The Essenes and Jesus


The Essenes of NT era had many good qualities. First, they had a strong sense of community. Their writing, The rule of community, describe the transferring of property from new members to the community. They broke bread together as a community daily. Second, they took the observance of God’s word seriously. Again, their writings, The Damascus Document and the Rule of the Congregation explain the rituals to be followed by the community in light of Torah teaching. Third, they separated from apostates. The Damascus Document seems to prohibit participation in the temple because of the corrupt priestly system. They did not intermingle with those who stood against their core beliefs.

However, many of the Essenes teachings are absent of the compassion for those without an ombudsman. Jesus stands with neither the establishment of Jewish society/religion nor the separatist Essenes because both in their own way had rejected those in their country who needed help the most. Rather he chose to relate to those society rejected.

James Charlesworth provides a succinct comparison between the beliefs of the Essenes and Jesus.

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