The Significance of Yavneh: Pharisees, Rabbis, and the End of Jewish Sectarianism, Shaye J.D. Cohen, Hebrew Union College Annual 55.


After the destruction of the second temple in 70 C.E. the rabbis gathered in Yavneh and launched the process which yielded the Mishnah approximately one hundred years later. Most modern scholars see these rabbis as Pharisees triumphant who define “orthodoxy,” expel Christians and other heretics, and purge the canon of “dangerous” books. The evidence for this reconstruction is inadequate. In all likelihood most of the rabbis were Pharisees, but there is no indication that the rabbis of the Yavnean period were motivated by a Pharisaic self-consciousness (contrast the Babylonian Talmud and the medieval polemics against the Karaites) or were dominated by an exclusivistic ethic. In contrast the major goal of the Yavnean rabbis seems to have been not the expulsion of those with whom they disagreed but the cessation of sectarianism and the creation of a society which tolerated, even encouraged, vigorous debate among members of the fold. The Mishnah is the first work of Jewish antiquity which ascribes conflicting legal opinions to named indi-viduals who, in spite of their disagreements, belong to the same fraternity. This mutual tolerance is the enduring legacy of Yavneh.

The effects upon the Jews of the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E. were numerous and varied. Chief among them were the theological difficulties caused by the cessation of the sacrificial cult,1 the loss of the sacred center of the cosmos, the destruction of the physical symbols of God’s protective presence, the public display of the power of Rome and her gods and of the impotence of Israel and her God, and the failure of apocalyptic dreams and prophecies; the economic difficulties caused by the massive destruction and confiscation of Judean land and property; and the social difficulties caused by the massacre or enslavement of enormous numbers of people and the loss of the central institutions of the state. These difficulties certainly were sufficiently severe and sufficiently numerous to constitute a “crisis,” “trauma,” or “catastrophe,” terms frequently encountered in the modern discussions of this topic, but not all Jews of the first century felt the trauma in the same way or treated all elements of the catastrophe equally. The air of crisis which pervades the apocalypses of Baruch and Ezra is conspicuously absent from tannaitic literature, even those dicta ascribed to Yavnean figures. The point of the legend about Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai and Vespasian is that rabbinic life ought to con-tinue as before, the Jews subservient to foreign rule and occupied with the study of the law. No crisis here. And even the apocalypses of Baruch and Ezra do not treat all the items on the above list. For example, neither seer is concerned about the cessation of the sacrificial cult or about the destruction of the temple per se.

In this essay my theme is the end of Jewish sectarianism. Although no ancient text discusses the ultimate fate of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, I shall argue that their disappearance, as well as the disappearance of the Houses of Hillel and Shammai, is a consequence of the destruction of the temple. According to the usual view, sectarianism ceased when the Pharisees, gathered at Yavneh, ejected all those who were not members of their own party. Christians were excommunicated, the biblical canon was purged of works written in Greek and apocalyptic in style, and the gates were closed on the outside world, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Functioning in a “crisis” atmosphere, the rabbis of Yavneh were motivated by an ex-clusivistic ethic; their goal was to define orthodoxy and to rid Judaism of all those who would not conform to it. In this interpretation the “synod” of Yavneh becomes a prefiguration of the church council of Nicea (325 C.E.)- one party triumphs and ousts its competitors. In addition, we are told, the Sadducees, Essenes, and, presumably, all other sects, conveniently rolled over and died, thereby facilitating Pharisaic victory. The Sadducees, bereft of the temple, were bereft of their livelihood and power base. The Essenes perished in the great war against the sons of darkness.2

This view is flawed on several counts. First, it is overly simplistic. Second, it assumes that Yavneh was pervaded by an air of crisis which the rabbis may not have felt or, at least, may not have felt in a way which would have demanded the expulsion of those with whom they disagreed. Third, it presumes that we know a good deal more about Yavneh than we really do. All that is known of the “synod” of Yavneh is based on the disjecta membra of the Mishnah and later works, all of which were redacted at least a century after the event. Even these disjecta membra, however, are sufficient to show that the tannaim refused to see themselves as Phari-sees or to adopt an exclusivistic ethic.
Fourth, and most important, the standard view obscures the major contribution of Yavneh to Jewish history; the creation of a society which tolerates disputes without producing sects. For the first time Jews “agreed to disagree.” The major literary monument created by the Yavneans and their successors testifies to this innovation. No previous Jewish work looks like the Mishnah because no previous Jewish work, neither biblical nor post-biblical, neither Hebrew nor Greek, neither Palestinian nor diasporan, attributes conflicting legal and exegetical opin-ions to named individuals who, in spite of their differences, belong to the same fraternity. The dominant ethic here is not exclusivity but elasticity. The goal was not the triumph over other sects but the elimination of the need for sectarianism itself. As one tannaitic midrash remarks, “lo’ titgodedu [Deut. 14-1]. Do not make separate factions (’agudot) but make one faction all together.”3 The destruction of the temple provided the impetus for this process- it warned the Jews of the dangers of internal divisiveness and it removed one of the major focal points of Jewish sectarianism.

Before proceeding, I must explain the two fundamental assumptions upon which this paper is based- first, that Jewish society of the second temple period was striated by numerous “sects;” second, that the Pharisees were one of these sects.

A “sect” is an organized group which separates itself from the community and asserts that it alone has religious truth. For a group to be a sect it must have authority figures, membership requirements, and various regulations; it cannot be a haphazard association. It must be separate from the majority, i.e., it must be relatively small and dominated by a sense of “otherness.” The separation can be physical (the members of the sect flee to the desert) or merely ideological (the members live “among,” but not “with,” their non-sectarian neighbors). It must claim exclusive possession of the truth. Only its authority figures are authentic and only its teachings are true. Only its members are true Jews, Christians, or Muslims. It validates its claims internally, i.e., it authenticates itself by a revelation or tradition unknown to outsiders. A sect usually has a ceremony of admission (or “conversion”) by which it clearly distinguishes members from non-members.

Members are righteous, pure, and destined for eternal bliss; non-members are wicked, impure, and destined for eternal damnation.4 We may assume that there were many such sects on the Judean landscape during the last centuries of the second temple period, although only two sects are well documented- the Essenes (the group which produced the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the Christians.5
Were the Pharisees a sect? Many scholars argue that they were a party, a movement, an elite, or an order, but not a sect, because they did not claim exclusive possession of the truth and did not read their opponents out of the people and soteriology of Israel. In this conception a Pharisee would have been recognizable in a crowd of ancient Jews, but he would have been a member of the crowd. He saw himself, and the Jews saw him, as their leader.6 Some scholars, however, reject this interpretation, which takes at face value the data of Josephus and the New Testament about the Pharisees’ power and prestige. Emphasizing the prominence of purity laws and priestly tithes in Pharisaic piety, the inherent implausibility of any single group leading the variegated religious life of ancient Jewry, and the rabbinic evidence for pre-rabbinic sectarianism (notably the havurah), these scholars see the Pharisees as a sect, not as exclusive, per-haps, as the Essenes, but a sect nevertheless. In this conception, a Pharisee would have been recognizable in a crowd of ancient Jews, because a Pharisee would normally have avoided crowds out of fear of contracting impurity.7

This is not the place for a full discussion of this issue. Although I assume in this essay that the Pharisees were a sect, the basic question addressed here—what happened to the Pharisees after 70?—needs to be answered even if this assumption is wrong. Similarly, the answer suggested here can apply, mutatis mutandis, even if the Pharisees were the leaders of the Jews and the advocates of the “two-fold” law. Whether a sect or a party, the Pharisees were distinguished from their opponents by their peculiar exegetical principles and legal rulings. Christian sectarianism focused on theology (the nature and interrelationship of the persons of the Trinity) but Jewish sectarianism focused on law. This point is obscured by Josephus who regularly distinguishes the three haireseis (schools of thought) by philosophical or theological matters (fate, free will, immortality of the soul), but the rabbinic and the Qumran texts show clearly that sectarian disputes were primarily halakhic, not theological.8 As we shall see, the laws most often at the heart of these sectarian (and party) disputes were the laws of the temple cult and related matters. With the disappearance of the temple, the focal point of sectarianism also disappeared.

Sectarianism in the Rabbinic Period

It is generally assumed that Jewish sectarianism all but ceased after 70 C.E. This assumption seems correct but a brief discussion of the rabbinic and patristic evidence is in order.

Rabbinic Evidence

Rabbinic literature has occasional references to various sects- Pharisees, Sadducees, Boethu-sians, Hemerobaptists, Samaritans, and, perhaps, others.9 Most of these references do not lo-cate these groups in any specific period, but those which do, invariably place them during the second temple period, not after 70 C.E. Wicked Sadducean (Boethusian) high priests serve in the temple and are confronted by the Pharisees or the Sages or Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai. No rabbi, including Yohanan ben Zakkai, is ever called a Pharisee (a point to which we shall return below), and no rabbi after Yohanan ben Zakkai is ever brought into contact with a Sad-ducee or a Boethusian. Only one text seems to break this pattern-

A. Sadducean women, as long as they are accustomed to follow the ways of their ancestors, have the same status [with regard to menstrual purity] as Cuthean [i.e. Samaritan] women. When they have separated themselves [from their ancestral ways] to follow the ways of Israel, they have the same status as Israel.

B. R. Yosi says, “They always have the same status as Israel unless they separate themselves to follow the ways of their ancestors” (Mishnah Niddah 4-2).

In this mishnah R. Yosi argues that Sadducean women can be assumed to follow the rabbinic laws of menstruation unless we know specifically to the contrary that they follow Sadducean traditions. R. Yosi’s anonymous disputant (the tanna qamma) supports the opposite point of view. Does this debate refer to Sadducean women of the mishnaic period (mid-second century) or to ancient times?10 The former interpretation is assumed by a baraita quoted by the Babylonian Talmud ad loc. The text narrates a story about a Sadducee and a high priest, and concludes with the words of the wife of the Sadducee-

A. “Although they [ = we] are wives of Sadducees, they [ = we] fear the Pharisees and show their [= our] menstrual blood to the sages.”

B. R. Yosi says, “We are more expert in them [Sadducean women] than anyone else. They show (men-strual) blood to the sages, except for one woman who was in our neighborhood, who did not show her (menstrual) blood to the sages, and she died [immediately]” (Bab. Niddah 33b).11

In this text there is chronological tension between parts A and B. A clearly refers to a woman who lived during second temple times, while B has R. Yosi derive his expertise about Sadducean women from personal acquaintance. He recalls a Sadducean woman who lived in his neighborhood and died prematurely because (R. Yosi said) she did not accept the authority of the sages to determine her menstrual status. The version of the Tosefta is similar-

A. “Although we are Sadducean women, we all consult a sage.”

B. R. Yosi says, “We are more expert in Sadducean women than anyone else- they all consult a sage except for one who was among them, and she died” (Tosefta Niddah 5-3).

The Tosefta does not identify Pharisees with sages, a point to which we shall return below, and omits the phrase “who was in our neighborhood.”12 Otherwise, it is basically the same as the Babylonian version.

This baraita clearly implies that R. Yosi is referring to contemporary Sadducean women. If this is correct, R. Yosi’s statement shows that some Sadducees still existed in the mid-second century but that their power had declined to the extent that the rabbis could assume that most Sadducees follow rabbinic norms. Contrast the Sadducees of the second temple period who, according to rabbinic tradition, tried to resist rabbinic hegemony (see below). They always failed, of course, but they resisted; by the second century they stopped resisting. This is the perspective of R. Yosi.
In tannaitic tradition, then, named sects virtually disappear after 70. The lone passage which refers to Sadducees in the second century presumes their complete subjugation to rabbinic au-thority.

Patristic Evidence

Numerous Christian fathers preserve in various forms a list of Jewish “heresies.” Many aspects of these lists are obscure but this is not the place for a full collection and analysis of the mate-rial.13 The crucial point for us is that most of these authors, beginning with Hegesippus (mid-second century), state that they are describing the sects of long ago, presumably of the period of the New Testament. Epiphanius, for example, says explicitly that these Jewish sects, including the Pharisees, no longer exist in his day (see the appendix below). The only important exception to this pattern is Justin-

For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [the resurrection], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; …do not imagine that they are Christians, even as one, if he would rightly consider it, would not admit that the Sadducees, or the similar sects of Genistai, Meristai, Galilaioi, Hellenianoi, Pharisaioi, and Baptistai, are Jews … but are [only] called Jews and children of Abraham, confessing God with the lips, as God himself declared [Isa. 29-13], but the heart was far from him. But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead… (Dialogue with Trypho 80.4–5).14

Eager to forestall an argument against resurrection from the opinions of various Christian sects, Justin denies that these so-called Christians really are Christians, since only those who are “orthodox” (Justin uses the term orthognomon) like Justin himself deserve that appellation.

Similarly, Justin argues, sectarian Jews like the Genistai et al. really are not Jews although they are generally called Jews.15 Since the first part of the passage refers to contemporary Christian sects, may we conclude that, according to Justin at least, Jewish sectarianism too was flourishing in the second century? Not necessarily. Justin is interested in ideology, not sociology. His point about the relationship of orthodoxy to heresy makes sense even if some or all of the Jewish sects listed did not exist in his own time. Furthermore, the implicit reference to Jewish “orthodoxy”—the first time such a concept is applied to Judaism—indicates that Jewish sectarian-ism, even if all seven groups still existed in the second century, was no longer what it had been in the first century. I shall argue below that this passage reflects the rabbinic ideology of the Yavnean period- there is one “orthodox” Judaism which, while tolerating disputes within the fold (a point not discussed by Justin here), has no room for any group—even Pharisees—which maintains a sectarian self-definition.16 The rabbis called such groups minim, a term apparently reflected in Justin’s Genistai and Meristai.17 Perhaps the other five groups also existed in Justin’s time, but in his view they clearly were inconsequential.
On the basis of both the rabbinic and the patristic evidence, I conclude that 70 C.E. was a major transition point in Jewish sectarianism. Perhaps some sects, aside from the Samaritans and Christianizing Jews, lingered on for a while, but Jewish society from the end of the first century until the rise of the Karaites, was not torn by sectarian divisions. This conclusion can-not be upset by a lone baraita and by an elusive passage of Justin.

Pharisees and Rabbis

Virtually all modern scholars agree that the rabbis of the Mishnah are closely related to the Pharisees. Some assume that the two groups are identical in all but nomenclature, while others admit that the relationship is more complex.18 The evidence for the Pharisaic-rabbinic connection, however, is rarely discussed. Here is a brief analysis.19

1. Josephus and the New Testament refer to eleven named individuals who are called Pharisees or who are said to lead a Pharisaic life.20 Two, perhaps three, of these recur in the rabbinic chain of tradition of ’Avot 1 (where, of course, they are not called Pharisees). But if the Pharisees Gamaliel, Simon ben Gamaliel, and, perhaps, Pollio, were claimed by the rabbis as their own, does this prove that the rabbis generally were Pharisees or the descendants of Pharisees? Obviously not. The same list also claims Simon the righteous, a high priest of the hellenistic period, not to mention Moses himself. This list “rabbinizes” history. Perhaps some Pharisees too have been retroactively “rabbinized.”21 The fact that Rabban Gamaliel of Yavneh, the son and grandson of a Pharisee, came to occupy a position of power and influence within the rabbinic estate—apparently at the expense of R. Yohanan ben Zakkai, who is nowhere identified as a Pharisee—may be more significant. But even this does not prove that the rabbis generally were Pharisees or the descendants of Pharisees.

2. Similarly, some of the stories which Josephus tells about the Pharisees recur in rabbinic literature as part of rabbinic history. The Josephan story about a rift between John Hyrcanus and the Pharisees recurs in almost identical form in the Talmud, but there the protagonists are Yannai the King and the sages. Josephus states that the Sadducees were unable to implement their own rulings out of fear of the populace which followed the Pharisees. The rabbinic narratives which make this same point concern Sadducees (or Boethusians) and the sages.22 This evidence too is not irrefragable; once again, perhaps the rabbis have “rabbinized” Pharisaic history.23

3. Josephus and the New Testament ascribe certain beliefs and practices to the Pharisees which are shared by rabbinic Judaism, notably the belief in a combination of fate and free will, the belief in the immortality of the soul and resurrection, the acceptance of ancestral traditions in addition to the written law, and the meticulous observance of the laws of purity, tithing, Shabbat, and other rituals. The list is impressive, but do these practices and beliefs characterize only Pharisees to the exclusion of all other Jews? Furthermore, these parallels cannot hide the differences between Pharisaic and rabbinic piety. For example, the tannaim believe in an oral law revealed to Moses but this doctrine is never attributed to the Pharisees.24 The Pharisees scour the entire earth to make one proselyte but the rabbis do not.25 These and other differences might be explained by internal Pharisaic-rabbinic development or the change in the external circumstances in which the post-70 Pharisees found themselves, but the differences as well as the similarities have to be explained.

4. It has been argued that Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities, completed in 93/4, and Vita, completed shortly thereafter, are more pro-Pharisaic than the Jewish War, completed c. 81.26 Similarly, it has been argued that those sections of the gospels which accord prominence to the Pharisees are post-70 additions to earlier material.27 If these observations are correct—both have been disputed—we may assume that these literary developments mirror the rise of Pharisaic fortunes at Yavneh.

Each of these four arguments depends upon Josephus and the New Testament to provide the Pharisaic connection for early rabbinic Judaism. Each argument is inconclusive but each aids the other. Their weight is cumulative. In all likelihood there was some close connection between the post-70 rabbis and the pre-70 Pharisees.

Are the tannaim themselves aware of this connection? Do they see themselves as Pharisees or as the descendants of the Pharisees?28 The evidence is ambiguous. On the one hand, the tannaim detail four disputes between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, one dispute between the Pharisees and the Boethusians, one dispute between the sages and the Sadducees, and two disputes between the sages and the Boethusians. In each case the victors are the Pharisees and the sages, the losers are the Boethusians and the Sadducees. Yehudah ben Tabbai, Yohanan ben Zakkai, and the anonymous “they” who figure throughout the Mishnah, perform public rituals in such a way so as to flout the rulings of the Boethusians and the Sadducees. Against Boethusian opposition the Jewish masses insist that two temple rituals be performed.29 From all this it is clear that the tannaim saw their ancestors of the second temple period as the oppo-nents of the Sadducees and the Boethusians. But the link between the rabbis and the Pharisees is much more tenuous, appearing only implicitly and only in the two passages which describe the five disputes between the Pharisees and the Sadducees-Boethusians. The tannaim never explicitly call themselves “Pharisees” nor is any individual rabbi ever called a Pharisee. Nor do they employ “Sadducee” as a general synonym for “reprobate” or “heretic.”30 Furthermore, in one of the disputes between the Pharisees and the Sadducees Yohanan ben Zakkai replies to the Sadducees as follows, “And is there no other argument we can advance against the Phari-sees except this?” (Mishnah Yadayim 4-6), which could be interpreted to indicate that Yohanan was a Sadducee (or, at least, not a Pharisee).31 The tannaim use perushim with reference not only to the Pharisees of old but also to contemporary “separatists” or “ascetics,” whose con-duct can be either condemned or approved. Either way, these perushim have no connection with the Pharisees.32

In contrast to the tannaim who display little interest in establishing themselves as Pharisees, the amoraim, especially the amoraim of Babylonia, begin to see themselves more clearly as the descendants of the Pharisees. Tos. Yoma 1-8, followed by Yer. Yoma 1-5 (39a), speaks of the tension between the Boethusians and the sages; in Bab. Yoma 19b the sages are replaced by the Pharisees. In Tos. Niddah Sadducean women show their menstrual blood to the sages; in Bab. Niddah the sages are identified with the Pharisees (see above).33 Similarly, in the Babylonian version of the rift between Yannai the King and the Pharisees, the latter are identified with the sages (Bab. Qiddushin 66a). “Sadducee” is used to designate a non-rabbinic Jew, much like the term min (with which it is often confused in the manuscripts). But even in these texts the identification with the Pharisees is not so strong as to prevent the occasional use of perushim to indicate separatists whose conduct puts them outside the rabbinic pale (Bab. Pesahim 70b) or hypocrites who, like the Pharisees of the New Testament, feign an exaggerated piety (Bab. Sotah 22b and Yer. Sotah 3-4 19a).35 The overall tendency is even clearer in the Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan and the Scholia to the Scroll of Fasting (Megillat Ta‘anit). Both works are of uncertain date but in all likelihood both are post-talmudic. The former describes the rebellion of Sadoq and Boethus, the putative founders of the Sadducees and Boethusians, against the Pharisees who are led by Antigonos of Sokho, a link in the rabbinic chain of tradition; the latter attributes the origin of various feast days to victories of the Pharisees or Sages over the Boethusians and Sadducees.36

In sum- at no point in antiquity did the rabbis clearly see themselves either as Pharisees or as the descendants of Pharisees. In tannaitic texts hostility to Sadducees and Boethusians is far more evident than is affinity with the Pharisees; i.e., the definition of the rabbis’ opponents is clearer than is the self-definition of the rabbis themselves. This changes somewhat in amoraic texts, but even here identification with the Pharisees is not all that frequent and perushim is still used as a term of abuse. The identification with the Pharisees is secure and central for the first time only in an early medieval text, the scholia to the Scroll of Fasting.37

How can we explain the hesitation of the rabbis to identify themselves with the Pharisees? We might have argued that the rabbis were not, in fact, the descendants of the Pharisees, but this radical suggestion founders on the inconclusive yet suggestive arguments surveyed above, especially those few rabbinic texts which do allege an affinity between the rabbis and the Pharisees. Hence we must conclude that the rabbis were latter-day Pharisees who had no desire to publicize the connection. Why not? Part of the answer is the rabbinic abnegation of historical study. The rabbis had little interest in the Pharisees because they had little interest in post-biblical history. The study of the revealed word of God was essential; the study of the works of men was, as Maimonides said centuries later, a waste of time.38 Part of the answer is the tendency of all sects to refuse to see themselves as sects. They are the orthodox; the wicked multitudes are the heretics. Jewish sects (e.g. Samaritans, Christians, Qumran Essenes) call themselves “Israel;” “Pharisees,” which literally means “separatists,” was the opprobrious epithet hurled by opponents. Hence it is not surprising that the rabbis refer to themselves as “sages,” “sages of Israel,” “rabbis,” etc., rather than “Pharisees” and do not acknowledge their sectarian origins.39

The real issue, however, is not nomenclature but ideology. Rabbinic materials preserve some relics of the ideology and organization which characterized pre-70 Pharisaism,40 but these sec-tarian relics are few and far from central in rabbinic sell-definition. At no point in antiquity did the rabbis develop heresiology and ecclesiology, creeds and dogmas. At no point did they ex-pel anyone from the rabbinic order or from rabbinic synagogues because of doctrinal error or because of membership in some heretical group. Those who held incorrect beliefs were chas-tised or denied a share in the world to come, not denied a share in the people of Israel in this world (Mishnah Sanhedrin 10 and Tos. Sanhedrin 12-9–13-12). Those who recited unacceptable liturgical formulas were silenced, not expelled (Mishnah Berakhot 5-3 and Megillah 4-8–9). Similarly, the birkat haminim, the curse against minim (“heretics”) which was inserted in the daily liturgy in the Yavnean period (Bab. Berakhot 28b–29a), did not define which heretics were intended (all perushim, separatists, were included [Tos. Berakhot 3-25]) and, in any case, denounced but did not expel.41 A few rabbis—not heretics!—were expelled (excommunicated or “banned”), and they were expelled because of their refusal to accept the will of the majority (see below). We never hear of the expulsion of any heretic or heretics. Nor did the rabbis of Yavneh expel heretical books from the canon. The consensus of modern scholarship is that the canonization of the Hebrew Bible was a long and complex process which neither began nor ended at Yavneh. No books, not even the books of minim, were burnt at Yavneh.42 Rabbinic tradition is aware of opposition faced by Yohanan ben Zakkai at Yavneh but knows nothing of any expulsion of these opponents (Bab. Rosh Hashanah 29b). Yohanan ben Zakkai was even careful to avoid a confrontation with the priests (Mishnah ‘Eduyyot 8-3).
There is little evidence, then, of an exclusivistic ethic at Yavneh. Perhaps many or most of the rabbis were the descendants of the Pharisees, but their sectarian consciousness was minimal. What characterizes Yavneh (and rabbinic Judaism generally) is not uniformity but diversity. The Yavnean rabbis were rich and poor, priestly and lay, rural and urban. Some were mystics, some not. Some felt it necessary to attach their teachings to scripture, others did not. Some even had their own jargon; Akivan terminology in the Mekhilta is distinct from the Ish-maelian. And everywhere are halakhic disputes on matters large and small but without the acrimony which characterized the disputes between the sects and between the Houses of Hillel and Shammai before 70. This is not the work of a sect triumphant but of a grand coalition.43

The Temple and Sectarianism

As we have already seen, Jewish sectarianism in antiquity, unlike Christian, defined itself in matters of law (halakha) and legal authority. What is the correct interpretation of the laws of the Torah? Who are the legitimate interpreters of the law and on what authority do they rely? All sects, including Sadducees, defended various ancestral traditions, exegetical modes, and authority figures as the only authentic representatives of “Torah-true” Judaism. The sects debated many different laws, but the specific halakhot which always stood at the heart of Jewish sectarianism were the laws related to the temple- purity, cult, and priestly offerings. The sects advanced different theories of self-legitimation but the authority figures against whom they always defined themselves were the priests of the temple. Hence a common feature of Jewish sectarianism is the polemic against the temple of Jerusalem- its precincts are impure, its cult profane, and its priests illegitimate. And just as the Jerusalem temple claimed to be the only authentic house of God (“one temple for the one God” remarks Josephus in Against Apion 2.193), so too the sects, which saw themselves either explicitly or implicitly as the (temporary) replacements or equivalents of the temple, advanced exclusive claims to the truth- only they understand God’s will and only they perform God’s law correctly. The temple priests, the other sects, and all the rest of the Jews either will convert or will be doomed to perdition in the end of days when a true temple is erected, a legitimate priestly line installed, and pure sacrifices offered.44

Sectarian thought of this type began in the Persian period. For many Jews the second temple was flawed, far inferior to the temple erected by Solomon. Constructed under the aegis of a gentile king and without the accompaniment of miracles and other explicit signs of divine favor, the second temple seemed inauthentic. Second Isaiah was aware of these objections (Isa. 45-9–13). As the temple was being built, a prophetic school arose which proclaimed a vision and a program for the new temple not shared by the priesthood. Increasingly disenchanted with the temple of Jerusalem, the school gradually came to regard it and its priests as wicked and corrupt. These prophets saw a glorious future for themselves which included a new temple erected and administered in consonance with their ideas.45 A different sort of attack on the temple—not prophetic but halakhic—was mounted by Ezra and Nehemiah who did their best to weaken the power of the priesthood (on the grounds that it had intermarried and violated other norms) and to reorganize the temple cult (presumably on the grounds that the wicked priests did not know what they were doing). Neh. 10 may be the charter of a group of people who banded together to observe “correctly” the laws of the priestly and temple offerings. Nor would they marry outsiders—we almost have a sect.46

In the Maccabean period the temple’s illegitimacy was revealed to all. It was profaned by a gentile monarch and by the wicked priests. True, it was regained by the Jews, but without a prophet to guide them and without miracles to authenticate their actions, who could be sure that the temple was really purified? Shortly after Jonathan illegitimately installed himself as the high priest, sectarianism emerged for the first time (Jewish Antiquities 13.171–73). What the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes looked like in the second century B.C.E. we do not know, but by the first century C.E. the general outlines are clear. The Pharisees paid meticulous attention to the laws of purity and tithing, seeking to replicate the altar of the Lord in their table fellowship. The Essenes (Qumran) rejected the Jerusalem temple and priesthood, and looked forward to the time when they would be able to observe the cult, the offerings, and the sacred calendar in the true temple erected by God (Temple Scroll). In the meantime the sect was the temple. The Samaritans, whatever their origin and history, also rejected the Jerusalem temple and priesthood and advocated in their stead the temple and priesthood of Gerizim. The early Christians believed that the temple was profane and that Jesus, as messiah, high priest, and/or atonement sacrifice, would replace in some way the current occupants of the temple mount. Other groups too (e.g. Zealots) presumably defined themselves vis-à-vis the temple and the priesthood. The temple—not the heavenly temple which would descend in the end of days but the earthly temple of Jerusalem—was the crucial point of sectarian self-definition before 70.

After 70- from sects to disputes

The world which produced Jewish sectarianism, nurtured it, and gave it meaning, disappeared in 70. In addition to removing the focal point of Jewish sectarianism, the destruction of the temple also facilitated the emergence of individuals as authority figures to replace the institutional authority previously exercised by the temple and the sects, and the emergence of the ideology of pluralism to replace the monism which previously characterized the temple and the sects. The net effect of these developments was the end of sectarianism and the creation of a society marked by legal disputes between individual teachers who nevertheless respected each other’s right to disagree. This sketch is presented as an hypothesis, a conjectural recon-struction of an obscure period and an obscure process. A full study of each of these points is a desideratum; here is a brief discussion.

The Loss of the Focal Point

With the destruction of the temple the primary focal point of Jewish sectarianism disappeared. True, the Christians and the Samaritans continued to define themselves vis-à-vis the Jerusalem temple and the cult,47 but this type of thinking was difficult to maintain unless other foci were already in place; the Samaritans had Gerizim and the Christians had Christ. For most Jews, however, sectarian self-definition ceased to make sense after 70. The holiness of the Jerusalem temple, the legitimacy of its priesthood, and the propriety of its rituals were no longer relevant issues. The Yavnean rabbis were much interested in the laws of the temple and the cult (Neus-ner even suggests that mishnaic materials from the period of 70–132 “revolve around the altar”)48 and this is not surprising. They expected the temple to be rebuilt shortly (in “seventy years”) and part of their sectarian legacy was interest in this legislation. But without a functioning temple and priesthood, whose legitimacy would be the subject of dispute, the study of temple law did not produce sects. A sect needs an evil reality against which to protest, rail, and define itself. The tannaim, however, were looking not at the baneful present but at the utopian future. When they did define themselves they avoided putting priests in their lineage and ascribing to themselves a priestly ideology.49 The temple was not the sole or primary source of rabbinic self-definition, at least not in the Yavnean period.50

The Emergence of Individual Authority

Rabbinic tradition assigns few halakhot and few disputes to individual masters who lived be-fore 70, whereas for post-70 figures the tradition is very rich. Similarly, neither the Temple Scroll nor the Manual of Discipline nor the Damascus Document nor any other Qumran scroll assigns halakhot to individuals, not even to the (unnamed!) Teacher of Righteousness. Pharisees debate Sadducees, Qumran Essenes attack the “speakers of smooth things,” the House of Hillel feuds with the House of Shammai, but named individual masters rarely figure in these discussions.51 (The obvious exception to this pattern is Jesus who debates Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and elders. Is his exceptional status the point of “teaching with authority” [Mark 1-22/Matthew 7-29]?)52 Clearly this phenomenon is a symptom of the crisis of religious author-ity which plagued second temple Judaism. The sanhedrin, priests, and scribes also spoke with collective voices. Seers of visions hid behind pseudonymity or anonymity.53 But by defining themselves vis-à-vis the temple the sects had a special reason for their reliance on collective authority, for who but a prophet could confront the temple and the priesthood? Who but a prophet could pronounce the temple unclean and the cult unwelcome in the eyes of God? Prophecy, however, was dead. By whatever means the sects explained their origins, their fundamental claim to be the antithesis/supplement/equivalent of the temple meant that the group derived its legitimacy from its status as a temple community. Hence it always spoke as a community. But after 70 there was no temple, no ultimate authority which only a community could match. The individual, although not a prophet, could now emerge, since he did not have to measure himself against the unapproachable precincts of the temple.54

From Monism to Pluralism

Rabbinic materials not only ascribe halakhot to named individuals, they also present individuals conflicting with each other and with “the sages.” Some of these disputes, both tannaitic and amoraic, are the artificial creations of editors and redactors,55 but most are real, the highly stylized summaries of real discussions and real arguments. These thousands of disputes are rarely characterized by the animosity and tension which accompanied the disputes between the sects and between the Houses before 70. Rabbinic Judaism is dominated by pluralism, the ideology which allows the existence of conflicting truths. The truth is many, not one.

As remarked above, the temple represents monism. “One temple for the one God.” Only one holy site, one altar, one cult, and one priesthood can find favor in God’s eyes. Sects defined themselves in reference to the temple and therefore arrogated the temple’s exclusivistic claims. Only the sect is the true Israel and only the sect correctly fulfills God’s wishes. Some of the sects admitted that the temple was still legitimate to one degree or another, but all the sects argued that every variety of Judaism other than its own is illegitimate. This is the monism of the temple transferred to the sect. With the destruction of the temple in 70, the institutional basis of monism is removed.

Some of the rabbis were aware that their ideology of pluralism did not exist before 70. “At first there was no dispute (mahloqet) in Israel” (Tos. Hagigah 2-9 and Sanhedrin 7-1). How did disputes begin? According to one view in the Tosefta, disputes were avoided by the adjudica-tion of the great court which sat in the temple precincts and determined either by vote or by tradition the status of all doubtful matters. In this view, when the great court was destroyed in 70, disputes could no longer be resolved in an orderly way and mahloqot proliferated. Accord-ing to another view, “once the disciples of Hillel and Shammai became numerous who did not serve [their masters] adequately, they multiplied disputes in Israel and became as two To-rahs.” In this view Jewish (i.e. rabbinic) unanimity was upset by the malfeasance of the disci-ples of Hillel and Shammai, a confession which would later be exploited by the Karaites. What happened to the disputes between the Houses? They ceased at Yavneh,56 how we do not know. Amoraic tradition (Yer. Yevamot 1-6 [3b] and parallels) tells of a heavenly voice which declared at Yavneh, “Both these [House of Hillel] and these [House of Shammai] are the words of the living God, but the halakha always follows the House of Hillel.” As part of this irenic trend someone (at Yavneh?) even asserted that the disputes between the Houses did not prevent them from intermarrying or from respecting each other’s purities (Mishnah Yevamot 1-4 and ‘Eduyyot 4-8; Tos. Yevamot 1-10–12) but this wishful thinking cannot disguise the truth. The two Talmudim find it almost impossible to understand this statement. The Houses could not marry or sup with each other. They were virtually sects—kitot the Palestinian Talmud calls them (Yer. Hagigah 2-2 [77d]).57 At Yavneh sectarian exclusiveness was replaced by rabbinic pluralism, collective authority was replaced by individual authority. The new ideal was the sage who was ready not to insist upon the rectitude of (“stand upon”) his opinions. The creation of the Mishnah could now begin.58

Were there any whose words were not the words of the living God? In spite of the rabbinic hesitation, described above, to define the limits of acceptable doctrine and practice, two categories of people could not be incorporated into the Yavnean coalition- those who insisted upon a sectarian self-identification, and those who refused to heed the will of the majority. The former called themselves, or at least were distinctive enough to be called by others, “Pharisees,” “Sadducees,” “Christians,” or whatever. All of these persistent sectarians were cursed in the birkat haminim. This rabbinic ideology is reflected in Justin’s discussion of the Jewish sects- there are Jews, i.e., the “orthodox,” and there are sects, among them the Pharisees, who scarcely deserve the name Jew. These sectarians were denounced, not excommunicated. As a result of this effort to minimize sectarian self-identification, the rabbis did not see themselves as Pharisees and showed little interest in their sectarian roots. The second category includes those sages who did not accept the will of the majority. Even an elastic society has limits. Aqavya ben Mehallalel was excommunicated because he “stood upon,” i.e., insisted on the rectitude of his opinion in the face of the opposition of the majority.59 According to amoraic narratives R. Eliezer was excommunicated because he would not accept the legal ruling of the majority, invoking against it a heavenly voice and various miracles—a dangerous precedent (Bab. Bava Mesi‘a 59b; Yer. Mo‘ed Qatan 3-1 [81c–d]; cf. Tos. ‘Eduyyot 2-1). The other side of the coin is illustrated by another amoraic narrative which has R. Gamaliel deposed from the patriarchate because he sought to impose his will on the sages. Even the authority of the patri-arch has limits when opposed by the majority (Bab. Berakhot 27b–28a; Yer. Berakhot 4-1 [7c–d]). Whatever the truth of these amoraic stories, they reflect the essential problem of the Yav-nean period- the creation of the society which would tolerate, even foster, disputes and discus-sions but which could nonetheless maintain order. Those rabbis who could not play by the new rules were too great a danger to be punished with just a curse. They were expelled.60


“Pharisaic triumph” is not a useful description of the events at Yavneh. Perhaps many, if not most, of the sages there assembled were Pharisees or the descendants of Pharisees, but they made little of their ancestry. Their interest was the future, not the past. There is little evidence for “witch-hunting” in general and anti-Christian activity in particular.61 The sages were not a party triumphant which closed the ranks, defined orthodoxy, and expelled the unwanted. Yavneh was a grand coalition of different groups and parties,62 held together by the belief that sectarian self-identification was a thing of the past and that individuals may disagree with each other in matters of law while remaining friends. Those who refused to join the coalition and insisted on sectarian self-definition were branded minim and cursed. Those rabbis who could not learn the rules of pluralism and mutual tolerance were banned.

Josephus boasts of the unanimity of the Jewish people in its religion (Against Apion 2.179–81) and remarks that this unanimity provoked pagan admiration (2.283). Since this is the same au-thor who tells us many times about the three (or four) Jewish “sects,” Josephus presumably means that all the Jewish “philosophies” agree on the fundamentals but dispute among themselves various details.63 Unfortunately the sects themselves did not see things as Josephus did, and as long as the temple stood it was very hard to see things that way. Sects viewed themselves as surrogate temples and their leaders as surrogate priests. Like the archetype in Jerusalem, each sect claimed God for itself exclusively, denouncing all other temples and sects as illegitimate and profane. With the destruction of the temple these surrogate temples disappeared too. The Yavnean sages, the contemporaries of Josephus, realized that the Jewish “schools of thought” (haireseis) agreed with each other more than they differed. Aware of the deleterious consequences of internecine strife, the sages saw themselves as members of the same philosophical school who could debate in friendly fashion the tenets of the school.64

A year or two before the church council of Nicea Constantine wrote to Alexander and Arius, the leaders of the contending parties, and asked them to realize that they were united by their shared beliefs more than they were separated by their debate on the nature of the second person of the Trinity. Let them behave like members of a philosophical school who debate in civil fashion the doctrines of the school (Eusebius, Life of Constantine 2.71). The council of Nicea ignored the emperor’s advice and expelled the Arians. The sages of Yavneh anticipated Constantine’s suggestion. They created a society based on the doctrine that conflicting disputants may each be advancing the words of the living God.


Pharisees and Rabbis in the Church Fathers65

I argued above that rabbinic self-identification with the Pharisees is only seldom attested in tannaitic literature, is somewhat more frequent in amoraic materials, but does not become secure and determinative until the early middle ages. As far as I have been able to determine, patristic literature documents a similar development. The fathers of the second, third, and fourth centuries do not identify contemporary Judaism with Pharisaism. Tertullian, Cyprian, the Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila, and Aphrahat attempt to refute Judaism, but they either do not mention the Pharisees at all or mention them only in New Testament quotations. Even Origen, who lived in Palestine and knew a great deal about Judaism, does not refer to contem-porary didaskaloi and sophoi as Pharisees.66

Epiphanius, that learned purveyor of information and misinformation, explicitly declares (Panarion 19.5 and 20.3) that Pharisees no longer exist in his time (fourth century). He mentions that the scribes have four deuteroseis (traditions)- those of Moses the prophet, Akibas (or Barakibas) their teacher, Andas (or Annas) who is also known as Judas, and the sons of Asamonaeus (Panarion 15 end). Whatever we make of this garbled passage, it is clear that Epiphanius connects rabbinic tradition not with the Pharisees but with the scribes.67 John Chrysostom has eight orations Against the Jews but in none of them does he call contemporary Jews “Pharisees” or refer to their piety as “Pharisaic.” All of this is somewhat surprising since the New Testament accords the Pharisees such a prominent role and provides so many anti-Pharisee polemics which would have been very useful to anti-Jewish writers. Obviously these fathers did not know of the connection between the Pharisees and the rabbis.68 The only exceptions known to me are brief passages in Irenaeus69 and the ever elusive Justin.70

Sometime in the fourth century this begins to change. Jerome refers to contemporary rabbis as Pharisees and explicitly identifies the deuteroseis of Barachibas with the traditiones of the Pharisees. He quotes a Nazarene interpretation of Isa. 8-14 which refers to the Houses of Hillel and Shammai “from whom the scribes and Pharisees originated, whose school was assumed by Akibas” and his successors. These Nazarenes, like Jerome himself, clearly associate the rab-bis with the Pharisees (and the scribes).71 Presumably they are deriving their information from Jewish sources. In any case, the patristic testimony concerning the Pharisees is remarkably parallel to the rabbinic- in the second century little or no connection is made between the rab-bis and the Pharisees, but in the fourth the connection starts to become clear. A thorough study of the fathers is needed to confirm this observation.

(*) An earlier version of this paper was published under a slightly different title in Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers 1982, ed. K.H. Richards (Chico- Scholars Press) 45–61. I am grateful to Professors Albert Baumgarten, Baruch Bokser, Robert Goldenberg, David Halivni, and Burton Vistozky for their valuable suggestions. All translations are mine unless otherwise noted. Since this paper treats a large number of complex topics, I have not attempted to provide complete bibliographical annotation.

