The Dead Sea Scrolls - did the Qmran sect influence Jesus and the early Christians?

by fulltimestudent 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    The small sect that lived in the Qmran area (and who 'owned' the documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls), is important if we want to understand the religious thinking in the form of Judaism practised in the first century CE, and therefore the starting point for the development of early Christianity.

    What did Jesus know about the Essenes who were at least in some sort of association with that sect?

    If early Judaism was truly monotheistic, how can we relate some of these thoughts to that concept?

    From document IIQ17 viii: "They bless and praise the God of gods ..." (Note the translators(Geza Vermes) use of a capital G, why did he decide to use a capital.

    From document 4Q405 23 i : " The 'gods' praise him ... The fear of the King of 'gods' is awe inspiring to {al}l the 'gods' "

    From document 4Q491, fr.II : "I am reckoned with the 'gods' ..."

    From document 4Q471b : "I am reckoned with the 'gods' ... Who is like me among the 'gods'? ... For I {have my station with the 'gods', and my glory is with the sons of the King."

    From document 4Q405 19 ABCD (11Q17 vii, 5-6) : "The figures of the 'god's shall praise Him, [the most] h[oly] spirits ... of glory. ... the spirits of the eternal gods. ... All their works (of art) are living 'gods', and their artistic figures are holy angels. ... the 'gods' bless ... the King."

    All the above quotations are from Geza Vermes' ( who may have been the foremost DDS scholar) book, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, and are reproduced as printed in his book.

    The Holy Spirit: From the document known as the Damascus document, mostly a reiteration of priestly rules both biblical and of the sect. (p 130, of the Penguin edition of Vermes' book)

    " And raised for Himself men called by the name that a remnant might be left to the Land ... and He made known His Holy Spirit to them by the hand of His anointed ones, and He proclaimed the truth (to them)."

    The first Christians. You may recall that the earliest believers after the death of Jesus, met together in the temple (under the leadership of James). They are described in Acts 4:32 as:

    "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had."

    That was also the practise among the members of the Qmran sect. (Though not compulsory for those who lived outside of Qmran.

    Lots of other interesting aspects, such as the expulsion of sinners from the congregation and their shunning. And some years of study (training) before admission to the sect.

    If anyone would like to know more about the DDS, there is now a lot of information (including digitised copies of the originals at this web-site.

    The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    I think I read an article once that claimed that John the Baptist had been influenced by the Essenes. Had to do with their practices of ritual cleansing.

  • Crazyguy

    There’s some evidence that some of the Christian ideas were essenes, there’s also evidence that the masserites influenced Jewish ideas and even helped create some of the writings in the Old Testament.

    There also seems to be evidence that the story of Christ was influenced by stories about Buddha and also Krishna.

  • lrkr

    The Essenes were an apocalyptic Jewish cult. Believed in a universe of good vs. Evil, a coming final battle, and victory to the forces of good.

    Very much like the Jesus cult.

    Instead of saying the Essenes influenced the Jesus cult, I would say that the Jesus cult and the Essenes were similar products of the religious thought pattern of their time.

    A Jewish nation that had been dominated by Rome and it's agents for a few hundred years that was looking for a savior/messiah/general to lead a successful revolution.

  • HowTheBibleWasCreated

    I will go a step further and say that the beginning Essenes produced Daniel and the Book of Enoch both works influenced Christianity

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