I was wondering how big of an influence you think the Essenes had on Jesus and his teachings, and if there’s any evidence that he and John The Baptist were students of that philosophy. Jesus’ apocalyptic teachings seem to align with them a lot.
Great question! When the Dead Sea Scrolls (= DSS) were discovered in 1947, it was quickly realized that this was a library of documents produced by the Jewish group known from other ancient authors (such as Josephus and Pliny the Elder) as the Essenes (this identification is debated among some scholars; but the solid majority of scholars agree today that the “Essene” hypothesis is right). The Essenes were known from antiquity for being a rigorously ascetic group. The DSS themselves were an entire library of writings. Some of them were copies of biblical books (Hebrew Bible) – significant because they were about a thousand years older than the oldest copy otherwise available. Others were previously unknown works: commentaries on biblical books, apocalyptic treatises, instructions for how the community was to be organized and run, books used for worship, and others.
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