Was Jesus and John the Baptist Essenes?


Ok, I thought i’d try my question this way.

Background: I have been reading online about Jesus and John belonging to this Essene sect. The problem with this is that i’ve come across web pages that devote much time and effort to proving the following:

  1. The NT was inspired and written by Essenes (especially the Gospel of John). These websites hold to this from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qurman writing which is attributed to the Essenes. These writings talk of sons of light, and so do the NT writings.

  2. They contend that Jesus ate the last supper in an Essene household because of the “man with the jug of water”.

  3. They contend that early Christians were simply Essenes who used a Jesus to further their cause because of their hate of the temple priests.

  4. Most alarming: That Jesus didn’t die, but was taken from the tomb buy Essenes some how by money or force or deception to further their messianic prophesies.

I have scoured scripture and the internet to try and refute the scriptural evidence of the Essene-like terms used by the NT Gospel writers, but I can’t find any!!!

Can someone provide some clarity for me? I would love to hear some Catholic interpretations on these attacks on our Lord!!!

Please provide some perspective for a simple Catholic man like me!:blush:


Note: My other thread on Essenes wasn’t clear enough in terms of my original question, which I am still searching for answers for! :blush:


By the way, this attack makes no sense because our Lord goes to some length to go against the things they stand for, i.e., rigid adherence to rules, loving your enemies, etc.

But I was wondering from a scriptural stand point, or apologetic stand point how to refute this.

Any and all help on this is appreciated!


Hi Pete. Ive read some Essene stuff and my impression of them compared to John is that:
*]they were more legalistic than he was.
*]even more legalistic than Jesus was.
*]they were less sure of the ‘times’ than John was.

However, I think John lived in the same general area as the Essenes. Im sure they would have been ‘rubbing shoulders’ so to speak.

Also they were intensely interested in the countdown of of a Sabbath-based calendar. So, when John stepped out in AD 26 saying, “the time is at hand,” it would have electrified the Essene community. They probably accounted for many in the large crowds who went to hear him in the desert.


Read josephus and philo and make up your own mind.

both sources are online and FREE

It will take you all of ten seconds to do a search on goggle and have all that is known about the Essenes available for you to peruse this weekend.


Very rude. I came here in good faith to get some opinions. You don’t think I’ve already spent the last few days reading all the information on the internet?

I am hurt by your response.

I am confused and that’s why I came here to ask… The info on the internet has confused me

I woulkd have never expect such a non-christian response here…


It would be helpful if you provided proof to your statements so we could better help you. Some evidence that they taught these things 2000 years ago would be wonderful so we could take a deeper look into what was being said in regards to them and Jesus Christ.


In addition to the above, if English is your primary language and you are beyond adolesence, it would help if you used proper grammar and spelling.
It is discourteous and disrespectful to those from whom you seek answers not to use proper English.
And, I do resent being put into the position of being a grammar/spelling NAZI!


Hi fishy pete,
growing up in the Methodist church and going through their sunday school system, I was taught that it was believed that John the Baptist might have spent some time with the essenes which really was an all male monastic order. while it is not clear in scripture, it was believe that John the Baptist went to and came from the desert and the essenes stationed themselves in the desert. When God called John the Baptist to fulfill his calling to make straight the paths, he left the essenes. Since the bible records Jesus as growing up with Mary and Joseph in nazareth and submitting to them, it is not recorded that He was an essenes or part of the order. Now when Jesus went in the desert to fast 40 days, it is unclear or unknown if he had contact with them at that time.


Thank you for your polite answer, it warms my heart that there are caring people who respond like Christians should.


no problem, I thought you have a good question and it deserved a decent response.


I resent your reply, because it shows general disrespect for another human being.

I am amazed at these replies. Amazed.

I read some crazy stuff about the Essenses, and wanted to ask for clarification.

But wasd shunned and taunted.

Remarkable. How quickly we forget the lessons of our Lord.


Josephus attests in his book of antiquities 18 sec. 5 that the Essenes were nomadic (of course) but also did not participate in the festivals in Jerusalem or offer sacrifices in the temple. This does not align with Jesus’ participation in His Jewish heritage. This is also attested by Philo (Op. p.679). Also, if memory serves, their practices regarding marriage were vastly different than Jesus’. I think my views seem to align with yours that the traditions and culture of this community don’t align well with Jesus’ life.

Again, if memory serves, wasn’t this scholarship started by an individual who was trying to identify Jesus as the “Teacher of Righteousness” that was supposed to have appeared in an Essene community? I think the attempt was geared to discredit the Sacred Scriptures and present the person of Jesus as an Christian adaptation of the Essene Teacher of Righteousness that lived something like 2 centuries prior. A “scholar” (I can’t remember the name) was using his exposition of the DSS to prove this theory.

Sorry I don’t have anything more conclusive than that.


Yes that was exactly what I was talking about, I don’t know if I ever found his or her name.

I don’t believe this at all, but that was my question.

Thank you for your respectful reply.


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