Definition of Essene in English:



  • A member of an ancient Jewish ascetic sect of the period from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD in Palestine, who lived in highly organized groups and held property in common. The Essenes are widely regarded as the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    • ‘He sees parallels between the Essenes, the Jewish splinter group most likely responsible for hiding the scrolls more than 2,200 years ago, and the 21st-century business community.’
    • ‘Karl Barhdt theorized that Jesus belonged to a secret order of the Essenes and wanted to get Israel to abandon the idea of a political Messiah in favor of a purely spiritual one.’
    • ‘Until recently the consensus was that the writings were the product of a sectarian group identical or closely related to the Essenes described by Josephus and the Jewish philosopher Philo.’
    • ‘More recent work by other archaeologists and biblical scholars has questioned the association of the scrolls with the Qumran ruins and the Essenes.’
    • ‘In the first century BCE, the Jewish sect called the Essenes finally finished transforming Satan into the devil we're familiar with today.’
    • ‘The Essenes were called the people of the scroll.’
    • ‘After the dispersion of the Jews by the Romans following the failure of the Bar Kochba Revolt, the Jewish followers of Jesus disappeared along with the Essenes, the Sadducees and the Zealots.’
    • ‘I believe most of what Jesus taught and feel confident that there was such a man, probably a member of the Essenes.’
    • ‘Water purification rites played a major role in Jewish sectarian movements, especially among the Pharisees and the Essenes.’
    • ‘And of course the man carrying the pitcher may have been a member of the Essene faction, whose men eschewed marriage and carried their own water.’
    • ‘Recent excavation efforts have made Qumran - the Essene settlement in whose caves the Dead Sea Scrolls lay undiscovered for 2,000 years - more accessible than ever before.’
    • ‘Although monasticism is not part of mainstream Judaism, the Essenes, a messianic sect, founded a remote community by the Dead Sea.’
    • ‘Let us also consider that the Dead Sea scrolls - found in Qumran in 1947 - reveal that the Essenes were a deeply esoteric group within the Hebrew tradition.’
    • ‘Historical references to healing in Jewish literature date back to 200 B.C., to the Essenes, a mystical group known for their talent as healers and suspected by some scholars of having trained Jesus.’
    • ‘But eating together was a central activity for Jewish religious groups such as Pharisees and Essenes.’
    • ‘The Pharisees and Essenes, for example - the Jewish communities closest to Jesus' teaching - both affirmed a doctrine of the future resurrection of the dead.’
    • ‘Judaism has generally given little place to asceticism, except in early ascetic groups such as the Essenes, and amongst the Nazirites; Jewish ascetics who vow to abstain from grape products, from cutting hair, and from touching a corpse.’
    • ‘They reveal the Essenes to have been a radical Jewish sect committed to the revolutionary overthrow of the Romans and their upper-class Jewish allies.’


From Latin Esseni (plural), from Greek Essēnoi, perhaps from Aramaic.