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  1. Zia Shah

    Dead sea scrolls and the Essenes — Here is a quote from Review of Religions:In 1947, a bedouin in the Judaean desert near the Dead Sea came across a cave with ancient scrolls hidden in earthen jars. More scrolls were discovered in the years to 1956 across 11 caves. Prior to the appreciation of the significance of these scrolls, many attempts had been made to sell them as relics. In the fifty years since, scholars have tried to translate and understand the scrolls. Much more is known about them now, but the fact remains that although they are clearly related to Judaism and the hope for the arrival of their Messiah, it is not certain whether these documents belong to mainstream Jews or sects such as Essenes and Ebionites, or may even be the earliest documents of the early Jewish-Christians. The discovery has ignited debate around the subject. Scholars have started to remember that Christians were originally Jews and therefore that the two traditions share the same root. A more detailed analysis of the scrolls has unearthed an account of a Teacher of Righteousness who was trying to bring Jews back to God, and a Wicked Priest who betrayed him and led people astray. To this day, scholars argue over the identity of these characters with candidates being Jesus( a s ), James (described as his brother), Paul, John the Baptist or even the earlier JewishHasmonean priests.Review an article by Fazal Ahmad from UK:http://www.reviewofreligions.org/download/RR200212.pdf#page=36

  2. Zia Shah

    Olivier Manitara’s website — This is what Olivier Manitara has to say about the Essenes:Since the archaeological discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946, the word “Essene” has made its way around the world–often raising a lot of questions. Many people were astonished to discover that, two thousand years ago, a brotherhood of holy men and women, living together in a community, carried within themselves all of the seeds of Christianity and of future western civilization. This brotherhood–more or less persecuted and ostracized–would bring forth people who would change the face of the world and the course of history. Indeed, almost all of the principal founders of what would later be called Christianity were Essenes–St. Ann, Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, Jesus, John the Evangelist, etc. The Essenes considered themselves to be a separate people–not because of external signs like skin color, hair color, etc., but because of the illumination of their inner life and their knowledge of the hidden mysteries of nature unknown to other men. They considered themselves to be also a group of people at the center of all peoples–because everyone could become part of it, as soon as they had successfully passed the selective tests.They thought, and rightly so, that they were the heirs of God’s sons and daughters of old, the heirs to their great ancient civilization. They possessed their advanced knowledge and worked assiduously in secret for the triumph of the light over the darkness of the human mind.They felt that they had been entrusted with a mission, which would turn out to be the founding of Christianity and of western civilization. They were supported in this effort by highly evolved beings who directed the brotherhood. They were true saints, Masters of wisdom, hierophants of the ancient arts of mastery. http://www.essenespirit.com/who.htmlhttp://www.en.oliviermanitara.org/

  3. Zia Shah

    An opposing view about the Essenes that they were not Christians — Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe writes in an article titled, Lost and Hidden Christianity:Tracking similarities between the Essenes and Christians is not difficult. The Essenes were apparently so devoted to their beliefs that they were prepared to be martyred for them. This was an impressive precursor of the tendency of some early Christians to embrace martyrdom for their faith, under persecution. The Essenes and early Christians also shared apocalyptic beliefs, that is a belief in the imminent end of the world, which influenced the way in which they chose to live. The Essenes and some early Christians espoused a pious, ascetic life, deserting the city and the secular world for a life of solitary or communal prayer and self-denial. But the Essenes were not a Christian group. Their writings make no mention of John the Baptist, Jesus, or Jesus’s followers. The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal, if anything, that Christianity was not a unique spiritual and religious phenomenon, but had much in common with the Essenes. Perhaps their shared experience of time and space contributed to the formation of a sense of impending doom and a similar belief in captivity by a sinful world….http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/losthiddenchristianity_article_01.shtml

  4. Zia Shah

    Fair and balanced — Covering the counter view also — Prof. Bart Ehrman writes in his book, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew:There can be legitimate debates over what is the most significant manuscript discovery of modern times. Probably few would dispute the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the first lot of which was found by pure serendipity in 1947 in a cave west of the Dead Sea, just thirteen miles east of Jerusalem, as a shep¬herd boy was looking for a lost goat. Other caves were searched; eleven yielded manuscript treasures. And what treasures they were: manuscripts possessed and/or produced by a sectarian group of Jews living at roughly the same time and place as John the Baptist and Jesus; copies of the Hebrew Scriptures a thousand years older than anything previously in existence, allowing scholars to check the accuracy of scribes who copied the text in the intervening centuries; documents that describe and legislate on the daily life of this ascetic sect of Jewish monastics, known to history as the Essenes; books that expound their apocalyptic views of the world and its approaching end; texts that reveal their worship and liturgical life. This is a cache of manuscripts that will occupy scholars for decades still to come, possibly centuries.The importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for early Christianity cannot be minimized. But the importance is indirect. Despite what one reads in sensationalist media guides and in dramatic theories sometimes advanced by otherwise competent scholars, the scrolls never mention John the Baptist or Jesus or any of Jesus’ followers; they contain nothing Christian. They are important for early Christian studies (as opposed to early Jewish studies, for which they are directly relevant) because they give us a rare firsthand glimpse of society, culture, and religion in the birthplace of Christianity at just the time Christianity was born.(Prof. Bart Ehrman. Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press, 2003. Pages 47-48.)The catch here, however, is in the mention by Ehrman, “documents that describe and legislate on the daily life of this ascetic sect of Jewish monastics, known to history as the Essenes; books that expound their apocalyptic views of the world and its approaching end.” If it is shown that apocalyptic ideas have never been part of the Jewish tradition but a Christian idea, then Essenes, at least some of them, can be shown to be Christians!

  5. Zia Shah

    I just bought a book on this topic — Jesus and the Essenes (Kindle Edition)by Dolores Cannon (Author) More to follow!

  6. wardell lindsay

    Yes! Jesus was an Essene, The teacher of Righteousness! — The Essenes were the pious Jews, that opposed the Pharisees changes to Jewish Torah and Tradition. The Solar Calendar, the “Oral Toral”, were points of conflict. Jesus was the Teacher of Righteousness of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the leader of the Essenes in the reign of Queen Salome, 76-67 BCE.http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/jesus-was-born-in-100-bce/5988287

  7. Zia Shah

    Pope Benedict XVI’s comments — He writes in his book, Jesus of Nazareth:An accidental discovery after the Second World War led to excavations at Qumran, which brought to light texts that some scholars have associated with yet another movement known until then only from literary references: the so-called Essenes. This group had turned its back on the Herodian temple and its worship to withdraw to the Judean desert. There it created monastic-style communities, but also a religiously motivated common life for families. It also established a productive literary center and instituted distinctive rituals, which included liturgical ablutions and common prayers. The earnest religiosity of the Qumran writings is moving; it appears that not only John the Baptist, but possibly Jesus and his family as well, were dose to the Qumran community. At any rate, there are numerous points of contact with the Christian message in the Qumran writings. It is a reasonable hypothesis that John the Baptist lived for some time in this community and received part of his religious formation from it.Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth. Doubleday, 2007. Pages 13-14.

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