BET EMET MINISTRIES

Hebrew For "The House Of Truth"

Craig M. Lyons Ms.D., D.D., M.Div.

bennoah1@verizon.net

WERE THE ESSENES THE FORERUNNERS OF THE GNOSTIC CHRISTIANS?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered at a place known today as Qumran (pronounced koomrahn), an Arabic name without any certain meaning.

Answer for yourself: What is the significance of Qumran and why did the Essenes make this their "home"?

Answer for yourself: Did Qumran hold memories of Israel's previous "salvations" by God in their historic past? You bet it did! Let me explain.

It is an ancient site, one of the "cities of the wilderness" mentioned in the Book of Joshua. Let us never forget that the name "Joshua" in Hebrew means "Jehovah/Yahweh is Salvation" to begin with. John Allegro believes that the mysterious people of the Scrolls purposely came to locate their community upon an earlier Israelite settlement of biblical prominence known once as the city of Secacah (John Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth, New York, Prometheus Books, 1984, p. 63-64). A few miles to the north of the present Qumran is the ancient site of Jericho and of the fords where Joshua, son of Nun, led the people of Israel across the river Jordan where the water parted, repeating after a fashion the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea initiated by Moses. As the Red Sea had parted for Moses, so the Jordan stopped in its flow for Joshua in order to permit the crossing of the Jews-at least so all believers held. The region at and around Qumran was hallowed by a sacred past. It was a place where miracles happened, where the God of Israel intervened in the course of nature to show His favor to the children of His covenant.

Answer for yourself: What other events are connected with Qumran that circulated in the minds of the Jews and that possibly played a role in their later "theologies"?

Divine miracles are not the only events whereby this region is remembered. Qumran is also noted for Divine judgment! The plain clearly visible from Qumran is the very one where, under a dreadful hail of fire and brimstone, the unhappy populace of Sodom and Gomorrah found their last, sad resting place. Even more significantly, the Rift Valley in the immediate vicinity of Qumran was traditionally believed to contain the Abyss of Judgement wherein the rebel angels with their chief, Azazel, were cast by God in order to languish until the day of the final judgment. Such apocryphal books as those of Enoch and Jubilees (both of which were favorite reading of the Essenes of Qumran) outline an entire dark myth dealing with Azazel and his angelic host, who intermarried with humans and became the forebears of a race mighty in knowledge and magical skills. These beings, at times called Watchers and Rephaim (related to the Hebrew verb rapha, to heal), were regarded by at least some of the People of the Scrolls as the spiritual ancestors of their own tradition, which was popularly called Essene, related to healers and physicians.

Answer for yourself: Where do we find our first clue that the Essenes are the spiritual forefathers of the later Gnostic Christians?

The key is these "Watchers" and "Rephaim". The name refers to a race of semi-divine heroes, giants, who once lived in Canaan. These were the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men (Gen. 6:4). They are commonly known as an ancient race of giants, whose land was promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:20). They lived in Ashteroth Karnaim (Genesis 14:5) and later, to the east of the Jordan in Bashan, and were associated with the Perizites and the Hivites. Part of the lands of the Rephaim was given to the descendants of Lot (Deuteronomy 2:20). Og, the giant reputed to be over ten feet (3m) tall, was said to be one of the survivors of the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 3:11), and lived in Rabbah in Ammon (now the capital of Jordan). It is believed that they originated as the offspring of the Elohim and their creation "homo sapiens" from "homo erectus". That is a story in itself; believe me and there is solid evidence that this happened. But that is a study for another day.

What is important for our current study is that sometime after the Essenes, the Gnostics of Nag Hammadi also viewed themselves as spiritual kin of both the rebellious inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and, at least by implication, of the Watchers/Rephaim as well. The last two comments should have really gotten our attention. The mention of "giants" and "Elohim's offspring" and the rebellion of them as well as the judgment of such rebellious ones previously at Sodom and Gomorrah should speak to us that the very locale of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and with it the headquarters of the most famous Essene community known, is a picture of an long existing rebellious tradition that stands opposed to orthodox establishments of doctrine and along with that is devoted to secret knowledge and practices. Of special note is now the idea of "secret knowledge" or "gnosis"; main religious tenants of the later Gnostic Christians who we are currently seeing were the Essenes of old.

