Friday, October 27, 2006

Making Essene

From the New Testament we know about different Jewish groups in Jesus' day: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots. Another group, not mentioned in the New Testament, was the Essenes.

The ancient Jewish historian Josephus tells us that the Essenes were one of the four main Jewish groups of his day. He gives us an account of the Essenes' meals:

“…when they again assemble in one place and, after girding their loins with linen clothes, bathe their bodies in cold water. After this purification, they assemble in a private apartment which none of the uninitiated is permitted to enter; pure now themselves, they repair to the refectory, as to some sacred shrine. When they have taken their seats in silence, the baker serves out the loaves to them in order, and the cook sets before each one plate with a single course. Before meat the priest says a grace, and none partake until after the prayer.” [Jewish Wars 2:129-31]

1 comment:

jswranch said...

I believe it was the History Channel that did a neat special on them. They covered a dig on an Essene outpost. Everything shows what Josephus said. Another good theory was that John the Baptist was an Essene that got kicked out, as being booted was not too difficult in such cults. Not allowed to re-enter Jerusalem or other city, he was forced to eat off the land as part of his oaths as an Essene.