The Essenes

Message
Author
GhostRider
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:32 pm
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Contact:

The Essenes

#1 Postby GhostRider » Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:05 pm

My questions are simple. Too what extent did the Essenes influence Gnostic teachings and are the Essenes just an extension of the Gnostic faith?



P.S.~ I know that Gnosticism is not one "overall" faith and that it represents many paths to ultimate knowledge, however, I use the term Gnostic in these questions of mine to simplify the search for the answer to my questions.

Marion
Posts: 381
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 8:41 pm
Location: Nepal

#2 Postby Marion » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:40 pm

Dear Ghostrider

To my under standing the Essences were a very puritanical sect. I seems as if they had some very interesting mystical teachings from what is left of their scriptures. However, to my knowledge the Sophian Lineage does not share much in common with the Essenes, the Sophian Lineage being a very holistic tradition, or what may be said to be a Tantra of the West. So instead of denying life and the body, we seek to uplift all into the Spirit and Truth of the Holy One. So, actually, these are two very different traditions, though both do fall under the category "Gnostic".

I hope this answered your question my friend!

Blessings and Shalom,

Marion

GhostRider
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:32 pm
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Contact:

#3 Postby GhostRider » Wed May 02, 2007 2:18 pm

Thanks, it did help a bit.

Tau Malachi
Site Admin
Posts: 5696
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Grass Valley, Ca.

Essenes

#4 Postby Tau Malachi » Thu May 03, 2007 11:24 am

Greetings!

The Essenes are not a subject we discuss much as our central focus is Christian Gnosticism, Gnosticism being “specialty,” if you will. The Essenes are said to have been a radical Jewish sect that existed in the first century, during the life of John the Baptist and Master Yeshua, and it is likely that both were familiar with the Essenes and their teachings, having some contact with them. Although some modern spiritual schools of an alternative persuasion propose that John and Yeshua were initiates and teachers from among the Essenes, that is not a view held among Sophians – while perhaps having some influence from the Essenes, John and Yeshua are viewed as initiating a distinct and independent spiritual movement from that of the Essenes.

As Sister Marion pointed out, they were noted for their belief in maintaining a state of ritual purity. They apparently believed the end times were near and taught a radical form of spiritual Judaism based upon that view, and they rejected the temple in Jerusalem that was built by King Herod and its culture, which they saw as a corruption of true Judaism; rather, they believed in a pure Jewish people, the chosen of God, who ought to live separate and apart from gentiles, and they believed in a very strict code of discipline (See “The Manual of Discipline” from the Dead Sea Scrolls). Essentially, in their view, those Jewish people who lived according to their teachings, which they viewed as “true Judaism,” and who held themselves to a state of purity as “sons of Light,” would be delivered by the power of God in the end of days, established as the elect according to God’s promise. In a manner of speaking, they were “ultra-orthodox Jews” of their day.

If scholars are correct and the community at Qumran that recorded what has come to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were the Essenes, then the Dead Sea Scrolls are a fairly good reflection of the Essenes views and beliefs. They represent what may be called an “apocalyptic” sect of Judaism, profoundly patriarchal, as would be expected of those times, viewing individuals outside of their community as “sons of Darkness.”

According to the texts found in a cave at the Dead Sea they had a distinct hierarchy of elders that does bear a resemblance of the early Christian church, twelve elders who oversee the community, with three superiors above them.

There may well be a resemblance between the Essenes and some Gnostic schools, reflecting some common influences in thought; however, unlike the Essenes, schools of Gnosticism extended beyond Judaism and included non-Jews among their members and initiates. (Along with schools of Christian Gnosticism there are also pagan Gnostic schools.)

As I share in Living Gnosis, Gnosticism has a pre-Christian origin, developing from trends of thought in Jewish mysticism and pagan mystery traditions; thus one finds many different influences integrated into the diverse schools of Christian Gnosticism that emerged from the “Jesus movement.” Basically speaking, the Jesus movement and the schools of thought emerging from it, such as schools of Christian Gnosticism, was distinct from the Essenes movement and endured beyond it.

If scholars are correct and the Essenes were the community at Qumran, they came to their end by the hand of the Romans when the Jewish rebellion was put down in the later period of the first century. Thus, in a manner of speaking, they witnessed the “apocalypse” of which they spoke, but the outcome proved very different than their expectations.

In terms of the Sophian Gnostic tradition it is what may be called a Jewish Christian Gnosticism, as it has a strong roots and influences of Jewish mysticism, Merkavah Mysticism and Kabbalah – essentially it is a Christian Kabbalah. If Sophians have anything in common with the Essenes it would be some of the sacred texts we draw upon, as like the Essenes we draw upon ancient Jewish texts and have developed our own interpretation of their meaning. However, unlike the Essenes, we have no concern with an outward or physical state of purity, but rather we focus upon the development of the interior spiritual life that empowers us to transform all aspects of life into a vehicle of realization. Thus, as Sister Marion pointed out, we do not tend to retreat from the world, but teach a *Way of Transformation*, akin to Tantra Yogas of the Eastern schools of wisdom.

As I mention above, for insight into the Essenes I suggest readying and studying the texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls – they prove very interesting and put into proper context schools of thought inspired by speculations about the Essenes before their find.

Blessings & shalom!
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia


Return to “Welcome, Introductions & General Questions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest