18 For examples, Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. IV, p. 340; and Brown, “The Resurrection,” p. 223.
Another popular picture of Jesus is that he was a member of the Essene Community at Qumran, which is said to have influenced his teachings tremendously. Sometimes, but seldom, he is even connected with the Essene “Teacher of Righteousness,” a priest who called the people to obey the Law and to live a holy life before the Lord and was perhaps even martyred for his teachings.
For instance, Upton Ewing’s The Essene Christasserts that Jesus was raised as an Essene and belonged to the sect, as did John the Baptist.^19 It is even hinted that Jesus thought of himself as the “Teacher of Righteousness.”^20 Because of this background of both John and Jesus, their followers were likewise influenced by Essene teachings. Subsequently, the four Gospels are said to have borrowed much from the Qumran community.^21
Strangely enough, Ewing sees the major theme of the Essene community, including Jesus and the early Christians, as the teaching of monistic ethics. This teaching involves a type of pantheistic oneness of the entire universe with God, each other and all of life. As a result, no violence should be perpetrated on any creature or person, but we should live in peace and love with all.^22
Another writer to link Jesus and Christian origins with the Qumran community is Charles Potter. He also suggests that both John the Baptist and Jesus studied at Qumran while growing up. This would explain where Jesus was during his so-called “silent years” between the ages of twelve and thirty.^23 During these years, Potter postulates that Jesus either wrote, or at least read and was very influenced by an apocalyptic book named The Secrets of Enoch, which is closely connected with the ideas taught by the Essenes. While, at the very least, Jesus was inspired by these teachings, Potter is careful to point out that Jesus was not the Essene “Teacher of Righteousness,” who lived long before Jesus.^24