I was told that the early Christians were Essenes, and that Paul lied when he painted his picture of Judaism and Christianity in the New Testament. What do you say?
To begin with, anyone who says Paul is a liar is not likely to have a good grasp on historical Christianity, is he? Paul, after all, wrote 13 of the 27 N.T. documents, and his traveling companion, Luke, wrote an additional quarter of the N.T. (Luke-Acts). May I suggest you visit some more reliable links? Try the Wikipedia link, or else click here.
The Essenes rejected mainstream Judaism, perhaps some 200 years before Jesus died, whereas the first Christians were Jewish, and continued to follow many aspects of the Old Testament law. The Essenes did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. So the Essenes weren't Christians!
There are some tenuous parallels, but most serious scholars agree that there was little, if any, connection between them and the Christian church.
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