Topics from Sanders, Judaism,
Chapter Eighteen: The Pharisees
- Active opposition to Hyrcanus I, Jannaeus; many were executed. Apparently opposed to combining monarchy and high priesthood. ("Seekers after Smoothe things" mentioned in Nahum Pesher.)
- In power under Salome Alexandra. Actively attacked their opponents.
- Social class base: Non-"aristocrats" who sought political power.
- Religious ideology: Based on scholarly interpretation of Torah.
- Initial sympathy toward Herod.
- Role in uprisings at the expected end of Herod's life, and in final revolt against Rome (66-70 C.E.).
- Relationship to Zealots.
- Question of their disappearance from political life during Roman period (after 63 C.E.).
- Neusner: Withdrew from politics to become "pure food club."
- View that Pharisees exerted indirect control over institutions: Temple, Sanhedrin, schools, courts, diaspora communities.
- Pragmatic, involuntary withdrawal. No opportunity to act effectively under Herod or Romans.
Question of Control of Policies and Institutions
Did the Pharisees Represent a Social Class?
Ginzberg-Finkelstein thesis: Middle-Working class. Not well received.
Neusner: Rabbinic texts presuppose small independent land-owners. Does this reflect situation in Second Commonwealth times?
Not a distinctively Pharisaic ideal.
Note Talmudic discussion that defines conditions under which martyrdom is required (three cardinal transgressions).
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