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Some more Essene Research FYI

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  • verna ward
    Essene Origins -- Palestine or Babylonia Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums: Scholars have proposed two basic theories concerning the origins of the
    Message 1 of 37 , Aug 12, 2006
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      Essene Origins -- Palestine or Babylonia
      Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:
      Scholars have proposed two basic theories concerning the origins of the people who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. One theory suggests that the Essenes originated in Palestine -- the other in [Neo]-Babylonia. The Damascus Document figures prominently in the formulation of both theories ...
      In the Palestine-origin theory the Essene movement was a reaction against the Hellenization of Palestinian Judaism. This process of Hellenization began almost imperceptibly in the third century B.C. In the first part of the second century B.C. however the forces of Hellenization gained new ground both culturally and politically. Then in 172 B.C. Onias III -- the legitimate High Priest -- was murdered in Jerusalem: Onias was a Zadokite or a priest who was descended from Zadok (the high priest of King David and and originator of the line of High Priests of the Temple in Jerusalem). Instead of Onias the Syrian overlords appointed Meneleus -- a highly Hellenized Jew who was not of the Zadokite line. To many of the faithful Meneleus could only be a usurper ...
      Matters were made still worse by the increasingly forced Hellenization and religious oppression of the Syrian overlord King Antiochus IV. In 165 B.C. Judea finally revolted. Under the brilliant military leadership of Judas Maccabeus the revolt was successful and an independent Jewish state was once again established ... Thus began the Hasmonean [Dynasty] of Jewish kings -- first Judas himself (165-160) -- then his brother Jonathan (160-143) and lastly his brother Simon (143-134) ...
      As matters turned out the Hasmoneans brought not a return to orthodoxy but increased Hellenization. Even Judas himself signed a treaty of friendship with the Roman Senate and employed partly Hellenized Jews as his ambassadors. Finally in 152 B.C. Jonathan had himself appointed High Priest -- another usurpation; for many Jews this act was a great provocation and the strongest reason for abhorring the Hasmoneans ...
      According to the Palestinian theory of Essene origins it was in this atmosphere that the Essene movement began. [Those] Jews (1)disgusted with what they believed to be the pollution of their ancestral religion and (2)revolted by the usurpation of the High Priesthood by a non-Zadokite rallied behind a man they called Moreh Tzedek (Teacher of Righteousness). No doubt he was of the Zadokite line and a legitimate claimant to the title of High Priest ...
      The faithful retreated to the desert to (1)live a life of ritual purity (2)observe the ancient law (3)follow the old calendar that marked the holy times and (4)await the day when the Teacher of Righteousness would be accepted by all Jews as High Priest and would [thence] return once again to Jerusalem. This is the Palestinian theory of Essene origins ...
      Qumran Ruins The Babylonian theory of Essene origins traces the beginning of this strange sect to Jews in Babylonia who had been deported there after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C. Many of these Jews -- deported from their Judean homeland -- perceived the Babylonian Exile as divine punishment. Some of this group -- whom we may call Essenes -- [were] returned to Palestine [Cyrus Edict 538 BC] at what they must have regarded as a propitious moment -- the victory of Judas Maccabeus and the renewal of an independent Jewish state. Once arrived there however they were bitterly disappointed by the Hellenized forms of Judaism that controlled the state. After an initial attempt to bring their erring brethren to the truth they retreated to the isolation of Qumran -- near the northern end of the Dead Sea. Led by Moreh Tzedek the Essenes believed that adherance to their precepts was the one sure refuge against the coming messianic judgement ...
      Much of the support of this Babylonian-origin theory comes from the Damascus Document -- especially its historical allusions. The document (1)alludes to leaving the land of Judah and going to the land of the north (Damascus) and that (2)the Essene movement had been in existence long before the Teacher of Righteousness had appeared on the scene. The conclusion arrived at in this theory is that the Damascus Document was originally written by Jews living in the Diaspora -- in this case the Babylonian Exile ...


