Sunday, June 20, 2010

Could the Boethusians Have Been the First Gnostics?

My personal motto has always been de omnibus dubitandum and so I have to admit that a part of me has always doubted that there ever was a Boethus of Alexandria who was the head of the Boethusian (ביתוסין) sect in ancient Judaism (the Herodian faction of the Sadducees).

So here's my problem - I can't help but notice that the name ביתוס looks more like the Greek Βυθός ('Depth' a common term in Alexandrian gnosticism) than it does the name Boethus.

I am quite aware of the explanation which appears in Josephus that there really was a Herodian high priest name Boethus. Nevertheless I like to consider all the possibilities.

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