The contemplative asceticism of the Essenes of Judaea may be mentioned, and, somewhat later, the life of the Therapeutae on the shores of Lake Moeris.
2) is held by some to point to the Essenes; if this be so, it is not chronologically precise, since we have not the means of determining the beginning of the movement of thought that issued in Essenism.
He takes them as the type of the contemplative, in contrast with the Essenes, who represented rather the practical life.
While the Essenes were confined to Palestine or its near neighbourhood, the Therapeutae, we are told, existed in many parts of the world, but especially in Egypt.
10, § 12) - hence its highly rhetorical character - from which Eusebius gives the extract about the Essenes; while this in its turn may have constituted the fourth book of a large work entitled ("sarcastically," says Eusebius, H.E.
18), merely to the mention of the Essenes at the beginning of it.
To the modern reader the importance of the Therapeutae, as of the Essenes, lies in the evidence they afford of the existence of the monastic system long before the Christian era.
Certain circles in Judaism, as the Essenes in Palestine (Josephus, B.J.
A precocious student of the Law, he made trial of the three sects of Judaism - Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes - before he reached the age of nineteen.
The sacred feasts of the Essenes and Therapeutae in particular, as described by Josephus and Philo, closely resembled the Eucharistic agape.
The Essenes, similarly, appointed houses all over Palestine where they could safely eat, and priests of their own to prepare their food.
The example had been already set by the Essenes in Judea and the Therapeutae in Egypt.
Josephus himself made trial of the sect of Essenes in his youth; but from his own statement it appears that he must have been a very short time with them, and therefore could not have been initiated into the inner mysteries of the society (De vita sua, 2).
After this the notices that we have of the Essenes from antiquity are mere reproductions, except in the case of Epiphanius (died A.D.
There is also a mention of the Essenes by Hegesippus (Eus.
It has been conjectured that the Clementine literature emanated from Essenes who had turned Christian.
There is some difficulty in determining how far the Essenes separated themselves locally from their fellow-countrymen.
The Essenes did not renounce marriage because they denied the validity of the institution or the necessity of it as providing for the continuance of the human race, but because they had a low opinion of the character of women (Jos.
As the result of the ascetic training of the Essenes, and of their temperate diet, it is said that they lived to a great age, and were superior to pain and fear.
There were some of the Essenes who permitted marriage, but strictly with a view to the preservation of the race; in other respects they agreed with the main body of the society.
Josephus tells us too that the Essenes believed in fate; but in what sense, and what relation it bore to Divine Providence, does not appear.
On the one hand it might be maintained that the Essenes out-Pharisee'd the Pharisees.
But if the Pharisees abstained from good works on the Sabbath, the Essenes abstained even from natural necessities (Jos.
8, § 9); if the Pharisees washed, the Essenes bathed before dinner; if the Pharisees ascribed some things to Fate, the Essenes ascribed all (Jos.
But on the other hand the Essenes avoided marriage, which the Pharisees held in honour; they offered no animal-sacrifices in the Temple; they refrained from the use of oil, which was customary among the Pharisees (Luke vii.
But as Pythagoras himself came from Samos, and his doctrines have a decidedly Oriental tinge, it may very well be that both he and the Essenes drew from a common source; for there is no need to reject, as is so commonly done, the statements of our authorities as to the antiquity of the Essenes.
The fact that the Pharisees and Sadducees so often figure in the pages of the New Testament, while the Essenes are never mentioned, might plausibly be interpreted to show that the New Testament emanated from the side of the Essenes.
That work contains the doctrine common to the Essenes with Plato, and suggestive of Persian Dualism, that God is the author of good only.
There are also certain obvious points of resemblance between the Essenes and the early Christians.
De Quincey's contention that there were no Essenes but the early Christians is now a literary curiosity.
The copious bibliography in Conybeare's edition of Philo's De vita contemplativa bears upon the Essenes as well as upon the Therapeutes.
For a specially Jewish view of the Essenes see Kohler's article in the Jewish Encyclopaedia.
A comparison between the Essenes and the Neopythagoreans shows a parallel so striking as to warrant the theory that the Essenes were profoundly influenced by Neopythagoreanism.
See Pythagoras, Neoplatonism, Essenes; and Zeller's Philosophie d.
The Essenes, while clinging to what they held to be original Mosaism, yet conceived and practised their ancestral faith in ways which showed distinct traces of syncretism, or the operation of influences foreign to Judaism proper.
The first half of the 3rd century was marked, especially in Syria, by a strong tendency to syncretism, which may well have stirred certain Christian Essenes to fresh propaganda.
The sect of the Essenes probably shows an intermingling of the Greek with other lines of tradition among the Jews of Palestine.
But Alexander's conquests brought the Jews into contact with Hindu and Greek mysticism; and this probably explains the growth of the ascetic Essenes some two centuries before the Christian era.
5, 9) the Sadducees denied fate altogether, and placed good and evil wholly in man's choice; the Pharisees, while recognizing man's freedom, laid emphasis on fate; the Essenes insisted on an absolute fate.
5.9, §§ 171-173, Niese) introduces the Sadducees along with the Pharisees and Essenes in his account of Jonathan's reign (161-143 B.C.) as the third of the sects of the Jews, and defines their tenets thus: "They deny the existence of God (Josephus says ` Fate,' as he is speaking to pagans) and the Divine government of human affairs; and they assert that everything lies in our power, so that we are responsible for our good or bad fortune."
It is probable that the Sadducees, if not also the Essenes, wholly neglected them.