Turning from the place to the people themselves, we must note that the Dead Sea Scrolls were by no means the first evidence of the existence of the Essenes. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder, the historian Josephus, as well as the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria have left us much testimony concerning those whom they called Essenes. The Greek word Essenoi is of uncertain derivation, but it is related by scholars to the Hebrew Asah (he acted), Hazah (he saw visions), as well as to the Aramaic Hasaya (pious) and Asa (he healed).

The modern Talmudic Hebrew word Hasid (pious) may also be reckoned among the cognate words. We may thus speculate that they were people of action, visionaries, persons distinguished by extraordinary piety, and above all, individuals preoccupied with healing, for which reason (especially in Egypt) they were also frequently called Therapeutae, meaning physicians or healers.

Answer for yourself: Why is this important? We just made the link with Egypt where it is recorded the Elohim walked among men (the Elohim creation of Genesis 2). What we often fail to see is that there is two creation accounts in Genesis [Genesis chapter one is by Yahweh, the Ultimate Creator, and a second creation by the Elohim in Genesis chapter 2]. Egypt records for us much concerning this. But the words linking them with "healing" and "healers" speak to us about a possible similar identity going all the way back to Egypt (the Essenes were a branch or even identical with the Therapeutae of Egypt) where this secret "gnosis" was treasured and often involved healing. While the early descriptions of these descendents of these "Watchers/Rephaim", the Essenes, stressed asceticism and piety, the find of the Scrolls brought into increasing view their rebelliousness and heterodoxy as was the case with their forefathers.

For centuries the world of scholars viewed the Essenes as a numerically small (Pliny gave their number as around 4,000), quietist, and pacifist movement, desperately concerned with purity in all forms-celibate, ascetic, given to dietary eccentricities, and utterly unworldly and otherworldly in outlook and practice. Along with these notions went also the acceptance of the hyperorthodoxy and strict legalism imputed to the Essenes, who thus were made out to be merely an extremely orthodox and ascetic group of Jews whose doctrines and actions were in conformity with mainstream Judaism as known throughout history. But this picture of the Essenes is brought into serious question today by the picture presented of them from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The picture emerging from the Scrolls is, to say the least, very different from this earlier view of the Essene character. It appears from today's study that these Essenes were far from being a quietist, and pacifist movement!

THE ESSENE-ZEALOT-GNOSTIC CHRISTIAN LINK

After the discovery of the Scrolls a good deal of learned discussion was carried on in scholarly quarters about whether the authors of the documents were Essenes or whether they might have been what were called Zealots. As is known, in the years A.D. 66-70 a great revolt took place in Israel that swept through the country and that in AD. 70 led to the final destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and the subsequent abolishing of the Jewish homeland, which was not to be reestablished until the middle of the twentieth century. The instigators of this disastrous uprising were the Zealots, who came to look upon the Roman occupying forces as the embodiment of cosmic evil and upon themselves as the army of light destined to rid Israel and the world of the demonic host embodied in the power of imperial Rome. The Scrolls of the Essenes (at least in part) propound a warlike mythos very similar to that espoused by the Zealots. In one, The Sons of Light, led by a princely Messiah and easily identifiable as the Essenes themselves, would assume a leading role in the struggle against the Children of Darkness, who in turn are led by the prince of darkness, Belial, or the devil. This thoroughly dualistic document clearly established the People of the Scrolls as being far removed from the pacifist image attributed to them earlier.

Answer for yourself: Why is the dualistic document The Sons of Light so important for our study of these Essenes, the Zealots (who again made up much of the following of Jesus in the New Testament) and Gnostic Christianity?

Simply because the depiction of Rome as the embodiment of a cosmic evil to which the army of light was to depose and rid Israel of these demonic hosts is the same scenario we find in both the mythos of the Zealots and the Essenes as well as Gnostic Christianity. Simply stated this is dualism at its zenith. This dualistic myth reminds the reader of the many later dualistic myths of the Gnostic and Manichaeans (also Gnostics) which speak of the same struggle of the knowers against the host of evil, led by the archon (ruler) of darkness. These are basically the same as what we find with the earlier Essenes.

Answer for yourself: Why is this so important? This is the first indications of a Gnostic or at least Proto-Gnostic tradition within Hellenistic Judaism. No less an authority than the universally respected scholar R. Bultmann was prompted by the evidence of the Scrolls to write: "a pre-Christian Judaism of Gnostic character which hitherto could only be inferred from later sources is now attested to by the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls (R. Bultmann, Theologie des Neuen Testaments, 1951, p. 361).

