Jesus, John the Baptist and the Essenes


Just felt the urge to talk about the supposed ‘Essene connection’ Jesus and/or John the Baptist had with them.

The ‘Essenes’ (Essaioi, Essenoi, Esseni) is really an interesting group among Second Temple period Jews: we know about them mainly through the Jewish historian Josephus, the Alexandrian Jew Philo and an earlier, briefer mention by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder. (In addition, you have a brief mention from the late 1st-early 2nd century by Dio Chrysostom and a much later account from the 2nd-3rd century by St. Hippolytus of Rome.)

These three writers really sort of exoticise them by focusing on their ‘unique’ practices and beliefs such as their asceticism, their communal lifestyle, or their toilet habits. In fact, by focusing on the ‘different’, Josephus and Pliny in particular inadvertently make them sound rather not very Jewish (something not helped by Josephus’ explaining Jewish concepts in Greco-Roman terms for his Greco-Roman audience).

Since for about nineteen centuries, these five writers are all that we had concerning the Essenes, and because these sources give the Essenes this air of exoticism and mystique - an air of being ‘different’ - it was common to interpret them as being a sort of *un-*Jewish sect in the middle of the Jewish heartland. They became an easy target for historical Jesus scholars to explain the factors that helped shape Jesus’ life and teaching.

It’s no secret that during the 18th-19th century, historical Jesus scholarship was dominated by Europeans who were either Protestant or reared in a Protestant background, such as German Lutherans. The German scholars in particular seem to have inherited the religious and political negative attitudes towards Jews, Judaism, and the Old Testament present within Lutheranism and in German society in general. (One of the factors which contributed to the Holocaust, actually.) For example, the traditional Lutheran reading of St. Paul, where Judaism is often stereotyped as an empty, legalistic, works-based religion rendered obsolete by the saving, morally superior, faith- (sola fide ;)) and grace-based Christianity: in other words, ‘Law’ versus ‘Gospel’.

Influenced by this tenet, scholars in those days tended to portray the Jews of Jesus’ time and afterwards as rigidly formal (cf. the common stereotype of “the Pharisees”), preaching an angry, just God obsessed with rules, fire-and-brimstone apocalypticism and ‘uncivilized’ mysticism. Jesus, by contrast, they presented as as the founder or the instigator of a superior, more ‘rational’ - y’know, without all that supernatural claptrap - philosophy of love and tolerance and all that. (Those scholars who denigrated traditional Christianity would in turn claim that Christianity is a bastardization of Jesus’ philosophy: modern Christianity, they claim, had later become ‘tainted’ by that backward Jewish superstition. Which explains all those rules and ritual.)

Because of this negative attitude towards Jews and Judaism, these scholars could not fathom Jesus being a Jew and growing up in a Jewish environment. A few people went as far to say that Jesus may not have ethnically been a Jew at all. (Y’know, the ‘Aryan Christ’ theory.) Many, however, were content to suggest simply that Jesus may have been Jewish by birth, but He had managed to ‘de-Judaize’ Himself - say, by being exposed to different, non-Jewish (and hence more superior) systems such as Greek philosophy or even Buddhism or Hinduism.

Ever heard of those claims of Jesus going to India or Tibet? Those claims all have their origin in this presupposition: that Jesus’ teachings were shaped and influenced by anything other than Judaism. Jesus was portrayed as an enlightened liberator from the oppressive Jewish law, seeking either to reform Judaism by making it less ‘irrational’ or to outright destroy it. (Now some scholars did recognize Jesus’ Jewish context, but their bias against Judaism made it so that they had dismissed Jesus as irrelevant to modern minds. Because He’s Jewish.)

And this is where the supposedly ‘un-Jewish’ Essenes come in.


The Essenes are certainly where Jesus’ traditional white robe comes from.

Josephus mentions both Jesus and John the Baptizer. If there were Essenes, he would have told us.

What about the Greek influence on Jesus?

What is your take on the reference in John to the two Greeks who came looking for Jesus at his last Passover?

And there was a comment in John about Jesus teaching in the Decapolis, which dominated by Greeks.

