασιν ὑπηρετήσοντες, ἕνεκα τοῦ μηδὲν εἴδωλον ἐπιφέρεσθαι δουλοπρεποῦς σχήματος, εἰς τοῦτο τὸ συμπόσιον, i.e. they were ungirdled and with their tunics let down, in order that nothing which bears any resemblance to a slavish appearance might be introduced into this festival.
At the banquet they were presided over by a president (πρόεδρος), who addressed them and intoned a hymn, in which enjoined. They sat according to their, age, i.e. according to the length of time they belonged to the order. We must not, however, think that the president: or elders exercised any gubernatorial power, for this is nowhere inferred; their functions were only restricted to the assemblies, in which also ἡγεμόνες and ἔξαρχοι were mentioned, who acted as leaders of the choruses. The seventh day was especially distinguished. They anointed their bodies, and, clothed in white garments, they assembled in the common σημνεῖον. Here they sat down with all becoming gravity, keeping their hands inside their garments, having their right hand between their chest and their dress, and the left band down by their side, close to their flank. Then the oldest of them, who had the most profound learning in their doctrines, came forward and spoke with steadfast look and with steadfast voice, with great powers of reasoning, and great prudence not making exhibition of his oratorical talent like the rhetoricians of old or the sophists of the present day, but investigating with great pains and explaining with minute accuracy the precise meaning of the laws, which penetrated through their hearing into the soul, and remained there lastingly. Quietly they listened in silence, showing their 'assent only by nods of the head or the eager look of the eyes. In this sacred assembly the women also shared; but they had their own seats, being separated from the male members by a wall rising three or four cubits upwards, but in such a manner that they could hear the voice of the speaker.
The seventh Sabbath, the πεντηκοστή, was especially distinguished. The number fifty was regarded by them as the most holy and natural of numbers, being compounded of the power of the right-angled triangle, which is the principle of the origination and condition of the whole (ἔστι δὲ προεόρτιος μεγίστης ἑορτῆς, ἣν πεντηκοντὰς ἔλαχεν, ἁγιώτατος καὶ φυσικὠτατος αριθμῶν, ἐκ τῆς τοῦ ὀρθογωνίου τριγώνου δυνάμεως, ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἀρχὴ τῆς τῶν ὅλων γενέσεως καὶ συστά σεως). Clothed in white garments, they came together to the common feast. Before they partook of the same, they lifted up their eyes and hands to heaven and prayed to God that it might be acceptable to him. After the prayer, they sat down, the men sitting on the right hand and the women on the left, on rugs of the coarsest material. Before the feast commenced, questions were asked and answered. A passage of the Scripture was explained and religious questions were settled. All listened attentively to the speaker, indicating their attention and comprehension by their nods and looks. When the president appeared to have spoken at sufficient length, and to have carried out his intentions adequately, so that his explanation had gone on felicitously and fluently through his own acuteness, and the hearing of the others had been profitable, applause arose from them all as of men rejoicing at what they had seen and heard; and then some one, rising up, sang a hymn which had been made in honor of God, either such as he had composed himself or some ancient one of some old poet. After him others also arose in their ranks, and in becoming manner, while every one else listened in decent silence, except when it was proper to take up the burden of the song and join in at the end. When each individual had finished his psalm, the young men brought in the table on which was the food-the leavened bread with a seasoning of salt, and mingled with some hyssop, out of reverence for the sacred table which was in the holy outer temple; for on this table were placed loaves and salt without seasoning, and the bread was unleavened, and the salt unmixed with anything else.
After the feast they celebrated the sacred festival during the whole night (μετὰ δὲ τὸ δεῖπνον τὴν ίερὰν ἄγουσι παννυχίδα). All stood up together, and in the middle of the entertainment two choruses were formed at first, the one of men and the other of women. Each chorus had its leader and chief, who was the most honorable and most excellent of the band. Then they sang the hymns in honor of God in many meters and tunes, at one time all singing together, and at another moving their hands, and dancing in corresponding harmony. When each chorus of the men and each chorus of the women had feasted separately by itself, they joined together, and the two became one chorus-an imitation of that one which, in old time, was established by the Red Sea, on account of the wondrous works which were displayed there before Israel, and where both men and women together became all one chorus, Moses leading the men, and Miriam leading the women. When the sun arose, they raised their hands to heaven, imploring tranquility and truth and acuteness of understanding. After the prayer, each retired to his own separate abode, again practicing the usual philosophy to which each had been wont to devote himself.
