Today I am not summarizing a section of VanderKam and Flint from The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Rather, I am just thinking out loud about a question inspired by them.
The question is whether the Essenes at Qumran were Herodians.
Herodians were a party mentioned in the Gospels as opponents of Jesus. Most assume that they were supporters of the dynasty of Herod, which the Romans had granted some autonomy in ruling parts of Palestine. At first sight, the Essenes would seem to be far from that. They were anti-Roman and in favor of a kind of segregation from, not just Gentiles, but Jews who had become sinners by adapting to Hellenistic culture.
However, Josephus in the Antiquities of the Jews book 15 chapter 10 reports that Herod the Great held the Essenes in high esteem and had a special relationship with Menahem, a chief Essene. This…
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