It has been said by one of the most insightful translators of the Scrolls, Theodor H. Gaster (in his work The Dead Sea Scriptures in English Translation), that the Scrolls are essentially mystical documents and that the experiences spoken of in the document called the Scroll of Hymns are genuine mystical experiences. The "wondrous mysteries" of God revealed to the authors of the Scrolls according to their testimony remind one of similar mysteries and mystical experiences alluded to and documented in various Gnostic scriptures, notablyThe Treatise of the Eighth and the Ninth as well as others of the Nag Hammadi collection. This is another similarity connecting the Essenes with the later Gnostic Christians since we find such similarities in their religious theologies. It is more than likely that the Essenic authors of the Scrolls, not unlike the Gnostic authors of the Nag Hammadi codices, were partakers of visions and revelations of an esoteric nature and that the content of the Scrolls could be viewed as possessing an inner, hidden meaning or code. The Essenes were in fact inclined to employ codes, as the discovery of the so-called Taxo-Asaph disguise by way of the use of the Atbash cipher proves.

As C. G. Jung repeatedly pointed out, the Gnostic documents, including those of Nag Hammadi, were NOT based on dogmatic or philosophical considerations but contained primary revelations from the deepest strata of the human psyche. Similarly, the latest research seems to reveal that at least a large portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls also originates in such direct, firsthand mystical experiences partaken of by the Essene mystics of the Qumran community. The Gnostics of the later period did not feel it necessary to disguise in code and cipher the visionary nature of their inspiration as had their spiritual forefathers...the Essenes. An excellent example of such a Gnostic description of mystic vision is to be found in a scripture referred to earlier, The Treatise of the Eight and the Ninth:

How shall I describe the All! I see another Nous [spiritual soul] who moves the soul. I see one who speaks to me through a holy sleep. Thou givest me strength. I see myself! I am willing to discourse! I am overcome with a trembling! I have found the origin of the Power above all powers, which has no origin! I see a wellspring bubbling up with life! . . I have seen what discourse cannot reveal, for the entire Eighth, 0 my son, with the souls therein and the angels are singing in silence. But I, the Nous, understand (The Eight Reveals The Ninth: A New Hermetic Initiation Discourse/Tractate 6. Nag Hammadi Codes VI/Lewis S Keizer, trans., (Seaside. Ca: Academy of Arts and Humanities, 1974), pp. 98-99).

While admitting that "wondrous mysteries" have been revealed to them, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls utilize metaphors and imagery from nature to indicate their own mystical and secret experiences. Thus we read in the Thanksgiving Hymns of the Scrolls:

But Thou, 0 my God, hast put into my mouth as showers of early rain for all who thirst and a spring of living waters. . . . Suddenly they shall gush forth from the secret hiding places. . . (Thanksgiving Hymns, Col. VIII)

In the same collection of hymns (possibly written by the mysterious Teacher of Righteousness himself), the image of a variety of trees is used to denote the Essenes themselves. These "trees" are nourished by the living waters that gush forth from the secret places of God's secret wisdom, and among them prominently mentioned is the myrtle, the name for which in Aramaic, assaya, is virtually identical with the word for healing, from which one of the popular names of the Essenes derives. Linguistic ciphers and other metaphors are thus used by the People of the Scrolls to both reveal and conceal their esoteric character.

WHO AND WHAT WERE THESE ESSENES?

Their outer history is fairly quickly recounted. About a century and a half prior to time given in the New Testament for the supposed birth of Jesus, a non-Jewish king named Antiochus Epiphanes decided to impose a pagan form of religion on the land of the Jews. Under the leadership of Judas Maccabaeus a revolution broke out, which by the year 142 B.C. came to establish the religious and political freedom of the Jewish people. Among the followers of the revolutionary leaders were many "pious ones," i.e., Hasidim or Essenes, who adhered to an alternative form of mystical spirituality and whose spiritual traditions went back a long time in Jewish history. The aftermath of the revolution of the Maccabees, however, created a permanent rift between these pious mystics and the religious-political establishment in Jerusalem. The Hasmonean royal family established by the revolution had done a deed that the Essenes considered unforgivable: The kings drove from their sacred seat of the high priesthood of the Temple the members of the tribe ofZadok, who had held this office for some eight centuries, ever since the reign of King Solomon. The new high priests became none other than the kings of the new dynasty themselves. This was the state of affairs that the Essenes could not accept. They packed up their belongings and removed themselves from the jurisdiction of the newly installed politician-high priests by moving into the mysterious area of Qumran, there to practice their special form of religious purity, conduct secret rites, converse with angels and demons, and plot the overthrow of the establishment of those whom they ever after called "the wicked priests."

