corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.10.19
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Essence

Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

(essentia, from essens, the old participle of esse, to be), a term in philosophy corresponding to ούσία in Greek, and sometimes to nature, sometimes to being or substance in English. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, 12:11) derives it as follows: "Sicut ab eo quod est sopere, vocatur sapientia; sic ab eo quod est esse, vocatur essentia." Chauvin (Lex. Phil.) gives the definition, "Totum illudper quod res est, et est id quod est." Locke (Essay, book 3, chapter 3, § 15) says: "Essence may be taken for the very being of anything, whereby it is what it is." Locke distinguishes the real and the nominal essence. "The nominal essence depends upon the real essence; thus the nomiinal essence of gold is that complex idea which the word 'gold' represents, viz. 'a body yellow, heavy, malleable, fusible, and fixed;' but its real essence is the constitution of its insensible parts, on which these qualities and all its other properties depend, which is wholly unknown to us. The essence of things is made up of that common nature wherein it is founded, and of that distinctive nature by which it is formed. This latter is commonly understood when we speak of the formality, or formalis ratio (the formal consideration) of things; and it is looked upon as being more peculiarly the essence of things, though it is certain that a triangle is as truly made up in part of figure, its common nature, as of the three lines and angles which are distinctive and peculiar to it" (Fleming, Vocab. of Philosophy, s.v.). With regard to the Trinity, the Greek writers (Athanasius and others) distinguish οὐσία (essentia, substantia), which denotes what is common to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, from ὑπόστασις (persona), which denotes what is individual, distinctive, and peculiar to the three in one. Shedd (History of Doctrine, 2:363) distinguishes the various scholastic terms carefully, and says of ocaia, or essence, that it "denotes that which is common to Father, Son, and Spirit. It denominates the substance, or constitutional being of the Deity, which is possessed alike and equally by each of the personal distinctions. The essence is in its own nature one and indivisible, and hence the statement in the creed respecting it affirms simple unity, and warns against separation and division. The terms 'generation' and 'procession' do not apply to it." McCosh discusses the term and its uses in his Intuitions of the Mind (1866, 8vo, page 152).

Essenes (Ε᾿σσηνοί, Josephus generally; Esseni, Pliny) or ESSÆ ANS (Ε᾿σσαῖοι, Josephus, War, 1:3, 5, etc.; Philo), a Jewish sect of mystico- ascetics, which combined foreign elements, especially Oriental and Greek, with Jewish doctrines, and with certain peculiar views and practices of their own. They rejected most of the Jewish sacrifices, and made their fellowship an exclusive one.

I. Signification of the Name. This has been very variously explained, as follows:

1. Philo (Quod omnis prob. lib. § 12) derives it from the Greek ὅσιος, holy.

2. Josephus, according to Jost (Geschichte d. Judenthums, 1:207), seems either to derive it from the Chaldee חָשָׁא, to be quiet, to be mysterious, because he renders חשֶׁן, the high-priest's breastplate, for which the Sept. has λογεῖον, by ἐσσῆν , or directly from חשֶׁן, in the sense of λογεῖον or λόγιον, endowed with the gift of prophecy.

3. Epiphanius (Hæ r. xix) takes it to be the Hebrew חֲסַין=στιβαρὸν γἐνος, the stout race.

4. Suidas (s.v.) and Hilgenfeld (Die jud. Apokal. page 278) make it out to be the Aramaic form חֹזַין =θεωρητικοί, seers, and the latter maintains that this name was give en to the sect because they pretended to see visions and to prophesy.

5. Josippon ben-Gorion (lib. 4, § 6, 7, page 274 and 278, ed. Breithaupt) takes it for the Hebrews חָסַיד, the pious, the puritans.

6. De Rossi (Meor Exaim, c. 3), Gfrorer (Philo, 2:341), Dahne (Ersch und Gruber's Encyklop. s.v.), Nork (Real-Worterbuch, s.v.), Herzfeld (Gesch'chte de V. Israel, 2:395), and others, insist that it is the Aramaic אִסְיָא= θεραπευτής, physician, and that this name was given to them because of the spiritual or physical cures they performed.

