Essenes. This was one of three primary sects of the Jews in the first century. The sect arose apparently out of disgust for both the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were a monastic order, emphasizing isolation, a vegetarian diet, and celibacy. The name “Essenes” is not found in scripture, but they were on earth at the time of our Lord. They may be alluded to in Col. 2:18, 23, where monastic characteristics are described by the Apostle Paul, and the worshipping of angels, which was part of the practice of the Essenes. They did not regard the Levitical order, but viewed it as corrupt. It is possible that some branch of the Essenes was responsible for the preservation of the (Qumran) Dead Sea Scrolls.