      The religious faith of the occident, or the western world, consists substantially of a synthesis of beliefs and doctrines which had their origin in many lands and among various peoples and which were combined and proclaimed in what we may call the New Testament. Dispersed among the New Testament is this synthesis of religious beliefs amidst Biblical Judaism. The creeds, disciplines, and dogmas on which almost all the churches of Europe and the Americas and many of those in Asia are based, purport to derive their authority from these Gospels and Epistles; and all these multifarious communions proclaim that theirs is the religion established by Jesus, whom they revere as the Christ.
      The principal concepts of the Christian Gospels, which have played so crucial a role in occidental life, can be traced to their ultimate sources. Over the last 15 years scores of old as well as modern books and hundreds of articles in encyclopedias were first read by way of orientation; but, since recondite knowledge is to be had only by a minute study of the sources, this soon became an industry. More than four years were consumed in the intensive study of ancient Egyptian, Persian, Brahmana, Gaina, Buddhist, Judaistic, Essene, and Christian literature. Quotations were copied and organized for easy reference. All the major streams of thought were then carefully analyzed. Important elements from various ancient cultures were discovered to have converged, first, in the Pythagorean thiasoi and then in the Essene Order, whence the Christian Gospel emerged, which, in turn, proceeded to penetrate the emotions and to achieve dominion over the Graeco-Roman world.


      The Essenes, lately the object of so much attention, play a central role in our drama. They were an extraordinary group of Jewish communist-celibates who, in their formative stage about 170 B.C.E., absorbed the metaphysics and the eschatology of the Zoroastrians, and then, some sixty-five years later, by becoming Pythagoreans, incorporated into their system much of the discipline and soteriology of Attis, Dionysus and the mystery-cults of Greece and Asia Minor. Upon all this, they engrafted a Christology which combined a Persian with a Messianic Judaic concept, which, in a period of crisis, they personalized in their martyred Teacher of Righteousness, whom they expected to return upon the clouds about 35-30 B. C., accompanied by myriads of angels to conduct the Last Judgment. If you were to invest study into these areas it would be your conclusion, based on the evidence and facts available for your inspection, that Jesus was an Essene who, convinced that he was himself the incarnate Christ destined to redeem and judge mankind, left the Order of the Essenes (strict Pharisees) for the purpose of creating a mass-movement.
      The certainty finally emerges that Christianity was a highly composite doctrine which combined many of the age-old religious concepts first developed by Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, India, Buddhists, and Greeks, as well as by Jews, Phrygians, Syrians, and other inhabitants of Asia Minor. It was congenitally related to all of these; and when any of them accepted Christianity, they were simply recovering what was, at least in part, originally their own.

      This religious synthesis explains the ease at which Gentile Christianity became a world religion, yet had its roots in a Jewish movement.

      In the light of worldwide anti-Semitism this is amazing to say the least.
      We at Bet Emet feel that the realization of this fact must induce among all sectarians a definite humility, which should in turn, contribute toward eliminating those doctrinal differences which divide our society into a multiplicity of groups shut off from each other by ideological barriers, as if we all lived in hermetically sealed compartments, incapable of fellowship or communion.


      Mature Essenism taught the following concepts as synthesized from Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Buddhists, and Greeks, as well as by Jews, Phrygians, Syrians:
      • That the human race is divided into two groups which are forever separated, the Elect and the unrighteous, the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness
      • That the former may be redeemed for everlasting glory in heaven, but only through divine intervention; that a god-man (Angel-Messiah) must appear as a human being on earth, and, in fact, had appeared, to bring salvation to humanity
      • That all of the Elect who accept him and become his disciples will be redeemed; that all others are doomed to super eternally in hell fire
      • That the Children of Light are made manifest through their celibacy, saintly brotherhood, and communal poverty and equalitarianism
      • That the god-man is the Soter, i.e., the divine sacrifice who gives his life for many and whose flesh and blood are consumed by his communicants so that they too may become divine and immortal
      • That in his first manifestation the savior proclaims his revelation; that after his death, he returns to the Father for a period while his followers preach his gospel; that before the end of the then existing generation he would certainly return in a grand Parousia to judge all mankind and establish the kingdom of heaven.

