Jesus and the Essenes: An Esoteric History By Simon J. Joseph, November 2018
By James Tabor, DECEMBER 12, 2020. One of the more intriguing of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a fragment now titled “Messianic Apocalypse” (4Q521).
In the 1991 portion of the video below Tabor shows an Isaiah Scroll fragment and compares it to Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 53:11 and 61 to show that the “scriptures” at that time (as when Paul refers to the scriptures) include words like “the Light”. But, the KJV and other translations did not so the sentence does not make much sense. Now the word “light” is included in the recent translations.
The Light is a common saying in the DSS. See the talk by Dr. Charlesworth cited below.
Parallels between Jesus and the DSS
From Tabor here.
Line 11 of this text also contains another highly striking feature. Indeed, it appears to be the closest and most direct linguistic parallel to a New Testament text that we have yet discovered. The line reads:
For he will heal the wounded, resurrect the dead, and proclaim glad tiding to the poor.
In both Matthew and Luke, we read of a deputation that John the Baptist sends to Jesus while John is imprisoned. John’s disciples ask Jesus, “Are you the coming one, or do we look for another?” The story is thus tightly framed around the question of messianic identity: what will the signs of the true Messiah be? Jesus answers:
“Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the glad tiding preached to them.”
(Luke 7:22-23 and Matthew 11:4-5).
From Tabor’s Youtube Video “My FINAL University Class: Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls with Dr. Charlesworth“. Dr. Charlesworth said the following which was taken from the Youtube transcript.
(Note – Paragraphs and bold text are mine as well as some periods and capitalization.)
I have no doubt that Jesus was influenced by the Dead Sea Scrolls. My first passage is the kind of statement by Jesus you’ll find it in Matthew 12:11. He says what man of you if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath will not lay hold of it and lift it out? I talked to Jews about it and they said what a stupid statement. I said you know it may not be a stupid statement if there is a Jewish group that says you can’t do anything on the Sabbath.
What the Jews tell me in Jerusalem and throughout the world, there is no idea, there is no idea like that anywhere in Judaism. I said could I read to you from the Damascus document. It’s not in rabbinics [they say]. You got that right! There are a lot of writings, over a thousand, that contain images and ideas we didn’t know Jews knew. We know Jesus knew this idea the Sabbath is not just for the animals it’s not just for God it’s for all and what one of you would have a dog fall into a well and not help it out. You would say well I don’t want that religion. Listen to this this is in the Damascus document “let no man deliver the young of an animal in the Sabbath day and if it falls into a pit let him not raise it on the Sabbath”.
My gosh, clearly Jesus is referring to it there he is he’s in Galilee and he’s quiet on Shabbat Sabbath and he’s trying to pray and meditate and he hears the goat and it’s dying, it’s dying, it’s, it’s in a well and Jesus says how can I pray how can I contemplate if someone is letting it and he says what is that and I don’t know which disciple, or may have been a woman, maybe Mary Magdalene said, Jesus that’s the Essene quarter and they will do nothing in fact we have evidence they will not even help a man out of a pit that is a work well that’s not God’s will and Jesus represents it did Jesus know this yes did he speak against it yes and it’s only in Matthew and I’m just very curious Matthew becomes a very fascinating book uh of literature.
Now I want to read another Passage I have it here for us even the hairs of your head are numbered that means it’s a passive—that if you find a passive without an active subject you know it’s God—so but even the hairs of your head are numbered by God. Okay, that’s kind of odd but guess what, in the Damascus document, the same document we read, the priest shall order and they will shave the head but the skull that shall not shave that is in order that the priest may count the dead and living hair. That is astounding. Does Jesus know this tradition that priests would count the hairs of the head to find out why someone was sick. Not a recommendation for the sicknesses we have in the world today. So, I think Jesus knew that one now that’s just negatively?
If we look at it positively Jesus says become sons of Light. Well, wait a minute, wait a minute, where did he get that term? It was developed by the Essenes. There are two types of humans, the Benny Ore and the Benny Hoshek; the sons of Light and the sons of Darkness that was The Core teaching at Qumran. So, Jesus said be sons of Light. Well, here I can be certain because I know that maybe here and there you’ll find something but then I read that phrase Sons of Light. But, I’m suspicious; maybe that’s also an influence.
He praised his celibacy—the only celibate group—that’s Matthew 19:12—the only celibate group are the Essenes. Now, how could they do that given the first commandment you think? You have it be fruitful and multiply—that’s the first commandment. How can you break the first commandment? If all the Jews stop having children you know, wow, so you do have that issue and no divorce in Matthew we can go on and on.