I think without question a lot of Jesus’ original Jewish beliefs were modified by what he learned from the Greeks- Mount Carmel had several, it is suggested. Pythagoras spent time there earlier.

And where the heck did the Communion ceremony come from it not a progenitor sect?


The Essenes became the darling of many 19th century writers because while they’re clearly smack dab in the heart of Judaea, the surviving descriptions of them make them sound unique and different from other Jews - that they might as well be not really Jews. People saw them as the missing link between Jesus and those non-Jewish philosophies. Essenism was even characterized as a ‘Christianity without Christ’: in their view, the Essenes’ rejection of the Temple cult was tantamount to an attack on Judaism itself, prefiguring, or at least parallel to, Jesus. Christianity was supposedly just Essenism under a different name.

The Essenes provided these people the opportunity to give Jesus an air of token Jewishness, but at the same time distance Him from the Pharisees and the rabbis and the priests, which are seen as the representatives of ‘legalistic’ Judaism, of which Jesus could not have (in their minds) partaken of - or be allowed to partake of. The Deists preferred the Essenes because the aforementioned idea so fitted in with their anti-rabbinic sentiments, and German romantics preferred them because they romanticized ancient mystery religions. And frankly, the Essenes were very promising in these regards. The gradual emergence of interest in gnosticism in the 1800s also provided an additional basis for interest.

In this idea’s extreme form, anything that happened in Jesus’ life was the Essenes’ doing. His miracles? Stage-managed by the Essenes. The resurrection? The Essenes simply drugged Jesus into a coma and revived Him using their advanced medical knowledge. Jesus’ teachings? He got it from the Essenes and their adoption of Greek philosophy / Buddhism / Hinduism / Egyptian magic. The ‘ascension’? Jesus simply whisked off from view and lived the remainder of His days in a secluded Essene monastery. Or He died soon from His injuries, and the Essenes just cleverly hid His body somewhere. :shrug:

In fact, every other person linked to Jesus was imagined to be an Essene. (Joseph of Arimathea? Essene. Those ‘angels’ who appear from time to time? Really Essenes.) The Essenes in this picture was really portrayed as a Freemason/Illuminati-like cabal of enlightened masters who were either seeking to free the Jews from their superstition / to take control of Judaea through non-violent means (as opposed to the violent revolution espoused supposedly by the Pharisees and the priests) / to spread their totally un-supernatural, Rational philosophy for the betterment of humanity. Jesus, in other words, was their puppet: they watched, controlled and groomed Him since His birth.


No. Do you read your Bible?

The only two times Jesus is described to wear “a white robe” in the New Testament is during the Transfiguration and when He appears to John in Patmos. In both cases, it is clearly not the ‘earthly’ Jesus that’s wearing the white robes: it’s the Jesus whose appearance was transformed/transfigured and the resurrected Jesus who had ascended to heaven.

Even if taken naturalistically, ‘white’ clothes doesn’t really mean meaning, because white or off-white is the default color of many fabrics. The description of Essenes in ‘white’ simply meant that they wore undyed and/or bleached clothes. And it’s not like only the Essenes wore ‘white’ clothing. White linen clothing was also the uniform of the priests in the Temple, for example. Josephus himself also implies that white garments was also ‘standard’ attire for people going to the Temple. (Antiquities 2.327; 8.146; War 2.1) So ‘white clothing’ does not necessarily equate to ‘Essene’, unless of course King David, Solomon, Archelaus, and all those people going to the Temple (the people Josephus describes to have worn white clothes at some point) were really Essenes.

(In fact, I’d say the Essenes, those who were going to the Temple, and the priests all wore white because white is the standard symbol of cleanliness and purity. White was not ‘the Essene color’; it was the color of purity, which is why the Essenes wore it, since they seem to be obsessed with ritual cleanliness.)