      This was the Essene-Christian faith, which is also the religion of the occident.

      This gospel consists primarily of four basic elements: soteriology, eschatology, ethics, and the Messianic concept. If one is to be honest with the material available in relationship to Christian doctrine and dogma, he must first consider the sources of this Essene soteriology, that is to say, its doctrine concerning the incarnate godman who dies for humanity and whose body and blood must be consumed sacramentally so that the Elect may become divine and immortal. As you see salvation did not come from faith and obedience, but though mystic rituals involved in the eating allegorically the flesh of a godman and the symbolic drinking of the blood of this godman. The trail leads us first to the Nile, where civilization and organized religion began in the dim reaches of tile prehistoric past.
      The first officially authentic Essene scriptures were published shortly after an Arab goatherd, following one of his animals, stumbled into a cave near the Dead Sea, where a treasure-trove of ancient documents was found, several of which were virtually intact. By a strange succession of fortunate incidents, these were quickly published, and that made available to the world.
      This set off one of the most intensive archeological hunts in history; scholars and scientists hastened to the Judaean desert in search of additional Scrolls. In this, they were signally successful: remnants, large and small, of hundreds of Essene scriptures were recovered, all of which had been secreted in sealed jars about 69 A.D. Material was found in at least five caves, of which that in Cave 4 alone constituted a corpus of original Essene scripture sufficient, should it be translated and published, to fill two volumes the size of the King James version of the Bible.
      Then, however, strange things began to occur. In the beginning, and for several years, no portion of this treasure, deposited in the Jordanian Museum in Jerusalem, has been published, or even made available to scholars. Of the 8 men, appointed to collate, arrange, publish, and translate these documents, 4 were Roman Catholics; and only John Marco Allegro, the English researcher, was without denominational affiliation. When he quickly translated and published the Copper Scroll and the few fragments entrusted to him; and then when he declared that the Essene Teacher of Righteousness, executed by the Jewish priests about 70-68 B.C., may have been crucified, he was denied all further access to the Scroll material.
      As year after year passed away without the appearance of any more Essene scripture, although from time to time elaborate promises were made that they would soon be available, many began to question the reasons for the delay and the concealment.
      Since then, ample time has elapsed for the preparation and publication of all Essene material. But not one line of the hundreds of pages found in the caves has been released until the last few years.
      Although additional Essene scriptures failed to appear, there was a plethora of books and articles dealing with the cult and its Scrolls during the years following 1950. Dozens of books and hundreds of articles, expressing every conceivable point of view, have appeared. It is probable that a complete bibliography of all material printed in this field might comprise somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 titles.
      During the Six-Day War of 1967, the Jewish force overran Jerusalem and captured the Jordanian Museum. To the best of our knowledge, nothing has been published concerning the fate or the whereabouts of the Essene Scrolls—the most precious concentration of ancient literature ever discovered in modern times.
      Until recently no outsider, of course, knew the contents of these documents; but it seems difficult to doubt that there was a constructive conspiracy to conceal them and to prevent their publication. All discussion concerning the Scrolls seems to have been silenced for years and only recently all the contents of the scrolls have been made public.
      The motive for this concealment, we believe, is not far to seek. Although the evidence linking pristine Christianity to the Dead Sea Covenanters is already very substantial, there are still men of stature who deny the existence of such a relation. ship. With the release of the later documents, it was established beyond all doubt that Christianity grew out of Essenism.
      The concealing the Essene scriptures for years was an concerted effort by Christian religious authorities in hopes of preventing or forestalling the the verification made from them that pristine Christianity developed from an esoteric Jewish cult which had forsaken Judaism as we understand it and gravitated toward a Pythagorean, Buddhist, Iranian apocalyptic sect. We believe, secondly, that the whole orthodox or so-called Christian world, with its material assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars, wishes to preserve the myth of its unique origin, founded on the inspired message of a god-man whose only source of doctrine or inspiration was the creator of the universe. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove otherwise!
      The vested interests of those religious communities are therefore at stake; they will not, if they can prevent it, permit the publication of authentic materials which may eventually reduce their influence and credibility and, more importantly, cause a decline in their wealth and income. Thankfully, they forestalled the publication of these scrolls but could not prevent it.
      Since most people read only what reinforces the persuasions they have already accepted, we realize that few indeed among those already committed to some creed will be motivated to read these articles. Edwin Franden Dakin once remarked that the greatest miracle in the world is the capacity of humanity to believe—without evidence. Most people are nurtured by their delusions. However, true education or enlightenment cannot exist except among those who follow St. Paul's dictum to try all things and in the end retain the good.
      In these articles and web-pages, therefore, we have sought the truth concerning Gentile Christianity and how it borrowed from all religions by examining their own sacred scriptures: our position being that if these are internally unassailable, they probably constitute a solid foundation for faith. However, if they are filled with discrepancies, contradictions, and presentations which are mutually exclusive; if they are patently false or even ridiculous on their face, how can those who rely on them for ultimate truth confirm themselves in their belief except by refusing to examine the most obvious facts? How can divine infallibility be claimed for "revelations" which bear every earmark of forgery or folk-myth?
      We have submitted the evidence and conclusions found in the following pages to critics everywhere who would assuredly be delighted to demonstrate their error or fallacy; but, since they cannot deny the words of their own official Scriptures, no one has been able to impugn anything we have written. It is one thing to deny something; but it is entirely another thing to refute it. Emotion and zeal is a poor substitute for facts and evidence!
      We are well aware of how desperately suffering humanity craves the consolation of religion, and we do not for a moment deny that millions obtain this from delusions which are as unfounded as they are irrational and untruthful. Again, what we don't know will not hurt us...until we die and find out we were wrong!
      We believe, however, that it is possible for an increasing number of men and women to develop and embrace a system of ethics and intellectual superstructure which will create a happy and successful life without the fear of imagined specters or a dependence upon false dogmas. Many are they who have done so. We at Bet Emet look forward to a time when a large portion of the human race will obtain the moral and intellectual elevation which will enable them to live according to truths revealed by God and not by the false religious beliefs of men desiring power and authority over the people. Shalom.

