The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
B'nai-Amen & B'nai-Zadok

Historical references to the monastic Orders of the Nasarenes and Ossaeans

Historical references to the deeper monastic Orders of the Nasarenes and Ossaeans, the B'nai-Amen and the B'nai-Zadok, can be found in Dead Sea Scroll and Mandean literature.


Historical references to the deeper monastic Order of the Ossaeans are found in the Manual of Discipline, one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Cave 1 near the ruined Ossaean monastery of Qumran:

"By B'nai-Zadok ('sons of Zadok') is meant those elect of Israel that have been designated by name and that shall go on functioning in the last days. Behold, their names have been specified, the families into which they are to be born, the epochs in which they are to function, the full tale of their tribulations, the length of their sojourn in exile, and the precise nature of their deeds." - Damascus Covenant
"Everyone who is admitted to the formal organization (Council) of the fellow volunteers in the cause and to commit himself by a binding oath to return with all his heart and soul to the commandments of the Law of Moses, as that Law is revealed to B'nai-Zadok (the sons of Zadok) -that is, to the priests who still keep the Covenant and seek God's will -and to a majority of their co-covenanters who have volunteered together to adhere to the truth of God and to walk according to His pleasure." - Manual of Discipline

Ancient historical references and modern archeological discoveries have focused on this smaller Ossaean sect and their Qumran monastery, rather than on the larger Nasarene Essenes with their Mt. Carmel Temple. The monastic Order of Ossaeans (Essenes) of Qumran, who have left us their Dead Sea Scrolls and ruined monastery, were a break off from the larger Nasarene Essene movement.

Internal evidence from the B'nai-Zadokim scrolls indicates a second century BC rift within the larger Essene movement which resulted in the creation of this smaller Ossaean sect led by their own "Teacher of Righteousness" who may be the one referred to as "the Alexandrian" in Qaraite writings.

Differences in attitude toward Mosaic Law and Calendar disputes seem to have been at the core of the dispute. From this, and other internal evidence, we may plausibly deduce that the main Carmel Essenes (Nasarene / Nazarenes) did not accept the solar 364 day calendar of Qumran, but instead held to the ancient luni-solar calendar (the Shawui). We may also conclude that the Carmel Essenes did not accept the Teacher of Righteousness' "Temple Scroll," which advocated future animal sacrifices, as authoritative. Nor does it appear that the northern Essenes shared the Ossaean's Teacher of Righteousness' respect for what is now known as the "Law of Moses," albeit his revised version of the same expressed in the Temple Scroll.

Although the Ossaean Qumranites were practicing vegetarians like their northerly mother sect, it appears that they originally did so only as a temporary measure due to their inability to sacrifice animals in the Jerusalem Temple. Their ultimate goal was to recapture the Temple and slaughter animals after their own peculiar fashion prescribed in their Temple Scroll. With the coming of their prophet Elxai, they seem to have modified their future hopes of meat eating and espoused an eternal vegetarian stance. The Nasarenes, both before and after Yeshua, were content to remain vegetarians forever and had no designs on the bloody altar on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

A critical but cautious survey of the Ossaeans surviving texts can prove beneficial and be helpful in our attempt to understand their more northernly Nasarene Essene associates of Mount Carmel. Their Damascus Covenant and Manual of Discipline are both tainted with doctrines condemned by Yeshua and other true Nasarene Essenes, such as hating one's enemy. Nevertheless, these "Rules" were probably an adaptation of older and truer Nasarene Rules, rather than original creations of the Ossaean Teacher of Righteousness. Various copies show revisions in these rules over time. Militaristic scrolls, such as the "War Rule," and sacrificial cult texts such as the "Temple Scroll," have no connection with the compassionate and peace loving northern Essenes.

Epiphanius' remark that the Essenes, just like the Nasarenes, rejected the Pharisee's Old Testament probably reflects the fact that the Qumranites had their own alternate Torah, the "Book of Hagu," which is probably the Temple Scroll found in Cave 11.

Despite their differences, there are surely many similarities between Ossaean and Nasarene practices and traditions, especially after Elxai, since both groups came from the same source. On their calendar, for example, the references to several 50 day feasts in their Temple Scroll probably reflect an older practice of the Nasarenes, adapted to a solar calendar by the Qumranites, for we find similar practices being followed in Egypt among the Theraputae Essenes.


Historical references to the deeper monastic Order of the Nasarenes are found in the Book of John the Baptist, one of the more ancient scriptures of the Mandaen sect. These Mandeans call themselves Nasorai, or Nasoreans, and claim descent from the original Nasarenes to which both John the Baptist and Yeshua (Jesus) once belonged. In this Mandeaen Book of John the Baptist we find several references to Mt. Carmel and the Nasorean sect who once lived there:

"John has left his body, his brothers make proclamations, his brothers proclaim unto him on the Mount, on Mount Carmel. They took the Letter and brought it to the Mount, to Mount Carmel. They read out the Letter to them and explain to them the writing, - to those of Jacob (Yaqif) and those of B'nai-Amen and those of Samuel (Shumel). They assemble on Mount Carmel." (Book of John the Baptist 26)

Those of Jacob, the B'nai Amen, Samuel (and Elijah) represent different branches within the Essene-Nasorean group who had its main Temple and monastery on Mount Carmel. In another section of this same Mandeaen work we are told that the B'nai-Amen ("Children of God"), are the Mount Carmel group, or Order, especially connected with the Essene Temple there:

"Jacob leaves the House of the People; B'nai-Amen leaves the Temple; Elizar the great house leaves the dome of the priests." (Book of John the Baptist 27)

In the New Testament book of Revelations, the word Amen is used as a name for Deity, helping to explain why the Temple custodians on Mt. Carmel were called the disciples, or children of Amen - the B'nai-Amen. "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." (Book of Revelations 3:14)


Of the two historical branches of Essenism - Nasarenes and Ossaeans, the Nasarenes are most intimately connected with the B'nai Amen. Of the two historical monastic expressions of these two Essene Sects, the B'nai-Amen and the B'nai-Zadok, the B'nai-Amen is the Order to which Yeshua called all faithful Essenes at the meridean of time. It is also into this modernly resurrected Essene Nasarene Church of Mount Carmel that all faithful Essenes are again being invited.

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