(1) K.W. Clark (“Worship in the Jerusalem Temple after AD 70,” New Testament Studies 6 [1959–1960] 269–280 = The Gentile Bias and the other Essays [Leiden- Brill, 1980] 9–20) has not convinced me that the sacrificial cult persisted to a meaningful extent after 70. The present tense used by Josephus and some of the apostolic fathers when describing the sacrificial cult proves nothing, since the same phenomenon can be observed even after 135 by which time even Clark admits that the sacrificial cult must have ceased. See, e.g., M. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (2 vols.; Jerusalem 1974 and 1980), 2.414 (frg. 446).

(2) See, e.g., G.F. Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era (3 vols.; Cambridge- Harvard University, 1927), 1.85–86; W.D. Davies, The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount (Cambridge- Cambridge University, 1964) 859–86; J. Neusner, “The Formation of Rabbinic Judaism- Yavneh (Jamnia) from A.D. 70 to 100,” Aufstieg und Nieder-gang der römischen Welt II, 19.2, ed. H. Temporini and W. Haase (Berlin and New York- de Gruyter, 1979) 3–42. The numerous works of Jacob Neusner have stimulated my thinking on Yavneh and, although my approach and conclusions differ from his (as many of the following notes will show), I have learned much from him.

(3) Sifre Deut. 96 (p. 158 ed. Finkelstein), cf. 346 (p. 403–404). This midrash has been variously interpreted; see Y.D. Gilat, Bar-Ilan Annual 18–19 (1981) 79–98 (Heb.).

(4) My definition is inspired by the numerous works of Bryan Wilson, especially his Patterns of Sectarianism (London- Heinemann, 1967). See too K. Rudolph, “Wesen und Struktur der Sekte,” Kairos 21 (1979) 241–254 and F. Dexinger, “Die Sektenproblematik im Judentum,” Kairos 21 (1979) 273–287. Other elements are frequently added to a definition of sect, but my definition includes the essentials.

(5) For a recent study of the sectarian nature of early Christianity, see T.L. Donaldson, “Moses Typology and the Sectarian Nature of Early Christian Anti-Judaism,” Journal for the Study of New Testament 12 (1981) 27–52. Josephus speaks of three haireseis but the number is a topos in the historiography of the philosophical schools and cannot be pressed; cf. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers 4.67. The Talmud refers to “24 groups of heretics” at the time of the destruction of the (second?) temple (Yer. Sanhedrin 10.6 29c); this number too is typological, but it is greater than three.

(6) See for example E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Philadelphia- Fortress, 1977) 152–156 (especially 156 n. 52) and 425–426, and Ellis Rivkin, A Hidden Revolution (Nashville- Abingdon, 1978). I regret the tone, but not the content, of my review of Rivkin in Journal of Biblical Literature 99 (1980) 627–629.

(7) See for example M. Smith, “Palestinian Judaism in the First Century,” Israel- Its Role in Civilization, ed. M. Davis (New York- Jewish Theological Seminary, 1956) 67–81, and J. Neusner, Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees before 70 (3 vols.; Leiden- Brill, 1970).

(8) M. Smith, “The Dead Sea Sect in Relation to Ancient Judaism,” New Testament Studies 7 (1961) 347–360, anticipated to some extent by Origen. Against Celsus 3.12, “There was in Judaism a factor which caused sects to begin, which was the variety of the interpretations of the writings of Moses and the sayings of the prophets” (p. 135 trans. H. Chadwick). Cf. too Tripartite Tractate 112 in The Nag Hammadi Library, ed, J.M. Robinson (San Francisco- Harper and Row, 1977) 86, and ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah 6.12 in the translation by F. Rosenthal, abridged by N.J. Dawood (Princeton- Princeton University, 1967) 345. “It was not dogma but law that was apt to produce lasting schisms in Judaism,” writes L. Ginzberg, An Unknown Jewish Sect (New York- Jewish Theological Seminary, 1976) 105.

(9) A full collection and analysis of all such rabbinic statements (with their textual variants) is a desideratum. For the purposes of this essay a useful article is J. Lightstone, “Sadducees versus Pharisees- The Tannaitic Sources,” Christianity, Judaism, and other Greco-Roman Cults- Studies for Morton Smith, ed. J. Neusner (4 vols.; Leiden- Brill, 1975), 3.206–17. The best discussion of the term minim is R. Kimelman, “Birkat Ha-Minim and the Lack of Evidence for an anti-Christian Jewish Prayer in Late Antiquity,” Jewish and Christian Self Definition II- Aspects of Judaism in the Graeco-Roman Period, ed. E.P. Sanders et al. (Philadelphia- Fortress, 1981) 226–44, esp. 228–32.

(10) The context seems to favor the former interpretation since this Mishnah is preceded by a ruling concerning the menstrual status of Samaritan women and is followed by a ruling concerning the menstrual status of gentile women. If the three mishnayot are a unit, they all refer to matters of contemporary concern. But are they a unit? They differ in style. R. Yosi frequently reports antiquarian lore about the second temple period; see, e.g., Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1-7 and Yoma 6-3; Tosefta Hagigah 2-9. The parallel anecdote in Tosefta Pesahim 3-20 is also chronologically ambiguous.

(11) [immediately] is omitted in our vulgate edition of the Talmud but appears in codex Munich 95 and codex Vati-canus Ebr. 111.

(12) The phrase which makes R. Yosi a contemporary of the Sadducean woman (“who was in our neighborhood”) reappears elsewhere in the Bab. Talmud (C. and B. Kasowsky, Thesaurus Talmudis [Jerusalem- Ministry of Education and Jewish Theological Seminary, 1954 ff.] 37.436) and transfers the social reality described by Mishnah ‘Eru-vin 6-2 (a Sadducee and R. Gamaliel, presumably R. Gamaliel the Elder, share a courtyard) to the mishnah in Niddah.

(13) M. Simon, “Les sectes juives d’après les témoignages patristiques,” Studia Patristica I, ed. K. Aland and F.L. Cross (Texte und Untersuchungen 63; Berlin- Akademie Verlag, 1957) 526–39; M. Black, “The Patristic Accounts of Jewish Sectarianism,” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 41 (1958–59) 285–303; S.J. Isser, The Dositheans (Leiden- Brill, 1976) 11–14; S.P. Brock, “Some Syriac Accounts of the Jewish Sects,” A Tribute to Arthur Vööbus- Studies in Early Christian Literature, ed. R.H. Fischer (Chicago- Lutheran School of Theology, 1977) 265–76. Hippolytus’ ac-count of the Essenes has been the subject of many special studies, notably C. Burchard, “Zur Nebenüberlieferung von Josephus’ Bericht über die Essener (Bell 2, 119–161) bei Hippolyt, Porphyrius, Josippus, Niketas Choniates und anderen,” Josephus-Studien- Untersuchungen zu Josephus … O. Michel … gewidmet, ed. O. Betz et. al (Göttingen- Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1974) 77–96 and “Die Essener bei Hippolyt,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 8 (1977) 1–41 (with bibliography).

