Was Jesus an Essene?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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John T
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Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by John T » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:49 pm

During a (1999) documentary about the Dead Sea Scrolls, Dr. Adolfo Roitman, Director, Shrine of the Book, speculates (5 minute mark) that Jesus may have personally known some of the members that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, i.e. Essene.

https://youtu.be/wneSV0FOsMA

For me that would be highly probable and most certain for John the Baptist.
What do you think the probability is that Jesus was an Essene?

Sincerely,

John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

Stephan Huller
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by Stephan Huller » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:51 am

That's a very nice theory. Unfortunately we don't even know what an Essene was or even the etymology of the tem 'Essene' so why don't we start with that before we connect Christianity to the Qumran texts which were produced a century before the events of the gospel (which I know is your end game). Why don't you present an etymology of 'Essene' first. Let's discuss that. Let's go step by step to your desired finish line ...

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John T
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by John T » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:52 pm

I was not intending on playing a game of semantics.

Instead, I was hoping that one of Carrier's sycophants would take the bait and apply Carrier's version of Bayes' Theorem on probability.
From there I was going to use it as an example to show how reliable/unreliable Carrier's version of Bayes Theorem really is.

But clearly you already see the problem.

So, let me put some fresh bait on the hook and put the line back into the water and see if I can get a bite.
Then again, I can do two things at once. If you want to have a polite discussion about the etymology of Essene while I wait for hard strike by a large mouth sycophant, by all means. You go first since you brought it up. The conversation might help pass the time. :whistling:

John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

Stephan Huller
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by Stephan Huller » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:48 pm

I don't mind offering my ideas in due course, but don't you find it strange that you think Jesus was an Essene without having determined what 'Essene' means? FWIW I don't think it comes from the Aramaic 'to heal.'

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Peter Kirby
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by Peter Kirby » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:58 pm

John T wrote:the members that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, i.e. Essene.
It would be more fun to argue over the probability that Essenes wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Because, like, we might make some progress on that front.

Where's spin when you need him?
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

Stephan Huller
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by Stephan Huller » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:19 pm

We actually had this discussion with spin when John T first came to the forum. He wouldn't accept the carbon dating that clearly demonstrated that the scrolls were pre-Christian.

Diogenes the Cynic
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by Diogenes the Cynic » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:37 pm

The scrolls are, but Qumran was still there until the first revolt (I think it was destroyed in 68 or 69). There is nothing about Christianity or Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but that doesn't mean there couldn't have been a relationship between the Qumran community and the Baptist and/or Jesus movements. There are some interesting parallels - the Messianism, the use of Isaiah's "make a highway" verse rejection of the Temple and replacement with the "body" of the community, the replacement of sacrifice with repentance and baptism, the hierachical organization into groups of twelve with an inner circle of three. The self-appelation of "the poor," the practice of celibacy (at least by some of them), the pesheristic reading of scripture, a ritualized, communal meal featuring bread and wine, etc.

There are other provocative elements as well. Jesus is described in the Gospels as customarily staying at Bethany when he went to Jerusalem, and Bethany is right in the location where the Qumran scrolls say the community ran an almshouse and may have housed a leper colony (one of the characters the Gospels have Jesus speaking to in Bethany is called "Simon the leper").

There's more that I'm forgetting right now, but that's enough to make the question not crazy, even if it's not answerable.

Personally, I think there were probably a lot of anti-Temple sects with similar characteristics running around and that the Jesus cult was just one of those sects - not "the Essenes," in any categorical sense, but Essene *types* - Temple cult separatists.

I think it's very curious that the Gospels never mention the Essenes.

andrewcriddle
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by andrewcriddle » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:35 am

Diogenes the Cynic wrote:I think it's very curious that the Gospels never mention the Essenes.
Some scholars have suggested that the Gospels refer to the Essenes under the name Herodians

Andrew Criddle

StephenGoranson
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:26 am

If interested, for comments on the Hebrew etymology of Essenes see online "Others and Intra-Jewish Polemic as Reflected in Qumran Texts" (=The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years: A Comprehensive Assessment v.2, pp. 534-51, ed. P. Flint and J. C. VanderKam, Leiden: Brill, 1999)
For comments on an Aramaic etymology of Essenes as healers and on Essenes as NT Herodians see my review of Joan E. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea" at amazon.
For comments on Jannaeus as "Wicked Priest" and Judah as "Teacher of Righteousness" see online "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene"
For a review of Qumran Revisited (2013) by D. Stacey and G. Doudna see Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 271 (2014) 252-4.

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John T
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Re: Was Jesus an Essene?

Post by John T » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:03 am

Stephan Huller wrote:We actually had this discussion with spin when John T first came to the forum. He wouldn't accept the carbon dating that clearly demonstrated that the scrolls were pre-Christian.
Clearly demonstrated?

Most were dated pre-Christian but a few were dated around the beginning of the 1st century. Be as that may, the testing procedure was flawed and the margin of error was too wide to rule out early first century.

What I flat out didn't accept was the temple library theory.

Spin got quite flummoxed when he realized he couldn't just bully me into seeing the facts the way he wanted them.
Yizahan Hirshfeld is clearly wrong on his theory the Dead Sea Scrolls were squirreled away from the temple library just before the Roman revolt.

The community at Qumran is known as the Essenes.
I think we remember how and why that moniker came about but if you like we can readdress it again.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

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