Was told I had some wrong info on Second Temple sects - What do you know about the Essenes?
They were a monastic society that lived in the area surrounding the Dead Sea. They obeyed ultra-strict holiness laws and were especially obsessive about cleanliness. They spent most of their time (well, alot of it) making and preserving copies of holy scriptures, from which we got the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Adding to the previous post: They were somewhat eschatological, and believed in a Teacher of Righteousness (there is some dispute as to whether this individual was a historical personage of ca. 100 BC, the Messiah, or a messianic figure-to-come but not the Messiah).
Akat and I have both responded under the thread on Sadduccees… no point in having three of these runnin’ around, is there?
Both Rastahomie and Polycarp are describing the Dead Sea sect: the people who lived in a commune, away from Jerusalem, and wrote and preserved the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls. Most scholars believe that the Dead Sea sect was indeed a sect of Essenes; but not all scholars are convinced of that. However, the Dead Sea sect was clearly only ONE group of Essenes, and even if they were an Essene sect, their beliefs are not necessarily those of other Essenes.
The Teacher of Righteousness mentioned by Polycarp is a character described in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but not elsewhere in Essene literature (which is skimpy, I agree.)