Fate, Free Will, and Ancient Jewish Types of Compatibilism

Jonathan Klawans

in Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199928613
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980567 | DOI:
Fate, Free Will, and Ancient Jewish Types of Compatibilism

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This chapter reviews Josephus’s evidence regarding Pharisaic, Sadducean and Essene beliefs on fate and free will. Drawing comparisons with biblical material, rabbinic literature, Dead Sea Scrolls, and contemporary Hellenistic philosophical parallels, this chapter defends the general accuracy of Josephus’s understanding of ancient Jewish sectarian disputes on these matters. Josephus’s own view is also considered. Josephus’s view is described as compatibilist—in rough alignment with the historian’s understanding of the Pharisaic position. Josephus’s Pharisaic compatibilism is further understood in comparison with Stoic and, especially, Middle Platonist thought.

Keywords: Fate; free will; providence; compatibilism; determinism; Stoicism; Middle Platonism

Chapter.  19745 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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