II. Therapeutae and Essenes. —On account of the manifold similar traits which were found among the Therapeutae and Essenes, it has been inferred that the Therapeutae were but the Egyptian branch of Palestinian Essenism. This hypothesis is seemingly confirmed by what Philo says at the beginning of his treatise on the Therapeutae: "Having mentioned the Essenes, who in all respects selected for their admiration and for their especial adoption the practical course of life, and who excel in all, or what, perhaps, may be a less unpopular and invidious thing to say, in most of its parts, I will now proceed, ill the regular order of my subject, to speak of those who have embraced the speculative life, and I will say what appears to me to be desirable to be said on the subject." The majority of critics have therefore not hesitated to believe in a causative connection between the two sects, and have thus, on account of Philo's words, separated the Egyptian Therapeutae, as the theorists, from the Palestinian Essenes, whom they designated the practitioners. In this assumption, there can only be a diversity of opinion as to which of the two sects justly claims the temporal precedence — whether the theory of the Therapeutae or the practice of the Essenes is the original, or, in other words, whether Egypt or Palestine is the fatherland of that tendency within Judaism which is designated by the name of Essenism. The opinion that the temporal precedence belongs to the Therapeutae, and that after Therapeuitsm had been planted on the soil of Judaea the Order of the Essenes originated, is advocated by Grorer (Kritische Geschichte des Uschrisfenthuis [Stuttg. 1831], 2, 335 sq.), Lutterbeck (Die neutestamentlichen Lehrbegriffe [Mayence, 1852], 1, 275 sq.), Mangold (Die Irrlehrender Pastor-albriefe [Marburg, 1856], p. 57 sq.), and Holtzmann (Geschichte des Volkes Israel und die Entstehungdes Christenthums [Leips. 1867], 2, 79 sq.). The opposite opinion is represented by Ritschl (Theologische Jahrbücher [ed. Baur and Zeller, 1855], p. 343 sq.), Hilgenfeld (Die jüdische Apokalyptik in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung [Jena, 1857], p. 278 sq.), Herzfeld (Geschichte des Volkes Israel [2nd ed. Leips. 1863 ], 3, 406), Zeller (Geschichte der Philosophie der Griechen [ibid. 1868], III, 2, 288 sq.), Bellermann (Nalchrichten aus dem Alterthum liber Essener und Therapeuten [Berlin, 1821], p. 80, note), and Harnischmacher (De Essenorum apud Judaeos Societate [Bonn, 1866], p. 26), who admit a causative connection of both, without deciding the time of the origin. Now, denying, as we do, in opposition to the above-mentioned critics, any connection between these sects, and thus dismissing altogether the question which of the two formed the connecting link for the other, we will, for the sake of justifying our assertion, draw a parallel between the two sects, and first consider those points in which both agree.
Both sects diligently studied the Scripture, and interpreted the same allegorically. Besides the Old Test., both had a high consideration for the writings of the older members of their order. They favored the abolishing of slavery; lived in a very simple manner, and were accustomed to, appear at their religious exercises in white garments. More common traits cannot be proved, excepting, perhaps, the fact that both led an unmarried life. But even this is no proof, because, according to Josephus, at least one part of the Essenes, though perhaps only the minority, married. It cannot also be said that both agreed in leading a life entirely separated from the world. Of the Therapeutae, it is true, this can be said, but not of the Essenes, because, as Josephus tells us, they instructed the youth and took otherwise an active part in the weal and woe of their people, as they did, for instance, in the war against the Romans for the liberty of their country.
But more numerous and important are the differences which exist between the Therapeutae and Essenes. We call attention to the following:
1. The Therapeutae led a monastic, secluded life, given entirely to contemplation. The Essenes, according to the rules of their order, were obliged to work. Their labor was prescribed and regulated by officers purposely appointed. They cultivated the fields, and were engaged in manual labors as well as in arts.
2. The Therapeutae lived separated from each other in cells, and only came together on the Sabbath and on special occasions. The Essenes, however, wherever they resided, had their common lodges, where they lived and dined together.
3. The Therapeutae, upon entering the order, left everything to their relatives and friends. The Essenes delivered their property to the order for the benefit of all.
