In theory, some influence might have been expected, since the subgroup of Essenes at Qumran in the Judean desert lived from the second century BC until AD 68, while Jesus ministered from AD 28 to 30. But there is no evidence of contact between the two. Moreover, religiously speaking, they belonged to two different planets.
Yet, in terms of religious vision and behavior, there are many similarities:
- Their religious vision is marked by an eschatology (the approach of the last days) that includes a present element (already begun) and a future element (not yet, but soon);
- Both emphasize the promise of the Lord that will be fulfilled by his Messiah as announced by the prophet Isaiah: to free the captives, to give sight to the blind, to straighten the stooped, to heal the wounded, to raise the dead and to proclaim the good news to the poor;
- Jesus rejects divorce as the Qumranites will have a negative perception of divorce, except in certain special circumstances;
- Both Jesus and the Essenes disapproved of the multiplication of oaths and their frivolous use, and even more so, the pernicious use of certain oaths or vows to avoid helping others.
But the points of divergence outweigh in number. We can mention some of them:
Did Jesus have contact with the Samaritans?
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