>...and no doubt "quasi-religious" is probably a more useful term.

Quasi-religious is not merely "a more useful term," it is, for a change,
an extremely accurate term.

All, repeat *all*, craft and/or skill clans/guilds/corporations/etc. are
"quasi-religious." An ancient clan craftmaster or a Medieval guild master
(or Modern CIO for that matter), *is* a "priest" -- of sorts. Ancient
or modern, all "crafts" quite understandably go to a great deal of
effort to guard their "industrial" secrets. Among the most common
techniques used to guard their secrets from being copied are to require
incantations and rituals to perform a procedure. Who performs the
incantations and oversees the rituals? Why the craftmaster/guildmaster of
course. He or she is the teacher and guardian of the clan/craft/guild
rituals and secrets. While definitely not what we mean by religious, there
is a superficial similarity between the role of a clan craftmaster and a

   >But in the meantime, I caution us against getting too fixated on
   >the "smith" nature of the Rechabites.... I do not think Eusebius
   >would have been too confused between "quasi-religious" and

It is not a fixation; it is a reality. An ancient clan craftmaster/Medieval
guild master/etc., is essentially the "priest" of his/her craft/guild/etc.
Remember, if something can be misunderstood, it will be. As superficially
there are similarities, it is extremely easy to see why an outsider observing
a craftmaster in action could confuse the teacher-guardian functions of a
craftmaster with those of a "priest" -- IF that really is what Eusebius wrote.

Then, smiths, in particular, cultivated a "magical" aura -- again quite
easy to understand. As makers of weapons and tools, they wanted to maintain
their economic edge. Further, smiths not only were essential workers, but
because of their cultivated link with "magic" held a unique position --
they were protected. (And the protection of smiths as essential workers is
registered in the MT; one does not kill descendants of Cain without fear
of reprisal.)

   >... "spiritual fusion" going on with these guild-like clans.

Guilds were, and are, groups bound together by economics and a specialty.
These clans were not guild-like; they were guilds with whatever specialty
upon which they were economically dependent passed down within the clan/guild
and whose secrets were guarded by the clan craftmaster. The role of clan
craftmaster has nothing to do with what we normally think of as "spiritual."
The superficial resemblances between the functions of a "priest" and that of
a clan craftmaster can be misunderstood as being "priestly," hence "spritual";
however, the concept of a "spritual fusion" is simply wrong.

There seems to be quite a bit of re-thinking to do.



Dr. R.I.S. Altman, co-coordinator, IOUDAIOS-L [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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