Essenian /e see"nee euhn/, Essenic /e sen"ik/, adj.
/es"een, e seen"/, n. Judaism.
a member of a Palestinian sect, characterized by asceticism, celibacy, and joint holding of property, that flourished from the 2nd century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.

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Member of a Jewish sect active in Palestine from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD.

The Essenes formed small monastic communities whose members strictly observed the laws of Moses and the Sabbath and held their property in common. They withdrew from society, avoiding temple worship in Jerusalem and supporting themselves by manual labor. They usually excluded women. It is likely that the Dead Sea Scrolls were composed, copied, or collected by the Essenes.

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▪ ancient Jewish sect
      member of a religious sect or brotherhood that flourished in Palestine from about the 2nd century BC to the end of the 1st century AD. The New Testament does not mention them and accounts given by Josephus, Philo of Alexandria, and Pliny the Elder sometimes differ in significant details, perhaps indicating a diversity that existed among the Essenes themselves.

      The Essenes clustered in monastic communities that, generally at least, excluded women. Property was held in common and all details of daily life were regulated by officials. The Essenes were never numerous; Pliny fixed their number at some 4,000 in his day.

      Like the Pharisees (Pharisee), the Essenes meticulously observed the Law of Moses, the sabbath, and ritual purity. They also professed belief in immortality and divine punishment for sin. But, unlike the Pharisees, the Essenes denied the resurrection of the body and refused to immerse themselves in public life. With few exceptions, they shunned Temple worship and were content to live ascetic lives of manual labour in seclusion. The sabbath was reserved for day-long prayer and meditation on the Torah (first five books of the Bible). Oaths were frowned upon, but once taken they could not be rescinded.

      After a year's probation, proselytes received their Essenian emblems but could not participate in common meals for two more years. Those who qualified for membership were called upon to swear piety to God, justice toward men, hatred of falsehood, love of truth, and faithful observance of all other tenets of the Essene sect. Thereafter new converts were allowed to take their noon and evening meals in silence with the others.

      Following the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (late 1940s and 1950s) in the vicinity of Khirbat Qumrān, most scholars have agreed that the Qumrān (q.v.) community was Essenian.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Essene — Essene …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Essene — Es*sene , n.; pl. {Essenes}. [Gr. ?, lit., physicians, because they practiced medicine, fr. Chald [=a]say[=a] to heal, cf. Heb. as[=a].] One of a sect among the Jews in the time of our Savior, remarkable for their strictness and abstinence. [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Essene — 1550s, member of a Jewish sect (first recorded 2c. B.C.E.), from L., from Gk. Essenoi, of disputed etymology, perhaps from Heb. tzenum the modest ones, or Heb. hashaim the silent ones. Klein suggests Syriac hasen, pl. absolute state of hase pious …   Etymology dictionary

  • Essene — [es′ēn΄, e sēn′] n. [L Esseni < Gr Essēnoi, said (by Philo) to be < hosios, holy, pious, but < Syr ḥsēn, pl. < ḥsī, pious, holy] a member of an ancient Jewish sect of ascetics and mystics, which existed to the middle of the 1st… …   English World dictionary

  • Essene — noun Etymology: Greek Essēnos Date: 1553 a member of a monastic brotherhood of Jews in Palestine from the second century B.C. to the second century A.D. • Essenian or Essenic adjective • Essenism noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Essene — noun Member of a first century ascetic Jewish sect, in ancient Palestine from the second century BCE to the second century CE. The Essenes are believed to have been the authors of the . See Also: Essenian, Essenic, Essenism …   Wiktionary

  • Essene — n. member of an ascetic sect of Judaism which inhabited the area north of the Dead Sea between approximately 200 BC AD 100 …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Essene — [ ɛsi:n] noun a member of an ancient Jewish ascetic sect of the 2nd century BC–2nd century AD in Palestine. Origin from L. Esseni (plural), from Gk Essēnoi, perh. from Aramaic …   English new terms dictionary

  • essene — es·sene …   English syllables

  • Essene — Es•sene [[t]ˈɛs in, ɛˈsin[/t]] n. jud a member of a monastic Jewish sect that flourished in Palestine from the 2nd century b.c. to the 2nd century a.d. Es•se′ni•an, Es•sen•ic ɛˈsɛn ɪk adj …   From formal English to slang

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