Besides, looking throughout 2,000 years of Christian art, the ‘traditional’ color assigned to Jesus is actually purple-and-gold, or red-and-blue. (Obviously, it’s rather unlikely the actual Jesus wore clothes of these colors as His everyday dress, particularly the purple one.) The only times Jesus is shown wearing white are in depictions of the Transfiguration or depictions of the post-Easter / heavenly Jesus. Some early Christian art do show Jesus pre-crucifixion wearing white robes - of a Roman philosopher. Again, probably not something the historical Jesus would have worn. (Though the basic style of dress is probably similar.)

In other words, art is not necessarily an indicator that that was how Jesus really looked or dressed like, because - here’s the key thing to remember - much of early Christian art is really symbolic and idealized in nature.

Josephus mentions both Jesus and John the Baptizer. If there were Essenes, he would have told us.

And he doesn’t.

What about the Greek influence on Jesus?

Such as?

What is your take on the reference in John to the two Greeks who came looking for Jesus at his last Passover?

And there was a comment in John about Jesus teaching in the Decapolis, which dominated by Greeks.

I don’t think Jesus attracting ‘Greeks’ and preaching in gentile cities necessarily translates to ‘Jesus was influenced by Greek philosophy’. See, a few people nowadays are still bandying this old hat that Jesus was influenced by anything other than Judaism: only now, it’s ‘Jesus was really a wandering Cynic philosopher who wasn’t too Jewish-sounding’. Yes, that idea the Jesus Seminar subscribed to.

I think without question a lot of Jesus’ original Jewish beliefs were modified by what he learned from the Greeks- Mount Carmel had several, it is suggested. Pythagoras spent time there earlier.


And where the heck did the Communion ceremony come from it not a progenitor sect?

I think you’re giving the idea that ‘it’s gotta come somewhere’ too much credit.

But if we’re gonna do that, I’d look at the Passover meal as a possible source - because that’s what the gospels and St. Paul do: they all connect the Last Supper and Jesus’ crucifixion with Passover (even if they don’t agree with the chronology). Now that’s something all Jews practice, not just a particular sect. Or maybe special meals like those served on the eve of the Sabbath. But even without those special occasions, it still stands that the action associated with the Last Supper - the blessing of the food - is really something you find in a Jewish-style meal. Again, no need to posit that it came from a specific sect.

(Throughout the gospels, you find Jesus sharing meals with people, usually sinners and others of ill-repute: tax collectors like Levi/Matthew or Zacchaeus, Simon the Pharisee, Simon the Leper, Lazarus. In this case, this ‘table fellowship’ is likely Jesus’ own idea rather than something He cribbed from somewhere else. I mean, Essenes were supposedly ascetics who removed themselves from the evils of society, but Jesus is doing the opposite here.)


I asked about the Jesus connection of the Essenes on another forum. I just asked if there was any historical facts or validation to what I read. It was simply a question; not an opinion or a religious belief. My query was immediately deleted and the “administrator” sent me a message that it was a “Catholic Forum” and heresy wasn’t allowed. ??? It was like a slap along the side of the head for a simple question. I have always heard that it was alright to ask questions. Apparently not. I looked up the administrator’s status-bio-and pardon me-maybe I will get an infraction-but he looked like a big bonehead-turd to me. So there, I said it. There is an old saying, “the trouble with Catholics is the they are so un-Catholic.” I love Pope Francis because he a Universal Man. And now I will take my lumps and infractions.:stuck_out_tongue:


The popular picture of Jesus is wearing a white robe, that’s what I meant. And that probably came from the 18th and 17th centuries when they defaulted to an Essenic picture of Jesus.

The communion ceremony was a radical change from anything that can be interpolated from Jewish ritual. In fact, Jesus lost a significant number of followers when he presented the ceremony as the linchpin of his ministry.

So I think that is a very reasonable question to ask. Certainly anything remotely like their communion ceremony might have been a part of ceremonies of the time outside of Judaism.


