University of Calgary

Department of Religious Studies

Prof. E. Segal
Department of
Religious Studies
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive N. W.
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2N 1N4

Office: SS 1302
Phone: (403) 220-5886
Fax: (403) 210-0801

Religious Studies 469-01

Course Outline, Fall 2002

Advanced Studies in Judaism:

Jewish Movements of the Second Temple Era

WF 12:00 noon - 1:15 p.m.


Eliezer Segal


SS 1302

Office Hours:

W 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

or by appointment





Course Web Site:


Course Description:

The era of the "Second Temple (or: Second Commonwealth)" [c. 400 B.C.E.-70 C.E.] was one of the most complex and exciting eras in the development of the Jewish religion, and one that exerted a decisive influence on the shape of Judaism (and its offshoot, Christianity) for subsequent generations. This era was characterized by the division of the Jewish people into rival sects advocating differing approaches to the central religious questions of the day; such as:

This course will concern itself with the central religious practices, institutions and beliefs of Second-Temple Judaism. We will focus initially upon those elements that were held in common by all Jewish movements. Afterwards we shall examine the development and character of the many religious sects and parties that arose at that time--Hellenists, Essenes, Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, etc., studied against the broader social, political and intellectual currents of the age.

Core Competencies:

In addition to familiarizing the student with the important facts, sources and events relevant to Second-Temple Judaism, this course will also provide an introduction to the scholarly methodologies that are necessary for the historical study of religion. Attention will be paid to identifying and characterizing the literary and other sources (such as archeology) that provide us with the our information about ancient religious institutions and ideas; problems related to the use that can be made of those sources (e.g., author's biases); and criteria for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the interpretations of the data that have been proposed by various modern scholars.

In their research papers and oral presentations, the students will be challenged to demonstrate their abilities in:

Course Requirements:



Date Due

% Weight


Research Essay on "common Judaism" (approximately 10 pages)

November 22

30% - 40% *


Research Essay on "sectarianism" (approximately 10 pages)

December 6

30% - 40%*


Class Presentation
The student will discuss one of the Research Essays in a manner adapted to an oral presentation (i.e., it preferably should not be a mere recitation of the written essay). The grade for this assignment will take into consideration the clarity of the delivery and the student's ability to handle questions from the other participants.

To be scheduled individually



Class Participation







* Note: The research essay that earns the highest grade will count for 40% in the final grade calculation. The other essay will count for 30%.

There will not be a Registrar's office scheduled final examination in this course.

Suggestions for paper topics, bibliographies and guidelines will be provided at a later date. Students should consult the instructor if they have any doubts about the appropriateness of their topic.

Course Outline:

The following outline should be considered a provisional guide to the subject matter of the course:

    1. The historical context (the Persian, Hellenistic, Hasmonean and Roman periods) of the Second Commonwealth.
      Principal literary documents: Bible, Apocrypha, New Testament, Josephus Flavius, Rabbinic Literature, etc.
    2. Palestinian and Diaspora Judaism.
    3. The Jerusalem Temple and its impact on Jewish religious and social life (Priests, Levites and Israelites).
    4. The religious life of the common people: Life and calendar cycles, etc.
    5. Law and morality.
    6. Theology and eschatology.
    1. The Sadducees: Priests and aristocrats
    2. The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls
    3. The Pharisees: The sanctity of the Oral Torah, and other features of their theology and practice.

Grading System:

A numerical mark will be given for each course requirement. At the conclusion of the course, a letter grade will be assigned on the following number and letter grade scheme (standardized within the Department of Religious Studies).




100 - 90


89 - 85


84 - 80


79 - 75


74 - 70


69 - 65


64 - 60


59 - 55


54 - 50


49 - 45


44 or less

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity:

Students should be familiar with University regulations regarding academic integrity, as set down in the University Calendar

Academic Accommodation

It is a student's responsibility to request academic accommodation. If you are a student with a disability who may require academic accommodation and have not registered with the Disability Resource Centre, please contact their office at 220-8237. Your academic accommodation letters should be provided to your instructor no later than fourteen (14) days after the commencement of this course. Students who have not registered with the Disability Resource Centre are not eligible for formal academic accommodation.

(DRC web address is:

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