Essene Influence in Early Christianity

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Ahanu, May 13, 2019.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I recall the exhibit at the Smithsonian years ago on the bible...along with all the old bibles.and history they had a bin replicating the dead sea.scroll find...all scraps of paper...what a puzzle to put together
     
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  2. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Just curious:
    Over how long a time-period those these documents stretch? Could the community have changed over time? Alternately, could it be that the families mentioned was of the then celibate brothers? If they had families from before they might still feel the obligation to provide or care for them?
     
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  3. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    According to scholars, the last three centuries BC and the first century AD

    Possibly.

    Too precise for my knowledge. Interesting idea, though.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    What percentage of the population of the area are they thought to have been during their peak?
     
  5. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Around 2000, perhaps 3000. The Qumran community about 200/300. But don't sue me if I'm a bit out. Qumran lasted from about 150BC to 70AD, when Titus destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, leading to the slaughter and scattering of the Jews until the formation of the modern country of Israel.

    A fact to remember is that, for the Jews, the Roman destruction of the temple WAS the apocalypse -- for them.

    It explains a lot of the end-of-the-world prophecies, imo.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    If only a few hundred they must all have been scribes...
     
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  7. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Well, it depends when they were copied/written. Two hundred+ years is a long enough time. The documents may have come from other Essene communities too, to be buried there?
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I think I read somewhere the documents were presumed transported there and hidden? There's talk in the docs about the rules for families — wives and children — and there are bodies of women and children, although some have suggested these were Bedu and not Essene; don't think anyone's dated the bones? But if it was used as a hiding place then docs might have come from various places.
     
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  9. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    @Thomas : There are theories about the women and childrens' graves. Such graves (at Qumran) are not many. It's a small percentage. There are several theories. They may have been graves of strangers lost in the desert, etc. But the graves are a small percentage. I am open to correction in anything I say, of course.

    I got most of my info from 'The Dead Sea Scrolls Today' by James C. VanderKam. He was involved in the sorting and translation of the scrolls. I gained quite a lot of knowledge from it. But it was published 25 years ago in 1994. However there is a new updated 21st Century edition by the same writer on Amazon, with more up-to-date information.

    I believe all the scrolls are now photographed and published and most have by now been translated, so the transcripts must be available somewhere. But I suppose a lot of it wouldn't mean much to lay people like me without commentary and explanation.

    If anyone has not read 'The Jewish Wars' by Josephus, I really do believe they are missing out on a very important understanding of what really happened in the Jewish revolution, with stark stuff about what the Zealots were really like. According to Josephus the Zealots were not good people. Not pretty. It's not easy reading. Josephus may exaggerate, but it was horrific. Nine hundred people killed their families and then killed themselves at Masada rather than fall into Titus's hands alive to be thrown to animals, etc.

    The interesting thing to me is that if it is applied to the 70AD destruction of the Temple by Titus, a lot of New Testament eschatology becomes bang on target. To the Jews it WAS the end of the world. It has taken them since 70AD to recover their own territory in Israel. So it's not difficult to understand how important Israel and Jerusalem are to them today?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I that's how i understand it.

    I wonder where does Qumran, as a monastic community, fit in with the mileau? Monasticism does not really fit in the Hebrew view of the world, although there were Hebrew ascetics. The Nazirite is closest to the ideaof monasticism, but generally Judaism seems to have varying opinions from time to time. There's always been ascetics and hermits, of course ...

    Quite. The Jews who plotted to kill Paul were zealots, Paul himself was a zealot, and historians now take Luke's gospel quite seriously when it gives hints to the political situation in Jerusalem. Acts 23:23-25 details the armed contingent that smuggled Paul out of Jerusalem in the dead of night: "Then having called two centurions, he said to them: Make ready two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea, and seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen for the third hour of the night"
    That's nearly five hundred people to get one troublemaker out of the city! It shows how seriously the Romans took the threat.
     
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  11. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    This episode is also connected with the Last Supper.

     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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  13. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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  14. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Following from this —

    As far as we know, none of His immediate circle were Essene (although we can speculate); no Scripture mentions any such association, nor does the Tradition. No surviving Essene texts mention Him, and the mentions of the Essenes by Josephus etc., never references Jesus by association either.

    So in the absence of material evidence, we can only look to what teachings of the Essenes coincide with the teachings of Christ?
     
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  15. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    And of course it does not imply that he was a spokesman for the Essenes.
     
  16. Courage

    Courage Member

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    Why Essenes are not even mentioned in the Bible. It's because theologically they are irrelevant.
    Why the Jews never had a Bible (Canon) with only 5 books. it's because theologically the Sadducees are irrelevant.

    Pharisees are accountable for almost all theological views mentioned in the Bible. By and large, Essenes made not much difference from the Pharisees, except for some minor issues. They basically agree on most major issues. The main difference could be a matter of living style. Essenes prefer more to living in caves to do their studies and researches. While the Pharisees are living in major cities influencing the Hebrew speaking Jews (and some Hellenistic). The Pharisaic thoughts are the dominant views adapted by most of the Jews back then (i.e., in Jesus' days).
     
  17. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    You seem to speak with a bit of knowledge on the subject, and it is an interesting subject. Could you write more about it?
     
  18. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    1) The Sadducees did not limit their acceptance of sacred text to only the Torah.
    2) I don't understand what you mean by this.
    3) What do you figure were the major areas in which the Essenes and the Pharisees agreement? What were those "minor" issues - other than living arrangements - that you believe separated them?
    4) Who are the Hebrew speaking Jews you are talking about? Although Hebrew was still spoken and understood by some Jews in the land, the language most Jews in Judea spoke and understood was Aramaic.
    5) What thoughts are you referring to and what makes you believe they were adopted by most Jews back then?
     
  19. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Active Member

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    Shalom .. lots of questions :)
    I'll be interested to see the answers.
     
  20. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    The silence can be explained in other ways. Maybe they simply merged with the Jesus movement.

    Except for some minor issues?

    The Essenes believed the temple of Jerusalem had been rendered invalid. Hence it was irrelevant to righteousness. This is not a minor issue. The community is vibing strongly with Christianity on this very issue: both believe they are the community-temple. Note John the Baptist is never depicted as a participant in the temple cult. Also, @RJM Corbet noted Philo reported the Essenes "do not offer animal sacrifice, judging it more fitting to render their minds truly holy." Remember Jesus and the whip? "So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle" (John 2.15). He was shooing them away, because the Gospel of John is trying to show Jesus abolished animal sacrifice and replaced the temple.

    "They shall establish the spirit of holiness according to everlasting truth. They shall atone for guilty rebellion and for sins of unfaithfulness, that they may obtain loving- kindness for the Land without the flesh of holocausts and the fat of sacrifice. And prayer rightly offered shall be as an acceptable fragrance of righteousness, and perfection of way as an acceptable free- will offering" (1QS 9.1-5).​
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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