From this time on the Essenes of Qumran became openly declared heretics. Their teacher, a messianic figure whose personal name they never mentioned and to whom their literature always refers as the "Teacher of Righteousness." was slain by the royal and priestly tyranny around the year 100 B.C. This cruel act, which, as we shall see, shows many startling similarities with the execution of Jesus a century and some years later, embittered the People of the Scrolls even further. From then on they engaged in grand apocalyptic tasks of mythmaking and prophesied the dawning of a new age wherein the sons of light would fight a great war with the sons of darkness, which would lead to the establishment of a new kingdom of light and righteousness under the inspiration of the pious Essenes themselves. For decade upon decade the holy heretics brooded in their rock-hewn dwellings and labyrinthine caverns and prepared for the coming of the new age of light. It was within this period of sad and irate introspection that they wrote and copied their numerous heterodox scriptures, many of which became known nearly two millennia later as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Hasmonean kings were finally brought to their downfall by the power of Rome in alliance with the non-Jewish dynasty of Herod. The "evil priests" no longer ruled in Jerusalem, their place having been taken by a foreign king supervised by a Roman governor. While the chief antagonists of the Essenes were eliminated conditions in the lands of Judea were still not to their liking. Many probably drifted back to the towns and hamlets of their ancestral land, some even found refuge in Jerusalem, the hated seat of the usurping establishments of throne and altar. Yet others traveled to distant regions, notably the land of mystery and magic called Egypt, where the equally heretical Jew Philo of Alexandria was to call them Therapeutae, or healers. But the majority in all likelihood continued to hold out in the mountains and caves of Qumran, awaiting the new age of a Messiah who would establish the long-awaited kingdom of light that had eluded the expectations of the pious ones. By the year A.D. 1 when an obscure infant was allegedly born in Bethlehem, whose brief career seemed to be patterned so closely on that of their Teacher of Righteousness, the People of the Scrolls were inwardly ready for at least certain elements of the new covenant which was proclaimed some years later by the followers of the mysterious Rabbi Yeshua, better known by his Latin name, Jesus. It is here, in the story of Jesus Christ of the New Testament, that the content of the Scrolls sheds much new and valuable light on the Essene impact on the shaping of Christianity, and beyond that, on the shaping of a certain creative heterodox variety of Christianity, known as Gnosticism. The Scrolls from Qumran confirmed most of the already available information about the Essenes, but added much invaluable material in the form of teachings concerning the messianic warrior prince expected by the People of the Scrolls. This is how John Allegro characterizes the expected Essene Messiah of the Scrolls:

This charismatic leader of the future, born of the lineage of the famous King David, would establish a new world order where the will of God reigned supreme. Such a blessed state could only come about after wars and bloody revolution in which the "Anointed". . . would personally lead the forces of Light in their apocalyptic struggle against the powers of Darkness under the arch-fiend Belial, the Devil. . . . All in all, the first eager perusals of the new material supported the idea that in Essenism we might expect to find clues to the conception of Christian ideas (John Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth, pp. 12-13).

The Dead Sea Scrolls revealed thus that the Messiah expected by the Essenes conformed much more closely to the image of Jesus expressed in the New Testament than the vague intimations and prophetic messianic expectations of the orthodox Judaism of the first century. Not only is there a great similarity between the Essene Messiah and the Christ figure of the Jewish heresy called Christianity, but also there is every reason to suspect that the Essene variety of Judaism might have served as the matrix of an even more unorthodox Christian heresy known as Gnosticism.

