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Re: Some more Essene Research FYI

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  • imdarkchylde
    Blessings and wingwhispers!! Which text? Apoc. of John? Hmm, I seem to remember in this very group something about that text being dualistic and not aligned
    Message 1 of 37 , Sep 7, 2006
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      Blessings and wingwhispers!!

      Which text? Apoc. of John? Hmm, I seem to remember in this very
      group something about that text being dualistic and not aligned with
      the Sethian forms, but I can look that up later. As for whom had
      considered it an Essene text, I provided the website, but I'll be
      buggered if I can find the other one that I saw that on. Neither
      website was of a historical nature, however. I just thought it was
      interesting that the conception was so.
      And I have always had the 'hang of' objectivity, and I don't think I
      ever said that there weren't any differences in the Essene beliefs
      and the 'Gnostic' beliefs. I seek the common thread that runs
      through many beliefs, for I think therein lies the truth. I find
      threads that can link Gnosticism with many faiths if they interperted
      simple truths as the Gnostics did/do. But his is purely my opinion,
      I am not making any claims of history.
      As for the Hebrews 11:38 reference, you are absolutely right. I
      didn't catch that one.
      As for the #60 reference, they did not site a text source for the
      Essene belief, so it is hard to tell without deeper study. May get
      back to you on that one.
      I didn't mean to equate anything, and if I used that term I used it
      badly as that was never my intention- my intention was to find
      commonalities, similar structures for belief which my research into
      many religions, the ancients notwithstanding, again that common
      And yes, the cosmology is quite different, and I was aware of that
      going into this. My apologies for not stating that.
      I havent' had a chance to peruse the Essene texts for themselves yet,
      and when I have I will probably have more information to shape (and
      change) the ideas I have now.
      And I had to go with a comparison of Essene and Christian as there
      was no Gnostic and Essene comparisions available. Once I have
      satisfied myself to consider writing about it maybe I will have one
      of my own.
      And I will graciously ignore the comment about what I am open to. I
      simply will consider the source.
      I am still reading and researching.
      Love and inner peas

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@...> wrote:
      > Hey all! Looks like we all took advantage of the long weekend so
      > that the conversation slowed. That is good, so I don't have to feel
      > so bad about taking to slong to get back into the swing of things.
      > There are some new posts that look like they could hold some
      > interesting topics. First I better get back to this one though...
      > Darkchylde
      > >>>Hmm. Sethians. Never thought of that. Opens up a new avenue of
      > research, too. Thanx!<<<
      > OH! I guess I took for granted that we all already knew the text is
      > almost unanimously considered a "Sethian" text by scholars but I
      > should not have. Even if you already knew it I should try to
      > remember to include such things for all those people here who are
      > new to the subject. My bad. From the academic categorization I am
      > not aware of a single person who considers the text "Essene", but
      > that doesn't mean we can't explore possible connections.
      > >>>Actually found what seems to be a fairly credible source for
      > Essene 'beliefs' and I thought youu might notice that while many of
      > them take an opposing stance than that of the gnostics there are
      > similar stances on some issues as that of the ancient gnostics. I
      > have also learned theirs was an oral tradition as well, for the
      > better part. Secret knowledge was a preoccupation with the Essenes.
      > Here is what I copied:<<<
      > Now this is more like it. While I don't think I have the right to
      > question the credibility of the beliefs of the group that made this
      > webpage, I do have to say I am less convinced of the historicity
      > than maybe you are. However, I do think that this side by side
      > comparison can be very useful for our conversation. It is a good
      > to deal with the subject in a truly constructive way that allows
      > both positive and negative critical observation. I think you are
      > getting the hang of this ;)
      > I am going to leave the set of comparisons at the end of the page
      > rather than cutting them and dealing with them seperately.
      > To start with, I agree that there are indeed many Christian and
      > Essene parallels. Many of them also extend into wider Jewish
      > of the time. For instance, Rabbi Akiba (who was not an Essene)
      > stated a version of the so called "Golden Rule" just as Jesus did.
      > think for the sake of specific comparison we probably have to
      > exclude those aspects that were part of wider Jewish thought, or
      > we demonstrate is that both movements had similar influence and
      > origin (Jewish)... which we already know anyway.