Pythagoras visiting Mount Carmel…

"In Phoenicia he (Pythagoras) conversed with the prophets who were the descendants of Moses the physiologist, and with many others, as well as the local heirophants . . . . After gaining all he could from the Phoenician Mysteries, he found that they had originated from the sacred rites of Egypt, forming as it were an Egyptian colony. . . . On the Phoenician coast under Mt. Carmel, where, in the Temple on the peak, Pythagoras for the most part had dwelt in solitude . . . Mount Carmel, which they knew to be more sacred than other mountains, and quite inaccessible to the vulgar..."(Life of Pythagoras by Iamblichus)

Hermippus also mentions it.


Oh yeah, Iamblichus. You need to keep in mind though that Iamblichus lived in the mid-3rd-early 4th century AD, about eight centuries after Pythagoras would have lived (c. 570-c. 495 BC). So in that regard, you have to take the information with a grain of salt.

Hermippus, the earlier source (3rd century BC), is the one that explicitly claims Pythagoras’ philosophy had a lot of borrowings from Jewish thinking (so Josephus) or was an importation of Jewish thinking outright (so Origen). Problem is we don’t have any of his works - just some brief references to them by writers like Josephus and Origen. And even then, while many scholars (and Josephus and Origen themselves) seem to take the reference to the Jews (and the Thracians) as being the sources of Pythagoras’ philosophy as something positive, other snippets of what Hermippus had to say about Pythagoras actually have a sort of very negative tone to them.

Iamblichus speaks of Pythagoras going to Mount Carmel and staying in a temple there for some time on his way to Egypt. However, while the mountain was considered a holy - pagan - site since ancient times (Vespasian supposedly consulted the oracle of the god of Carmel; there was a votive marble foot dating from the 2nd-3rd century found in the area with the dedication to “Heliopolitan Zeus of the Carmel”), Tacitus mentions that during the 1st century, at least, there was no temple on the mountain nor an image of the deity worshiped there (Baal = Zeus = Jupiter), only an altar: “Between Judaea and Syria rises the Carmelus. Thus they call the mountain and the god. The god has neither a statue nor a temple - such was the will of the ancestors. There is only an altar and a worship.”

Despite the mountain’s connection with Elijah in 1 Kings, the site was actually pagan for centuries. (So if anything, Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal only stopped pagan worship there temporarily.)

It was a common claim among many writers who lived after Pythagoras that he actually learned from peoples of the East like the Phoenicians (Jews are sometimes included in this category, although since he is supposed to have traveled when he was younger - a time when many of the Jews were still in exile in Babylon) or the Egyptians or the Babylonians.

You might say that the point of these stories is that Pythagoras learned from every Eastern mystic tradition available back then in the ancient world, because you know, the Greeks loved the ‘East’ for their exoticness, particularly Egypt (land of magic and mystery in Greco-Roman thinking). In fact, in the story, Pythagoras eventually realizes that the mysteries and the cults and the prophets he had encountered in Phoenicia were all just practicing things that were derived from Egypt, that’s why he decides to go there: he thought that “he might find monuments of erudition still more genuine, beautiful and divine.”


Thank you for fleshing this out.

I think it needs to be kept in mind that both of these ancient writers lived before the fall of the Roman Empire and had access, presumably, to the great libraries that existed in those times. There were probably many sources they use that are now lost to us. The ones that we have might have been preserved simply because they did reference the Jewish nation and religion in some form or fashion.

Clearly, however, there was something pagan and mysterious and cultish going on in the Mount Carmel area- an area that was very close to Nazareth. Jesus, being an inquisitive person, probably would have visited there, though that is conjecture as much of this is.

What do you think the significance is of the references to Greeks and the disciples in the Gospel of John?


I don’t know. Could be sheer coincidence. I mean you do have pictures where Jesus wears a white tunic, but He has a colored (say, red) sash or cloak on.

The communion ceremony was a radical change from anything that can be interpolated from Jewish ritual. In fact, Jesus lost a significant number of followers when he presented the ceremony as the linchpin of his ministry.

You mean Eucharistic theology: the bread and wine being the body and blood of Jesus?

So I think that is a very reasonable question to ask. Certainly anything remotely like their communion ceremony might have been a part of ceremonies of the time outside of Judaism.

