Topics from Sanders, Judaism, Chapter Sixteen: The Essenes
- Latin writers: Pliny, etc.
Note: No explicit mention in New Testament or Rabbinic works.
- Internal records :
- Qumran (etc.). Community Rule [= Manual of Discipline] agrees remarkably with Josephus description of Essene ideas and communal organization.
- Do all Qumran documents emanate from the same group?
- Standard reconstructions of Essene history and belief are based on harmonizations of separate sources.
- How to account for contradictions among sources (e.g., regarding celibacy, pacifism). Differences in laws between Manual of Discipline and Damascus Fragment.
Conventional view of Essene origins:
Founded by Zadokite High [?!] Priest known as Teacher of Righteousness, who was persecuted by Wicked Priest.
Description of Essene Community:
- Membership :
- Stages of acceptance
- Trial periods
- Participation in communal food and water
- Communal property
- Sanctions for disobedience: Guardians ; Removal from pure meal [=starvation?]; etc.
- Communal prayer
- Sun worship?
Fragment from "The War of the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness"
- Adoption of Priestly practices ? Immersion, pure garments, loincloths, refraining from wine (?) and oil. White clothing.
- The Purity/Pure Meal
- Secrecy to outsiders, openness to fellow members
- Rejection of Temple cult in its current form
- Role of Zadokite priests
- Decline in their numbers and influence?
- Submission to absolute authority of leaders
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