4.View not necessarily critical of Christ
Our fourth critique of this position is the strongest. While the point is often missed, this view is not necessarily critical of Christ or his teachings even if it was shown that he had affinities to Essene thought or even that he was a member of the group. As Pfeiffer explains: It should be observed that there is nothing derogatory to the person of Christ in the assumption that He or His followers were of Essene background. The Scriptures make it clear that the mother of our Lord was a Jewess, and that He became incarnate in the midst of a Jewish environment. If it were proved that this environment was also Essene, Christian theology would lose nothing and the uniqueness of Jesus would be no more disproved than it is disproved by the assertion of the Jewish origin after the flesh.^36
In other words, Jesus had to be born somewhere and he went to school somewhere. To assert that this background was influenced by the Essenes is not in itself critical of Christianity, as long as his teachings are not adjusted or his uniqueness modified. His person and teachings are still validated by a trustworthy
33 Allegro, Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 160.
34 Daniélou, “Dead Sea Scrolls,” p. 28.
35 Ibid., pp. 30–32; Brownlee, “Jesus and Qumran,” pp. 69–70; Allegro, Dead Sea Scrolls, pp. 161–162; Bruce, Second Thoughts, p. 98.
36 Pfeiffer, Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 97.
New Testament and, if his resurrection is verified, this could also serve to confirm his message.^37
Yet, we must still reject this approach to the life of Jesus. The illogical argumentation, the differences between Christianity and Qumran and the differences between Jesus and the Teacher of Righteousness all invalidate it. However, even if this hypothesis was demonstrated, it would affect nothing of major importance in Christianity since Jesus did have some type of background and his message can be shown to be trustworthy and unique anyway. Jesus’ Message Is Changed by Others