This study attempts to answer the question of the origins of the non-biblical features of the Essenes' way of life. It is clear that their project was founded in biblical and Jewish realities. Where did those elements come from that appear not to have been derived from these sources? That they have their origins in Greek, and specifically Pythagorean, customs is an idea that recurs regularly in the history of scholarship and has had some notable supporters in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, including E Zeller, E Schuer, I Levy, F C Cumont and M J Lagrange. Recent scholars seem more reluctant to accept such views. The inquiry will take the reader through the available sources, then a series of comparative studies with possible parallels in Greece and elsewhere, to see whether and in what terms the question of Pythagorean influences on Essenism can be answered.
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