These works of Ewing and Potter are examples of popularistic attempts to explain the inner motivations and secret events of Jesus’ life that are not recorded in the New Testament. Like the fictitious lives of Jesus described by Schweitzer, not only do we find an interest in these inner workings, we also confront the secretive organization of the Essenes once again. And like Schweitzer’s examples, so are these works refuted by the facts. Four critiques of these views are now presented.
First, there is a train of illogic employed in these works. For Ewing, the connection between Jesus and the Essenes is based on the opinion that, since he was
19 Upton Ewing, The Essene Christ(New York: Philosophical Library, 1961).
20 Ibid., pp. 48–51, 62–63.
21 Ibid., pp. 52, 62–64.
22 Ibid., see pp. 62–64, 368–369, 393, 397, for examples.
23 Charles Potter, The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed(Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, Inc., n.d.).
24 Charles Potter, Did Jesus Write This Book?(Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, Inc., n.d.), pp. 16, 77, 133–141.
neither a Sadducee nor a Pharisee, Jesus must have been an Essene!^25 Again, since the Gospels depict Jesus as opposing both the Sadducees and the Pharisees but never opposing the Essenes, then he must have been one of the latter.^26
Both of these statements are textbook examples of arguments from silence. Just because there is an absence of evidence in the Gospels as to what group Jesus favored, we cannot argue from that silence to the fact that he favored the Essenes. For instance, the Talmud fails to mention the Essenes, so does this make it an Essene book? These statements also commit the black-white fallacy of logic. They assume that either Jesus had to be a Sadducee or Pharisee on the one hand or an Essene on the other. But this conclusion only follows if it is known that these are the only options. Jesus could have been a member of another group or of no group at all. Indeed, the Gospels depict him as one who was “his own man” without explicit support for any sectarian politics.