The Shadows of Essenes in The New Testament

Pinchas Shir, Associate Professor of Ancient Cultures

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Course info
Audio lessons

Course Info

Among Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Herodians, and others, the Essenes are not named by name in any of the New Testament books. But one can argue that despite that fact they are still present, and their presence leaves shadows in the New Testament texts. Who were these elusive Essenes? What did they believe? What set them apart from all other Jewish groups in the Second Temple period? Seeking answers to such questions, this course dives into the ancient texts: Pliny the Elder, Philo, Josephus, the works of Qumran Jews, and of course, the New Testament.  What did the ancient writers think about Essenes?  How did they describe themselves? Find out where one can see the shadows of Essenes in the New Testament!

About Author

Pinchas Shir

Associate Professor of Ancient Cultures

Pinchas Shir, Israel Bible Center’s Associate Professor of Ancient Cultures, is nearing the completion of his Ph.D. studies in the Department of Religion at Groningen University in the Netherlands. His academic interests focus on ancient dining culture, culinary contexts of the Second Temple period, and particularly on the table interactions between Jews and Gentiles in antiquity. In addition, Pinchas is keenly interested in the archaeology of Ancient Israel and the Mediterranean.

Currently residing in North America, Assoc. Professor Shir lectures internationally and maintains a strong online presence where all can hear his teachings.

  • 22 Sessions With historical background and more
  • Earn your certificate in:
    • Jewish Context and Culture
    • Jewish New Testament
  • 1,491 Active Students From all over the world
  • 4:34 Hours Learn at your pace and convenience


  • Lecture Notes for this Course
  • Plain Text Notes for this Course

Audio lessons

  • 02. Philo's Descriptions of Essenes (part 1) 08:58
  • 03. Philo's Descriptions of Essenes (part 2) 11:12
  • 04. Philo's Descriptions of Essenes (part 3) 09:50
  • 05. Philo's Descriptions of Essenes (part 4) 08:10
  • 06. Essenes and Qumranites in Original Sources (part 1) 13:40
  • 07. Essenes and Qumranites in Original Sources (part 2) 14:31
  • 08. More Early Sources About Essenes 12:48
  • 09. Did Jesus Know The Future? (part 1) 07:37
  • 10. Did Jesus Know the Future (part 2) 12:22
  • 11. Holding All Things in Common (part 1) 11:53
  • 12. Holding All Things in Common (part 2) 13:47
  • 13. The First Comforter 10:32
  • 14. How New is the New Covenant? 12:59
  • 15. Was John the Baptist an Essene? (part 1) 16:59
  • 16. Was John the Baptist an Essene? (part 2) 15:36
  • 17. Comparing The Essenes and Jesus Movement 13:05
  • 18. Josephus' Descriptions of Essenes (part 1) 14:23
  • 19. Josephus' Descriptions of Essenes (part 2) 29:26
  • 20. Marriage and Celibacy in Qumran and NT (part 1) 10:55
  • 21. Marriage and Celibacy in Qumran and NT (part 2) 10:15
  • 22. Marriage and Celibacy in Qumran and NT (part 3) 13:17

Student Reviews


Overall student rates

Overall rating based on 18 reviews
5 Stars 18
4 Stars 0
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  • jorge luis Vicentini

    Posted 1 month ago
  • Stephen Groves

    Posted 2 months ago
    Good presentation of the Essenes at the time of Jesus' life on earth.
  • Dr Tichaona Banda

    Posted 2 months ago
    Not to forget the poor
  • SE de Beer

    Posted 2 months ago
    Great insight
  • Schraut Patricia

    Posted 3 months ago
    I am so thankful to be able to sit under the teaching of such learned men and women.

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