The ancient Essenes are known as being an highly Ascetic sect, with many Mystical and Monastical practices.

In fact, Rav Aryeh Kaplan seems to imply that much of our Kabala actually originated from the Essenes, who supposedly inherited them from the Nevi'im, and from Pythagorean teachings (which the Greeks themselves admit they got from the Ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians).

But in the Artscroll commentary on the Amidah, they are labeled by Artscroll as heretics, with no explanation. So were the Essenes heretics, or just some highly Ascetic groups of people?

  • Can you provide a source for your implication in the name of Rabbi Kaplan?
    – user6591
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 11:05
  • They are mentioned in tosefta
    – interested
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 13:34
  • @interested Vaguely remember this, what did they mention about them?
    – Adam
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 2:58
  • @Adam They are called tovlai shachris.
    – interested
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 5:15
  • Rabbinical / Orthodox / Talmudic / traditional Judaism is the direct historical descendant of the ancient religious sect of the Pharisees. The Essenes, though agreeing with the former on the existence of a spiritual realm, and of the World to Come (unlike the Sadducees, who denied these two related concepts), they nevertheless criticized them for what they perceived to be a subservient attitude towards the Roman invaders. In a sense, they were more like theistic Zionists.
    – user18041
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 14:18


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .