Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins

New Light on Ancient Texts and Communities

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Simon J. Joseph
  • Waco, TX: 
    Baylor University Press
    , April
     2018.
     240 pages.
     $39.95.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9781481307765.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Aryeh Amihay forthcoming.

Description

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves near Qumran in 1947 sparked near endless speculation about the possible connections between the Essenes—purportedly the inhabitants of the settlement—and the birth, nature, and growth of early Christianity. Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins sheds new light on this old question by reexamining the complex relationships among Qumran, the historical Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian origins within first-century Palestinian Judaism.

Author Simon J. Joseph’s careful examination of a number of distinctive passages in the Jesus tradition in light of Qumran-Essene texts focuses on major points of contact between the Qumran-Essene community and early Christianity in four areas of belief and practice: covenant identity, messianism, eschatology, and halakhah (legal interpretation), placing the weight of his argument for continuity and discontinuity on the halakhic topics of divorce, Sabbath, sacrifice, celibacy, and violence.

Joseph focuses on the historical, cultural, chronological, and theological correspondences as convergence. This not only illuminates the historical Jesus’ teachings as distinctive, developing and extending earlier Jewish ethical and halakhic thought, it also clarifies the emergence of early Christianity in relationship to Palestinian Essenism. By bringing this holistic analysis of the evidence to bear, Joseph adds a powerful and insightful voice to the decades-long debate surrounding the Essenes and Christianity.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Simon J. Joseph teaches in the Department of Religion at California Lutheran University. He is the author of Jesus, Q, and the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Judaic Approach to QThe Nonviolent Messiah: Jesus, Q, and the Enochic Tradition, and Jesus and the Temple: The Crucifixion in Its Jewish Context. Dr. Joseph is also an elected member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS).

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