      > I think we also have to discard quotes taken out of context. For
      > instance, #4 quotes Hebrews 11:38, which actually is talking about
      > the trials of Isrealites of the Old Testement and what they
      > sacrificed without actually gaining Christ. It is not talking about
      > a methodological practice (in fact, that particular misquote is bad
      > enough that we could question the ethical nature of even attempting
      > it). Same goes for some like #60, since according to Josephus the
      > primary order of Essenes did not accept women (though he does say
      > there are other groups called "Essenes", or maybe we should
      > say "essenes" who did accept them).
      > Still, even after removing these parts I still agree that there are
      > some similarities between some early Christians and what many
      > believe may have been practiced by the Essenes. For instance, some
      > things that were not generally part of Jewish thinking.... Baptism
      > #6 (though I don't know how well that has been established for the
      > Essenes. One must remember that ablution in the "mikvah" was and is
      > a common Jewish practice that has been confused with Baptism, but
      > there are some important differences.), the focus on poverty and
      > communal property, etc..
      > While my first thought in dealing with the subject of the
      > and the Essenes was to go from this point to say we should also
      > point out the differences, I think more importantly we have to move
      > into the realm of Gnostic thinking. After all, even if we could
      > the Essenes with the Christians (let alone EQUATE the two as you
      > suggested), it doesn't do anything for our comparison with
      > Gnosticism. Instead of listing differences between the Essenes and
      > Christians, let me list some of the differences between the Essenes
      > and the Gnostics. I do understand that you already stated that you
      > accept that there are some differences when you said.... "I thought
      > youu might notice that while many of them take an opposing stance
      > than that of the gnostics" (and since my original objection was to
      > equation, not comparison, I thank you for the fact that you
      > lightened your stance to a more critical one), so at this point I
      > will take the easy route but ammend it if you ask me to. What I
      > is, the most obvious differences I think I need not mention
      > passages in this case because I believe everyone here knows them,
      > BUT, if anyone is not sure I will quote in depth and provide
      > passage numbers... but these are so core to the definition
      > of "Gnostic" that we simply can't leave them out of the
      > 1) I have seen no evidence that the Essenes had the cosmology used
      > by the Gnostics, they did not seem to talk about the seperation of
      > the Aeons from the Archons, and the "mystery" nature of the
      > spiritual source.
      > 2) Though I mentioned that they seem to have some Hellenization (in
      > spite of their supposed rejection of same said Hellenization), I am
      > not aware of any demonstration of a true syncratic impatus in the
      > Essenes by any historical scholar. Instead it seems something they
      > intended to react against (but I am open to correction of course)
      > 3) I have not seen anything in descriptions of the Essenes, or the
      > writings that some believe to be connected to them, that imply a
      > notion of "Gnosis" in the Gnostic sense of the word.
      > So to boil that down; there are some important problems with the
      > list presented on this website, but I still think it is a fair
      > to accept some commonalities between Christianity and various forms
      > of Judism... including the Essenes. These commonalities don't
      > cross over into Gnostic thinking, though, so I think we are still
      > left with the common debate over Christian vs Gnostic origins, and
      > this creates a very big problem for talking about "Jesus" as both
      > a "Gnostic" and an "Essene".
      > BTW, Darkchylde, I have avoided any direct historical observation
      > about sources and implications presented on the wider site you
      > presented because I don't know if it helps our conversation (and I
      > feel you are not open to it anyway). However, if anyone here does
      > want that I am willing to point out a couple of the more obvious
      > flags we can find in this site.
      > PMCV
      > List of Essene and Christian Parallels and Commonalties
      > 1. The Essenes believed and taught it was their first duty to seek
      > the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Philo).
      > Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all else
      > shall be added (Mt 6:33; Luke 12:31).
      > 2. They abjured all amusements, all elegances, and all pleasures of
      > the senses (Philo).
      > Forsake the world and the things thereof.
      > 3. They lay up nothing on earth, but fix their minds solely on
      > (the kingdom of God).
      > Lay not up treasures on earth. (Mt 6:19)
      > 4. They, having laid aside all the anxieties of life and leaving
      > society, make their residence in solitary wilds and in gardens
      > (Philo).
      > They wander in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens, and in caves
      > of the earth (Heb 11:38).
      > 5. They neither buy nor sell among themselves, but give of what they
      > have to him that wanteth (Josephus).
      > And parted them (their goods) to all men as every man had need (Acts
      > 2:45).
      > 6. They utilized baptism, not animal sacrifice, as a mode of
      > repentance for the remission of sins.
