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BANUS (first cent. c.e.), ascetic who according to Josephus "dwelt in the wilderness, wearing only such clothing as trees provided, feeding on such things as grew of themselves, and using frequent ablutions of cold water, by day and night, for purity's sake" (Jos., Life, 11–12). In his youth, Josephus claims to have been a devoted disciple of Banus, living with him for three years (c. 54–56 c.e.) before returning to the city to lead the life of a Pharisee. It is probable that Banus was an adherent of one of the many sects which were spread over the whole country, especially in the wilderness of Judea, not necessarily an *Essene or a member of the *Qumran sect. He may have been a hemerobaptist.

[Isaiah Gafni]