Background

Coin of Antiochos IV Epiphanes
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Coin of Antiochos IV Epiphanes

Courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group The reverse shows Zeus(King of the Gods) enthroned carrying the Goddess Nike(Victory). See also: Silver Tetradrachm of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 164 BCE

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Jewish Sectarianism in Second Temple Times, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Great Schisms in Jewish History (Ed. Raphael Jospe and Stanley M. Wagner), Ktav, New York 1981.
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Jewish Sectarianism in Second Temple Times, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Great Schisms in Jewish History (Ed. Raphael Jospe and Stanley M. Wagner), Ktav, New York 1981.

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND IN THE FALL of 540 B.C.E., Cyrus (II) the Great, already king of Persia and Media, vanquished Babylonia’s army and soon controlled the entire area of Mesopotamia. He immediately adopted a policy which was to be characteristic of his reign; he encouraged the repatriation of exiles and the rebuilding of shrines, all […]

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Sectarianism in the Second Commonwealth, Lawrence Schiffman, From Text to Tradition, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken, NJ, 1991.
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Sectarianism in the Second Commonwealth, Lawrence Schiffman, From Text to Tradition, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken, NJ, 1991.

The years immediately following the Maccabean revolt and victory are known, after the name of the victorious dynasty, as the Hasmonean period. Like the Roman period, which immediately followed, it was distinguished by a tendency toward what, for want of a better term, we call sectarianism. By this we mean a tendency to split into […]

Essenes, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
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Essenes, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.

The Essenes, a sect noted for its piety and distinctive theology, were known in Greek as Essenoi or Essaioi. Although numerous suggestions have been made about the etymology of the name, none has achieved scholarly consensus. The most recent theory, and also the most probable, holds that the name was borrowed from a group of […]

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The Sadducees, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
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The Sadducees, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.

Unfortunately, the scrolls give us much less direct material about the legal theology of the Sadducees than about the Pharisees. We can only tentatively sketch the outlines of their point of view by using material from the scrolls. Our sources are so indirect that we have no choice but to start with the evidence of […]

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Pharisees and Sadducees, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
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Pharisees and Sadducees, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.

Not only can we understand the legal theology of the Qumran sect from the scrolls, but also we can gather from them a great deal of information about the legal views of the Pharisees and Sadducees, supplementing what we already know from rabbinic sources and Josephus. What we learn about the Pharisees comes indirectly from […]

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Pharisees, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
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Pharisees, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.

The Pharisees derived their name from the Hebrew perushim, meaning “separate.” This designation probably refers to their self-imposed separation from ritually impure food and from the tables of the common people, later termed ‘am ha-’aretz (people of the land) in talmudic sources, who were not scrupulous regarding laws of Levitical purity and tithes. Originally, the […]

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Jewish Sects in the Aftermath of the Maccabean Revolt, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
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Jewish Sects in the Aftermath of the Maccabean Revolt, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.

In this historical setting, we first meet, in the writings of Josephus, the three major sects of the period—Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. The group that collected the Dead Sea Scrolls also arose at that time, being yet another response to these events. Though scant direct information exists about most of these sects, the Dead Sea […]

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Hasmonean Takeover of the Temple, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
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Hasmonean Takeover of the Temple, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.

Immediately following the revolt, there occurred a crisis in the Jewish priesthood that had a direct impact on the formation of the Qumran sect and its establishment in the Judaean Desert. The Zadokite priests, tracing their ancestry to Zadok, high priest in the time of King Solomon, had occupied the high priesthood virtually without interruption […]

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Hellenistic Trends in Palestinian Judaism, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.
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Hellenistic Trends in Palestinian Judaism, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1994.

During the two centuries before the Maccabean Revolt (168–164 B.C.E.), the new amalgamation of Hellenic and native cultures severely challenged the traditional Jewish way of life. However, that confrontation had differing effects both within Palestinian Jewish society and throughout the country. The Jewish group least affected by the process of Hellenization was the peasantry, who […]

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