Judith M. Lieu

in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199237777
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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Accounts of Judaism often start from Josephus's description of the three ‘schools of thought’ (haireseis, sometimes misleadingly translated as ‘sects’), or ‘philosophies’, among the Jews, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. New Testament references to the Pharisees and the Sadducees seemingly confirmed this starting point, while the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, often associated with Josephus's Essenes, apparently completed the picture, although it also did much to stimulate reconsideration of Jewish faith and practice. On the other hand, Josephus also describes the Jews as holding a remarkable unity, and the tension between these two claims sets the scene for the debates about ‘unity and diversity’ that have dominated much modern scholarship.

Keywords: Judaism; Josephus; Pharisees; Sadducees; Essenes; Dead Sea Scrolls

Article.  4868 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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