7. Aboth R. Nathan (c. 36), and a writer in Jost's Annalen (1:145), derive it from עָשָׂה, to do, to perform; the latter says that it is the Aramaic from עֲשַׂינָא, and that they were so called because of their endeavors to perform the law.

8. Rappaport (Erech Millin, page 41) says that it is the Greek ισος, an associate, a fellow of the fraternity.

9. Frankel (Zeitschrift, 1846, page 449 sq.) and others think that it is the Hebrew expression צְנוּעַים, the retired.

10. Ewald (Geschichte d. V. Israel, 4:420) is sure that it is the Rabbinic חִזָן, servant (of God), and that the name was given to them because it was their only desire to be θεραπευταὶ θεοῦ.

11. Gratz (Geschichte d. Juden. in, 525) will have it that it is from the Aramaic סְחָא, to bathe, with Aleph prosthetic, and that it is the shorter form for צִפְרָא סָחֵי =טוֹבְלֵי שִׁחֲרַית, ἡμεροβαπτισταί, hemerobaptists, a name given to this sect because they baptized themselves early in the morning.

12. Dr. Low (Ben Chaanaja, 1:352) never doubts but that they were called Essenes after their founder, whose name he tells us was יַשִׁי, or Jesse, the disciple of Joshua b. Perachja.

13. Others, again, say that it alludes to Jesse, the father of David.

14. Others, again, submit that it is derived from the town Essa, or the place Vadi Ossis (compare Ewald, Geschichte d. V. I. 4:420).

15. Dr. Adler (Volkslehrer, 6:50), again, derives it from the Hebrew אָסִר, to bind together, to associate, and says that they were called אֲסֻרַים, because they united together to keep the law.

16. Dr. Cohn suggests the Chaldee root עֲשִׁן, to be strong, and that they were called עֲשַּׁינַי because of their strengtl of mind to endure sufferings and to subdue their passions (Frankel's Monatsch. 7:272).

17. Oppenheim thinks that it may be the form עוֹשַׂין, and stands for עוֹשַׂין טָהְרִת הִקּדֶשׁ or חֲטִאֹת עוֹשַׂין טָהְרִת, observers of the laws of purify and holiness (ib.).

18. Jeilinek (Ben Chananja, 4:374), again, derives it from the Hebrew חֹצֶן, sinus, περίζωμα, alluding to the כִּנְפַים mentioned in the Talmud (Bechoroth, 30, a), i.e. the apron which the Essenes wore.

19. Others, again, derive it from a supposed form הֲסָיֵא, in the sense of pious, because it connects the Essenes with the Chasidin, from which they are thought to have originated. (See ASSIDAEANS).

II. Tenets and Practices. The cardinal doctrine of this sect was the sacredness of the inspired law of God. To this they adhered with such tenacity that they were led thereby to pay the greatest homage to Moses the lawgiver, and to consider blasphemy of his name a capital offense. They believed that to obey diligently the commandments of the Lord, to lead a pure and holy life, to mortify the flesh and the lusts thereof, and to be meek and lowly in spirit, would bring them in closer communion with their Creator, and make them the temples of the Holy Ghost, when they would be able to prophesy and perform miracles, and, like Elias, be ultimately the forerunners of the Messiah. This last stage of perfection, however, could only be attained by gradual growth in holiness, and by advancement from one degree to another. Thus, when one was admitted a member of this order, and had obtained the זָרַיז = περίζωμα, apron, which, from its being used to dry one's self with after the baptisms, was the symbol of purity, he attained,

1. To the state of outward or bodily purity by baptisms (לידי נקיות זריזות מביאה ). From bodily purity he progressed to that stage which imposed abstinence from concubial intercourse (נקיות מביאה לידי פרישות ).

