Q1. Submitted by humanbeing:

Do you think John the Baptist was a member of the Essene sect, and could Jesus have spent considerable time with them and John prior to Jesus's baptism by John?

I believe John the Baptist was an Essene but had abandoned the sect. I also believe Jesus came from an Essene background (His family may have been Essene), but Jesus did not embrace Esssenism. The philosophy of Jesus was directly opposed to that of the Essenes in many respects. For example, they taught hatred of enemies; he did not.

Q2. Submitted by George X. Brooks:

If there is so much skepticism about the current Nazareth being the hometown of Jesus, why wouldn't the fishing village of Genesseret be a better option? The etiology of the name (along with the Lake, and even nearby plain of Azor/Nazor) seems quite fascinating, even complicated. And if the word "Iscariot" can be interpreted by some scholars as "code" for "of Sicarii," then why can't "Naseret" not be code for "of geNESSERET"?

The name Nazareth probably is derived from the word "netzer," which means "shoot of" (possibly Jesse). Many scholars believe that the clan of Nazareans believed themselves to be descendants of Jesse. Archaeology shows that the village of Nazareth came into existence about 100 years before the birth of Jesus, when many Jews returned (at the invitation of John Hycarnus) from Babylon to repopulate Galilee.

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