Saturday, July 04, 2015

Have the Essenes been marginalized?

On Jesus, the Essenes, and the Anxiety of Influence

By Simon J. Joseph
California Lutheran University
June 2015
A brief and evidently programmatic essay. Regarding this:
Although the work of The Enoch Seminar challenges and expands the definition of the “Essenic/Enochic” movement, it seems that today, with few notable exceptions, the “Essenes” continue to be marginalized in biblical scholarship – often demoted from being a powerful socio-political force within first-century Judaism to being the isolated, misanthropic, and ultra-legalistic recluses of “the Qumran community” or the literary-ideological fantasies of Josephus, Philo, and Pliny.
I am always pleased to see the Enoch Seminar getting good press, but I would like to see Professor Joseph's characterization of current Qumran scholarship, as well as his arguments for the positive case he assumes about the Essenes, argued in greater detail. It would have been helpful also if he had named some names and specific works. But presumably he does this in some of his own published work, which he highlights in the first paragraph of the essay.