4. The Therapeutae did not eat before the setting of the sun; the Essenes enjoyed two meals daily.
5. The Essenes were divided into four classes or graders which were so marked that a member of the upper class had to bathe himself when he touched anything belonging to a lower class. The Therapeutae had no such distinction. Of the Essenes we mare told that the members of the higher degrees had the knowledge of mysteries, which was not communicated to the lower degrees; of the Therapeutae we know nothing of the kind.
6. Each Esseue had to bathe himself daily; such lustrations were not in use among the Therapeutae.
7. The Therapeutae revered, the Temple at Jerusalem and the Levitical priesthood, and were not so far apart from orthodox Judaism. The Essenes, on the contrary, believed their lustrations and their mode of living to be of greater importance than the ordinances prescribed to the priests for the service of the Temple. They furnished no offerings to the Temple at Jerusalem, and thus became guilty of apostatizing from an important part of the Mosaic law. The Essenies were especially addicted to medicine and prophecy; we know nothing of these practices among the Therapeutae.
It is obvious that the differences between the two sects cannot consist in that the one was given to theory and the other to practice, because the supposition of a like ground-principle is not sufficient for explaining so many, and at the same time very important, differences. After all that we know of both these sects, the supposition of a causal connection between the two must appear very hazardous; for if there really were such a connection between them, and if both were essentially one and the same sect, it is surprising that Josephus has not recorded the fact. As little as we believe with Philo in a real connection between the Jewish Essenes, the seven wise men of Greece, and the Indian Gymnosophists, whom he compares in his book Quod Omnis Probus Liber, just as little connection is there between the Essenes and Therapeutae, because Philo divided them into the theorists and practitioners. The Essenes did not originate from the propagation of Therapeutism in Palestine, because, as we know, Alexandrian religious philosophy did not find a fertile soil in Judaea, especially at the time in which both these sects originated. We cannot assume that the reverse should have taken place, otherwise the essential traits of Essenism would have been found again among the Therapeutae. The stamp of both sects is so different that they cannot be identical; and in treating of the Therapeutae no regard is therefore to be paid to the Essenes.
III. Therapeutae and Christianity. —Assuming that the Essenes were only consistent Chasidim has led the Jewish historian Gratz to make the assertion that Philo's treatise on the Therapeutae, according to which they were hitherto regarded as an Egyptian offshoot of Palestinian Essenism, could not be genuine. According to the same writer, it is not so much owing to the description of the Essenes by Josephus as to the book Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ ἣ ἱκετῶν ἀρετῶν permv that those not coinciding with the former's views have arrived at a false result regarding the essence and origin of the Essene sect. Gratz also asserts that a Jewish sect of the Therapeutae never existed, but that they were Christians, ascetics of a heretic tendency, who sprang up by the dozen in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The author of the book which has caused so much confusion is not Philo, but a Christian "who probably belonged either to the Encratico-gnostic or Montanistic party, and intended to write a panegyric on monasticism, the high antiquity of which Philo's authority was to confirm." This is the result at which Gratz arrives; and although he takes it for granted that the attentive reader of the book Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ must at once adopt the correctness of his assertion, he has nevertheless taken the pains to make good his hypothesis at great length.