3. From this stage, again, he attained to that of inward or spiritual purity (פרישות מביאה לידי טחרה ).

4. From this stage, again, he advanced to that which required the banishinr of all anger and malice, and the cultivation of a meek and lowly spirit (ענוה טהרה מביאה לידי ).

5. Thence he advanced to the stage of holiness (ענוה מביאה לידי חסירות ).

6. Thence, again, he advanced to that wherein he was fit to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, and to prophesy (מביאה לידי רה 8ק חסידות ).

7. Thence, again, he advanced to that state when he could perform miraculous cures and raise the dead (רות הקדשׁ לידי תחה 8מ ); and,

8. Attained finally to the position of Elias, the forerunner of the Messiah (תחח 8מ לידי אליהו ). Comp. Jerusalem Talmud, Sabbath, c. 1; Shekalim, c. 3; Bably, Aboda Zara, 20:6; Midrash Rabba, Shir Hashirins init.; and Ben Chenanja, 4:374.

As contact with any one who did not practice their self-imposed Levitical laws of purity, or with anything belonging to such a one, rendered them impure, the Essenes were, in the course of time, obliged to withdraw altogether from general society, to form a separate community, and live apart from the world. Their manner of life and practices were most simple and self-denying. They chiefly occupied themselves with tilling the ground, tending flocks, rearing bees, and making the articles of fool and dress required by the community (as it was contrary to their laws of Levitical purity to get anything from one who did not belong to the society), as well as with healing the sick, and studying the mysteries of nature and revelation. Whatever they possessed was deposited in the general treasury, of which there were appointed by the whole fraternity several managers, who supplied therefrom the wants of every one, so that they had all things in common; hence there were no distinctions amongst them of rich and poor, or of masters and servants. They reprobated slavery and war, and would not even manufacture martial instruments. They rose before the sun, and did not talk about any worldly matters till they had all assembled together and offered up their national prayer for the renewal of the light of the day (המאיר לארוֹ ), whereupon they dispersed to their respective engagements, according to the directions of the overseers, till the fifth hour, or eleven o'clock when the labor of the forenoon terminated, and all reassembled, had a baptism in cold water, after which they put on their white garments, entered their refectory with as much religious solemnity as if it were the holy Temple, sat down together in mysterious silence to a common meal, which had the character of a sacrament and may be the reason why they did not offer sacrifices in the Temple the baker placed before each one a little loaf of bread, and the cook a dish of the most simple food, the priest invoked God's blessing upon the repast, and concluded with thanks to the Bountiful Supplier of all our wants. This was the signal of their dismissal when all withdrew, put off their sacred garments; and resumed their several employments till the evening, when they again partook of a common meal. Such was their manner of life during the week. On the Sabbath, which they observed with the utmost rigor, and on which they were more especially instructed in their distinctive ordinances, Philo tells us, "They frequent the sacred places which are called synagogues, and there they sit, according to their age, in classes, the younger sitting below the elder in becoming attire, and listening with eager attention. Then one takes up the holy volume and reads it, whilst another of the most experienced ones expounds, omitting that which is not generally known; for they philosophize on most things in symbols, according to the ancient zeal" (Quod oensis prob. lib. sec. 12). The study of logic and metaphysics they regarded as injurious to a devotional life. They were governed by a president, who was chosen by the whole body, and who also acted as judge. In cases of trial, however, the majority of the community, or at least a hundred members of it, were required to constitute the tribunal, and the brother who walked disorderly was excommunicated, yet he was not regarded as an enemy, but was admonished as a brother, and received back after due repentance.