      > And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism
      > of repentance for the remission of sins; (Luke 3:3)
      > 7. They forsook father, mother, brothers and sisters, houses and
      > lands, for their religion (Eusebius quoting Philo).
      > Whosoever forsaketh not father and mother, houses and lands, cannot
      > be my disciples. (Luke 14:26, 33)
      > 8. They being sometimes called monks was owing to their abstraction
      > from the world (Eusebius).
      > They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John
      > 17:16).
      > 9. They were called Ascetics because of their rigid discipline,
      > prayers, fasting, self-mortification, as they made themselves
      > (remained chaste).
      > There be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom
      > of heaven's sake. (Mt 19:12)
      > 10.They maintained a perfect community of goods, and an equality of
      > external rank.
      > Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant (Mt
      > 20:27).
      > 11. They had all things in common and appointed one of their number
      > to manage the common bag.
      > And had all things in common (Acts 2:44; Acts 4:32).
      > 12.They detested all ornamental dress and considered it vanity of
      > heart.
      > Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the
      > hair, and of wearing of gold, and putting on of apparel (1 Peter
      > 3:3).
      > 13. They would call no man master.
      > Be not called Rabbi, for one is your Master (Mt 23:8).
      > 14. They said the Creator made all mankind equal.
      > God hath made of one blood all them that dwell upon the earth.
      > 15. They renounced oaths, saying, He who cannot be believed with out
      > swearing is condemned already.
      > But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven,
      > neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be
      > yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. (James 5:12)
      > 16. They would not eat anything which had blood in it, or meat which
      > had been offered to idols. Their food was hyssop, and bread, and
      > salt; and water their only drink.
      > That ye abstain from meat offered to idols, and from blood (Acts
      > 15:29).
      > 17. They took nothing with them, neither meat or drink, nor anything
      > necessary for the wants of the body.
      > Take nothing for your journey; neither staves nor scrip; neither
      > bread, neither money, neither have two coats apiece.
      > 18. They expounded the literal sense of the Holy Scriptures by
      > allegory. ( Symbolic representation)
      > Which things are an allegory. (Gal 4:24.)
      > 19. They abjured the pleasures of the body, not desiring mortal
      > offspring, and they renounced marriage, believing it to be
      > detrimental to a holy life.
      > They that shall be counted worthy of that world and the resurrection
      > neither marry nor are given in marriage. (Mt 22:30, Luke 20:35) The
      > unmarried careth for the things of the Lord (1 Cor 7:32).
      > 20. They strove to disengage their minds entirely from the world.
      > If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1
      > John 2:15)
      > 21. They provide not for future subsistence, devoting themselves to
      > the Lord.
      > Take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat and drink. (Matt
      > 6:34)
      > 22. They were ashamed to give the body sustenance, Regarding it as a
      > prison.
      > Who shall change our vile bodies? (Phil 3:21).
      > 23. They spent nearly all their time in silent meditation and inward
      > prayer.
      > Men ought always to pray. (Luke 18:1). Pray without ceasing (1 Thess
      > 5:17).
      > 24. They vowed perpetual chastity and poverty, believing the poor
      > were the Lord's favorites.
      > Blessed be ye poor (Luke 6:20). Hath not God chosen the poor? (James
      > 2:5).
      > 25. They devoted themselves entirely to contemplation in divine
      > things.
      > Mediate upon these (divine) things; give thyself wholly to them (1
      > Tim 4:15).
      > 26. They fasted often, sometimes tasting food but once in three or
      > even six days.
      > Christ's disciples fasted often. Fasting is mentioned over fifty
      > times in the A.V. (2 Cor 11:27; 5:34).
      > 27. They offered no sacrifices, believing that a serious and devout
      > soul was most acceptable.
      > There is no more offering for sin (Heb 10:18).
      > 28. They believed in and practiced baptizing the (spiritually) dead.
      > Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead (1 Cor
      > 15:29).
      > 29. They gave a mystical sense to the Scriptures, disregarding the
      > letter.
      > The letter killeth, but the spirit maketh alive (1 Cor 3:6).
      > 30. They had many mysteries in their religion which they were sworn
      > to keep secret.
      > To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom; to them it
      > is not given (Mt 13:11). Great is the mystery of godliness. (1 Tim
      > 3:16)
      > 31. They taught by metaphors, symbols, and parables as not to reveal
      > their inner teachings.