There is no other variety of Judaism besides that of the Essenes that is so closely related to the entire body of New Testament religiosity, including the Gnostic portions thereof"

The relationship of the People of the Scrolls to the New Testament, and beyond it to the Gnostic gospels, is undeniable. In addition to this there are certain other questions nonetheless portentous for being unanswered. If the traditional chronology of the lifetime of Jesus and of the subsequent spread of the Christian communities is accepted, then it appears almost imperative that some sort of an already existing organizational structure must have been utilized by the early Christians to build their church. The time between the commonly supposed date of the crucifixion of Jesus and the writing of the earliest of the Pauline letters is much too short to allow for the development of a highly complex network of organized communities with well-developed methods of communication, funding, and a structure of authority that presents itself to the reader of the Epistles of Paul. There was only one organization in existence that could have served as the foundation for this rapidly developing structure, and it was the order of the Essenes. Centered on its monastic headquarters by the Dead Sea, but extending all over Judaea and in all likelihood into Egypt, Rome, and Asia Minor, the Essene organization served as a ready-made matrix upon which the new Christian association of communities could be built. If, as I am suggesting, the Essenes were the ones who swelled the number of converts to the new Christian covenant in the first and formative years of the Church, then the miraculous rapid growth and organization of the Christian network becomes much more plausible.

Acts 6:7 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests [these are the Essenes...the Zadok Priests] were obedient to the faith. (KJV)

In this case we must also admit, as Allegro has done, concerning the Essenes:

their doctrines, and particularly their messianic expectations, were very much closer to those of their Christian mentors than anything that appears on the surface in the Scrolls. (Ibid., p. 16).

A Messiah who failed to transform not only the world but even the fate of his own countrymen in his shamefully terminated three-year public ministry in which the expected Jewish Messianic promises were not fulfilled would not have inspired spectacular mass conversions to his gospel. If the same Messiah had been foretold by the prophetic traditions of the People of the Scrolls, or if enough of these people believed that such was the case, then the Essene-Christian connection received full justification. As Hugh Schonfield pointed out:

We have to allow now what was previously so clearly evident to no more than a relatively few scholars, that the Messianic concepts to which Jesus and others of his time were responsive were far from being confined to biblical sources. They were being shaped by writings and teachings emanating largely from the Essenes and widely regarded as inspired. Until it became possible in recent times to be fully aware of this, and to have access to much of their literature, the true story of Christian beginnings could not be ascertained (Hugh Schonfield, The Essene Odyssey, (Shaftsbury, England: Element Books, 1984), p. 2).

If you understood what Schonfield tell us then you saw that he stated that the depiction of Jesus in the New Testament did not fulfill the normal Messianic prophecies expected by normative conservative Biblical Judaism but rather tended to fulfill the Essenic expectations of their coming Cosmic Godman Messiah instead. This concept mind you is extra-Biblical and stands outside normative conservative Judaism and lies more in the apocalyptic of Essene thought which according to many current Biblical Scholars is totally discredited today (one prime example is Lawrence Schiffman who wrote Reclaiming The Dead Sea Scrolls).

Let us then in conclusion summarize those features of the People of the Scrolls that have a direct bearing on the connections, not only historical but also what might be called psychological, that join the Essene transmission with the new covenant of Christianity, and more particularly within that covenant with the early Gnostic variant of Christianity. It is to be hoped that such a summary will present the reader with a deeper understanding of the genius of the People of the Scrolls and of the culmination of this genius in an approach to the Christian message that found its most complete literary expression in the later Nag Hammadi collection of Gnostic scriptures discovered but a few short months before the Scrolls of Qumran.

