George Brooks wrote:

> Prof. Suter,
> The view that the Rechabites were craftsmen in general is quite
> well established.  But I'm not quite certain why you think these
> crafts preclude any capacity in Levitical or Priestly service.
> Priests made things in the service of Yahweh..... so why wouldn't
> a priest be a metal worker too?  If priests make incense to be burned
> for Yahweh, it would not be unheard of if Priests made the bells that
> they rang for Yahweh as well, yes?
> If Levites can carry wood, and guard a door.... then certainly
> Levites can be craftsmen....and Priests can be craftsmen.
> Eusebius does not refer to the Rechabite defending James as
> a "metal worker".... he calls him a priest.  So why you keep wanting
> to return to the metalworker theme is sort of beside the point,
> don't you think?

Let's assume, as you do, that the wording of the quotation of Hegesippus
that now appears in our MSS of Eusebius is original to Eusebius and is an
accurate representation of what/Hegesippus actually said regarding the
identity of the person who protested the stoning of James, the syntax of
the passage that we have indicates that you've got things turned around.

The passage in question now reads EIS TWN hIEREWN TWN hUIW RHCAB, hUIOU

In the light of this,  the subject is **not** a Rechabite who is called or
referred to **as** a priest, but a priest whose identity is further
specified by the phrase TWN hUIW RHCAB. Furthermore, the priest is **not**
called a Recabite, but a 'son of Rechab". Now since, as Frick in the ABD
article on Rechab has shown, this phrase is a cipher for "a member of a
metal working guild:.

So ... contrary to your complaint above, David's desire to return to the
metal working theme is not out of place here. More importantly, since the
text as it stands speaks of **a** priest who happens (also) to be a "son
of  Rechab",  I find it a very flimsy piece of evidence upon which to base
the claim for a number of Rechabite priests let alone a Rhechabite

But there is a much larger issue which -- though already pointed out to you
-- your you have so far failed to address and which your claim above
ignores. And this issue of whether the text as it stands is indeed original
to Eusebius/Hegesippus and/or whether what Eusebius claims Hegesippus said
about the identity of the the one who protested the stoning of James is
really what he said. Evidence from Epiphanius -- which records that what
Hegesippus reported in the text that Eusebius quotes was that it was Symeon
the brother of James who made the protest -- strongly suggests not only
that that what now appears in Eusebius is not what Hegesippus said but that
our current text is corrupt.

And as any historian worth his or her salt will tell you, one must avoid at
all costs appealing to suspect texts as primary evidence for an historical


Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
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