       http://www.paganizi ngfaithofyeshua. freeservers. com/essenes_ the_story_ of_cx_origins. htm

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    • lady_caritas
      ... it ... to ... Baptist ... Heh. Neither is the treatment of his mother, Elizabeth. The author writes, John was begotten by means of a womb worn with
      Message 37 of 37 , Sep 9, 2006
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
        > I'm glad to hear that Layton didn't include TT *lol*. BTW, I just
        > thought I would also add an interesting note for the group (maybe
        > will come up in the Essene conversation as well) that in addition
        > the sects you mention are attacked the treatment of John the
        > is not very sympathetic either.

        Heh. Neither is the treatment of his mother, Elizabeth. The author
        writes, "John was begotten by means of a womb worn with age."


        > Less obvious, but possibly still significant....
        > "It is through water and fire that the whole place is purified -
        > visible by the visible, the hidden by the hidden. There are some
        > things hidden through those visible. There is water in water, there
        > is fire in chrism."
        > (side note.... considering the subject matter and the mention of
        > of the rituals mentioned in other valentinian texts, along with
        > scribal errors elsewhere in Philip, one could reasonably wonder if
        > the second use of the word "water" in this passage may not have
        > originally been "baptism")

        That's possible. Sure. Yet,... talking about "things hidden
        through those visible" preceding "water in water" compels me to draw
        an immediate association of hidden water through visible water. I
        don't know if that is any less meaningful than spelling it out.

        Since "chrism" is mentioned, it even might be expected to think of
        the water in terms of baptism. Chrism and water are mentioned as
        *both* being necessary for baptism elsewhere in GPh:

        "We are reborn by the holy spirit. And we are born by the anointed
        (Christ) through two things. We are anointed by the spirit. When we
        were born we were joined. No one can see himself in the water or in
        a mirror without light. Nor, again, can you see by the light without
        water or a mirror. For this reason it is necessary to baptize with
        two things – light and water. And light mean chrism."

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