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Was Jesus an Essene?

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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2018 at 22:13
You're just jealous because they made it that far, and you (and I) won't:P

But seriously, it was not until recently that the "literal" reading of the Bible came into vogue.  I can understand you getting hung up on passages in Genesis, most people starting at the beginning don't necessarily get any further.  We have Babylonian seal stones that depict a man, a woman, and a serpent, the flood story is in cuneiform sources.  No, those did not "literally" happen, but they do reflect the Babylonian, probably Sumerian and even earlier? cultures world view.
The rules in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy are more sophisticated versions of ancient codes like the Hammurabi Code.  Whereas, the Exodus probably did not happen that way, much of the historical figures in Judges, and Kings are demonstrated by archaeology.  There probably was a real Abram who got sick of the Babylonian gods, rule by committee, and set out on his own.  David and Solomon existed and so did the kings listed after them.  The Babylonian captivity happened and so did the Israelites return.
Much of the historical data has been confirmed by inscriptions and archaeology.  I would suggest that you not get snared by the miracle stories, when looking at the whole.  Now of course, such an account is full of all kinds of biases and slanted stories in all kinds of directions.  But, I would suggest that you don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2018 at 12:30
So do you think Jesus was an Essene? Why?
The root of all desires is the one desire: to come home, to be at peace. -Jean Klein
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2018 at 01:54
In my opinion, Jesus was _not_ an Essene, but he may have had that background and been building on it.  Just like Jesus was not really a follower of John the Baptist, but according to the gospels, used John as a "springboard" for his own teachings.
I feel that it is certain that Jesus knew about the Essenes, and that he knew more than just a superficial acquaintance.  He could have formerly been an Essene, but I think that that conclusion goes beyond the evidence.  The evidence does not contradict it, but it does not confirm it either.  At least the evidence that I have looked at so far, synoptic gospels, and Josephus' comments about the Essenes.  I have not tried to crunch the Dead Sea Scrolls, which is too much effort for too little potential reward.  Josephus calls the Essenes 'Pythagoreans.'  But looking at the synoptic gospels, Jesus is not a Pythagorean but may be playing off of, and against some of their sayings.  Sayings which admittedly, we are not sure were "Pythagorean," because a lot of stuff was later attributed to Pythagoras and/or the Pythagoreans long after their time.  

To say that Jesus was an Essene would be like saying, Spinoza was a Cartesian, or Marx was a Hegelian.  It may help one understand Spinoza if one knows Descartes, but Spinoza's mature writings don't require it.  It may help one understand Marx if one looks at Hegel and his dialectic, but it is not necessary.  It is just that some things will probably be less obscure if you understand where Marx got it, not that I am wishing Marx on anyone.  I think Marx is a mistake, on the other hand, we have to study our mistakes before we can learn from them.


Edited by franciscosan - 16 Feb 2018 at 02:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2018 at 14:28
http://essene.com/History/PythagorasAndNazareans.html

It doesn't make sense that Jesus would be a 'casual' Essene. No one was casual about becoming an an initiate. Maybe he exceeds the Essene's understanding and moves on to the Abraham/Moses level of mind.

Or maybe he never had to be taught anything spiritually, learned Judaism from an oral history.

If you are going to pick and choose what is "known" about Pythagoras, might as well throw out the lot. We don't know anything factual about Pythagoras. Consider what the Nazarene Essenes have in common with him.  
The root of all desires is the one desire: to come home, to be at peace. -Jean Klein
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Feb 2018 at 02:11
"casual" would not be my word choice.  To pull in a very different example, the Athenian playwright Aeschylus was accused of revealing the mysteries.  Aeschylus proved that he was not initiated into the mysteries and therefore could not reveal them in his plays.  Then all of a sudden the accuser became the accused for the accuser had to reveal the mysteries in order to accuse Aeschylus.  I think of Jesus as someone who was immersed in the flow of the culture, that he would have figured out teachings of the Essenes, not in the sense of factual knowledge, but just having the sense of where they were coming from. Of course, being at that level he could communicate with others on their level as well.  It is like if I was Tom Clancy (author of Hunt for Red October), submariners would be dying to talk to me, for I could tell them something about submarines that even they don't know.  They would assume that I (Tom Clancy) would know more about Submarines than I know and would be free in conversation.  

So I don't know what Jesus' relationship/connection to the Essenes would be, but I would think that he would blow them away with the level of his consciousness.  But, I also think that if he was connected to them, that would not necessarily show up in writings about him (the Gospels).  Remember that he was controversial to the point of being executed, if he was a friend of the Essenes he (or his followers) would not necessarily say so, lest they bring down the Romans on them.

We know a lot about Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, it is just that because of a few miracle stories, the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.  A portion of those stories are impossible, I mean _logically_ impossible.  Pythagoras was said to cure a man of murderous rage by playing the lyre and singing, in Tauromenium.  Problem is, Tauromenium wasn't founded until 150 years after Pythagoras.  Stories like that, could be it got garbled in transmission, but I don't think so.  I think that details tell anyone sharp that the story is, let us say, a 'colorful' one.  Other stories having meanings as far as Southern Italian history, that Pythagoras converted the "Daunian" bear (Daunian tribesmen), or destroyed a serpent in Lucania (Sybaris) and a small one in Etruria (the Etruscan Roman kingship.)

Remember that Pythagoras is also around the time of the beginning of history.  So not having a firm (or any) grasp of history, they would probably talk figuratively about enemies being serpents, or threatening barbarians being bears.  Pythagoras is about 532 BC, Herodotus "the father of History" settled in Thurium after it was founded, it was founded in 443 BC in Southern Italy.  There are a few people significant for the development of history before Herodotus, but not many.
But we know a lot more about Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, then we think we know.  However, for a lot of things, we are uncertain.  We don't, in the famous words of that philosopher Donald Rumsfeld, "know that we know."  We have a lot of information, but don't know what to make of it.


Edited by franciscosan - 18 Feb 2018 at 02:44
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