The first Essenes were like monks. They were recluses who fled into the desert and lived a shared life at Qumran. They were scholars too and wrote out sacred texts on manuscripts which they concealed in caves. Many of these have only been rediscovered over the past forty years and give us a fascinating insight into the life and belief systems of the Essenes. John the Baptist may have been influenced by them. That is why some people trace their influence in the teachings of Jesus.
Some scholars see a possible and even probable Essene influence in the life and teachings of John the Baptist, but no direct link can be demonstrated between Jesus and the Essenes and Essene teachings . His involvement with sinners goes against the wisdom of the Essenes, who insisted on strict separation between the pure and those contaminated by sin. Other scholars have tried to make out that Jesus offered a secret form of wisdom, to be known only by an elect. They would call on an Essene background to explain their findings. For more information, click here.
3. Did the Essenes believe in some form of reincarnation?
There are two sources for exploring an answer to this question: the literature from Qumran itself, and also from contemporary sources such as the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus. To read more about the conflicting arguments and to understand what the Essenes thought about resurrection, click here.