As has already been remarked, the Essenes generally were celibates; their ranks had therefore to be recruited from the children of the Jewish community at large, whom they carefully trained for this holy and ascetic order. Previous to his final admission, the candidate for the order had to pass through a novitiate of two stages. Upon entering the first stage, which lasted twelve months, the novice (νεοσύστατος ) had to cast in all his possessions into the common treasury, and received a spade (σκαλίς, ἀξινάριον =יָתֵד ) to bury the excrement (compare Deuteronomy 23:12-15), an aproa (περίζωμα =זָרַיז ), used at the baptisms, and a white robe to put on at meals, which were the symbols of purity, and, though still an outsider, he had to observe some of the ascetic rules of the society. If, at the close of this stage, the community found that he had properly acquitted himself during the probationary year, the novice was then admitted into the second stage, which lasted two years. During this period he was admitted to a closer fellowship with the brotherhood, and shared in their lustral rites, but was still excluded from the common meals. Having passed satisfactorily through the second stage of probation, the novice was then fully received into the community (εἰς τὸν ὅμιλον ), when he bound himself by awful oaths (the only occasion on which they allowed swearing) "that, in the first place, he will exercise piety towards God; and then that he will observe justice towards all men; and that he will do no harm to any one, either of his own accord or by the command of others; that he will always hate the wicked, and help the righteous; that he will ever be faithful to all men, especially his rulers, for without God no one comes to be ruler, and that if he should be ruler himself he will never be overbearing, nor endeavor to outshine those he rules either in his garments or in finery; that he will always love truth, and convince and reprove those that lie; that he will keep his hand from stealing, and his soul clear from any unjust gain; that he will not conceal anything from the members of his society, nor communicate to any one their mysteries, not even if he should be forced to it at the hazard of his life; and, finally, that he will never deliver the doctrines of the Essenes to any one in any other manner than he received them himself; that he will abstain from all species of robbery, and carefully preserve the books belonging to their sect and the names of the angels" (War, 2:8, 7). This last expression refers to the secrets connected with the Tetragranmaton (המפורש שם ), and the other names of God and the angels comprised in the theosophy (מעשה מרכבה ), and to the mysteries connected with the cosmogony (בראשית מעשה ) which played so important a part both among the Essenes and the Cabbalists.

III. Origin and Relationship to Judaism and Christianity. The origin of this sect has been greatly mystified by Philo and Josephus, who, being anxious to represent their co-religionists to cultivated Greeks in a Hellenistic garb, made the Essenes resemble as much as possible the Ascetic, Pythagorean, Platonic, and other philosophers. It has been still more mystified by the account of Pliny, who tells us that this community has prolonged its existence for thousands of Ages ("per seculorum millia incredibile dictu gens sterna est in qua nemo nascitur," Hist. Nat. 5:15). Most modern writers have shaped their description of this community according to these accounts, supposing that the Essenes are neither mentioned in the N.T. nor in the ancient Jewish writings, and hence concluding that the sect originated in Egypt or Greece, or in the philosophic systems of both countries. Hilgenfeld (Zeits. fur wiss. Theol., 1867, 1, art. 6) undertakes to show the historical connection of Essenism with Parsism and Buddhism. Frankel seeks, from a number of passages in the Talmud and Midrashim, to show that Essenism is simply an order of Pharisaism, that both are sections of the Chasidim or Assidseans (See CHASIDIM), and that all these three orders are frequently spoken of under the same name. That the Essenes are an order of Pharisees is distinctly stated in Aboth R. Nathan, c. 37, where. we are told that there are eight distinctions or orders among the Pharisees, and that those Pharisees who live in celibacy are the Essenes (פרוש מחופתו עשאני —פרושים הם ח 8). This will, moreover, be seen from a comparison of the following practices, which Josephus describes as peculiar characteristics of the Essenes, with the practices of the Pharisees, as given in the Talmud and Midrashim:

1. The Essenes had four classes of Levitical purity, which were so marked that a member of the upper class had to bathe himself when he touched anything belonging to the lower class, or when he came in contact with a stranger; so also the Pharisees (comp. Josephus, War, 2:8, 10, with Chagiga, 2:7).

2. The Essenes regarded ten persons as constituting a complete number for divine worship, and held the assembly of such n, number as sacred; so the Pharisees (comp. War, 2, 8, 9, with Aboth, 3:6; Berachoth, 54, a).

3. The Essenes would not spit out in the presence of an assembly, or to the right hand; so the Pharisees (comp. War, 2:8, 9, with Jerusalem, Berachoth, 3:5).

