The Essenes were something like 4 or 500 years after the Babylonian captivity. That needs to be made clear - if they really were resisting a calendar, it was one that was VERY well established. I, for one, am suspicious of any categorical statements about who the Essenes were and what they believed without actual sources listed. --MichaelTinkler
I think the source is the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I suppose may or may not represent the Essenes, depending on exactly who the Qumran community were, which we don't know with a lot of certainty. Not sure what if anything other sources on Essenes (Philo? Josephus?) have to say about it. Unfortunately I can't give any references... I read it somewhere, I can't remember where (a modern secondary source, of course!).
Possible explanations of 500 year gap: maybe it did take that long for the calendar to be established, maybe some sections of society preferred different calendars, maybe Essenes have a very long history, maybe they wanted to ressurect the "purity" of the past...
I agree someone needs to research this properly. -- Simon J Kissane
Well, no one suggests they were a very old movement in anything that I've read. More likely they were cranks, which would run true to the course of ascetic movements in all religions! One of these days I'll get around to writing about Old Calendarist Orthodox, though it would help if there were already something at Eastern orthodox to branch off of. Your 'some sections' has a good possibility - the Palestinian and Babylonian traditions were never entirely unified (hence the 2 Targums, etc., etc.) --MichaelTinkler
By the way, Is the hebrew year slow by 1 day every x years, or is the hebrew calendar slow every x years? If we were talking about a clock, we would refer to the clock itself, not the hours. I'm not sure which is correct. -D
Actually it is not correct to say that the Hebrew calendar is slow by one day every x years, because you are referring only to the year with respect to the seasons and not the month with respect to the moon phase. This too is slow, but much less slow.
I'd say The Hebrew calendar year is about one day slow every 220 years.