In past articles I have tried to demonstrate that at points the writings of the Qumran library are important for recognizing the Hebraic linguistic milieu for the vocabulary of the New Testament. Beyond these linguistic parallels, however, modern scholarship has attempted to identify whether there existed direct contact between the Essene Congregation and figures in the New Testament. In particular, similarities between John the Baptist and the Qumran Congregation regarding their baptisms, their self-identification with Isaiah 40:3 and their apocalyptic rhetoric, have drawn some scholars to the conclusion that John may have at one time had direct contact with the Essenes.
While similarities between the Essenes and John do exist, the parallels with Jesus are by contrast lacking. In the words of Professor David Flusser, “Jesus and his followers were nearer to Pharisaic Judaism than to the Qumran Sect.” In spite of his and other reservations by Dead Sea Scrolls scholars, there continue to be unfounded theories that seek to establish a direct link between Jesus and the Essenes. One of the more distressing theories is that Jesus abandoned the traditional Jewish celebration of the Passover and embraced the Essene solar calendar to observe the feast two days early.
This novel idea was first suggested by A. Jaubert, a French scholar, but she received little support from the scholars who knew the Qumran Scrolls. Nevertheless, the idea has survived and thrives in popular books found in Jerusalem. In fact, it has become a standard part of the training curriculum for Israeli guides. Consequently, thousands of Christian pilgrims each year are subjected to this bizarre theory.
-  Annie Jaubert, La date de la Cène: Calendrier biblique et liturgie chrétienne (Paris: Lecoffre, 1957) (ET: The Date of the Last Supper [Staten Island, N.Y.: Alba House, 1965]). ↩