Essene Academy of Religion, Theology and History

 

COURSE 3 - The Dead Sea Scrolls

 

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Vero Essene Yahad

Dr. Jackson Snyder

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Name the texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls that you consider most significant for historical, religious or cultural value. Just 'sectarian ' documents please.

Habakkuk Pesher, Temple Scroll, and the Damascus Document.

 

Please describe in some detail conventional Essenes, lifestyles, attitudes, practices, etc.

They rejected the use of money. Both out of not wanting use anything with Roman images on it, and also because they were a more communistic society. They had more of a "what's yours is mine, and what's mine is yours" mentality. They did not marry for the most part. It did differ somewhat from location to location though. It took a very long time (3 years) to become a member in each community. They want to make sure that you were clean from all polluted ways and also able to abide by the Yahad rules well. They were a very non aggressive society.

 

What are some of the common practices, beliefs and values of the Conventional Essenes of the Way and the Nazarenes of the Way in Acts.

I picture them being more like Buddhist monks in lifestyle and temperament. They had 12 leaders and 3 priests. It's not all clear if the 3 priests were included in the 12 leaders, or were additional. They were firm believers in the mikvah. Some, like Ya'aqov "The Just" did this daily in order to stay ritually pure. They would not eat at the same table, or break bread with those considered "unclean" and therefore not of the faith or in Covenant. They believed in circumcision as a sign of being in Covenant. They believed that those new to the faith should learn Torah and be obedient to YHWH's instructions for a way of life.

 

What were some of the beliefs and practices of what the recordings call

Unconventional Essenes, especially as described in Hippolytus.

They were zealots and much more aggressive than the conventional Essenes. They were preparing for an apocalyptic war. They had training camps set up out in the wilderness to train for such an event. They believed in the bodily resurrection. They would also marry, but for the purpose of children only. Many times, if they could afford it, they would live separately from their families.

 

There is a popular school of Christian origins that teaches that the inhabitants of Qumran (Essenes, so-called) and the Nazarenes, Ebionites and Zealots were all the same. Do you agree or disagree? Why? (This is a little unfair because the next lesson deals largely with this topic.)

In one regard, yes I do agree. In that, they were all after obedience to the Torah. They just went about it in vastly different ways.

 

We have a Torah. Why do we need a community rule?

It was their foundational document. It covered more of the day to day living rules in order to have a well run Yahad. It was also made to change with the times and

situations. The Torah was not.

 

EXTRA: Please place these three in chronological order: Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Onias.

Abraham, Joseph, Moses and then Onias.

 

 

 

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