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The Essene Hypothesis Ancient Hebrew scrolls that were accidentally discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin boy have stirred up popular enthusiasm as well as scholarly interest over the past half-century The source of this excitement is what these Dead Sea Scrolls reveal about the history of the Second Temple period 520 BCE-70 CE particularly from the second century BCE until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls caused intense controversy in scholarly circles over their date and the identity of the community they represented After the time span of the Dead Sea Scrolls was accepted the Essene Hypothesis was looked upon The Essene Hypothesis states that that the Dead Sea Scrolls also known as Qumran texts were the remains of the library of the Essenes and that the Essenes lived in Qumran James C VanderKam and Frank M Cross agree with the Essene Hypothesis They use classical sources and relate them to the Dead Sea Scrolls as evidence Through t he topics of fate property and celibacy it seems obvious that the Essenes did live in Qumran during 520 BCE 70 CE James C VanderKam argues that those who settled in Qumran were Essenes VanderKams views are based on evidence from Pliny the Elder Josephus and Philo Pliny the Elder provides support for the hypothesis which places the Essenes as the inhabitants in Qumran in his book Natural History On the west side of the Dead Sea but out of range of the exhalations of the coast is the solitary tribe of the Essenes which is remarkable beyond all the other tribes in the whole world as it has no women and has renounced sexual desire has no money and has only palm-trees for company Day by day the throng of refugees is recruited to an equal number by numerous accessions of persons tired of life and driven thither by the waves of furtune to adopt their
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