This hypothesis of Gratz has been analyzed by Zeller, and the result is that the reasons adduced by the former are not sufficient and acceptable at all. In resuming the question once more, and examining the argument of Gratz in order to establish the Christian character of the Therapeutae, we do so because of its close connection with the essence and origin of the sect-in this we differ with Zeller-and because there are some points to be proved against Gratz. The latter has denied the existence of a Jewish sect of the Therapeutae, and consequently also the genuineness of the Philonic treatise Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ, on the ground of the silence of Josephus and Pliny, who wrote so much about the Essenes; while they know nothing of the Therapeutae, the alleged Egyptian branch of this sect. Against this, Zeller has argued that the silence of Josephus cannot be so remarkable, since the Therapeutae were a branch of the Essenes restricted to Egypt alone, and because Josephus tells very little about the later affairs of the Jews in that country. But if, according to Zeller, the Therapeutae were really an Egyptian branch of the Palestinian Essenes, or had some connection with them, the Essenes in Palestine ought to have known something about it; and even if Pliny's silence could be explained because he only knows one Essenic colony living by the Dead Sea, it might be supposed and in this Gratz is correct-that Josephus, who otherwise speaks very fully about the order, ought to have mentioned the Therapeutae. The silence of Josephus can therefore only be explained from the very fact that the Therapeutas had no connection whatever with the Essenes, but that they formed an independent sect within the Egyptian Judaism, the existence of which since its number and activity were less important was entirely unknown to Josephus. What Philo narrates concerning the female Therapeutae (θεραπευ τρίδες), Gratz also finds incredible, because Josephus marks it as one of the characteristics of the Essenes to avoid all contact with the opposite sex; hence he believes that these female Therapeutae were nothing else than the sisters (sorores subintroductae) whom the Christian ascetics used to have about them for the sake of attaining, by constant temptation, a higher virtue, but who, as is known, have been the cause of great scandals. Against this, Zeller remarks that in this respect the Egyptian Essenes or Therapeutae might have had other institutions than those of the Palestinians, since their principles on the worth of an unmarried state were in the main not affected; and this difference of view does not indicate such a great deviation from the principles of the order as the practice of one branch of the Palestinian Essenes who married. We agree with Grätz that, according to Josephus, the wives of the married Essenes were not, like the female Therapeutae, members of the order. But this actual deviation-that while the Essenes excluded women entirely from the common feasts and meetings, this was not the case among the Therapeutae is only another proof that Essenes and Therapeutae are not, as Zeller believes, one and the same sect. This being the case, it must not be supposed, as Gratz believes, that the Therapeutae, not being Essenes, were Christians. Gratz overlooks the circumstance that while the so-called sorores subintroductae lived in very close communication with the Christian ascetics, this cannot be said of the female Therapeutae. For can we safely infer, from the participation of women in the common feasts and meetings, that the Therapeutae really lived each with a female companion? Against such a hypothesis we have also the words of Philo, τὰς μὲν ουν ž ξ ἡμέρας χωρὶς ἕκαστοι μονούμενοι παρ ἑαυτοῖς ἐν τοῖς λεχθεῖσι, μοναστηρίοις φιλοσοφοῦσι, who emphasizes the fact repeatedly that they sought solitude and desired to be left to themselves in order not to be disturbed in their contemplative life (ὀχληρὸν γὰρ καὶ δυσάρεστον τοῖς ἐρημίαν ἐζηλωκόσι καὶ μεταδιώκουσιν αἱ γειτνιάσεις). But, above all, we ask, where is the passage in this treatise which indicates, as Gratz tries to prove, that the Therapeutae, like the Christian ascetics, had aimed at a higher degree of perfection by living together with the female members? From the introductory words of the Philonic treatise, Gratz also" infers that it cannot be genuine, since it connects itself with the treatise Περὶ τοῦ πάντα σπουδαῖον ειναι ἐλεύθερον erroneously, as with a writing on the Essenes. The words in question are Ε᾿σσαίων πέρι δια λεχθείς, ο‰ τὸν πρακτικὸν ἐζήλωσαν καὶ διεπόνησαν βιον ἐν ἃπασιν, κ.τ.