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Community Rule of the Essenes

Summary: An apocalyptic sect of Judaism (I would argue influenced by Babylonian and Greek religious ideals with a assortment of mystic, eschatological, messianic and ascetic beliefs) that thrived from the 2nd century BCE to about the 1st century CE. Josephus and Philo describe them in their work, Pliny the Elder located them near the Dead Sea, and the Dead Sea Scrolls reflex their work and beliefs. They saw themselves as the true form of Judaism even using Moses to confirm their status. The text seems to be doing a prophet type of role in showing the wrongs of the Jewish nation. It is calling Jews to repent and follow God’s law. They called their community Yahad’ (oneness of God) and separated themselves from the rest of the Jews who are labeled The Breakers of the Covenant. They conformed to a strict rule of Leviticus purity, lived in a state of collectivism and dedicated their time to study and attachment to the scriptures and refrained from marital intercourse and sensual pleasures. The texts seem to support the idea of early Christians borrowing from the Essenes to create their own sect. Side note: I believe there are several parallels between the Master of Righteousness and Jesus. Philo writes that the Essenes believed and taught it was their first duty to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness which mirrors Matthew 6:33 & Luke 12:21. The Essenes utilized baptism and not animal sacrifice as the mode for repentance for the remission of sins which mirrors Luke 3:3. The Essenes believed in and practiced baptizing the (spiritually) dead which mirrors 1 corthinians 15:29. This is only a small introduction.

Filed by Frank at October 18th, 2008 under Religion

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