Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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(3,107 words)

The Essenes were a Jewish sect that flourished in Israel during the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods, and which was characterized by its simple and communal way of life.

The Sources

The Essenes are explicitly mentioned only in Greek and Latin texts. Our principal sources were penned by four authors, who, while not Essenes themselves, were contemporary with the sect: Philo of …

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Livneh, Atar, “Essenes”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 30 September 2022 <>
First published online: 2018

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