Well, the thing is, yeah, there were similar and similar-looking rituals in some pagan mystery religions, for example Mithraism. (Justin Martyr claimed that there was a Mithraic ritual which involved bread and water (or a mixed cup of wine and water) - which he then interprets as a demonic perversion of the Christian Eucharist.) But then again, just because something happens before something else doesn’t prove the first thing caused the second to happen. Resemblances doesn’t necessarily presuppose imitation.

For example, Mithraism was popular in Rome and the western half of the Empire, but it did not any major presence in the Greek-speaking East. In Palestine only one Mithraeum (Mithraic temple) had been discovered, and since it dates from the 3rd century, it’s very late to have been of any influence to Jesus or the early Palestinian Christians.

There were a lot of mystery cults in the ancient world - the cults of Cybele, Isis, Mithras, Orpheus-Dionysus and Samothrace - but the only mystery cult that really penetrated Palestine was the cult of Isis, and only then it only did so during the 2nd century onwards, when the Jews were kicked out of Palestine and the area became increasingly pagan.

In estimating the degree of opportunity afforded the early Palestinian Church of being influenced by the Mysteries, it is certainly a significant fact that, unlike other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Palestine has been extremely barren in yielding archeological remains of the paraphernalia and places of worship connected with the Mysteries.

(‘Methodology in the Study of the Mystery Religions and Early Christianity’, from Historical and Literary Studies. Pagan, Jewish and Christian, Bruce Metzger)

Now even if there were similar rituals (which are not necessarily being copycats of each other), I think the underlying theology is different. The ‘official’ symbol of Mithraism is really the tauroctony - the depiction of Mithras ritually slaughtering a bull. After the tauroctony, the second most important icon in Mithraism is the banquet scene: Mithras and Sol (the sun) - who is thought of as being either Mithras’ subordinate or equal - eating out of the hide of the slaughtered bull. The Mithraic banquet - performed by initiates - is likely meant to be a reenactment of the meal shared by Mithras and Sol after Mithras killed the bull, with the bread and water likely symbolic of the bull’s meat and blood.

But even then, the similarity with the Christian Eucharist is IMHO artificial. In fact, we just don’t know exactly what the Mithraists thought of their ritual banquets, whether they ascribed to then the same meanings Christians applied to the Eucharist (Justin’s interpretation notwithstanding). If anything, the bull wasn’t so much a symbol of Mithras himself: Mithras kills the bull since its blood and seed would fertilize the Earth. So the Mithraists were not really partaking of a sacrifice or even the ‘body of Mithras’.

And the fact that ritual meals were central to Mithraism (eating utensils and food residues were commonly found in Mithraic temples) doesn’t really prove anything, since ritual and fellowship meals was a universal custom. Just about every group had their own meal rituals.

Now here’s the thing: we really don’t know much about Mithraism. Much of the information you can find about it - especially ones that appear in non-scholarly popular works - are really guesswork based on the surviving data we have (such as Mithraic artworks (our main source) and some scattered mentions here and there), usually outdated ones. For one, it was common back then to ‘reconstruct’ Roman Mithraism using say, Zoroastrianism, based on the fact that Mithras’ name came from the Iranian god Mithra, or Christianity. However, the idea that Roman Mithraism was directly connected to Zoroastrianism had been long since disproven: the only real similarity is the god’s name. And frankly, using Christianity to reconstruct Mithraism led to wacky conclusions: Mithras ended up having more parallels to Jesus than he would historically have had. Because, you know, those Christians couldn’t do anything better but steal from other people’s religions.

If anything, do you know that pagans actually accused early Christians of cannibalism?


The communion ceremony, the Eucharist, is totally unique in the annals of religion as far as I know.


I think it is clear that’s what many in the ancient world thought, and certainly the enemies of Christianity used that ceremony against them.

You have to remember that Jesus didn’t say “drink this is a symbol of my blood” he said “drink this IS my blood.” That is a big difference.

Hagen in “Fires of Rome” goes into this. People would not be so against the Christians to the point of killing them, and Nero probably wouldn’t have targeted them en mass as a group unless they were convinced of something very abhorrent going on.