4. The Essenes regarded their social meal as a sacrament; so the Pharisees (compare War, 2:8, 5, with Berachoth, 55, a). 5. The Essenes bathed before meals; so the Pharisees (comp. War, 2:8, 5, with Chagiga, 18, b).

6. The Essenes put on an apron on the lower part of the body when bathing; the Pharisees covered themselves with the talith (comp. War, 2:8, 5, with Berachoth, 24, b).

7. The Essenes bathed after performing the duties of nature; so the priests (comp. War, 2:8, 9, with Yoma, 28, a).

8. The Essenes abstained from taking oaths; so the Pharisees (compare War, 2:8, 6, with Shebuoth, 39, b; Gittin, 35, a; Bemidbar Rabba, 22).

9. The Essenes would not even remove a vessel on the Sabbath; so the Pharisees (compare War, 2:8, 9, with Tosiphta Succa, 3).

10. The Essenes had a steward in every place where they resided to supply the needy strangers of this order with articles of clothing and food; so the Pharisees (comp. War, 2:8, 4, with Peah, 8:7; Baba Bathra, 8, a; Sabbath, 118).

11. The Essenes believed that all authority comes from God; so the Pharisees (comp. War, 2:8, 7, with Berachoth, 58, a).

12. An applicant for admission to the order of the Essenes had to pass through a novitiate of twelve months; so the חֲבֵר among the Pharisees (compare War, 2:8, 7, with Bechoroth, 30, b).

13. The novice among the Essenes received an apron (περίζωμα ) the first year of his probation; so the Chaber among the Pharisees (compare War, 2:8, 7, with Tosiphta Demay, c. 2; Jerusalem, Demay, 2:3, b; Bechoroth, 30, b).

14. The Essenes delivered the theosophical books, and the sacred names, to the members of their society; similarly the Pharisees (comp. War, 2:8, 7, with Chagiga, 2:1; Kiddushim, 1, a).

The real differences between the Essenes and the Pharisees developed themselves in the course of time, when the extreme rigor with wich the former sought to perform the laws of Levitical purity made them withdraw from intercourse with their fellow-men, and led them,

1. To form an isolated order; 2. To keep from marriage, because of the perpetual pollutions to which women are subject in menstruation and childbirth, and because of its being a hindrance to a purely devotional state of mind;

3. To abstain from frequenting the Temple and offering sacrifices (compare Josephus Ant. 18:1, 5); and,

4. Though they firmly believed in the immortality of the soul, yet they did not believe in the resurrection of the body (War, 2:8, 11).

To the Pharisees they stood nearly in the same relation as that in which the Pharisees themselves stood with regard to the mass of the people. The difference lay mainly in rigor of practice, and not in articles of belief. (See PHARISEE).

But the best among the Jews felt the peril of Essenism as a system, and combined to discourage it. They shrank with an instinctive dread from the danger of connecting asceticism with spiritual power, and cherished the great truth which lay in the saying, "Doctrine is not in heaven." The miraculous energy which was attributed to mystics was regarded by them rather as a source of suspicion than of respect, and theosophic speculations were condemned with emphatic distinctness (Frankel, Monatsschrift, 1853, page 62 sq., 68, 71).