λ. Gratz thinks that Philo could not possibly say that he "wrote a treatise" on the Essenes (Ε᾿σσάιων πέρι διαλεχθείς), when the passage in question only occupies the twelfth part of the treatise, and he only mentions this sect as one of the many. But against this it must be argued that διαλέγεσθαι περι τινος does not mean "to write a treatise," but to "speak on something," and this, as Zeller remarks, Philo has evidently done concerning the Essenes. Moreover, such an association of topics is not comical at all, as Gratz thinks, because by this two Jewish sects which have at least some traits in common were brought into connection. But the main point for the spuriousness of the treatise on the Therapeutae and for its being written by a Christian, Gratz thinks to lie in the fact that Christians- so Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. 2, 17) and others after him recognized the Therapeutae as "flesh of their own flesh." The holy cells of the Therapeutae are called monasteries. It is evident, argues Gratz, that we have here the beginning of the monastic cells, which existed even before Anthony of Thebes, the founder of-monasticism.. But even if we admit that the entire mode of living of the Therapeutae is similar to that of the later Christian monks, we are not at all justified to infer that the Therapeutae were Christian monks. Why — and herein we agree with Grätz should there not have been in Egypt, the fatherland and the proper home of monasticism, ascetics even before Anthony of Thebes? And why should this not have been possible within the pale of Judaism? And are the Palestinian Essenes not a similar phenomenon? To impress on the Therapeutae the Christian character because of the word μοναστήριον, which the Christian monks used for their cell, is not reasonable, because, as Zeller reminds us, the expressions μοναστήριον, and σεμνεῖον were only used by the Therapeutae for a part, and not, as did the Christian monks, for the whole, of the dwelling. The supposition seems to be that the Therapeuta, or rather Philo himself, formed the Words μοναστήριον and σεμνεῖον , and that Christian monks borrowed this nomenclature from their Jewish predecessors. That Philo, who was the first to use these expressions, has also-formed the same appears from the fact that he himself explains them when saying, ἐν ἑκάστῃ δὲ οἰκὶᾷ ἐστὶν ἱερὸν ὃ καλεῖται σεμνεῖον καὶ μοναστήριον, ἐν ῳ μονούμενοι τὰ τοῦ σεμνοῦ βίου μυστήρια τελοῦνται. The Therapeutae, Gratz goes on to argue, had not only a common feast, but after the feast they had a kind of Lord's supper (παναγέστατον σιτίον), consisting of unleavened bread, of which all did not partake, but only the better ones. Gratz evidently believes that we have here the difference between the missa catechumenorum and the missa Jidelium. From the latter, which consisted in the celebration of the Lord's supper and in a kind of liturgy, those who were not yet baptized, together with those who were excommunicated, were excluded; for, he asks, is this not Christian? But this question we must also answer in the negative. Grätz, as Zeller remarks, has overlooked the fact that the so-called Lord's supper did not take place after the common meal, but it was this common meal itself. At this supper not unleavened, but leavened, bread was eaten (ἄρτος ἐζυμωμένος μετὰ προσοψήματος, ἁλῶν οις ὕσσωπος ἀναμέμικται δἰ αἰδῶ τῆς ἀνακειμένης ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ προνάῳ ἱερᾶς τραπέζης) out of reverence for the unleavened showbread in the Temple at Jerusalem. But, above all, Grätz has erred in asserting that this supper was a prerogative of the better ones. Now the words ἵνα ἔφωσι προνομίαν οἱ κρείττονες do not refer to the Therapeutae, but to the Jewish priests, to whom alone the Therapeutae conceded the use of unleavened bread as a special prerogative.
This unquestionably follows from the words of Philo: ὅταν δὲ ἕκαστος διαπεράνηται τὸν ὕμνον, οἱ νέοι τὴν πρὸ μίκροῦ λεχθεῖσαν τράπεζαν εἰσκομίζουσιν, ἐφ᾿ ης τὸ παναγέστατον σιτίον ἐζυμωμένος μετὰ προσοψή ματος ἁλῶν οις ὕσσωπος ἀναμέμικται δἰ αἰδῶ τῆς ἀνακειμένης ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ προνάῳ ἱερᾶς τραπέζης· ἐπὶ γὰρ ταύτης εἰσὶν ἄρτοι καὶ ἃλες ἄνευ ἡδύσματος, ἄζυ μοι μὲν οἱ ἄρτοι, ἀμιγεῖς δὲ καὶ οἱ ἃλες. Προσῆκον γὰρ ην, τὰ μὲν ἁπλούστατα καὶ εἰλικρινέστατα τῇ κρατίστῃ τῶν ἱερῶν ἀπονεμηθῆναι μερίδι, λειτουργίας αθλον, τοὺς δὲ ἄλλους τὰ μὲν ὅμοια ζηλοῦν, ἀπεχεσθαι δὲ τῶν ἄρτων, ἵνα ἔχωσι προνομίαν οἱ κρείττο νες. That the Therapeutae were Christians, Gratz also finds in the fact that the presbyters among them occupied the first position; and that they were not presbyters because of their age, but because of their strict observance of the Therapeutic life (πρεσβυτέρους γὰρ οὐ πολυετεῖς καὶ παλαίους νομίζουσιν ἀλλὰ ἔτι κομιδῇ νέους παῖδας ἐὰν ὀψὲ τῆς προαιρέσεως ἐρασθῶσιν, ἀλλὰ τοὺς ἐκ πρώτης ἡλικίας ἐνηβήσαντας καὶ ἐνακμάσαντας τῷ θεωρητικῷ μέρει φιλοσοφίας, ὃ δὴ κάλλιστον καὶ θειότατόν ἐστι). We have thus, Gratz argues, the presbyters, or ἐπίσκοποι, of the Christian congregations, who held one and the same office in the ante-Nicene time. But this conclusion is the less justifiable, since the office of presbyters was not exactly a Christian institution, but existed even before the Christian era, and was adopted by the Church from Judaism. Even among the Essenes we find such a distinction of rank, and yet Gratz would be the last to call them Christians, although he firmly believes that Christ belonged to the Essenes. The argument which Gratz takes from the vigils, so common among the Therapeutae, for the sake of making them Christians is also of no avail, because fasting was something peculiar to Judaism and was adopted by the Church; and as to the vigils, such nocturnal services existed before the Christian era. It. is therefore not necessary to think, as does Grätz, following Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. 