Monthly Archives: February 2009

Epiphanius, Philo, the Nazarenes, and the Essenes

He [Philo of Alexandria] arrived during Passover and observed their [Jessaeans] customs, and how some of them kept the holy week of Passover (only) after a postponement of it, but others by eating every other day – though others, indeed, ate each evening.

– Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 29.5.1

This post is all just speculation, but I decided to write it anyway. So in the above quote, Epiphanius (writing in the fourth century) thinks that the Essenes (Jessaeans) were the Nazarenes, or early Christianity. But, the “Essenes” were around long before Jesus. I know a lot of people think that there’s a link between the Essenes and Christianity, but I’m still not entirely sure.

“Essenes” (εσσηνοι) is a Greek word, unlike Pharisee and Sadducee. It’s weird, in my opinion, for a highly ascetic group of religious Jews to have a Greek name for the name of their sect. Another weird thing about the Essenes is that they were supposedly all celibate and didn’t marry.

Jesus is a Greek name as well though. Jesus also seemed to be celibate and didn’t marry. Jesus’ brother, James the Just, also seemed to be celibate. Epiphanius thought that the (Jessaeans) Essenes were the early Christians and/or the Nazarenes. What’s going on here? The Ebionites, on the other hand, said that only members of Jesus’ family should be overseers of the new religion.

Did Jesus even have any other family? Why don’t we know anything about them? What if Jesus’ “brothers” were only the other members of the Essenes – since it was an all-male branch of initiates? What if he did have other family, but they thought he was part of some crazy cult (Essenes/Nazarenes)? Or what if he had other family, but this didn’t fit well with the type of power structure (i.e. non-Jewish) that the proto-Orthodox church wanted?

And then there’s the Dead Sea Scrolls, thought to belong to the Essenes. With their “Gabriel’s Revelation” of a messiah being brought back to life in three days, their messainic banquets, a “new covenant” borne from “living water”. Their “Teacher of Righteousness” who they likened to Joshua son of Nun? Joshua, which is “Jesus” in Greek, and “Chrestos” (χρηστος) meaning “good” in Greek is similar to “Christ” (χριστος)? Why did the Essenes disappear right when Christianity started becoming popular? It’s all highly coincidental.

What if the “Notzrim” were actually the Essenes? Notzrim is a Hebrew word, not Essenes

Weird stuff.

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Posted by on February 22, 2009 in brother of the lord, essenes, james the just, Nazarenes, notzrim


Christian ignorance of Hashem – YHWH

Christianity, at least the current form of Christianity, seems to be a Greek religion with sprinkles of Judaism to give it an air of “authenticity” or “antiquity”. The earliest Christians seemed to have been unaware of The Name: YHWH. Jews never actually say YHWH out loud; they either say “Hashem” (literally “The Name”) or they say “Adonai” which means “LORD”. It’s a recent thing in Christian versions of the Old Testament to actually spell out YHWH with vowels. It thus becomes “Yahweh” for Christians – though saying The Name out loud is extremely blasphemous and highly offensive to Jews.

There are actually two words in Hebrew that mean lord: Adonai and adoni. Adonai is only ever used for the replacement of saying YHWH. Adoni is only used for human beings. In English, and in Greek, we only have one word for “lord”. Greeks would say κυριος or “kyrios”.

In the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Tanach, The Name YHWH is never written. It’s always replaced with kyrios or kyrios theos. Since [Pauline] Christians were Greeks and couldn’t read Hebrew, they used those two words alone for claims of divinity.

In Romans 10:9 – 13, Paul quotes Joel 2:32 (Joel 3:5 LXX) and thinks that the passage says “lord” when it really says YHWH. The entire book of Joel never says the word “lord” at all. It only says YHWH. Here are some other examples of this confusion:

2 Cor 10:17 (quotes Jer 9:42)

1 Thess 4:15 (the word of the Lord [actually the word of YHWH] is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1; Isa 1:10; Jonah 1:1; 2 Sam 12:9, 24:11; 1 Kings 13:1, etc.))

2 Tim 2:19 (quotes Num 16:5)

*Not by “Paul”, but according to some Conservative Christians it is:
Heb 1:10 (quotes Ps 102:25-27)

It might be understandable if Paul was Hellenized Jew and didn’t know Hebrew, but it even shows up in 1 Peter 3:10-15 where he quotes Ps 34:12-16. Quite a few scholars say that 1 Peter is pseudopigraphal; this might be one line of evidence. A Hebrew literate Jew wouldn’t make such an error. But “Peter” is a Greek name.

On the other side of things, 1, 2, and 3 John never once quote the Tanach or LXX.

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Adonai, adoni, Hashem, LXX, paul, YHWH, YHWH pronunciation

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