Sects, Jewish (Ancient)

Sects, Jewish (Ancient)

These were of two kinds, arising from the fact that the differences of opinion, sentiment, and conduct were sometimes of a theosophical and sometimes of a practical character; but, among the ancient Jews, so close was the connection of Church and State that all theological or philosophical views necessarily affected the civil and social relations.

I. Religious.

1. The Pharisees. — These were the orthodox party, and our Lord testifies to the general correctness of their creed (Mt 22:3). It was chiefly in liturgical and ceremonial particulars that their excessive regard for traditional observances was betrayed. In this regard the Rabbinical Jews of modern times are their acknowledged successors. SEE RABBINISM. In external deportment they were scrupulously exact; but, their motive being a love of popularity and a pride of self righteousness, they were sternly rebuked by our Lord as arch hypocrites and ecclesiastical tyrants. SEE PHARISEE.

2. The Sadducees. — These were next in importance, and of even more aristocratic influence, but they were the rationalists of their day (Ac 23:8). They are represented by inimical writers as the originals of the modern Karaites (q.v.). SEE SADDUCEE.

3. The Essenes. — These were rather a class of ascetics or Jewish hermits, who are not mentioned in the New Test., and are chiefly known from the description of Josephus, who at one time belonged to their fraternity. SEE ESSENES.

II. Political.

1. The Zealots. — These are mentioned in the New Test. and by Josephus as the violent party who contended for native rights and independence from all foreign influence. They had their type in the Chasidim of earlier and later times. SEE ASSIDAEAN. They largely contributed to the final collision of the Jews with the Romans. SEE ZELOTES.

2. The Herodians. — These appear, from the slight notices of them (Mt 2:16, etc.), to have been the temporizing party, who favored Graeco-Roman innovations. They had their originals in the apostates under Antiochus Epiphanes (Da 11:35). SEE HERODIAN.

On the subject generally, see, in addition to the works cited under the articles on each of the above, Serarii, Drusii et Scaligeri Opusc. de Trib. Judoeorum Sectis (Delph. 1703); separately, Drusius, De Hassidoeis (Franek. 1603); De Sectis Judaicis (Arnh. 1619); Serarius, De Tribus Sectis, etc. (Franek. 1603; Mainz, 1604); Scaliger, De Tribus Jud. Hoeresibus (Franek. 1605; Arnh. 1619); Lund, De Sectis Judoerum (Upsal. 1700); Geiger, Sadducäer und Pharisäer (Bresl. 1863); Die Ebioniter des Alten Testaments, in the Monatsschr. für Gesch. und Wiss. des Judenthums, Jan. 1869; Meth. Quar. Rev. Jan. 1868, p. 128.

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