2, 17), of Christian rites before Easter Sunday. From the liturgy, the metrical hymns, and typical mode of explaining the prophets, according to Gratz, other arguments for the Christian character of the Therapeutae might be made. But even these alleged Christian traits are purely Jewish. Of the hymns of the Therapeutae. Philo expressly states that they were formed after the hymn of Moses and Miriam (Exodus 15); and as to the allegorical interpretation, it was used among the Alexandrian Jews before the Christian era, and even before Philo. But as to what Gratz understands of the liturgy of the Therapeutae and of its Christian character, he has not fully entered upon this point, nor can anything of the kind be deduced from Philo's statement. Gratz refers to Eusebius, and to those after him who regarded the Therapeutae as Christians, but this proof is the least satisfactory. Eusebius regards the treatise Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ as Philonian, and makes the Jewish philosopher a disciple of John Mark, who accompanied Paul on his first missionary tour, and afterwards labored at Alexandria. According to Eusebius, the Therapeutae existed as Christians in the 1st century. The opinion of Grätz that the Therapeutae were a Christian monastic sect of the 2nd or 3rd century of the Christian era has therefore no support in Eusebius. While, however, later Christian writers, with the exception of Photius (Myriobiblon sive Bibliotheca [Rothomagi, 1653], ed. Dav. Halschelius, p. 275), identify Therapeutae with monks, and while the writings falsely ascribed to Dionysius Areopagita use both expressions synonymously, Scaliger has called attention to the fact that the designation of Therapeutae for monks depends solely upon the interpretation of Eusebius (Scaliger, De Emeindatione Temporum, 6:252). With the exception of Gratz, no writer has regarded the Therapeut as as Christian heretical sect, and he himself is yet undecided in what series of heretical sects, which sprang up by the dozen within the Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, he should place them. According to Grätz, the author of the treatise probably belonged to the Encratico-gnostic or Montanistic party. But he has not tried to state any plausible reason for his hypothesis, which, in fact, would be impossible; and he himself says that this point is outside of his object, and must be left 'to those critics who make this question their specialty. We ask, however, what reason could there have been for a Christian, even for a heretic, to father upon Philo such a book, for the sake of recommending monastic asceticism? We nowhere hear, except from Eusebius, whose erroneous view concerning the Therapeutae led him to the opinion, that Philo had such a good reputation within the Christian Church, and that Christians appealed to him for their views. And what is the more remarkable is the fact that in the whole treatise neither Christ nor the doctrines of Christianity are once mentioned. Where, then, is the Christian character of the Therapeutae? As for the linguistic character of the book Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ, it entirely agrees with Philo's mode of representation; and there is no internal nor external argument for denying Philo to be the author of the book. The Therapeutae, as we shall see further on, were Jews.
IV. Character and Origin of the Sect of the Therapeutae. — From the manner in which Philo speaks of the Therapeutae, there can be no doubt that he himself was very much prepossessed regarding them, for the book Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ is nothing but a panegyric on the sect. This fact alone would lead to the supposition-which, in truth is also supported by the whole character of the sect — that the Therapeutae cultivated and adhered to Jewish religious philosophy, which numbered Philo among its most zealous disciples. It is hardly conceivable, as Gfrorer (Philo und die jüdischalexaendrüsche Theosophie, 2. 281 sq.) has indicated, that in a time like that in which Philo wrote, when the religious movement was at a high pitch, and when the most diverse religious parties existed side by side, a man with such peculiar religious views should write such a panegyric on a sect unless it represented his own views.
