Jerusalem Post: Essenes Developed into Christianity

First time I have ever read a Jewish historian claim Christianity came from the Essenes. It is obvious to me now but I never heard a Jewish person assert it.

The Essenes and Origins of Christianity

The Essenes at Qumran used the concept of messiah as an eschatological figure; this had never been done before (except perhaps in the Book of Daniel). But it was a necessary move to complement their extreme notions of purity and holiness. Although based on what they understood as a form of Judaism at the time, Essene notions of ritual purification were infused with a sense of impending chaos and societal collapse. That is why they needed to enclose themselves in world of Fate and clung to an outside force, a messiah, to bring salvation. They believed, perhaps, that in structuring their lives as part of a well-defined elite community, they would ensure their survival and create a model of perfection that would prepare them for Redemption. Critical of Temple rituals and priestly authority, they shifted their focus from what became normative Judaism to apocalyptic theology.”

Christianity did not abandon Jewish ethics and morality, but turned toward the primacy of belief in a messianic figure, Jesus, rather than the life-structure embodied in the written and oral Torah.”


A few facts he either does not know or leaves out:
1) The Essenes were a major sect of Judaism who were likely from the priestly class administering the Temple before the Pharisees removed them from power and took over the Temple (approx. 63 BC) with Roman help (Pompey).
2) The Teacher of Righteousness (TOR) (100 BC) is likely represented as John the Baptist in the Gospels. He established baptism for coming Messiah.
3) Paul is likely esoterically represented as the Jesus or Joshua in the Gospels (52 CE) in order to canonize Paul’s epistles (Dykstra, Mark, Canonizer of Paul)
4) the Gospels are esoteric representations of the Messianic expectations of the Essenes so whoever wrote them held Essenes apocalyptic theology and Messianic expectations fulfilled by the TOR and Paul. Paul’s Lord is the inner Jesus of the TOR who established Lord’s supper, baptism, and revealed the allegorical meaning of the Hebrew scriptures 150 years earlier.
5) the Essenes developed into gnostic christians led by Paul, Peter, which were later suppressed and destroyed by the roman church (christian orthodoxy) in the fourth century CE. Christian orthodoxy has falsified the true history of Jewish-christianity from the mere fact that the origins of Jewish-Christianity began naturally up to 200 BC rather than supernaturally in the first century CE. (Dead Sea Scrolls).

The question begging for an answer is if the TOR and Paul were right. Is there a third Messiah expected to come? The Essenes predicted three Messiahs in the Last Days per the Dead Sea Scrolls. Since Rabbinical Judaism does not really expect a Messiah anymore (according to the article), and Christian orthodoxy has distorted true Christianity then will there be a revival of Messianic Judaism in the form of Essenism, the true and original Jewish- Christianity? Is this the time predicted by Paul when Israel (nation Israel or spiritual Israel?) will be saved?

“I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved,” (Romans 11:25)
Different scholars have different opinions. I studied under Dr Robert Eisenman of Dead Sea Scrolls fame, and he was of the opinion that James was the "Teacher of Righteousness" discussed in the DSS, and that Paul was the "Wicked Priest." But that only connects the Nazarene movement with the Essenes -- he would say that the Gentile version of Christianity that Paul formed was actually AT ODDS with the Essenes. That would mean that Christianity today, as it now exists, decended from PAUL's teachings rather than James, would NOT have Essene origin.

You also have scholars like Rabbi Harvey Falk, who use textual analysis to make the case that Jesus was a Pharisee, not an Essene.

The long and short of it is this: when the experts are not in agreement, it becomes fallacious to appeal to an expert. Thus, no appeal can be made to expertise of the scholar that Jerusalem Post refers to. It is just their educated opinion, and nothing more.

For whatever its worth, I think it is possible that John the Baptist was connected with the Essenes, but I have become very convinced that Jesus was Pharisee. And Paul? He pretty much just did whatever he wanted and was not affiliated with any Jewish group. IMHO

It is worth reminding everyone that the heart of the Essene movement was two things: the first was rejection of temple sacrifices, and the second was EXTREEEEEEME attentiveness to obeying the law especially the parts about ritual purity. And THAT is opposite the kind of Christianity that Paul taught.
 
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Different scholars have different opinions. I studied under Dr Robert Eisenman of Dead Sea Scrolls fame, and he was of the opinion that James was the "Teacher of Righteousness" discussed in the DSS, and that Paul was the "Wicked Priest." But that only connects the Nazarene movement with the Essenes -- he would say that the Gentile version of Christianity that Paul formed was actually AT ODDS with the Essenes. That would mean that Christianity today, as it now exists, decended from PAUL's teachings rather than James, would NOT have Essene origin.

You also have scholars like Rabbi Harvey Falk, who use textual analysis to make the case that Jesus was a Pharisee, not an Essene.

