Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins


“Simon Joseph’s skillful treatment puts the systematic comparison of Jesus and the Scrolls on a sound and productive footing. The result is a sensible evaluation of Jesus in relation to those behind the production of the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

—Bruce Chilton
Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion, Bard College

“Simon Joseph’s knowledge of the extensive scholarly literature about the Qumran library is impressive even for a specialist in the field. I heartily recommend Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins to anyone who seeks to master this highly important area of New Testament study.”

—James A. Sanders
Professor Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology
and Claremont Graduate University


“In this marvelous work Simon Joseph . . . offers a detailed, well-researched, and eminently balanced assessment of this intriguing potential relationship.”

—Donald Senior
The Bible Today

“Joseph … displays an impressive knowledge of the secondary literature … [and] argues here with impressive detail for halakhic intersections whereby the DSS may throw light on the historical Jesus … Simon Joseph’s book is a good place to get up to date on the debates alluded to in the title. It is well written and solidly researched and deserves to have a voice in the continuing discussion.”

—Michael O. Wise
The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

“This important volume is Joseph’s fourth major study in his extensive research on the relationship of early Judaism and nascent Christianity … Joseph’s work is extremely well researched and comprehensively referenced … His strategy of comparing Jesus’s halakah with that of the Essenes is highly successful, with his tightly argued analysis not only elucidating the relevant texts but also clarifying much about the Jesus of history, the Essenes, and early Christianity.”

—Mary J. Marshall
Review of Biblical Literature

“The author is a lucid and expert guide through debated issues … the book as a whole is judicious, clearly argued and well documented.”

—David Wenham
Journal for the Study of the New Testament

“Informed, intelligible, and compelling … a worthy contribution to discussions about the origins of Christianity. It displays a remarkable breadth of scholarship and a mind that has deeply reflected on a great number of issues. Furthermore, this book’s copious footnotes make it an excellent guide for further research.”

—Michael Flowers
Revue de Qumran

“This book gives a good idea of the contribution of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the study of the Jesus of history and the Gospels.”

—Émile Puech
Revue Biblique

“Makes a strong case that Jesus . . . had a ‘relationship’ with Essene ideology and halakhah. The book as a whole provides many insightful analyses of Jesus’s engagement with different groups as well as appropriate analyses of Qumran texts . . . the study makes for a stimulating dialogue partner for historical Jesus scholars.”

—Cecilia Wassén
Dead Sea Discoveries

“Since his first publications, Joseph has consistently advanced New Testament studies by merging the field’s cutting-edge scholarship (especially pertaining to Q and the historical Jesus) with the latest advances in the study of late second temple Judaism in a methodologically responsible framework. The present monograph, the author’s fourth one overall, marks the culmination of all that work .. and it does so with academic rigor, nuance, and confidence befitting one of the field’s leading scholars … The monograph is expertly written, persuasively argued, and logically organized … Joseph’s best work yet, an important contribution to the field, and required reading for anyone studying the New Testament in its Jewish environment.”

—Olegs Andrejevs
Religious Studies Review