Now there can be no doubt that the Therapeutae represented a Jewish sect. They based their investigations and researches upon the writings of the Old Test. In their σεμνεῖα they had only the law and the prophets (νόμοι καὶ λόγια θεσπισθέντα διὰ προφητῶν). Philo calls them Μωσέως γνώριμοι, and further says that they gave themselves to philosophical speculation, according to the holy doctrines of the prophet Moses (κατὰ τὰς τοῦ προφήτου Μωσέως ἱερωτάτας ὑφηγήσεις). The Therapeutae strictly observed the Jewish Sabbath, and had great reverence for the Temple at Jerusalem and the Levitical priesthood. Their holy choruses are expressly said to be an imitation of those at the Red Sea. All these traits show that, on the one hand, the Therapeutae strictly adhered to the traditions and views of Judaism, while, on the other hand, they deviated in many particulars; hence they were characterized as a sect.
As to their name, Philo leaves us to choose between two views. They are called Therapeutae either because they profess an art of medicine more excellent than that in general use in cities (thus Therapeutae would be equivalent to "physicians for the soul" ), or because they have been instructed by nature and the sacred laws to serve the living God (θεραπεύιν τὸ ῎Ον); thus Therapeutae would signify those who "serve God." The latter view is probably the more correct, since the Therapeutae, as the true spiritual "worshippers of God," called themselves the contemplatives κατ᾿ ἐξοχήν, and this appellation accords more fully with the whole tenor and character of the sect than the designation "physicians for the soul." Besides, Philo uses ἱκέται and θεραπευταί, γένος θεραπευτικόν, and γένος ἱκετι κόν synonymously, in order to designate the worship of God in the sense of Alexandrian theosophy, in opposition to the faith and worship of God of the great mass. (De. Victimas oferentibus
[Mangey], 2, 258: ἱκέται καὶ θεραπευταὶ τοῦ ὄντως ὄντος. De Monar; chi ( 2, 425: ἀνδρὸς ἱκέτου καὶ φιλοθέου θεὸν μόνον θεραπεύειν ἀξιοῦντος. Vita Mosis, 2, 164: τὸ θεραπευτικὸν αὐτοῦ [sc. τοῦ θεοῦ] γένος. De Profugis, 1, 552: τὸ γὰρ θεραπευτικὸν γένος ἀνάθημά ἐστι θεοῦ ἱερωμένον τὴν μεγάλην ἀρχιερωσύνην αὐτῷ μόνῳ)
From the Greek derivation of Therapeutae, we see that there existed a spiritual relationship between this sect and Jewish Alexandrian religious philosophy; and we are led to this assumption when we consider the object, which formed the basis of their contemplative life. Its purpose was to lead to the knowledge of the Deity. To achieve this it was necessary to suppress the material man and elevate the spiritual. For this reason they lived in a very simple manner, restricting their wants to the smallest measure. Abstinence and moderation they regarded as the foundation of all virtues, because by these man is brought nearer to the simple, which enables him to see the simple essence of the Deity, and to indulge. in the blessed intuition of the same. Therefore the Therapeutae lived secluded from the outside world; they denied themselves everything that could bring them in contact with others, thus living only to themselves and their contemplation. They denied themselves marriage, because they preferred to live together with the divine wisdom; and sought not after the mortal, but the immortal, fruits of a soul loved by God, and which the same only brings forth when she is impregnated by the spiritual rays of the heavenly Father. For this reason slavery was banished from their midst, because, in a community which was animated by such motives, men could not be tolerated who were degraded below the dignity of men. If the entire aim of the Therapeutae accords with the object and time of the Alexandrian religious philosophy, the relationship between the two shows itself more fully in the allegorical exegesis, which, distinguishing between spirit and letter, idea and symbol, endeavored to explain the writings of the Old Test. According to Philo, the Therapeutae had the writings of the ancients, who, as the founders of this tendency, left behind them many memorials of the allegorical system. The same symbolic character we also find in their holy feast. The historical relation with which it connected itself was the exode from Egypt and the going through the Red Sea, as the choruses sung at this feast were in imitation of those songs which Moses and Miriam sang. Now, according to the allegory of the Alexandrians and Philo, Egypt is the symbol of the sensual life in earthly lust and bodily pleasure; the song of Moses symbolizes the rapture which man