The actual link can established by Justin Martyr as quoted in Eusebius. Martyr writes about the misconception of “devouring of flesh” and the Eucharist ceremony.


No disagreement with what you said here. I don’t see though how that squares in with your original claim that Jesus (or the early Christians at least) derived Eucharistic theology from some other sect.


It could have been divinely inspired, of course.

But the visit by the two Greeks during Jesus’s final Passover, who apparently knew Jesus before hand, starts me to thinking.


Care to elaborate?

P.S. For the benefit of the other folks, here’s the passage Steve is referring to.

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
[INDENT]“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
Isaiah said these things because the saw his glory and spoke of him.
Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.[/INDENT]


To go back in track:

The ‘Essene theory’ was attractive for a number of scholars in the 18th-19th century. Some scholars were attracted to it because as mentioned it enabled them to avoid making Jesus ‘too’ Jewish for their liking. (As mentioned, many of these people really had less-than-positive opinions about Judaism, colored by the Lutheran idea of Law vs. gospel and the racial theories that were burgeoning at the time. They could never imagine Jesus - who is almost always portrayed as a good guy who preached a higher, moral philosophy - being Jewish, because ‘Judaism’ for them is a grim, legalistic superstition of fire and brimstone apocalypticism and divine vengeance.)

Some Jewish scholars (such as Heinrich Graetz, who described Christianity as ‘Essenism with foreign elements’) meanwhile were also attracted by the theory for pretty much the same reasons: it enabled them to give Jesus a Jewish origin (it’s sort of part of an effort to ‘reclaim’ Jesus for Judaism), while at the same time explaining what was seen by them as Jesus’ differences with ‘mainstream’ Judaism. In other words, they thought that Jesus, while a Jew, was actually someone who was on the fringes of Jewish orthodoxy.

This view of ‘Jesus the Essene’ was partly influenced by the medieval Jewish polemic that characterized Jesus as a deceiver and a magician whose ‘miracles’ were really just magic tricks or diabolical acts of sorcery. (I mean, the Essenes were often characterized at the time as a mystic, ‘magical’ sect, and Jesus was a ‘magician’, so … well, you do the math.) Now, however, folks were careful to absolve Jesus of any blame. They might still think that Jesus’ miracles were in reality displays of magic, but the Man Himself is characterized as a simple, pious (even if not exactly orthodox) Jew. If anything, it would be Jesus’ disciples, who supposedly distorted Jesus’ teaching and brought in more ‘pagan’ influences that eventually resulted in Christianity, that were the actual deceivers.

Graetz in particular had the view (common to a number of writers at the time, even up to the 20th century) that the Jesus and the other Jews in the Galilee were ignorant of the Law and so were more open to ‘pagan’ influences; in other words, Galilean Judaism was a different creature from the Judaism of Judaea and Jerusalem. It was a sort of impure, ‘corrupt’ version of Judaism riddled with pagan influences and superstition. (And for Graetz, that sort of explained why there were many demoniacs in the Galilee. :D) Still, Graetz tried to redeem Jesus by saying that what He lacked in real knowledge of Jewish Law, He made up with His attitude and emotion.

Graetz sort of turned the ‘Jesus the Essene’ theory on its head: whereas non-Jewish scholars mainly used it to distance Jesus from ‘proper’ Judaism (to make Him not a Jew), Graetz used it to place Jesus in a Jewish context. Graetz’s picture of the Essenes is that of a group who were an apocalyptic ascetic sect who engaged in magic and popular healing; unlike the picture presented by other scholars, he argued that the Essenes were actually not in conflict with the Pharisees - it just so happened that they were more fixated with apocalyptic thinking. Jesus’ ‘differences’ with orthodox Judaism is not due to Jesus repudiating or rejecting Jewish thinking in favor of foreign ideas as some have claimed, but because Jesus was actually following a fringe, heterodox form of it. In other words, Graetz saw Jesus’ ‘differences’ as a confirmation of His Jewish identity.


[quote=Mary Estelle]-but he looked like a big bonehead-turd to me.

lol. My dog would be quite interested in one of those. :smiley:


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