As Elior explains, the Essenes make no mention of themselves in the 900 scrolls found by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947 in the caves of Qumran, near the Dead Sea. "Sixty years of research have been wasted trying to find the Essenes in the scrolls," Elior tells TIME. "But they didn't exist. This is legend on a legend."
In a chapter entitled, "Essenes, Zealots and Zadokites," I write:
The idea of a monolithic Essene community from which Christianity issued was...given fuel with the discovery in 1947 of the caches of scrolls in caves near the ruined site of Qumran along the Dead Sea in present-day Jordan. However, there is yet another debate as to whether or not Qumran was indeed an Essene community....In reality, the archaeological finds indicate Qumran was not an Essene community but a waystation for travelers and merchants crossing the Dead Sea. In Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, Norman Golb evinced that Qumran was a fortress, not a monastery... In addition, Golb posited that the scrolls were not written by any Essene scribes but constituted a collection from libraries in Jerusalem secreted in caves throughout eastern Palestine by Jews fleeing the Roman armies during the First Revolt of 70 CE.... The Dead Sea collection is in fact eclectic, representing more than one sect or priesthood, competitors, in actuality.... (Acharya, The Christ Conspiracy, 301)
At the end of the second century BCE, Galilee was violently subjugated by the Judeans... After this invasion and forcible conversion, the ranks of the Herodian outpost Qumran supposedly swelled, evidently with Samaritans and Galileans, or Zealots "from Damascus," who also were the Sadducees, or "sons of Zadok," i.e., "the priests who keep the covenant," as the Zealots of the scrolls identified themselves. Indeed, Solomon Schechter, the discoverer of the Cairo edition of one important scroll also found at the Dead Sea--the "Zadokite Document," also known as the "Damascus Rule" or "Damascus Covenant"--considered the Dead Sea Zadokites an "offshoot" of the Sadducean sect, "possibly the Dosithean schism," thereby equating this Sadducean offshoot with the Samaritans. (Acharya, CC, 306)
So who were the real authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Elior theorizes that the Essenes were really the renegade sons of Zadok, a priestly caste banished from the Temple of Jerusalem by intriguing Greek rulers in 2nd century B.C. When they left, they took the source of their wisdom — their scrolls — with them. "In Qumran, the remnants of a huge library were found," Elior says, with some of the early Hebrew texts dating back to the 2nd century B.C.In consideration of this current debate, it is wise to keep in mind that scholarship on various subjects is not always set in stone, as we can see in this instance. The Essene authorship of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been treated as if factual for several decades; yet, not only was there no evidence for such an attribution but the scrolls themselves pointed elsewhere, with the authors identifying themselves as Zadokites.
While Dr. James Charlesworth rebuts Elior's statements by claiming that the term "Essenes" would not appear in the scrolls, because it is a "foreign word." Be that as it may, Josephus specifically refers to three separate sects, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes, which indicates he believed that the Sadducees/Zadokites and Essenes were not the same group. Says, the Jewish historian:
At this time there were three sects among the Jews, who had different opinions concerning human actions; the one was called the sect of the Pharisees, another the sect of the Sadducees, and the other the sect of the Essenes..." (Ant., XIII, V, 9)To this day, the majority of people perceive these two as distinct groups, for a variety of reasons, including their "different opinions concerning human actions." It is my contention, however, that all three were instrumental in the creation of Christianity.
For more information, see:
The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled
Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection