The contemplative asceticism of the Essenes of Judaea may be mentioned, and, somewhat later, the life of the Therapeutae on the shores of Lake Moeris.
In addition to the Old Testament the Therapeutae had books by the founders of their sect on the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture.
The example had been already set by the Essenes in Judea and the Therapeutae in Egypt.
In contrast with the drunken revels of the Greeks, Philo describes the sober enjoyment by the Therapeutae of the feast of Pentecost, or rather of the eve of that festival.
Has led Prof. Harnack to suppose that in the earliest age water was used equally with wine, and Eusebius the historian, who had means of judging which we have not, saw no difficulty in identifying with the first converts of St Mark the Therapeutae of Philo who took only bread and water in their holy repast.
Eusebius was so much struck by the likeness of the Therapeutae to the Christian monks of his own day as to claim that they were Christians converted by the preaching of St Mark.
The sacred feasts of the Essenes and Therapeutae in particular, as described by Josephus and Philo, closely resembled the Eucharistic agape.