It is probable that the Sadducees, if not also the Essenes, wholly neglected them.
5.9, §§ 171-173, Niese) introduces the Sadducees along with the Pharisees and Essenes in his account of Jonathan's reign (161-143 B.C.) as the third of the sects of the Jews, and defines their tenets thus: "They deny the existence of God (Josephus says ` Fate,' as he is speaking to pagans) and the Divine government of human affairs; and they assert that everything lies in our power, so that we are responsible for our good or bad fortune."
5, 9) the Sadducees denied fate altogether, and placed good and evil wholly in man's choice; the Pharisees, while recognizing man's freedom, laid emphasis on fate; the Essenes insisted on an absolute fate.
But Alexander's conquests brought the Jews into contact with Hindu and Greek mysticism; and this probably explains the growth of the ascetic Essenes some two centuries before the Christian era.
The sect of the Essenes probably shows an intermingling of the Greek with other lines of tradition among the Jews of Palestine.