(14) The translation is that of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, slightly modified.

(15) “Confessing God with the lips” (cheilesin homologountas) is probably a pun on the name Jew which was com-monly taken to mean “confessor.” For this etymology in Philo, see the passages listed by J.W. Earp in volume 10 of the Loeb Philo (Cambridge- Harvard, 1962) 357 note a. For the fathers see N. De Lange, Origen and the Jews (Cambridge- Cambridge University, 1976) 32 n. 29.

(16) Modern scholars have been disturbed by the presence of Pharisees in Justin’s list. Harnack, emphasizing that the manuscript tradition of the Dialogue omits the kai between Pharisees and Baptists and that Justin identifies the Pharisees with the didaskaloi of his own time, argues that a copyist added Pharisees to Justin’s list (“Judentum … in Justins Dialog mit Trypho,” Texte und Untersuchungen 39,1 [1913] 57–58). But it is more likely that a kai has fallen out (or was taken out by a scribe bothered by Harnack’s problem) than that Pharisees has fallen in. Nor does Justin identify the Pharisees with the didaskaloi; see n. 70 below. Black, “Patristic Accounts,” 288–89, also omits kai and appeals to a movement of “baptizing Pharisees.” Simon, “Sectes juives,” 529–31, argues that Justin is writing from a Christian perspective. These suggestions result from the failure to study the connections between Phari-sees and rabbis. This objection does not apply to P. Sigal, “An Inquiry into Aspects of Judaism in Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho,” Abr-Nahrain 18 (1978–1979) 74–100, esp. 82–86 and 94, but Sigal is convinced that the rabbis are not the descendants of the Pharisees (see below). Aside from this error Sigal contributes little that is novel. L.W. Barnard, Justin Martyr His Life and Thought (Cambridge- Cambridge University, 1967) 50–51, does not ad-vance the discussion.

(17) Isser, “Dositheans,” 14 n. 19, quoting D. Gershenson and G. Quispel, “Meristae,” Vigiliae Christianae 12 (1958) 19–26; Simon, “Sectes juives,” 533–35.

(18) That Pharisees and Rabbis cannot be simply equated is a point well made by Sanders 60–62. In Judaism- The Evidence of the Mishnah (Chicago- University of Chicago, 1981) 70–71, Neusner retracts the work of a lifetime and admits to uncertainty whether the Pharisees were a sect or not and whether they were the group which produced the Mishnah. Before reaching this agnostic conclusion Neusner had suggested that Rabbinism is the outgrowth of Pharisaism and Scribism (a suggestion first made by the Nazarenes in the fourth century [n. 71 below]); see his “Formation” (n. 2 above); Eliezer ben Hyrcanus (2 vols.; Leiden- Brill, 1973), 2.298–307; “Pharisaic-Rabbinic Juda-ism- A Clarification,” Early Rabbinic Judaism (Leiden- Brill, 1975) 50–70. A few scholars doubt the Pharisaic-Rabbinic connection altogether. See J. Bowker, Jesus and the Pharisees (Cambridge- Cambridge University, 1973) and P. Sigal, The Emergence of Contemporary Judaism I- The Foundation of Judaism from Biblical Origins to the Sixth Century AD (2 vols.; Pittsburgh- Pickwick, 1980), 1.377–413 and 2.1–23.

(19) The following argument is not worthy of serious consideration- Since Josephus lists only four sects, and since the rabbis obviously are not Sadducees, Essenes, or the Fourth Philosophy, therefore the rabbis must be Pharisees. By the same logic sixteenth century scholars concluded that Boethusians must be the Essenes since otherwise Josephus omits the former and the rabbis omit the latter. Ignotum per ignotius.

(20) The eleven are- 1. Eleazar the Pharisee at the court of John Hyrcanus (Josephus Ant. 13.290 where the singular Pharisaios does not appear); 2. Pollion (Ant. 15.3 and 370; his disciple is not called a Pharisee); 3. Saddoq, one of the founders of the Fourth Philosophy (Ant. 18.4); 4. Nicodemus (John 3-1); 5. Gamaliel (Acts 5-34); 6. Paul (Phi-lippians 3-5; Acts 23-6 and 26-5); 7. Simon ben Gamaliel (Vita 191); 8–9–10. Jonathan, Ananias, and Jozaros, three priests sent to Galilee in 66–67 (Vita 197); 11. Josephus (Vita 12). Luke mentions three individual Pharisees, all un-named (Luke 7-36–39; 11-37–38; 18-10–11). New Testament apocrypha and Nag Hammadi texts mention additional Pharisees.

(21) Neusner discusses the “rabbinization” of history in his mis-titled The Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees be-fore 70 (Leiden- Brill, 1971). There is no evidence that the figures discussed in this book (aside from those listed in n. 20 above) were Pharisees. The uncertainty applies to the Houses too.

(22) Rift- Ant. 13.288–96 and Bab. Qiddushin 66a, Sadducees obey Pharisees- Ant. 18.15 and 17; Tos. Yoma 1-8; Tos. Parah 3-8; Mishnah and Tos. Niddah (discussed above); Tos. Sukkah 3-1 and 3- 16. See n. 29 below.

(23) For a clear case of the rabbinization of history, compare Ant. 13.372 (the people pelt Jannaeus with their citrons to protest his rule) with Tos. Sukkah 3-16 (the people pelt a Boethusian high priest with their citrons to protest his failure to follow a rabbinic ordinance). I am preparing a study of all the rabbinic anecdotes paralleled by Josephus.

(24) J. Neusner, Method and Meaning in Ancient Judaism (Missoula- Scholars Press, 1979) 69–70.

(25) The tannaim generally—not, however, the Mishnah—have a favorable attitude towards proselytes (B.J. Bamberger, Proselytism in the Talmudic Period [1939; repr. New York- Ktav, 1968] 149–73) but we have no indication that the rabbis ever engaged in missionary activity.

(26) S.J.D. Cohen, Josephus in Galilee and Rome (Leiden- Brill, 1979) 144–51. On the date of the J.W. see Cohen 84–90.

(27) See, e.g., Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (San Francisco- Harper and Row, 1978) 153–57.

(28) I do not treat Babylonian beraitot with the tannaitic material since they cannot be presumed to reflect tannaitic language.

(29) Pharisees and Sadducees- Mishnah Yadayim 4-6 and 7; Tos. Hagigah 3-35. Pharisees and Boethusians- Tos. Yadayim 2-20. Sages and Sadducees- Mishnah Makkot 1-6. Sages and Boethusians- Tos. Yoma 1-8; Tos. Rosh Ha-shanah 1-15. Yehudah- Tos. Sanhedrin 6-6. Yohanan- Tos. Parah 3-8. Anonymous “they”- Mishnah Menahot 10.3 and Tos. Menahot 10-23. Jewish masses- Tos. Sukkah 3-1 and 16.

(30) At Mishnah Yadayim 4-8 the texts offer either Sadducee or min. Sifre, Num. 112 (p. 121 ed. Horovitz) interprets the

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