      > Without a parable spake he not unto them. (Mt 13:34)
      > 32. They had in their churches, bishops, elders, deacons, and
      > priests.
      > Ordain elders in every church (Acts 14:23). Deacons (1 Tim 3:1).
      > 33. They would often sing psalms when assembled together.
      > Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms (Col 3:16).
      > 34. They healed and cured the minds and bodies of those who joined
      > them.
      > Healing all manner of sickness (Mt 4:23).
      > 35. They practiced certain ceremonial purifications by water.
      > The accomplishment of the days of purification (Acts 21:26).
      > 36. They were clothed in white garments.
      > Shall be clothed in white garments (Rev 3:4).
      > 37. They disbelieved in the resurrection of the external body.
      > It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (1 Cor
      > 15:44).
      > 38. They were the only sort of men who lived without money and
      > without women (Pliny).
      > The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10). Christ's
      > disciples traveled without money or scrip and eschew the lusts of
      > flesh.
      > 39. They practiced the extremist charity to the poor.
      > Bestow all thy goods to feed the poor (1 Cor 13:3).
      > 40. They were skillful in interpreting dreams, and in foretelling
      > future events.
      > Your sons and daughters shall prophesy and your old men shall dream
      > dreams. (Acts 2:17).
      > 41. They believed in a paradise, and in a place of never- ending
      > lamentations.
      > Life everlasting (Gal 8:8). Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth
      > (Mt 13:42).
      > 42. They affirmed, says Josephus, that God foreordained all the
      > events of human life.
      > Foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter).
      > 43. They believed in Mediators between God and the souls of men.
      > One Mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:5).
      > 44. They practiced the pantomimic representation of the death,
      > burial, and resurrection of God -Christ the Spirit.
      > With respect to the death, burial, resurrection of Christ, see 1 Cor
      > 15:4.
      > 45. They inculcated the forgiveness of injuries.
      > Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
      > 46. They disapproved of war between brothers.
      > If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight (John
      > 18:36).
      > 47. They inculcated obedience to magistrates, and to the civil
      > authorities.
      > Obey them which have the rule over you (Heb 13:17; 26:65).
      > 48. They retired within themselves to receive interior revelations
      > divine truth.
      > Every one of you hath a revelation (1 Cor 14:26).
      > 49. They were scrupulous in speaking the truth.
      > Speaking all things in truth (2 Cor 7:14).
      > 50. They perform many wonderful miracles.
      > Many texts teach us that Christ and his apostles did the same.
      > 51. They put all members on the same level, forbidding the exercise
      > of authority of one over another.
      > Christ did the same (Mt 20:25; Mk 9:35).
      > 52. They laid the greatest stress on being meek and lowly in spirit.
      > Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Mt 5:5;
      > 9:28)
      > 53. They commended the poor in spirit, those who hunger and thirst
      > after righteousness, and the merciful, and the pure in heart.
      > For proof that Christ did the same, see Mt.
      > 54. They commended the peacemakers.
      > Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matt 5:9)
      > 55. They performed cures, as signs and proof of their faith.
      > Christ's disciples were to cast out devils, heal the sick, and raise
      > the dead as signs and proof of their faith (Mk 16:17).
      > 56. They sacrificed the lusts of the flesh to gain spiritual
      > happiness.
      > You abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11).
      > 57. They broke bread as a ritual.
      > He (Jesus) took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it (Luke 22:19).
      > 58. They were wont to sell their possessions and their substance,
      > divide among all according as any one had need so that there was not
      > one among them in want, even as it is related in the Acts of the
      > Apostles (Eusebius).
      > For whoever, of Christ's disciples, were owners of estates or
      > sold them, and brought the price thereof, and laid them at the
      > apostles' feet, and distribution was made as every one had need. So
      > Philo relates things exactly similar of the Essenes.
      > Neither was their any among them that lacked, for as many as were
      > possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the price of
      > things that were sold (Acts 4:34).
      > 59. They enjoined, Doing unto others as you would have them do unto
      > you.
      > The Confucian golden rule, as taught by Christ.
      > 60. They considered (all) men and women to be equal.
      > There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
      > is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal
      > 3:28)
      > 61. They enjoined the loving of enemies (Philo).
      > Love your enemies. (Matt 5:44, Luke 6:27)
      > -------------------------------------------------------
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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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