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ANF05. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
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Chapter XX.—The Tenets of the Esseni Concluded.

But as regards judicial decisions, the Essenes are most accurate and impartial. And they deliver their judgments when they have assembled together, numbering at the very least one hundred; and the sentence delivered by them is irreversible. And they honour the legislator next after God; and if any one is guilty of blasphemy against this framer of laws, he is punished. And they are taught to yield obedience to rulers and elders; and if ten occupy seats in the same room, one of them will not speak unless it will appear expedient to the nine. And they are careful not to spit out into the midst of persons present, and to the right hand. They are more solicitous, however, about abstaining from work on the Sabbath-day than all other Jews. For not only do they prepare their victuals for themselves one day previously, so as not (on the Sabbath) to kindle a fire, but not even would they move a utensil from one place to another (on that day), nor ease nature; nay, some would not even rise from a couch. On other days, however, when they wish to relieve nature, they dig a hole a foot long with the mattock,—for of this description is the hatchet, which the president in the first instance gives those who come forward to gain admission as disciples,—and cover (this cavity) on all sides with their garment, alleging that they do not necessarily10281028    [Query, unnecessarily? This seems the sense required.] insult the sunbeams. They then replace the upturned soil into the pit; and this is their practice,10291029    [Deut. xxiii. 13. The very dogs scratch earth upon their ordure; and this ordinance of decency is in exquisite consistency with the modesty of nature, against which Christians should never offend.] choosing the more lonely spots. But after they have performed this operation, immediately they undergo ablution, as if the excrement pollutes them.


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