As to their connection with Christianity, there can be no difficulty in admitting that Christ and the apostles recognised those principles and practices of the Essenes which were true and useful. Though our Savior does not mention them by the name Essenes, which Philo and Josephus coined for the benefit of the Greeks, yet there can be no doubt he refers to them in Matthew 19:12, when he speaks of those "who abstain from marriage for the kingdom of heaven's sake," since they were the only section of Jews who voluntarily imposed upon themselves a state of celibacy in order that they might devote themselves more closely to the service of God. Also 1 Corinthians vii can hardly be understood without bearing in mind the notions about marriage entertained by this God-fearing and self-denying order. As to other coincidences, Matthew 5:34, etc., ed James 5:12, urge the abstinence from using oaths which was especially taught by the Essenes. The manner in which Christ commanded his disciples to depart on their journey (Mark 6:8-10), is the same which these pious men adopted when they started on a mission of mercy. The primitive Christians, like the Essenes, sold their land and houses, and brought the prices of the things to the apostles, and they had all things in common (Acts 4:32-34). John the Baptist was a parallel to this holy order, as is evident from his ascetic life (Luke 11:22); and when Christ pronounced him to be Elias (Matthew 11:14), he may almost be said to have declared that the Baptist had really attained to that spirit and power which the Essenes strove to obtain in their highest stage of purity. From the nature of the case, however, Essenism, in its extreme form, could exercise very little direct influence on Christianity. In all its practical bearings it was diametrically opposed to the apostolic teaching. The dangers which it involved were far more clear to the eye of the Christian than they were to the Jewish doctors. The only real similarity between Essenism and Christianity lay in the common element of true Judaism; and there is little excuse for modern writers who follow the error of Eusebius, and confound the society of the Therapeutne with Christian brotherhoods. Nationally, however, the Essenes occupy the same position as that to which John the Baptist was personally called. They mark the close of the old, the longing for the new, but without political aspirations. In place of the message of the coming "kingdom" they could proclaim only individual purity and isolation. At a later time traces of Essenism appear in the Clementines, and the strange account which Epiphanius gives of the Osseni (᾿Θσσενοί ) appears to point to some combination of Essene and pseudo- Christian doctrines (Her. 19). After the Jewish war the Essenes disappear from history. The character of Judaism was changed, and ascetic Pharisaism became almost impossible.

IV. Date, Settlements, and Number of this Order. The fact that the Essenes developed themselves gradually, and at first imperceptibly, through intensifying the prevalent religious notions, renders it impossible to say with exactness at what degree of intensity they are to be considered as detached from the general body. The Savior and the ancient Jewish writers do not speak of them as a separate body. Josephus, however, speaks of them as existing in the days of Jonathan the Maccaboean, B.C. 143 (Ant. 13:5, 9); he then mentions Judas, an Essene, who delivered a prophecy in the reign of Aristobulus I, B.C. 106 (War, 1:3, 5; Ant. 13:11, 2). The third mention of their existence occurs in connection with Herod (Ant. 15:10, 5). These accounts distinctly show that the Essenes at first lived among the people, and did not refrain from frequenting the court, as Menachem the Essene was a friend of Herod, who was kindly disposed towards this order (ib.). This is, moreover, evident from the fact that there was a gate at Jerusalem which was named after them (Ε᾿σσηνῶν πύλη, War, 5:4, 2). When they ultimately withdrew themselves from the rest of the Jewish nation, the majority of them settled on the north-west shore of the Dead Sea (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 5:17; Eusebius, Hist. Ecclesiastes 2:17), and the rest lived in scattered communities throughout Palestine and other places. Their number is estimated both by Philo and Josephus at 40930.

The obscurity of the Essenes as a distinct body arises from the fact that they represented originally a tendency rather than an organization. The communities which were formed out of them were a result of their practice, and not a necessary part of it. As a sect they were distinguished by an aspiration after ideal purity rather than by any special code of doctrines; and, like the Chasidimi of earlier times, they were confounded in the popular estimation with the great body of the zealous observers of the law (Pharisees). The growth of Essenism was a natural result of the religious feeling which was called out by the circumstances of the Greek dominion, and it is easy to trace the process by which it was matured. From the Maccaboaan age there was a continuous effort among the stricter Jews to attain an absolute standard of holiness. Each class of devotees was looked upon as practically impure by their successors, who carried the laws of purity still further; and the Essenes stand at the extreme limit of the mystic asceticism which was thus gradually reduced to shape. The associations of the "Scribes and Pharisees" (חברים "the companions, the wise") gave place to others bound by a more rigid rule; and the rule of the Essenes was made gradually stricter. Those whom Josephus speaks of as allowing marriage may be supposed to have belonged to such bodies as had not yet withdrawn from intercourse with their fellow-men. But the practice of the extreme section was afterwards regarded as characteristic of the whole class, and the isolated communities of Essenes furnished the type which is preserved in the popular descriptions.