  1. The Qumran community was located on a site that eminently lends itself as a backdrop to the growth and development of a heterodoxy or heresy of a generally Gnostic character which become for us the earliest Christian expression before Rome's refutation of it in the latter second thorough the fifth centuries. The choice of the location of the community joined the Essenes of Qumran on the one hand with the messianic figure of Joshua, son of Nun, along with its reliance upon the Joshua-Jesus allegory, and on the other, with the demons and supernatural "watchers" connected with the Abyss of Judgement located in the Rift Valley. All of this could be taken as a documentation of the Essene myths that is at once messianic and angelic-demonic.
  2. The influence of the Essene Teacher of Righteousness and his heavy dependence upon Zoroastrianism in his Qumran theology created a predisposition among the Essenes toward dualism and a rejection of the existing world order and the identification of the world as evil. The discovery of Khirbet Qumran scrolls in the caves of Dead Sea in 1947, shed light on the Essenes' tenets and practices. A French author, named Dupont Sommer, after reviewing the text of the scrolls, found many evidences of Zoroastrian influence. The common beliefs of the Essenes and Zoroastrians have been analyzed by different authors and reported and the results show heavy borrowing of both philosophical and religious ideas by the Essenes from Zoroastrianism. The influence of Zoroastrianism in Pharisees is so conspicuous that some authors as Zaehner have called them "Farsis" or "Persians". This of course means a heavy dose of "dualism" is expected and found in Qumran theology since being borrowed from Persian religion in the first place. The appealing Zoroastrian doctrine that light stood for goodness and darkness for evil, had apparently spread to Palestine before the age of Qumran texts and had been accepted by all the sects. The review of the Qumran Scrolls also reveals that the Essenes believed in a constant struggle between the forces of good and evil. What is important for us to note is that all of these theological beliefs and religions positions are later identified as being likewise associated with the earliest Gnostic Christians. Admittedly this predisposition originated in the political conditions of the Jewish kingdom; however, in the minds of the Essenes of Qumran the originally mundane issues soon became transformed into cosmic and metaphysical calamities and predicaments. Every problem facing these Essenes became a Cosmic problem before it was over. The rule of the Hasmonean "evil" priest-kings became the forerunner of the dominion of the archons and the Demiurge of the Gnostics. The sons of light were the early embodiment of the pneumatic Gnostics, and the sons of darkness were similarly the prototypes of the minions of the dark rulers of the lower world recognized by the Gnostics.
  3. The inspiration derived by the authors of the Scrolls did not originate primarily in Jewish dogma and law but in vivid, emotionally charged personal experiences of a mystical nature. Some of these experiences are freely admitted in the Scrolls; others are disguised by way of metaphors and codes based on such ever-popular ciphers as the transposition of letters and the like. The latest scholarship also agrees-largely as the result of the insights of Jung- that the origin of the writings of the Gnostics is to be sought in direct, personal experience of the mysteries of being rather than in pure syncretism, philosophic speculation, and the like.
  4. The specific variety of messianism developed by the Essenes in conjunction with their attachment to the tragic figure of their mysterious Teacher of Righteousness, prepared the way not only for the messianic career of the Jesus character of the New Testament, but also for the mystical and cosmic Messiahship embodied in the figure of the Gnostic Christ who speaks to us and is extolled in the Nag Hammadi Gnostic gospels. This circumstance may have been greatly reinforced by the likely possibility that a large number of the earliest converts to Christianity were Essenes as seen in the passage below.

Acts 6:7 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests [these are the Essenes...the Zadok priests] were obedient to the faith. (KJV)

This final point of our summary brings us quite directly and logically to the consideration of the figure of Jesus and to the ways in which this figure may be related to the most intriguing though elusive character within the Essenic drama: the Teacher of Righteousness. Assuredly it is in the relationship of these two immensely important figures that we may find the most important indications of how the "pre-Christian Judaism of Gnostic character" (gnostisierendes Judentum) recognized by Bultmann came to serve as the principal fountain and origin of Gnosticism. It is in the relationship of the expected Essene Messiah to the later projection of the Christian Jesus, and beyond him to the Gnostic Christ, that the link may be discovered which joins the Dead Sea Scrolls of Essene origin with the collection of Gnostic gospels found in Nag Hammadi since it appears that there is a link between the Gnostic Christ, the Essene Messiah and the character of the Christian Jesus of the New Testament.

Elsewhere on this website we have investigated the lack of historical evidence that supports the existence of a historical Jesus. What should concern us is the strong likelihood, in light of the lack of existence of any unforged evidence outside the New Testament that might support the existence of a historical Jesus, that the projection of the New Testament Jesus is but the combination of an expression of a prior hope of the Essenes for the appearance of their Angel-Messiah (Cosmic Godman as the reincarnation of their slain Teacher of Righteousness) and the literalization of the "allegorical Gnostic Christ" which we find later "literalized" and given a historical timeline by the hands of Roman scribes and which has reached us today bolstered by church tradition that supposes that such a depiction of the New Testament Jesus is a historical fact...when research into such an allegation reveals no uncontested or unforged evidence that supports such a premise. That means that more than likely the hoped for Essene Messiah that was extra-Biblical finds continued expression through the Gnostic Christ which is later "literalized" by Rome in their Second New Testament which is but a refutation of the earlier First Gnostic New Testament that taught ONLY an allegorical Christ and not a human-fleshly Christ. For confirmation of such a fact any serious study of Gnosticism, especially Christian Gnosticism, will provide convincing evidence of the former positions.

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