feels after he has denied himself every earthly thing and suppressed all sensual lust, and now, as a purely spiritual being, indulges in the intuition of the Deity. Thus the Therapeutae, like Philo and the Alexandrians, held the view that, the body being the seat of sin the flight from a corporeal into a purely spiritual existence ought to be the true and highest aim of life. And Philo himself expressly states that the Therapeutae went into the desert, because they had entirely broken with their earthly life, and intended to lead another, as it were immortal and blessed existence. The Therapeutae thus represent a sect which earnestly strove after carrying out and practicing those principles and views to which the Jewish Alexandrian religious philosophy did homage. At what time, however, this sect, with its ceremonies, originated it is hard to tell, since Philo does not say anything more definite about it. The only indication in the Περὶ βίου θεωρητικοῦ from which we may conclude that the sect existed a long time before Philo, is the notice that the Therapeutae possessed writings of the ancients which the founders had left behind them as memorials of the allegorical system, and which the Therapeutae took as a kind of model. The founding of the sect probably took place at the time when the Jewish Alexandrian theosophy originated and developed itself. We may trace it back to the beginning of the 2nd century before Christ, to Aristobulus, who introduced Jewish doctrines into the Orphic hymns because he believed that Greek philosophers had derived their wisdom from an ancient version of the Pentateuch. Whether we have any traces of a connection of Greek philosophy with Jewish theology in the Septuagint, which, according to Josephus, was commenced in B.C. 285, is at least very doubtful; but certain it is that with the beginning of the 2nd pre-Christian century the conditions were already given for the origin of the sect. That the sect of the Therapeutae was propagated beyond Egypt is not probable, and its number was, perhaps, not very large.
After all, it is very interesting to know that about the time when Christ came into the world, among the Jews in Egypt the desire was felt to come into a nearer relation to the Deity, and to be freed from those relations which were not satisfactory. The Therapeutae endeavored to reach this object by leaving all earthly possessions, and in this respect they resemble the Christian monks, who borrowed from them many traits, as, in fact, Egypt was the real country of monasticism. But, when Christians regarded them for a long time as flesh of their own flesh, they misunderstood the character and tendency of the Therapeutae entirely, because their whole history shows how far they were still from that goal which alone could satisfy the cravings of the heart, but which human reason and power alone cannot reach.
V. Literature. — Gfrorer, Philo und die jüdisch-alexandrinische Theosophie (Stuttg. 1835); D ahne, Geschichtliche Darstellung der jüdisch alexandrinischen Religions-Philosophie (Halle, 1834); Kuenen, De Godsdienst van Israel (Haarlem, 1870), 2, 382 sq. (Engl. transl. by May, The Religion of Israel [Lond. 1874 sq.]); Ritschl, Die Entstehung der altkatholischem Kinche (Bonn, 1857), p. 216;. Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Israel (Leips. 1863), 3, 496; Delaunay, Ecrits Historiques de Philon (Par. 1870), p. 55; id. Moines et Sibylles (ibid. 1874), p. 385; Baur, Drei Abhandlungen zür Geschichte der alten Philosophie (Leips. 1876), p. 216; Schwegler, Das nachapostolische Zeitalter (Tub. 1846), 1, 190; Lutterbeck, Die neutestanzenitlichen Lehrbegrimfe (Mentz, 1852), 1, 131, 271; Wegnern, Ueber das Verhaltniss des Chrisfenthums zum Essenisnus, in Illgen's Zeitsch. F. d. hist. Theol. 1841, 11:2, 1 sq.; Leroux, Encyclopedie Nouvelle (Par. 1843), 4:656 sq.; Bauer, Christus und die C'saren (Berl. 1879), p. 307 sq.; Gratz, Geschichte der Juden, 2nd ed. 3, 464 sq.; Jost, Gesch. des Judenthums, 1, 224; Nicolas, Revue de Theologie (Strasb. 1868), p. 36 sq.; Derenbourg, Journal Asiatique (Par. 1868), p. 282 sqt.; Renan, Journal des Savants (ibid. 1874), p. 798 sq.; Clemens, Die Therapeuten (Konigsb. 1869); Lucius, Die Therapeuten und ihre Stellung in der Geschichte der Askese. Eine kritische Untersuchung der Schrift de Vita Contemplativa (Strasb. 1880). 'The last writer comes to the conclusion that the Therapeutse were not Jews, and that the treatise bearing the name of Philo was written towards the end of the 3rd century as an apology for Christian asceticism. (B.P.)