The character of Essenism limited its spread. Out of Palestine, Levitical purity was impossible, for the very land was impure; and thus there is no trace of the sect in Babylonia. The case was different in Egypt, where Judaism assumed a new shape from its intimate connection with Greece. Here the original form in which it was molded was represented, not by direct copies, but by analogous forms, and the tendency which gave birth to the Essenes found a fresh development in the pure speculation of the Therapeuta (q.v.). These Alexandrine mystics abjured the practical labors which rightly belonged to the Essenes, and gave themselves up to the study of the inner meaning of the Scriptures. The impossibility of fulfilling the law naturally led them to substitute a spiritual for a literal interpretation; and it was their object to ascertain its meaning by intense labor, and then to satisfy its requirements by absolute devotion. The "whole day, from sunrise to sunset, was spent in mental discipline." Bodily wants were often forgotten in the absorbing pursuit of wisdom, and "meat and drink" were at all times held to be unworthy of the light (Philo, De vit. contempl. § 4).

According to Credner, Ueber Essener und Ebioniten (in Winer's Zeitschr. I, 2-3, 217 sq.), the Ebionites descended from the Essenes. Grisse says (ib. page 653) that the Therapeutae, who lived in Egypt (Fabricius, Bibl. Gr. 2:138 sq., 725), were a class of the Essenes (see Bald, Diss. Essmos Pgythagorissantes delineatura, Upsal. 1746); and he presumes that they existed as early as the time of Alexander the Great, and, spreading from Egypt to Palestine, there became acquainted with the Pythagorean or Oriental philosophy (comp. Josephus, Ant. 15:13). Dr. Wise thinks that the founder of the Essenes must have been an Egyptian Jew who was acquainted with the Pythagorean order, and came to Palestine about B.C. 200; and says farther that the Therapeuts (founded about B.C. 170) of Egypt and elsewhere were in name and essence an imitation of the Essenes. He asserts also that no positive traces of their messianic views are left either by Josephus or Philo, or even by the Talmud, but that, in consideration of their numerous similarities to the Egyptian Jews, they may be supposed to have entertained messianic hopes similar to the Egyptians (The Israelite, November 1, 1867).

V. Literature. The oldest accounts we have of the Essenes are those given by Josephus, War, 2:8, 2-15; Ant. 12:5, 9; 15:10, 4 sq.; 18:1, 2 sq.; Philo, Quod omnis probus liber, § 12 sq.; Pliny, Hist. Nater. 5, c. 16, 17; Solinus, Polyhist. c. 35; Porphyry, De Abstinentia, page 381; Epiphanius, ad. firer. lib. 1; Eusebius, Histor. Ecclesiastes 2:1-26, c. 17. Of modern productions we have Bellermann, Geschichtliche Nachrichten cus dem Alterthume fiber Essier und Therapeuten (Berlin, 1821), who has studiously collected all the descriptions of this order; Gfrö rer, Philo und die judischh alexandrinische Theosophe (Stuttgart, 1835), page 299 sq. Prideaux, Connection of the O. and N.T., part 2, book 5:5; Dä hne, Geschichtliche Darstellung der jü disch alexandrinischen Religions Philosophie, 1:467 sq.; and by the same author, the article Essier, in Ersch und Gruber's Encyklopä die; Neander, History of the Church, ed. Bohn, volume 1. The Essays of Frankel, in his Zeitschrift fer die religiosen Interessen d. Judenthmums (Lpz. 1848), page 441 sq.; and Monatsschrift fcir Geschichte u. Wissenschaft d. Judenthums, 2:30 sq., 61 sq., are most important, and may be considered as having created a new epoch in the treatment of the history of this order, Adopting the results of Frankel, and pursuing the same course still further, Gratz has given a masterly treatise upon the Essenes in his Geschichte der Juden (Leipzig, 1856), 3:96 sq., 518 sq.; treatises of great value ale also given by Jost, Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner-Secten (Leipzig, 1857), page 207 sq.; and Herzfeld, Geschichte, d. V. Israel (Nordhausen, 1857), 2:368, 388 sq. The accounts given by Ewald, Geschichte d. Volkes Israel (Gdttingen, 1852), 4:420 sq., and Hilgenfeld, Die jddische Apokalyptik (Jena, 1857), page 245 sq., though based upon Philo and Josephus, are important contributions to the literature of the Essenes; that of the latter is interesting and ingenious, but essentially onesided and subservient to the writer's theory (compare Volkmar, Das vierte B. Fzra, page 60). To these must be added the very interesting and important relics of the Essenes, published by Jellinek, with instructive notices by the learned editor, in Beth la Midrash, volume 2 (Leipzig, 1853), page 18 sq.; volume 3 (Leipzig, 1855), page 20 sq.

