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See D. Howlett, The Essenes and Christianity (1957); A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran (tr. 1961, repr. 1967); M. A. Larson, The Essene Heritage (1967); G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls (1978); P. R. Davies, Behind the Essenes: History and Ideology in the Dead Sea Scrolls (1987).
members of a social and religious movement in Judea during the late second and first centuries B.C. The Essenes were among the forerunners of Christianity. According to the classical authors Philo of Alexandria, Pliny the Elder, Josephus Flavius, and Hippolytus, they lived apart in communes, usually holding property in common and working and living collectively. Their teaching condemned war, slavery, and commerce, rejected blood sacrifices, and introduced a special series of ritual purifications. Some Essenes led celibate lives. The movement represented a passive protest by the masses of Judea against internal and external oppression. After the First Roman War (in Russian, the Judean War of 66–73) part of the sect joined with Judeo-Christian communities. A new source for the study of this group was provided in 1947 by the discovery of manuscripts from the Qumran Essene community in the Dead Sea area.
REFERENCESAmusin, I. D. Rukopisi Mertvogo moria. Moscow, 1960.
Amusin, I.-D. Teksty Kumrana. Moscow, 1971.
Kosmala, N, Hebräer-Essener-Christen. Leiden, 1959.
Wagner, S. Die Essener in der wissenschaftlichen Diskussion. Berlin’ 1960.
I. D. AMUSIN