The long and short of it is this: when the experts are not in agreement, it becomes fallacious to appeal to an expert. Thus, no appeal can be made to expertise of the scholar that Jerusalem Post refers to. It is just their educated opinion, and nothing more.

For whatever its worth, I think it is possible that John the Baptist was connected with the Essenes, but I have become very convinced that Jesus was Pharisee. And Paul? He pretty much just did whatever he wanted and was not affiliated with any Jewish group. IMHO

It is worth reminding everyone that the heart of the Essene movement was two things: the first was rejection of temple sacrifices, and the second was EXTREEEEEEME attentiveness to obeying the law especially the parts about ritual purity. And THAT is opposite the kind of Christianity that Paul taught.
One explanation for why the TOR was extremely attentive to Sabbath observance, whereas, Paul was not, is in the simple fact that for early first and most of the second century BC the priestly class belonging to the Hasmonean dynasty administered the Temple rituals. And the Essenes appeared to be aligned with those priests before the civil war between Aristobulus and Hyrcanus II (67 BC). Since temple rituals require accurate ways of tracking time, —actual time, in order to perform all the time related rituals, eg, the Day of Atonement. Passover, etc., therefore, the Essenes were highly attentive to accurately measuring passing time. Consequently, highly attentive to WHEN Sabbaths are to be observed, according to scripture. We take it for granted that time is accurate but back then very few knew how to measure time accurately. Apparently, the common theme running through all the dead sea scrolls is promotion of the solar calendar over the lunar calendar in order to more accurately measure time. Sabbaths were part of that system of measuring time.

Subsequent to Pompey’s invasion of Jerusalem (63 BC) and Pompey siding with Hyrcanus II, who supported the Pharisees, the priestly class associated with the Essenes lost control of the Temple and its associated rituals.

By the time Paul arrived one hundred years later not only had the Hasmonean line of king/priests been wiped out by Herod, also, the Essenes had little to no influence administering the Temple rituals. IOW, the whole political climate had changed from the time of the TOR to the time of Paul. Temple rituals in Paul’s time were administered by priests approved by a Roman appointed leader, eg., King Herod. Therefore, in Paul’s political climate the Essenes had little to no influence with measuring time or determining WHEN temple rituals should be observed and consequently he no longer needed to fight that battle that the TOR had been heavily engaged in. The more important idea to Paul was WHAT the ritual means versus WHEN it was to be observed.

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Col 2:16)​
It should be noted that all of this became a moot point after the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE which many scholars mark as the catalyst when Paul’s message took off. IOW, Paul’s emphasis on the WHAT the ritual means was vindicated when no temple rituals could be performed at all. He became known to gnostic Christians, both Jew and Gentile, as the wise teacher demonstrating a wisdom about the Mosaic Law which is ”Holy” (Romans 7:12) versus proscribing the letter of the Law which “kills.” (2 cor. 3:6)
 
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<snip> but I have become very convinced that Jesus was Pharisee. And Paul? He pretty much just did whatever he wanted and was not affiliated with any Jewish group. IMHO
If my theory is correct that the canonical Jesus is a cypher for Paul then you would be correct that “Jesus was a Pharisee” by his own words, before converting to the Essene sect.

“If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I [Paul] have more:​
circumcised on the eighth day,​
of the people of Israel,​
of the tribe of Benjamin,​
a Hebrew of Hebrews;​
as to the law, a Pharisee;
BUT, he adds,
”I count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”​
I predict, formally predict (you may hold me too it), that a growing consensus in nation Israel will someday recognize this soul ^^^^^ above as an anointed moral teacher (theoretically one of “SEVEN” in the history of humanity, —nay, of the world) based on everything I know by evidence and reason. He will be called the “anointed Paul” by Jews, just as the ToR was called the “anointed Joshua”, both unique moral leaders with respect to their generations.

Then may the words of Zecheriah be fulfilled. God only knows for certain.

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn… (Zech. 12:10)

And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’ (13:6)
 
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I agree.

Faith (piety) and its outward manifestation in virtuous living has always been the means of salvation despite whatever outward form that faith takes, whether, christianity, judaism, philosophy, buddhism, etc. The problem is when the form becomes emphasized over the inner transformation, and then dogma replaces humility.

Paul was doing what other prophets did before him, that is, emphasizing the inner spirit over the outward appearance and he was uncompromising in his position in order to save as many Gentiles as he could. For this he was vilified by the Jews.

The irony is that after being vilified by Pharisees and some Essenes, for abrogating all outward rituals in the Mosaic Law, the Pharisees apparently have learned to do just fine without a Temple and its associated requirements. But does it ever occur to the Rabbinic Jews that Paul was way ahead of them? That he understood what truly mattered? Nope. And they may never appreciate what he was trying to do.

Sorry for getting on my soap box, but the more I think about the challenges Paul endured for the message of Good News the more I admire him.
They are doing as Paul intended.
Ro 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
 
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