See also Ginsburg, History and Doctrines of the Essenes (Lond. 1864); Hermes, De Essais (Hal. 1720); Lund, De Pimar. Sadd. et Ess is (Abose, 1689); Sauer, De Essenis et Therapeutis (Vratisl. 1829); Willemer, Deuteronomy 1:1-46 Essenis (Viteb. 1680); Zeller, Ueb. d. Zusammenh. d. Essaismus mit Griechenthum (in the Tub. theol. Jahrb. 1856, pages 401-433); Roth, De Essenis (Jen. 1669); Willemer, id. (Viteb. 1680); Lange, id. (Hal. 1721); Tresenreuter, De Essceorum nomine (Alt. 1743); Van der Hude, Num discipli Joh. Bapt. fuerunt. Esscei (Helmst. 1754); Carpzov, Dank-cpfer an Gott. page 282 sq.; Ernesti, Ueb. "Porphyrius de Abstinentia" (in his Theol. Jibl. 9:63 sq.); Grave, De Pythagor. et Fssenor. discipline (Gott. 1808); Bielcke, De Essusis et Therapeutis (Starg. 1755); Bittner, De Essmis (Jen. 1670); Credner, Ueb. Essder and Ebioniten (in Winer's Zeitschr. f. wissensch. Theol. 2:211-264); Grossmann, De ascetis Judceorumn (Altenb. 1833); Zinck, De, Therapeutis (Lips. 1724). On the supposed relations of Essenism to Christianity, there are special treatises in Latin by Zorn, (in his Opusc. Sacr. 2:62 sq.), Kaiser (in his Quaestion. Synodal. [Curise, 1801], page 25 sq.), Dorfmiiller (Wunsiedel, 1803), Tinga (Groning. 1805); in German by Litderwald (in Henke's Magaz; 4:371 sq.), Bengel (in Flatt's Magaez. 7:126 sq.). See likewise the Stud. u. Krit. 1845, 3:549; Jour. Sac. Lit. October 1852, pages 176-186.; April, 1853, page 170 sq.; Blackwood's Magazine, 1840, pages 105, 463, 639; Amer. Bibl: Repos. January 1849, page 162 sq.; Hilgenfeld's Zeitschr.fuzr wissensch. Theologie, 1867, 1, art. 6; Illgen's Zeitschr. fur hist. Theol. 1841, 2:3 sq.; the Strasb. Revue de theol. 1867, page 221 sq.; Zeller's Theol. Jahrb. 1855, page 315 sq.; 1850, page 401 sq.; Meth. Quart. Rev. July, 1867, page 450; North British Rev. December 1867, page 151; Pressense, Religions before Christ, pages 231-234; Schaff, Apostolic Church, pages 175, 657 sq.; Holzmann, Gesch. d. Vodes Israel, 1:206 sq.; Lucius, Der Essenismus (Strasb. 1881). (See SECTS, JEWISH).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Essence'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/e/essence.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
ADVERTISEMENT
Search for…
Enter query in the box:
 or 
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

 
Prev Entry
Ess, Leander Van
Next Entry
Essenius, Andrew
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology